International Segment: Popcorn! “The Adventures of Tintin – The Secret of the Unicorn” (3D)

(Pop! goes the corn – Salt Cheese and Caramel
 We pick the movies apart, kernel by kernel  

You rate it ‘Salt’ when the movie is bad and don’t care ‘Cheese’ is when you like it and call it just fair  

Sweet ‘Caramel’ it is when you want to see it once more 
Is the movie good bad or ugly? Do let us know for sure!)   

‘Old whiskey in a new bottle’ – Drunk on the whiskey and Cherished the bottle!

Most of us have grown up on a steady diet of Tintin’s innumerous adventures and Captain Haddock’s colorful expletives. Those who haven’t and aren’t feasting on them yet, it’s about time you did.

Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg
during the shoot
Steven Spielberg, a brand when it comes to mega productions in the movie world, has yet again come up with a trump card in the form of animation meets motion picture known as the motion-capture technique, “Adventures of Tintin – Secret of the Unicorn”. Is it any wonder then that Herge, the creator of Tintin, chose Spielberg way back in 1983 to provide the vehicle to launch his characters on the silver screen? Throw in ‘Lord of the Rings’ Peter Jackson (producer) into the mix and the result is a heady concoction.

The minute you take your seats and the credit rolls on your screen, you are drawn into the sheer genius of these three stalwarts. Tintin never looked this sophisticated and Captain Haddock with his ‘neater than in the book’ look still sounds roguish and convincing as a drunk sailor getting a kick out of spouting his characteristic swear words.

Of all the movies I had listed for the month of November earlier on Rangmunch – I am glad Tintin is the first one I could catch.

The Plot and the highlightsTintin (Jamie Bell) buys an antique model of a ‘ship with the unicorn’ in a market and is soon chased from one end to another for a parchment it contains by a man named Sakharine (Daniel Craig), who is none other than Red Rackham’s descendent hell bent on taking revenge on Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). Thomson (with flared mustache played by Nick Frost) and Thompson (with flat moustache played by Simon Pegg), the twin (not twins per say, just colleagues) officers of Scotland Yard, assist him initially. Their scenes with Thief Silk (Toby Jones) is hilarious; their interaction causing a laughter riot.

The scene where Captain Haddock and Snowy try their level best to escape the booming vocal chords of Bianca Castafiore, an opera singer, powerful enough to break the bullet proof glass, followed by the lengthy chase for the three parchments across the countryside leading to the treasure reportedly shot in one sequence is a visual treat.

Cinematic liberties have been taken with this picture when compared to the books. Firstly, this movie is three books wrapped into one – “The Crab with the Golden Claws” where Captain Haddock is originally introduced, and the other two “The Secret of the Unicorn” and “Red Rackham’s Treasure” where the plots centered on Captain Haddock. So it will come as no surprise that our Blistering Barnacles Captain overshadows Tintin in this adventure. It is sad that Snowy, the thinking man’s pet, an important sidekick to our detective, is shortchanged.

Verdict – Caramel!

It is not just must watch but has immense repeat value too. Screenplay, direction, acting, visual effects, and every department get huge thumbs up from me. A tad bit of warning though, the screenplay does slacken a bit after the interval but soon picks up to reach a finale that surely points towards a sequel, which already figures in my list of movies to look out for in the near future.

Tintin: “How is your thirst for adventure, Captain?”

Captain Haddock: “Unquenchable, Tintin”

Ditto for us Spielberg! Bring them on!

Neeraja Unni


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