Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

November 11, 2011

Boy oh boy, such a joy!

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 11:43 pm

November 11, 2011

Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, David Frost

Director: Steven Spielberg

Given that Steven Spielberg first discovered Tintin after a French critic repeatedly referenced the beloved reporter’s exploits in his review of Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s fitting that Spielberg invests some of that distinct Indiana Jones spirit into The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. A globetrotting escapade through exotic locations, the film is packed with thrilling chases and swashbuckling action atop rickety seaplanes and hulking steamers. Quirky characters are involved in solving an old-fashioned mystery about a hidden treasure without any reliance on modern gadgets, and even John Williams’ booming score has a nostalgic feel to it.

Adapted from three original stories by Tintin creator Herge, Spielberg’s film sees our baby-faced hero (Jamie Bell) sucked into a perilous treasure hunt after he buys a model ship from a market stall and discovers that his new possession contains a clue to the whereabouts of a long-lost fortune in pirate plunder. Accompanied by his loyal dog Snowy, Tintin sets off on a typically thrilling adventure that takes him from storm-tossed oceans to parched deserts, hooking up along the way with the permanently sozzled Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), who becomes his friend and ally in his race for the pirate treasure against dastardly villain Sakharine (Daniel Craig).

The first film in a planned trilogy – the second will be directed by The Lord of the Rings’ Peter Jackson who serves as a producer on this one – The Secret of the Unicorn is made using the increasingly popular performance-capture technology, that integrates live-action performances by actors into an animated universe. Doing the film in animation allows for the characters and the landscapes to look almost identical to the original comic book panels, which explains the stunning texture of this movie.

Tintin purists might grumble about a handful of liberties taken by the film’s writers in the process of turning three stories into one script, but Spielberg’s film stays true to the spirit of the books. Nowhere is this more evident than in the character of the disaster-prone-but-sporting Captain Haddock, who at one point uses his whiskey breath to refuel a stalling plane as it plunges towards the ocean. More comic relief is provided by bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), who sneak a few laughs with their synchronized asides.

Tintin himself remains a mostly blank character, not unlike the comic books. But Spielberg places him at the heart of a fast-paced, colorful adventure that is too much fun to resist. I’m going with four out of five for The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. It’s the kind of film that’ll bring out the boy in you. Expect to have a big smile plastered on your face throughout.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Hi sir…have recently started following you…and i am highly impressed with your interviews and reviews…i also want to do the same..but don’t have the directions to do so.

    Anyways, about the review yes, i agree it’s one of kind and delight to watch…but surely not a 4/5…as it deviates a lot from the comics in many ways…plus thompson and thompson who play a major role in the comic are quite side cast here…shown in small but humorous bits…the story goes with fast pace that i understood easily as i was huge fan of the comics…but my friend was left confused.

    the only unexpected and best part of movie is:Snowy…i would give it a 3.5/5..not a 4 as it doesn’t compete with toy story 3 which you have give 4/5 too, IMHO.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Harshal — November 12, 2011 @ 2:01 am

  2. I totally agree with u sir.. it was an awesome movie.. I have always been a tintin fan and this brought out the kid in me as u rightly said.. simply BREATHTAKING..:-)

    Comment by anuraag — November 12, 2011 @ 9:16 am


    Comment by SOUMYADEEP — November 12, 2011 @ 12:27 pm


    Comment by xxx — November 12, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  5. Why the bias towards boys??? 😛 I can’t wait for the movie to release in the US… And i’m a girl! ;)… I’m sure I’ll be reliving my childhood plus I still read and re-read Tintin all the time! Its a thrill ride all the way!

    Comment by vids — November 12, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  6. Boy oh boy oh boy! Never had so much fun in movies.. really stunning.. If Toy Story 3 had depth in its story this one had depth in its action sequences.. and u r damn rite when u say its “too much fun to resist” coz im gonna watch it again.. whooopieeeee! i am loving it!

    Comment by Gopal — November 13, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  7. the best animation i have ever seen… felt like i was watching a real movie…. my rating 3/5

    Comment by kunwar siddharth — November 14, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  8. da mvie was really kooooooooooooollllllllllll

    Comment by nikhil — November 14, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  9. The Adventures of Steven Jackson

    A visual treat for the TIN-TIN fans . As the titles roll-up we get a glimpse of the tin tin comic pictures arranged in a perfect manner. As the movie begins we also get a glance of the characters missing in the present movie from the comics in a picture behind tin tin who posses for a sketch. Snowy the favorite character of the producer director seems to be blessed by Sherlock Holmes and acts like a hero but later TinTin
    Surpasses both!

    The story begins with the miniature of the double deck 50 guns UNICORN
    On which the villain’s eyes are. An interpole officer warns tin tin against buying it but tin tin refuses. The only draw back of the film was the characterization of an interpole officer in an awkward manner. In the pursuit of a clue the hero of the film meets the Real Hero of the film Captain Haddik who spell bounds us with his drunken humorous attitude. Tin tin knows that it is impossible to find the treasure without the help of the last Haddik and in fact helps the captain to find it.

    The way the screenplay runs from one scene to another was narrated in an extra ordinary manner especially during the flash back pirate war sequence, the African chase sequence and jumping to the next scene through the reflection in a Bubble!! After all it’s a Spielberg film .The scientific facts were superbly used in humorous way which were astonishing and which we could never forget.. The animations or vfx work was excellent that at some times we never feel that it’s one f a kind.

    The story is narrated so perfectly that we never realize that the movie reached the climax so quickly and we never feel that a heroine or a prominent female character which is an important characterization of almost all the cinemas is missing!!!!
    It is hard to recollect when was the last time I have seen a movie without a leading lady?

    This is the best movie this year after Kung fu Panda, X-men and HP7. I give it 3.5 stars and I’m eagerly waiting for Prof. Calculus.

    Comment by ravi — November 14, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  10. Steven Spielberg has the greatest vision in the whole world. And that’s evident in this film as well. The action and stage transition was out of this world. The biggest flaw of the film is it’s main character itself. When I left the theater, the things which remained with me apart from the action sequences were the two supporting characters and not Tintin. But I guess you can get away with that when you have great action sequences like this film has.

    Comment by Vinit Masram — November 19, 2011 @ 12:26 am

  11. It was fun to watch….I lost myself in the world of TinTin…
    after all these years of whipping movies, masand sir agrees on this one, bcoz this is absolutely great

    i give it 5/5 (probably masand sir wanted give 5, but as he has no experience in giving 5 stars…he stuck with 4)

    Comment by jeevan mn — November 23, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

  12. Really? Tintin, for me, was no more than a unsuccessful realization of Steven Spielberg’s dream to make a movie out of the Tintin comics. I remember reading the comics as a seven year old and also recently and I have to say it is far better to read the comics than watch the movie. In short if you love Tintin the young adventure loving guy, the movie won’t satisfy you. In fact if the character of Tintin was better focused in the movie, it would have been a much better film.
    The movie is rather bland than adventurous for me. I would give 2.5 work the work they have put in.

    Comment by Raju — February 6, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

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