Have you ever wondered what the life of a young journalist is like? Of course, you could probably hear my story, but my career as a journalist is far less dangerous, mysterious, and exciting than that of Tintin, a boy reporter with spiky orange hair in the movie “The Adventures of Tintin” directed by Steven Spielberg. In the film based on a comic, Tintin is a well-known public figure for being a skilled reporter and detective. He and his faithful dog Snowy had solved many a puzzling mystery together, but none as confusing as the Secret of the Unicorn.
It all started when Tintin bought a marvelously detailed model ship called the Unicorn, a large ship from the 1600s, in an outdoor European market. That’s when the trouble started. Ivan Sakharine, an ominous-looking man immediately asks to buy the ship from Tintin. Tintin refuses and returns home with the ship, but Snowy breaks it, revealing a parchment scroll hidden in the mast. Tintin investigates the scroll and finds that there are two more scrolls, which can piece together the secret of the Unicorn, which was sunk a long time ago.
But, Sakharine and his henchmen are after the scrolls, so they kidnap Tintin and imprison him on the SS Karaboudjan, a large ship that is searching for the Unicorn. Tintin escapes and meets the drunken captain of the ship, Haddock, who is unaware of the criminals aboard his ship. Tintin soon finds that Haddock is the descendant of Sir Francis Haddock, the captain of the sunken Unicorn. The mystery of the sunken ship deepens with every puzzling clue they find, and Tintin and Haddock have to evade the dangerous Sakharine while discovering the truth behind the secret cargo.
I like the storyline, which is a combination of 3 comics by Hergé. It is exciting, humorous, and suspenseful. It is very entertaining to see the antics of the two clumsy detectives who help Tintin throughout the story. They let a pickpocket go without doing anything about it, and stumble and trip over themselves when in pursuit of a thief. Also, I like Tintin’s detective logic and wit, especially when he set up champagne bottles to shoot their corks and imitate gunfire so his enemies would think that he is shooting them.
Snowy, Tintin’s white dog, shares his master’s cunning as well. He chewed through the ropes that bound Tintin’s wrists when he was being held prisoner. Finally, I like the new technology of 3D Motion Capture that makes the animation a lot more realistic. But, one of my favorite scenes is the opening sequence done in 2D silhouettes, which sets the mood of the story.
I think “The Adventures of Tintin” is a great film visually, but it lacks the emotional qualities of E.T. and War Horse, 2 other films by Spielberg. Most of the film is mystery, suspense, and fight scenes. Very little of the film shows the friendship between Tintin and Haddock. They are partners working towards a common goal, but they don’t seem to care much about each other. Even though they saved each other’s lives, it was because they need each other to accomplish their task.
“The Adventures of Tintin” gets 4 starfish, which makes it a “Perrific™” film! I would recommend this film to ages 8+, because there are scenes involving firearms, weapons, and alcohol. I really enjoy this hilarious, action-packed movie, and I’m sure many older kids and adults will as well!
Moral: A true thirst for adventure is always unquenchable.
Copyright 2011 by Perry S. Chen
Perry S. Chen is an award-winning child film critic, artist, and animator, currently in 6th grade from San Diego. He started reviewing movies at age 8 in 3rd grade using a kid-friendly starfish rating system, and has been featured in CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR, Variety, The Guardian, The China Press, etc. He has been writing movie reviews for Animation World Network, San Diego Union Tribune, Amazing Kids! Magazine, and his own Perry’s Previews blog. (www.perryspreviews.com ) He won an “Excellence in Journalism Award” from San Diego Press Club in 2010 and 2011. His animation short “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest” is touring film festivals around the world and won a “Special Jury Award” at the Flyway Film Festival in Oct 2011.
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