Having bought a model ship, the Unicorn, for a pound off a market stall Tintin is initially puzzled that the sinister Mr. Sakharine should be so eager to buy it from him, resorting to murder and kidnapping Tintin - accompanied by his marvellous dog Snowy - to join him and his gang as they sail to Morocco on an old cargo ship. Sakharine has bribed the crew to revolt against the ship's master, drunken Captain Haddock, but Tintin, Snowy and Haddock escape, arriving in Morocco at the court of a sheikh, who also has a model of the Unicorn. Haddock tells Tintin that over three hundred years earlier his ancestor Sir Francis Haddock was forced to scuttle the original Unicorn when attacked by a piratical forebear of Sakharine but he managed to save his treasure and provide clues to its location in three separate scrolls, all of which were secreted in models of the Unicorn. Tintin and Sakharine have one each and the villain intends to use the glass-shattering top Cs of operatic soprano the ... Written by
don @ minifie-1
Steven Spielberg has always shot his films traditionally, but since he was going to film what he saw was an animated film he didn't mind shooting it digitally. See more »
In the market Sakharine offers to write a check for the model of the Unicorn using a retractable ballpoint pen (you can even hear the click). Ballpoints were not sold in Belgium or the UK until December 1945 (and came into widespread use in the 1950s) and the retractable ballpoint pen was not invented until 1959. The movie takes place in the early 1930s based on the dates on the newspaper cutouts showing Tintin's reporting. See more »
The film doesn't completely work for Tintin loyalists (like me who rates the Tintin Comic Books 11/10)
Billions of blue blistering barnacles, Ten thousand thundering typhoons for a whole generation these were the epitome of cuss words thanks to Captain Haddock. I am one of those in late 20s who grew up reading ( mugging to be precise as Thomson & Thompson would have said) Tintin and almost worship Herge for the genius intelligent stories created in the black and white times of our grandpas. Being an hardcore Tintin loyalist the excitement to see the boy sleuth of screen was certainly brewing high. But the movie left me wanting more. It left a mixed reaction in me and here I come one by one at different levels.
Story Level Hollywood have adapted many novels for big screen and most of the times it has failed to recreate the finesse of the original work. Spielberg's rendition of Tintin somehow managed a mixed reaction in terms of story. Firstly selecting "The Crab with the Golden Claws" make sense as that shows the boy sleuth meeting the gold hearted Captain Haddock for the first time and in the first encounter Tintin comes face to face with the perennial drinking habit of Captain. "The crab with the golden claws" had enough spice for a full fledged film but may be Spielberg wanted some adventure which prompted him to juggle with "The secret of the unicorn" and "the crab with the golden claws" thus making a concatenation of two stories. Personally I felt that the two stories have been woven wisely with liberty taken in creating an ancestral fight between Captain Francis Haddock and Pirate Red Rackham. Somehow the cocktail was well crafted with the story oscillating between two original books. But the second half was outright outlandish as Spielberg merges his own imagination in creating a full fledged action film which took away the essence of Tintin. The subtlety, intelligence were missing as the director chose to make a 80s Bollywoodish action climax which had no connection to the original one. Moreover the movie ended in the way the comic book "Red Rackham's Treasure" ends yet Spielberg hinted a sequel which is related to Red Rackham's treasure. That shows the sequel will be a total new story by Spielberg (or Peter Jackson) with touches of original. It will be strictly for those who have no idea of what actual Tintin is all about. I mean Spilberg could have named it anything Tom Dick and Harry if not Tintin specially for the second half.
Character Level Spielberg is almost perfect in designing the characters. The look and the way the screen Tintin reacts brings in nostalgia of childhood days when we imagined (and discussed amongst friends) how Tintin would have behaved if made on screen. The attire to expression was all nicely done. Same goes for Snowy, the cute loyal dog of Tintin who can fight with the goons to save his beloved master. In fact children will fall in love with Snowy after watching this film. In one of the scene when Tintin gets kidnapped Snowy follows the car of the goons to the ship were Tintin was deported. The scene indeed brings out the pathos and concern inside Snowy for his master. Coming to Captain Haddock the characterization isn't as perfect as the comic book. The laziness and craziness in the first half were apt but then Captain fighting in the second half is too hard to digest. The detective duo Thompson and Thomson is appropriate and so is famous nightingale singer Bianca Castaphiore. But Spielberg should have included the verbal fights between Castaphiore and Haddock though he hinted Haddock and Snowy's disgust for Castaphiore's opera. Coming to the villains I am not convinced of Sachcharin as the main villain. The original had Bird Brothers as the villain duo which was more convincing than the screen one. In fact if they wanted to include a dreaded notorious villain then Rastapopulous (the evergreen big nosed enemy of Tintin) would have been the right choice. Even malicious Captain Allan has been relegated to side kick of Sachcharin. Captain Francis Haddock and Red Rackham's characters were true to the original book and it worked well.
Technical Level :- Frankly speaking the 3D effects were disappointing though the animation was top notch. The shadows and the structures created the by gone era with utmost precision. The fight sequence between Captain Francis Haddock and Red Rackham was one of the best sequences in the film. With brilliant camera-work and fine editing the scenes looked captivating on screen. Thought the fight sequences in the climax were loud for Tintin purist but at technical level those are a treat to watch and would be lapped by those who don't have a clue of "actual" Tintin. Dialogues were plain pedestrian and thanks to morality lectures by Captain it becomes ridiculous as a Tintin loyalist to sit through in the second half. As a director Spielberg has lost his midas touch long back which is echoed by this film again.
As a whole Adventure of Tintin started of brilliantly but lost its true sense with faulty narrative towards later half. Tintin loyalists would feel cheated but then they would still watch it for Nostalgia. Non-Tintin fans would lap it for the action. But believe me the Belgian reporter who resides in the heart of millions deserve a better on-screen representation thus doing justice to original masterpiece created by genius Herge. Whatever may be the fate of Spielberg's Tintin please go and read the original comic series. Each is brilliant in it's own way..On-screen or off-screen Tintin and Snowy rocks!! Tintin the film 6/10..Tintin the comic book 11/10
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