The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2D) – Review

tintin

Blistering barnacles, it’s a Tintin motion capture feature!

Young reporter Tintin buys a model ship, just before two other men – one with a creepy pointed beard – both also try to buy it. Intrigued by the potential story behind the model Tintin refuses and sets off to investigate, just to have the ship stolen from his apartment. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard detectives, Thompson and Thomson, are on the trail of a master pickpocket.

If that seems like a rather brisk intro, that’s how it feels in the cinema. Once past the opening sequence, which was drawn in the style of the original comic that had me drowning in nostalgia before the film had even begun, there’s no messing around. It’s just straight into the mystery with no ambiguity about who the bad guys are and who’s on Tintin’s side. We’ve got three whole books to get through here! Well, not quite. The story has been predominantly pulled together from the classic Hergé comic books The Crab With the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure but with events reordered and all those pesky opium references taken out.

The film is a lot of fun with the action on full steam ahead. It’s packed with exciting chase scenes, multiple guns fired by accuracy-impaired henchmen and minimal exposition. There’s plenty of physical comedy, especially when Thompson and Thomson are around and kids won’t be able to resist Snowy’s appeal. Tintin’s terrier frequently seems like he’s smarter than any of his human associates and steals every scene he’s in, although Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock gives the animated dog a good run for his money.

Allegedly (i.e. according to Wikipedia), Steven Spielberg went back and forth on animation versus live action and it was Peter Jackson who persuaded him to take the motion capture route. I can’t decide whether it was worth the effort or whether I missed anything by going 2D. The most I can say is that the production doesn’t get in the way of the film. My fears of an Uncanny Valley feel were allayed and overall it’s technically impressive, if not beautiful. The animation aspect has allowed for the string of spectacular action sequences to be made at all, while at the same time the pratfalls and blows to the head don’t make you wince, in the same way that Daffy Duck landing on his head isn’t cringe-worthy.

This family-friendly adventure is thoroughly entertaining but it’s good, not great. Despite seeing a man killed early on, the slapstick humour means that any feeling that our heroes are ever in real peril is extinguished and the ending is a bit of a damp squib after all the fireworks leading up to it. Tintin‘s makers have set themselves up well for a sequel though and there’s no reason to think that this isn’t a franchise that couldn’t run and run and run. And run.

Your Week in Promo Materials

We’ve probably talked about this before but every time an exciting new trailer or poster is released we find ourselves in a state of panic deciding whether to bother posting it. The world of film blogging is saturated with every single poster and teaser trailer that rolls along and we don’t want to bury our valuable Harry Potter charts in a sea of weak posters.

As a result here is an incomplete run-down of recent trailers and posters. We’ve removed anything not worthy of comment. Anybody else underwhelmed by the latest Sherlock Holmes posters?

Posters
Big buzz builders so far this week were posters for The Thing and The Dark Knight Rises.

While pretty, the poster for The Dark Knight Rises reveals nothing and is as unexciting as anything related to Christopher Nolan can be, which still leaves plenty of room for excitement. The poster for The Thing is more my type of thing. It looks different to most horror films, no monochrome pictures of horrific images/small children/torture devices/all the above and gives a tantalising glimpse of the thing itself transforming from/into a human. Can’t wait for The Thing to let me down.

Continue reading

The Adventures of Tintin – Trailer Dissection

Adventures of Tintin

There are a lot of things to get excited about with the upcoming, Spielberg-directed, Tintin film. Getting us jumping about is that the scriptwriting credits read like the ultimate Mild Concern wish list: Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish were all tasked with stringing three of Hergé’s books into one film. That’s two trios of awesome right there. Then move down to the cast, bursting with Great British talent: you’ve got Gollum, James Bond, Billy Elliot and Westley (or Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell and Cary Elwes, if you’re fussy about your actors’ names.)

But we have fears too. There’s the obvious worry that no film could do justice to the original Tintin books, or even the (classic) animated series. Then there’s the hyper-realistic, motion-capture animation, which had me examining the trailer expecting the same creepy vibe I got off The Polar Express. Check out my conclusions, and other uninformed comments, after the jump.


Continue reading

The Best is Yet to Come: 2011

Today we’re looking ahead at out most anticipated releases of 2011… and there’s a lot. A few glaring omissions perhaps but we have no interest in giant robots fighting.

So what can top 127 Hours and The King’s Speech?

Friday 14 January 2011
Blue Valentine
Made the headlines by getting its rating reduced in America as they claimed the sex scene wasn’t obscene just realistic. If that doesn’t tempt you how about a realistic portrayal of a marriage and career best performances?

Friday 21 January 2011
Black Swan
It’s great, powerful stuff and yet is another with more coverage of a single sex scene that the rest of the film. Portman is at her prime and Kunis ain’t too shabby either.

Friday 11 February 2011
Never Let Me Go
True Grit

A small British sci-fi with a beautifully subtle plot and the Coen brothers’ latest acclaimed production. Good Friday.

Monday 14 February 2011
Paul
For some reason sneaking out on a Monday, Pegg and Frost’s latest is funny if not up to the standard of an Edgar Wright collaboration. We saw it, reviewed it and got asked to take it down.

Friday 18 February 2011
Chalet Girl
A hopefully above average romantic comedy starring our own Felicity Jones and the slimy one from Gossip Girl.

Friday 25 February 2011
No Strings Attached
Waste Land

Natalie Portman tries her hand at a comedy about two friends trying out casual sex before Mila Kunis gets the chance. And on the same day we have one of our favourites from the London Film Festival, though most likely only at three cinemas.

Friday 4 March 2011
Rango
The Tempest

Animated comedy starring Johnny Depp as a lizard that is set to offer something better than the average animated film accompanied by the apparently less than perfect Shakespeare film featuring… Felicity Jones!

Friday 18 March 2011
Submarine
A film everyone should see as Richard Ayoade makes a strong directorial debut with a near perfect tale of young love and awkwardness.

Friday 1 April 2011
Sucker Punch
Zack Snyder kicks you in the face with amazing visuals, sexy crazy girls and general madness.

Friday 8 April 2011
Attack The Block
Joe Cornish made a film with a slightly bad sounding premise. Can Cornballs make a bad synopsis into a great film?

Friday 15 April 2011
Scream 4
Winnie the Pooh
Your Highness

A triple whammy in mid-April. First the fourth in the Scream series starring the cast of the entire TV alongside the usual faces. Then we have a hand animated Disney film about everyone’s favourite bear and a medieval comedy starring future Mrs Mild Concern, Zooey Deschanel and with her third film in four months, Natalie Portman.

Friday 22 April 2011
Source Code
Duncan Jones tries to top Moon with sci-fi action thriller involving confusing time travel in which Jake Gyllenhaal consistently fails to find the bomber on a train.

Friday 29 April 2011
Thor
Michael Gambon directing a comic book movie? Surely worth a look. Oh, hello Natalie Portman.

Wednesday 18 May 2011
Pirates Of The Caribbean 4
They’ve promised to keep it simple this time and have lost the less interesting characters, we’re excited.

Friday 15 July 2011
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part II
Because Part I was so good this can only be the peak of the Potter series.

Friday 29 July 2011
Captain America: The First Avenger
It might be terrible but is the lead-in to The Avengers which might also be terrible. Wait, it could be good too!

Friday 5 August 2011
Rise Of The Apes
John Lithgow and James Franco! And monkeys!

Friday 19 August 2011
The Inbetweeners
Super 8

The spin-off from E4’s best output and J.J. Abrams top secret new film. Funny and surprising… and deeply shameful.

Friday 26 August 2011
Final Destination 5
Guilty pleasure alert… I like to see people die in ridiculous ways…

Friday 2 September 2011
Friends With Benefits
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Mila Kunis gets to do the friends having sex comedy to see if she can top Portman. Portman doesn’t care after having so many other films out.

Friday 7 October 2011
Johnny English 2
“It’s only a bit of poo.” Heh.

Friday 14 October 2011
Footloose
The Thing

A musical remake of a personal favourite and a prequel starring Ramona Flowers. It could be a glorious pair or a double disaster.

Friday 21 October 2011
Paranormal Activity 3
With no new Saw film this is all we have for Halloween. Boo!

Wednesday 26 October 2011
The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn
Because the best British writers all seem to have had a hand in the writing of this particular film. Wright, Moffat and Cornish? Wow.

Edgar Wright in Conversation with Joe Cornish

Last night at the wonderful BFI Edgar Wright ran through his career with the help of Joe Cornish and proved himself to be an incredibly driven person and a poor Rolf Harris impersonator. What follows is a vague and rambling account of what happened.
Continue reading