The essence of Tintin is mystery and adventure. This is what I remember when I watched the cartoon series as a kid and the film had a lot to live up to. Seeing it on the big screen with dazzling 3D and fancy cgi, Tintin is back on the trek to uncover the mystery of the unicorn. It even has the running opening with the lights!
The story is an adaptation of an earlier comic adventure. Tintin buys a model boat called the Unicorn after taking a liking to the fine piece of craft. It seems he isn’t the only one after it though and a magnificent secret lies within the contents of this boat. After a break in, Tintin sets out on a great adventure with his little white dog, Snowy. The two face the menacing Sakharine, while making friends with Captain Haddock, a ship captain who likes to drink. A lot. It seems this Haddock has a huge connection with the Unicorn mystery, which has them travelling through storms, deserts and towns to uncover the truth. It is a story which allows action scenes aplenty, and the colourful characters bring charm and personal attachment to the events. Another family film in recent times which doesn’t insist on being mind numbingly brain dead. Haddock drinks his whiskey, Tintin often holds a gun, I’m pleased censorship hasn’t hit this franchise.
The cast and world are created with some rather realistic looking cgi. From a distance the world appears as real as can be, though when it gets closer to the action you see the little quirks and features which make it the world of Tintin and not our own. I think it forms a rather fantastic looking world, a slightly wonkier vision, though the eyes on the characters can still look a little soulless. They will crack it one day though, as Tintin forms realistic movements with some explosive awe-inspiring set pieces, it mustn’t be long before they can insert more soul.. Scenes connect effortlessly and the vehicle chase scene is perhaps the action highlight of the year, only the train scene in Super 8 matches the thrill. A shame it seems the story is veered purely towards these set pieces, as scenes fly by without giving us time to stop and breath, take in the wonderful sights.
The film manages to stay close to source material and doesn’t bow down to the censorship of 2011. It might feel a little over excited, and Haddock may steal the scene a little too much from our boy and dog combo, but this is one film worth watching this Autumn. A roller coaster feel good hit of the Autumn. Bring on a sequel I say and more scenes with the hilarious inept police Thompson and Thompson.