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on 9 April 2012
I'll explain my review title later, but first, a quick summary:

Animation 10/10:
Possibly the best animation I have ever seen. The facial expressions, character movement, and the motion of clothing to wind, rain / character movement are outstanding. The crisp details of each scene were wonderful, as were the light and shade effects. There are people who are better qualified to make more specific comments relating to rendering and contrast etc. so I will leave that them.

Action 10/10:
Lots of it, really fast and with lots to take in and gasp at, but greatly tempered with the important slower scenes, used to explain plot progression. Certainly this is where the DVD's 'replay' value shows, as there may have been things missed the first time around and, even then, it worth watching the scenes again to marvel at the interactions of the characters, creatures, their vehicles and the environment. To explain the action further might spoil the film for others, so I will leave it there.

Storyline 10/10
Although some reviewers on Amazon are not happy with the storyline, I really enjoyed it. Certainly I had guessed some of it, but certainly not all of it, and it could even be progressed further if a 'Tin Tin 2' is made. It is important to stress some reviewers have read the entire series of Tin Tin books, but my review is purely based on having read the comic strip versions of the series. In that sense, considering the style of the comic strips, the storyline is excellent.

Humour 10/10:
Sadly some negative reviews resort to insulting adults who liked the humour, by claiming 'It's childish and only a 3 / 6/ 12 year old would find it funny.' I for one, will lose no sleep at all at such comments, because they do seem to suggest, 'If I don't like it, then others who do, must be inferior to me.' and I believe you should respect others who don't have your personal tastes. If you don't like it, then is fair enough, score the film as 'low', explain your reasons, but leave it at that. Now, although I wasn't expecting the film to have that many comedic moments in it, I am so glad that it did. When they came, usually interspersed with the action scenes (but not always) I laughed out loud, as did my son. At 52 and 23 respectively, we were in tears and, yes, holding our sides. Again, I cannot specify these moments, as to do so would spoil the film, but if you love watching your family enjoying a film, then you cannot really go far wrong with Tin Tin.

That's my brief take on the film but, if they make a Tin Tin 2, 3 etc. to the same standard as this initial film, I will be in the queues to buy them. As to my review title, 'The worst post-viewing experience ever!', well I laughed so much during the film I had a coughing fit and pulled a couple of muscles around my ribs. I ended up with two days of aches and pains and box of paracetamol as my best friend but, to me, the film was definitely worth it.
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This animated adventure is both produced and directed by Steven Spielberg in his first animated effort, it is in most ways a satisfying watch with some excellent animation, a good voice cast and an exciting storyline

I have quite a few of the Tintin books and enjoyed the exploits brought to life by the Belgian cartoonist Hergé (Georges Prosper Remi)

The film take inspiration from a number of books and mixes in some bits of it's own, The Crab with the Golden Claws and The Secret of the Unicorn are the two main plot lines. Cast do a decent job including Jamie Bell as Tintin, Daniel Craig who voices Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine and Red Rackham, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg provide the well known detectives Thomson and Thompson, no complaints about the voice acting

The story starts with Tintin and Snowy (his longstanding dog companion) at a market where they buy a model ship "The Unicorn", taking the ship back home it's broken by accident revealing a scroll inside it which is the basis for most of the film story, the attempts by others to steal the scroll and the hidden secrets it contains. It turns out there are other scrolls and when combined will reveal the location of the real Unicorn ship and the treasure it contains.

A fairly simple plot, very much in the style of adventure films both animated or not. The quality of animation is excellent throughout clearly a lot of effort has been put into the production. The film is quite fast paced, and at times a little too much with very little time to ponder or relax (many films get criticised for being too drawn out or slow Tintin probably goes a bit too far the other direction) The ending leaves the door (somewhat predictably open) for other sequels which is a little disappointing that during the 1 hour 47 minutes the story isn't concluded. Plenty of material to work with for future Tintin adventures I'd have liked to see this one wrap up at the end. Still leaving the slightly super fast pace/action (in a few cases a little overboard and going beyond reality a bit too much) this is an enjoyable film which is a slick production with great visuals, and a genuinely fun adventure/storyline.
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on 1 December 2012
bought this DVD after hearing such good reviews and having loved the original cartoons as a kid. Will quite easily say that the animation is stunning - as good as is possible I would hazard a guess. Great story too with loads of tip top action. One of the best films I've seen in years. You don't have to have kids to enjoy this I promise you !
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Having just acquired a 3D home cinema system, I was seeking something to demonstrate the 3D and bought Tintin out of curiosity. From the opening scene in the market place and the wonderful cameo by Hergé sketching Tintin's face, I knew that this was more than just a gimmicky 3D demo and that I would really love this movie! Peter Jackson, who used motion capture techniques in Lord of the Rings to good effect, has truly excelled himself here and produced one of the greatest animated films ever. Every scene is jaw-droppingly gorgeous - from Tintin's cosy little home, the landscapes and cityscapes, the rusting hulk of the tramp steamer, the sea-plane and the wonderful African palace. Watch out for the mirage scene in the desert, where the 3D was so convincing that, at one point, I involuntarily jerked my head back! Surround sound is exceptional too and adds a lot to the atmosphere.

You'll recognise a host of well-known British actors' voices. Andy Serkis probably steals the show as Captain/Sir Francis Haddock. Daniel Craig is well-cast as the boo-hiss villain. Pegg and Frost as the bumbling Thompson and Thomson provide some gentle but effective humour (loved the canary gag!) and young Jamie Bell is a very credible Tintin himself.

If I were being really picky, I could criticise the film for being perhaps a tad overlong with some of the action being a little far fetched and, as a 2CV fan, I am aware that this iconic little French car was not yet on sale in the late 30's/early 40's and should not have been seen in Tintin's time. No big deal though - I'm not enough of a pedant to let things like that ruin my enjoyment.

A couple of extras (on the 2D disk), including a brief history of the project and a making-of the Snowy (or Milou for the purist!) character. Worth watching for the amusing sequence of Jackson improvising as Haddock.

You don't have to be a Tintin fan to enjoy this charming movie, but if you are, I'm sure you'll agree that Jackson and Spielberg have treated the source material with great respect and the result is a definite success. If you're looking for a film that truly show-cases the 3D medium and is the best example you're going to get until the commercial version of Avatar 3D Blu-ray is released, then I can recommend Tintin unreservedly.

(Viewed on a Sony BDVE190 3D Blu-ray player and LG (passive) 3D TV.
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on 21 November 2016
the animation takes a little getting used to at first, but it is very well done and grows on you. A faithful rendition of the "spirit" of tintin, even if this story is a mixture of a few different original ones.
I hope they do some more of these, even though it has been a long time since this one came out.
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VINE VOICEon 19 May 2012

I just couldn't get enough of them. The books were truly the stuff of legend, so colourful, bold and exciting, with the right mix of cartoon, humanity and realism to make this world and its inhabitants so appealing to generations of fans worldwide. As a child, I loved all those amazing adventures of this young, courageous and intelligent reporter Tintin and his loyal dog Snowy as they travelled all over the world - and into outer space, lest we forget! - solving mysteries, thwarting villains and conquering challenges with so many colourful friends like Professor Calculus, Detectives Thomson & Thompson and of course, the irrepressible Captain Haddock.

I never ever thought about a motion picture based on these timeless stories to be honest with you. Yes, there was the absolute quality animated series from the nineties, and I was happy to leave it at that. I mean, Hergé's style was just so vivid and distinctive that it was easy to translate into a cartoon, but much more difficult for a live-action film, and maybe even a CGI-flick as well.

I suppose I didn't want to run the risk of being disappointed by a feature-length Tintin film (no different than any other lifetime fan of the books, really). Which is why when news of Tintin finally hitting the big screen came around, I really didn't know how to take it. I saw a few images, and then I saw the trailer. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before, so I decided to reserve judgement a little longer until I'd finally checked out the film.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is essentially an adaptation of the book of the same name, "The Crab With The Golden Claws" and "Red Rackham's Treasure". Here, our Tintin is a most famous reporter (accompanied by best friend, Snowy) who one day buys a model ship of the Unicron, a famous historical ship. But it isn't long before shadowy individuals are after the model for their own purposes. Tintin must uncover the secret of the model before it falls into the wrong hands, and to do that, he will need the help of a certain old sea captain.

So is it any good? YES, and then some. Directed and produced by movie legends Steven Spielberg (Duel, Jaws, Jurassic Park etc) and Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings & King Kong), this Tintin epic is a true cinematic delight that's worthy of both the name and the creator Hergé. Both Spielberg and Jackson are genuine Tintin fans and it shows throughout. They clearly wanted to remain faithful to the original source material and as such, it is. The setting and characters here are all accurate and true, the story and plot unravels with the grace and intrigue that you would find in any legendary Tintin adventure, and there are so many dollops of wonderful humour, interaction and excitement. Long story cut short, this has the ESSENCE of Tintin.

But the most obvious aspect about The Secret of the Unicorn is unquestionably the animation style. The motion capture technique in completely unlike anything I've ever seen before in cinema or on television. At first, I wasn't sure if I was watching an actual live-action film or a CGI move that easily rivals anything from Pixar! It just blew me away how harmoniously it all blends together. Not only that, the character designs pay true homage to Hergé's original drawings as well! It's pure artistry in how it remains all the more faithful, yet also creates a brand new visioning for this generation.

The voice-cast is inspired, too. Jamie Bell (Tintin) and Andy Serkis (Captain Haddock) are flawless in their roles. You truly believe that they ARE Tintin and Captain Haddock(!), given how distinctive they make their performances. The same can be said for Simon Pegg and Nik Frost who provide the perfect bumbling tones for the incompetent (yet lovable) Thompson twins. Current "James Bond" Daniel Craig also deserves high-marks as well for his sinister & deliciously malevolent role as antagonist Sakharine.

What else is there? The soundtrack is rollicking, the film runs on for just the right length of time (at 102 minutes), the pacing is perfect, and Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who fame!), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz) & Joe Cornish all deserve props for their screenplay, producing a script that flatters the talents of the voice cast, and Spielberg and Jackson's vision for the film. I don't think I can praise this film enough. It's just an artistic masterpiece with virtually no fault whatsoever.

Extras on this DVD consist of two featurettes; a special behind-the-scenes look at the film's making (with great insight from Spielberg, Jackson, the cast and production staff) and an examination of Snowy (called "The Full Tail") which looks at the characters' original conception, various anecdotes and how the wonderful, little terrier was bought to life for the big screen. Delightful special features indeed to finish things off. And there're English subtitles as well for those who require them.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is one of the best family films to emerge in a long time. Like the original books, like the cartoon series, this is a movie that will appeal to children and adults alike. It has all the heart and soul of Hergé's stories and is hopefully the first of several more quality epics to come.
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on 28 November 2016
I didn't know whether I'd like this film that much, but I certainly did! Great CGI, and the film has a warm, cozy look to it. The story & animation are top rate, and this film is played every year (great time is around Christmas, for some reason).
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on 15 September 2014
If the plot matched up to the ingenious animation technique used to produce it, this would surely be a 5 star film.

However, as with many Hollywood film adaptions, much of the charm and nuance of the original book and characters has been lost; all that remains in this film is a series of frantic chase/fight scenes, played out by stripped out characters that are no more than a shadow of their orginal versions. Poor old Captain Haddock, for example, is reduced to little more than a village idiot. Even his foe, Allan, doesn't escape unscathed; he is stripped of his somewhat sadastic sense of humour and just becomes another robotic thug.

To make things even worse, Spielberg has taken two of Herge's books - "Secret of the Unicorn" and "Crab with the Golden Claws" - and merged them into a clunky composite screenplay in which one character is converted from a harmless nautical collector into a master criminal - looking most out of place on board ship! - and other characters from completely different books suddenly pop up.

This could easily have been the best on-screen Tintin yet, but as it is, it must stand with all the previous flawed attempts to bring Herge's characters to life: films that are only fit for kids, and not very sophisticated ones at that.
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on 29 December 2011
A film by Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg, story by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish and starring Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig and Pegg & Frost. Sounds good, doesn't it? But 'ware! The subject is one of the most cherished icons of 20th century child's story-telling, held dear by pretty much anyone of a "certain age" and transferred from a distinctive style to modern CGI animation. The potential to fail is strong in this one...

Briefly, the story is a mash-up of three well known episodes in the Tintin canon, The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, and Red Rackham's Treasure. Tintin (Bell) meets Captain Haddock (Serkis) and embark on an action packed search for the Captain's ancestor's treasure trove. They are joined by two of the more fondly remembered of Tintin's associates, Thompson and Thomson played by Pegg and Frost, (or is it Frost and Pegg?) and stalked by arch criminal Ivan Sakharine (Craig).

The film is produced using performance capture animation and it bridges the gap between a live action film and the straight "cartoon" of the Bernasconi animated series. Obviously Tintin purists will have their objections as the film does take *some* liberties with the "look", but to the ordinary audience member, the end product is both impressive and reverential to Herge. If there are any objections to the CGI animation (and there are a few minor ones) I think it's important to remember that the art and technology of CGI is still developing and it would be churlish to criticise too strongly. One criticism I have heard is that the emotional expression of the characters suffers in the CGI process. I'll have none of that! The characters' faces are expressive and readable and it is quite easy eventually to forget that they *are* CGI and my wife came out of the cinema remarking that the make-up was very good and she didn't recognise Andy Serkis at all!

Most importantly, the animation really does keep the faith with Herge's vision (Herge even appears in a small cameo in the opening sequence) in almost every way. The characters are depicted as 3D versions of his original ligne claire artwork (without the lignes) and it's a big relief that the story is set in the 1940's Tintin universe, "somewhere in Europe", plus-fours, bowler hats, rusty tramp-steamers, schmeisser machine guns and sea-planes galore. The film really retains the film noir "feel" of the original and that will be important to Tintin's fans. The "scenery" is, like Herge's comics, sumptuously populated and I was crying out for a remote control to pause and rewind the film so that I could revisit some of the little details that I half-missed - the covers of magazines carelessly tossed onto desktops, the contents of the desk's partly opened drawers, little cameo sequences that take place at the edge of the screen while the main action is front and centre, the array of faces in The Milanese Nightingale's audience and so-on. The film has *huge* rewatch potential and I will be pre-ordering the DVD as soon as it becomes available for this reason alone!

The acting is brilliant and all the performers really bring their characters to life. Bell does a fine job and Serkis and Pegg and Frost convey their slapstick antics extremely well. It's good that the actors' performances don't overwhelm the characters' already well-developed personalities. While I've heard some criticism that Serkis overcooks his Haddock, I disagree - the Captain is a larger-than-life personality and Serkis does a fine job with this wonderful character. I am aching, however, to meet Professor Calculus in a sequel (please let it be Destination Moon)!

Ol' Steve has been around a while, now and knows a thing or too about the action/adventure genre and he really lets rip with this one. Indiana Jones for kids? I'll say. The action is breath-taking and at nearly two hours in length it's a rollercoaster ride. The motorcycle chase scene, filmed in a single continuous take is the centrepiece of the film. Spielberg bundles you into the sidecar and takes you on a break-neck race, bouncing you off the walls, leaping chasms and leaving you, several minutes later, sitting in a small cloud of dust with steam coming off the seat of your pants and little cork-screws of sweat radiating off your head. The "Long Take" scene is becoming a bit of a cliche in modern cinematography and, I think, looks a little ostentatious in live action film, but in animation it works rather well and left me exhausted and deeply satisfied. And it doesn't let up - in true Spielberg/Indy style, the film barely slows down for a minute. There's plenty of good, Herge slapstick, not too overdone and obeying the hallowed traditions of visual comedy, and genuine laugh out loud moments aplenty.

In the final analysis, The Adventures of Tintin is a top notch family film. It will, like any film of this sort, have its detractors; but what Jackson and Spielberg have achieved is a joyful, exuberant whoop of a film that will appeal to kids of all ages (i.e. anywhere between about 5 and 85) and will offend none but the hardest of Tintin die-hards.

Did we enjoy it? Ten thousand thudering typhoons! Of course we did!

Six stars

Update: 22 March 2012
On the second watching the film loses absolutely none of its appeal. It remains a funny, exciting and exceptionally well accomplished experience. If anything it's even more enjoyable for noticing the sumptuous details that passed me by the first time and I am going to have to watch it several more times yet.

I did pay special attention to the characters' eyes - a detail of some note to the film's detractors - and I can't see any objections at all. They are as expressive and emotive as any you will see in an animated film (more so than some live acion films I could mention).

The quality of the BluRay recording is, as far as I can tell, absolutely fine. I'm no expert in film reproduction but, on my new 40" flatscreen, the film played beautifully, visually and audibly.

The BluRay version of the film is bundled with a lovely collection of extras - behind the scenes documentaries, a look at the motion capture animation process, the TinTin story, character bios and so-on. It's going to take me some time to watch them all and they add immensely to the value of the package.

Can I award seven stars?
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The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is the first wholly MoCap animated feature where the technology's weird mixture of the photo-realistic and the cartoonish actually works completely, and works rather wonderfully. It's not just that the dead eyes that plagued earlier MoCap films have gone but that, rather than pointlessly inserting unconvincingly animated versions of real people in a fantastic environment, it uses it to faithfully recreate the characters from the comic albums as they would look in a three-dimensional environment. It's not just a case of wearing a blue sweater with a duck tuft hairstyle or putting on a big putty nose, beard and captain's outfit to approximate them, these really are Tintin and Captain Haddock, but with the benefit of fully fleshed out and surprisingly naturalistic performances courtesy of Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis. And it's not only Thomson and Thompson and Red Rackham who get the benefit, the film beginning with a fun cameo from Herge painting Tintin's portrait in the opening scene and wondering if he's painted him before some time.

But the technological leap would be mere window dressing if it was the only thing the film had going for it, but thankfully this is Steven Spielberg rediscovering the real sense of fun and adventure he had back in the heady days of Raiders of the Lost Ark. At times the frequently beautifully lit camerawork overdoes the swirling and swooping to highlight the original 3D as if he's having a bit too much fun with his new toy, but it's grounded by a solid screenplay with plenty of sly humour that only really runs out of steam in the last reel or so once the action leaves Africa (but then endings have often been a problem in many a Spielberg film). But along the way there are enough clever or exciting setpieces, from a chase seen from a dog's eye point-of-view to a rather excellent pirate battle, to forgive the anticlimax. All in all a rather splendid adventure for those proverbial children of all ages.

Plentiful extras in the form of a multi-part documentary on the Blu-ray release, which offers excellent picture and sound, but as usual DVD buyers are less lucky with just two featurettes from the longer documentary.
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