Review: The Adventures of Tintin 3D – The Secret of the Unicorn

MFR Rating: ★ ★
The first thing you’ll notice about Tintin 3D is the fantastic realism of the animation. The second thing you’ll notice is not enough is going on beneath the exquisite and authentic aesthetic and it’s all bit ‘crash, bam, wallop’. In the end you’re left feeling slightly bored.

The Adventures of Tintin 3D is a bit Indiana Jones and a bit Pirates of the Carribean in terms of its plot and appeal. The film features youthful, bequiffed reporter Tin Tin (voiced by Jamie Bell) and his new companion Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) as they set off on a discovery for clues of Haddock’s ancestor’s treasure while villains lay hot on their heels. Wild chases, ships and excitement ensue as they try to unlock the mysteries of the past and experience an epic adventure.

First of all, the film’s biggest problem lies in its pacing. It’s incredibly plot heavy and just endlessly moves on to new levels without any attempt to pause. It feels like it just plods procedurally through the storyboard and makes no effort to make the film’s eponymously named hero in any way charismatic or interesting. He’s a very ordinary hero but not in a way that invokes empathy but in a way that makes you feel sleepy. Jamie Bell’s voiceover does little to elevate the character’s clean cut mudanity. You get the feeling the 3D effects could have been better spent fleshing something else out.

Next the problem lies with the script. Take this for a super team of screenwriters: Steven Moffat (Doctor Who head writer), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim etc) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). If any team of individuals could produce a script full of verve and wit, it should be this one. Maybe it’s a case of too many cooks, but it doesn’t work and the script feels very middle of the road and lacks much humour or dynamism. It’s a real disappointment and feels like a waste of some real talent. It’s difficult to know just why the standard isn’t much higher.

Now the effects are certainly the film’s biggest achievement. This is Spielberg’s first time directing in 3D and I’ve got to say, the extra dimension didn’t annoy me. At least at the screening I attended, the film was projected beautifully with no issues created by the 30% colour loss caused by the 3D glasses. Now whether the effects added anything to the film is a completely different matter, but the fact they didn’t bother me is at least something. The style of animation is stunning and I absolutely adored the detail and how distinguishable it was to the work of so many other studios. Sometimes it was difficult to know whether anything used was actually real and it really added to creating an immersive animated world. Similarly the detail on the facial expressions of the characters was really touching but it’s just a pity so much of the rest of the film let it down.

So there you have it. Sure, many kids will be able to look past the lack of characterization and feel absorbed by the constant action and wonderful visuals but the film never finds the heart or affection deserving of such thrilling, innocent stories which is particularity surprising from a Spielberg children’s film. The film end on the annoying and quite frankly arrogant note of basically telling you there’s going to be a sequel. A little more focus and a lot more of your characteristic heart would go a long way next time, Steven.

The Adventures of Tintin 3D is out on 26th October in the UK and out on 21st December in the USA. Running time: 112 mins. Certificate PG (UK).

Comments and feedback are always welcome or just give the film a rating by using the stars at the top.

Review by David Rank


6 thoughts on “Review: The Adventures of Tintin 3D – The Secret of the Unicorn

  1. I totally agree with your review. I saw the film a week ago in Athens, where I reside and, well, I was not overwhelmed. First off let me say I have read all of Tin Tin’s adventures and I am a great admirer of the work generally and also of the artwork itself. The film did as much justice to the artwork as was possible, I grant you that. But the story, oh well, there were just too many crashes and explosions and fights for my taste, and often I found myself getting restless and slightly bored, though admittedly I am not the film’s target audience. The 3D option did not add anything, in my opinion, and sometimes I preferred to take off the glasses and watch the film without, blurry image and all. Oh yes, and that ending… Couldn’t they have ended the film in a more graceful manner?

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