By Charly SHELTON
Since the 1930s, that intrepid adventurer Tintin has thrilled audiences around the globe through comic strips and animated films. But now for the first time, he greets America on the big screen.
Tintin (Jamie Bell) is an English reporter living in France. He has foiled numerous plots against the world by unraveling them through his quick deductive wit and his lust for adventure. Always on the lookout for his next story, he buys a model sailing ship, christened The Unicorn. But immediately after acquiring it, several men try to offer to let Tintin name his price for it. He refuses, thinking that this may lead to his next story.
He starts off on a whirlwind adventure with his faithful companion and canine sidekick Snowy. They learn of a treasure from a sunken pirate ship lost many generations ago. And “only a true Haddock” can unravel the tale and decipher the clues. Luckily, Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), the last of the Haddock line, is a drunk on board a ship Tintin is escaping from. Haddock joins Tintin in the race to the treasure to claim what rightfully belongs to the Haddock line.
As I walked out of the theater after seeing this film, I was none too impressed. Sure, it had great action, amazing effects with motion capture, the script was good, the acting was amazing – it was an all around fun movie, yet somehow I didn’t think it would be that successful at the box office. It has not yet been released, so it remains to be seen.
But now after multiple viewings and time to reflect, I have changed my tune and I think this will be a great hit.
The longer I thought about it, the more I noticed the intricacies and subtleties that both the director, Steven Spielberg, and the writers, among them Steven Moffat of “Doctor Who” fame, have done well to include in such a way that you see more and more to the film the more times it is seen. This is something that is lacking in so many other films today. When you have seen “Transformers” once, for example, you basically have the whole picture. It is one-dimensional. But “Tintin” reveals more and more each time it is viewed.
Jamie Bell, known for previously portraying Billy Elliott in 2000, takes on the character of Tintin who is one of the most famous characters worldwide after he was introduced by artist Hegre in a children’s section of a Belgian newspaper in 1929. Bell, who has not had a starring role since “Billy Elliott” has grown as an actor and this is the perfect place to show that. He did a wonderful job as the young reporter and alongside the incredible Andy Serkis they make a great team with good chemistry as they go off globe trotting to find the lost treasure.
Serkis deserves some sort of award for his amazing body of work. This year alone he has done this movie and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” when he starred as the lead chimp that achieves sentience. He probably won’t get a nomination for best actor for is portrayal of a chimp, or for his work as a beloved cartoon drunk sea captain, but he does deserve one. The man is truly understated and one of the finest actors of our time.
This film is a great one to have at the holidays so when it’s cold outside you can slip into a movie theater and fly off to Morocco or Paris or anywhere else Tintin may wind up. But keep in mind, this movie deserves multiple viewings to really unlock “The Secret of the Unicorn.”
Rated PG, I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars.
On a side note: Although the merchandise for this movie is scarce, it can be found at places such as Cost Plus World Market and if in the neighborhood of a shop, this reporter would suggest getting a tin of the Tintin inspired tea, Chocolate Chai. It is amazing and is perfect for these cold winter nights.