Da Couch Tomato

An attempt at a new layout, with horrible glitches, and very minimal knowledge of HTML.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. 3D

After watching Tintin, I had this feeling that somehow, I wasn't satisfied. When I got home, I pondered on the problem, and tried to find out what was the reason for my discontent. I analyzed everything about the film, particularly these factors:

1. The Direction
This was directed by Steven Spielberg, one of the best visual storytellers alive today. His storytelling is clear, and he doesn't go for artsy directing techniques like non-linear storytelling. His transitions were awesome, yet not flashy. Spielberg's methods may be modern, but his craft is old school, and old school is good especially for this kind of genre, which is geared towards the young and the young-at-heart. In this movie, he's actually like a kid who's found out that his toy has some awesome feature that he's just discovered. By "toy" I mean CGI, and by "awesome feature" I mean "being able to make the virtual camera go places that a human camera operator could never go". This can be clearly seen in the climactic action sequence through the streets of Bagghar, which is basically an awesome chase scene in one single shot, like a roller coaster ride.

Just part of the awesome chase.

2. The Writing
The screenplay was written by Steven Moffat, although he is officially credited with the first draft of the script. Moffat was unable to do the rewrite, as he had to take over as lead writer for Doctor Who, forcing Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson to bring Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish aboard. However, the storytelling style is all Moffat. I fell in love with Moffat's work not with Doctor Who, but with Sherlock. I was hoping he could do for Tintin what he did for Sherlock. And he did. Although I'm sure he could've done a better job if he wrote the entire thing himself, but I'm not one to complain, am I?

3. The Story
Steven Moffat knows how to adapt. He did a brilliant job with Sherlock, and he did a brilliant job here. I only hope Peter Jackson gets him to write the script for the second movie. See, the thing with adaptations like these is you do not just adapt a single story, you actually adapt the entire body of work. If the entire canon were a glass of lemon juice, the movie version would be the same lemon juice in pill form (just add water). The Secret of the Unicorn is just like that--it is a concentrated narrative with hodge-podge elements from the different Tintin adventures. The meeting between Tintin and Captain Haddock was taken from The Crab with the Golden Claws,

This is basically how it went down in the books.

as is the seaplane sequence, while the seaplane catapult is from The Shooting Star, the zero gravity spherical whisky is from Explorers on the Moon, while the brilliant opening sequence hints at The Seven Crystal Balls (which, along with its sequel Prisoners of the Sun, will be the main plot of the second film). Steven Moffat succeeded in concentrating everything great about Tintin into a roughly two-hour narrative, and combined with Steven Spielberg's gift for great visual action, this movie is definitely one hell of a ride.

Better action sequences than Pirates of the Carribean.

4. The Performances
True to his word, Peter Jackson's decision to use computer animation to bring justice to Hergé's work paid off. This picture is years after The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol, and filmmakers have finally discovered that capturing an actor's motion doesn't necessarily mean capturing the actor's face as well. Look at Ivan Sakharine. His facial mannerisms may remind you of Daniel Craig, but does he actually look anything like James Bond?

"I'm more good-looking than Craig."

Andy Serkis looks nothing like Captain Haddock, and doesn't even sound like him. And I couldn't tell Nick Frost from Simon Pegg. In my eyes, they became the Thom(p)son twins. And I seriously want to watch the second film just for them.

So... which one's Frost, and which one's Pegg?

I'd also like to say that technology has improved greatly that the characters now look unnervingly realistic. Bianca Castafiore actually looks pretty enough to put in my Crush Archives.

I couldn't find a GIF image of Bianca Castafiore.
So here's one of Snowy instead.

5. The 3D
Let me just put it this way. What the best 3D film you've seen? Avatar, right? Now who did the CGI for Avatar? It's Weta Digital, the Peter Jackson-owned company that brought Gollum to life. And who did the CGI for Tintin? It's Weta Digital. So it might be safe to assume that Peter Jackson picked up a few tips and pointers for 3D while working with James Cameron, and applied them in this film. Bottom line is, the 3D here may not be as good as Avatar, but it's better than any of the other 3D films released this year.

So, after saying everything I just said, I should in fact be satisfied with the film, right? Actually, yes, I am satisfied. Very satisfied, to be precise. So why do I still have this feeling of dissatisfaction? It's because I wanted more. And I have to wait two more years for the next one. Bummer.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. USA/New Zealand. 2011.

Original rating: Eight and a half out of ten.
My obvious bias: Plus half a point.
Final rating: Nine out of ten.

Before I go, this blog has been nominated (for the third time) for Best Blog, Entertainment Category, for the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards.


*some info from IMDb and Wikipedia
GIFs from VLC


Premium Blogspot Templates
Copyright © 2012 Da Couch Tomato