Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in IMAX 3D


Regular trips to the bookstore when I was 10 had introduced me to the world Herge created with his jetsetting baby faced reporter Tintin and his faithful canine companion Snowy, and I was hooked enough to slowly but surely, get all the stories ever created, sharing them through the book club with my primary school class on the joys of these adventures. And I probably can gauge how well received those stories were, being read and re-read again countless of times by many, that they were expectedly returned in less than pristine condition. I still have those books and from time to time turn to them for timeless adventures that only Herge knows how to craft, building a world of likeable characters and a universe in which they operate in.

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson now translate this for the big screen. There have been other adaptations, animated ones that I've seen before as a kid that took place on Black Island and on the moon even, so to go down that animated route wouldn't be to introduce the stories to a whole new 3D generation. Making it live action would mean to discover a new cast who would demand a lot for the number of potential sequels that can be made in their likeness. So the best alternative is to marry both worlds and have it animated, but voiced and moving as if they would in the real world through motion capture, and what had been delivered is nothing less than a flawless piece of moving art that had leapt out of the pages of a book, and onto the silver screen. An IMAX 3D one at that, and I seriously urge everyone who has the intent to watch this to do so in this format that does justice to the tremendous amount of work and effort to finally kickstart what could be a lucrative franchise.

Those who are purists may want to steer clear of this, but I suppose having it adapted by Steven Mofatt, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish meant an amalgamation of known Tintin adventures, but given that modern day sensibilities in terms of narrative development and action sequences shot, yet having Spielberg's astuteness in keeping things true to the spirit of the books. With recognizable highlights from The Crab with the Golden Claws, Red Rackham's Treasure and of course The Secret of the Unicorn, the scribes have fused together a very fluid action adventure that moves at breakneck speed, never wasting any frame with Spielberg showing he still has what it takes for something family friendly while upping the ante through his works, redeeming himself from his last attempt being the terrible Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull that he had unceremoniously diverted blame of its prime weakness to George Lucas. Here, he got that smooth flowing narrative, allowing him to focus on how best to bring across the screen adaptation for a family friendly audience.

And Tintin fans will be delighted with Jamie Bell's voicing of Tintin, and Andy Serkis playing the role of Captain Thunering Typhoons Haddock, being essentially what's envisaged of that role of the drunken sailor. Bit characters like Thomson and Thompson (Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, excellent naturally choices I must add) the bumbling Interpol cops, Nestor the butler (Enn Reitel) and the Milanese Nightingale Bianca Castafiore (Kim Stengel) all make appearances even though some did not feature in the original tale, such as Senorita Castafiore who possesses a quality that worked so well in the diabolical scheme concocted here, with Daniel Craig taking on the role of the scheming Ivanovich Sakharine. Only Professsor Calculus is left, who is primed for the next film if it flows logically as a follow up film, and thank heavens nobody in the right mind decided to follow recent trends in making animals talk, so Snowy behaves very much like a dog, and in my opinion almost always steals everyone's thunder through its antics, providing just cause to peel your eyes away from the main proceedings, and following him anywhere that he roams on screen.

From the opening credits to little nuggets of easter eggs scattered for fans to spot, such as the first look at Tintin's home where we see articles from other well known adventures such as The Broken Ear and King Ottokar's Sceptre, one suspects the larger adventures from the books such as Destination Moon may be primed for future film installments should this one prove successful. Peter Jackson takes over the sequel and I'm waiting with bated breaths for that one, before the third movie in which both Spielberg and Jackson will share directing responsibilities, and if they are anything like this one, I'm signing up already. And do head to your local bookstores as well if your interest is keen to pick up those books again, because a whole new generation will be introduced to the film, and one can bet that their interests will be piqued right after this wonderful film treatment. It's always a joy with adaptations done right, and this is clearly something highly recommended!


Thomas Watson said...

If 2011 in film can be defined with one word, that word would be nostalgia.

Thomas Watson said...

Good review. I personally really enjoyed it and didn't get bored from beginning to end.

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