Paul Dundon’s Weblog

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A little cheese and a little whine

Film Log: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Details here.

This film gives a good sense of the ripping yarn silliness of the books, but garners its plot from a number of unrelated stories which is a bit disorientating if you’re familiar with them. To give the plot a more recognisable emotional arc, it foregrounds Haddock’s family history, making his quest to recover the treasure also one to restore his family’s name and fortune.

This means that Haddock is the hero of the tale and that it is he, not Tintin, who faces the villain in the denouement, which is a bit of a let-down. It also means that the Haddock name gets bandied about a lot more than in the books, with such gems as “It will be wonderful to have a Haddock in charge”, “Haddocks don’t flee” and “Call yourself a Haddock?” peppered about the script with no apparent sense of irony.

The script captures the characters well (although it’s a shame not to see Professor Calculus) and has some very funny moments. I’m sure it would work well for anyone not familiar with the books or the animated series.

The film is, of course, entirely CGI, and I wasn’t sure what this brought to the party. It goes some way to capturing the look of Hergé’s drawings, but isn’t particularly faithful (the characters are recognisable but quite different in detail) but on the other hand it never develops a distinctive visual style of its own. And the fact that the characters are animated certainly takes the punch out of the “stunts” in the big action sequence.

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Filed under: Film + TV

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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