Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn - 6/10
(some small spoilers)
I loved Tintin when I was younger, so I was quite excited about this one. Great characters, so many fantastic stories to choose from, and Spielberg directing. The chances of it being something great were pretty high. Unfortunately, while there were parts of it that I thought were done very well, overall this was slightly disappointing.
I found some of the characters spot on. Haddock was brilliant, and Thompson and Thomson were perfect. Villains and side characters had just the right mix of personality and slightly Victorian melodrama. Snowy was snowy. Tintin, however, just... lacked something. And I can’t quite put my finger on what. His animation was good, his look was just right, he had the right sort of ageless feeling about him, Jamie Bell did a truly excellent job with the voice acting... so, what was wrong? There was just something missing, something of the Tintin charm, something that made this Tintin slightly irritate me whereas the real Tintin never would. Something almost sarcastic in his expressions that was perhaps the result of the 3D style animation. Did I simply have impossible expectations? Maybe. But it was slightly off-putting, nevertheless.
The humour in the film was generally good, particularly when Haddock was involved (though burping into the plane’s engine was a little much), and at first the atmosphere managed to find the right mix of exciting and intriguing. Escaping from Haddock’s ship was probably the best part of the film. After this, the film perhaps suffered from one chase scene too many. Yes, Tintin is pretty much adventure personified, but that doesn’t mean the film needs to resemble a Prince of Persia video game. After all, he is a reporter, and this is a Tintin movie. Audiences do expect investigation. In the face of what felt like a slightly desperate attempt to keep action up at all costs, I began to lose a sense of where the plot was going, and I lost interest in the mystery. It even became a bit boring at points. It’s not a good sign that the Thompson and Thomson wallet-stealing sub-plot was probably more compelling than the actual movie’s storyline. The film really began to get tedious with the introduction of the giant crane fight – unnecessary, over-the-top, and eye-rollingly stupid. Thankfully, it wasn’t far from here to the end.
What started as a clever, intriguing and enjoyable film worthy of the great Tintin name quickly lost its umph. The film wasn’t bad, but a film about Tintin should have been so much better. It should have been magical, it should have been charming, it should have winked at and grinned at and amazed the audience the entire way through. I would have liked it to have that same certain something that Indian Jones films possess. I should have emerged in a little bubble of nostalgic joy. I didn’t. I wouldn’t say the film was bad, or that it wasn’t worth seeing. But it was disappointing.