The Adventures of Tin Tin -

The Adventures of Tin Tin

Tin Tin Trailer

Some kid was giggling.
From my seat I could see him I wanted to tell him to “Shut up don’t you know this is serious” but then – it erupted all around me, Captain Haddock from the safety of the doorway issued instructions to the hapless Tin Tin as he balanced of a sharks tail and using Snowy as a hand extender retrieved keys from a sleeping sailor, and I had to just sit there while parents and kids guffawed all over the theatre.

Guns Blazing

Then silence, long breathless silence as Tin Tin, Captain Haddock and Snowy the wonder pooch made their escape.  Tin Tin guns blazing, he looked just like he did in the comics I read as a kid erstwhile, resolute, unconditional, adventurous, clever a true hero, my hero, while the timid Haddock and Snowy made for the long boats. Dunderheaded coconuts!

There is a lot of slapstick violence that the kids, and parents, appeared to relish but it was the kind of violence you get when playing cops and robbers with your mates. You know the kind where you never really see anyone die sure they might fall off the ship and they might get eaten by sharks or they might have to have a sword fight but you never see them well you know kark it or get bloodied. You know, when it used to be in your face fun not ‘IN YOUR FACE’ but it was still mighty adventurous and swashbuckling.

Blistering Barnacles

The retro mood of The Secret of the Unicorn begins with an animated credit sequence,  done in graphic silhouettes. Then moves at the speed of a child’s mind leaping from here to there and everywhere. Galvanized by an eye candied shopping list of planes, train and automobiles viewers hurtle from the markets stalls of Europe, the high seas, the deserts of Sahara and more.

Director Steven Spielberg who says he had never heard of Tin Tin until he produced Raiders of the Lost Ark, you’re joking me aren’t you, teamed up with producer, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson who fortunately had to produce Tin Tin. They enlisted writers Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) & Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) who combined are no Herge, however they rolled The Unicorn, The Crab With The Golden Claws and Red Rackham’s Treasure into one The Secret of the Unicorn. It’s missing the subtleties, eccentricities and dialogue of the books and the actors, brilliant all, work with what they have got. You know what they say if it’s not on the page it’s not on the screen.

Three make one.

Visually the setting of the film and the rendition of the characters honours the true spirit of the original comic books but the John Williams sound track is as relentless as Krakatoa on Feijoa juice and exterminates (as in Dr Who and the Daleks) the deep and comforting rhythm of the narrative ebb and flow.

I’m glad it wasn’t made into live action as Spielberg originally intended and 2D would have never lived up to the legend of Herge there was only one choice and it was the right choice 3D using performance capture technology (live actors are recorded digitally, then layered with computer animation) with Peter Jackson as producer and Joe Letteri Senior VFX Supervisor. And if you think motion capture is somehow the easy way out think again.

What does this do again?

The Adventures of Tin Tin –The Secret of The Unicorn looks and feels like Tin Tin she is a credit to all who worked on her.

It was an epic mash-up, a making of something new out of something old humourous, respectful, exquisite in detail and impertinent all at the same time.

The secret you see, is that it’s the ‘new’ adventures of the old Tin Tin and needs to be read in that context.

‘The meaning of a text does not reside in the text, but is produced by the reader in relation not only to the text in question, but also the complex network of texts invoked in the reading process’, Barthes.

The Secret of The Unicorn, my first The Adventures of Tin Tin book came to me from Belgium across the sea, a present from a travelling aunt.
I can still remember that summer holiday lying under the cotton wood tree, lemonade in hand the sound of the ocean in my ears, book on the sand engrossed in the adventures of the ginger haired boy reporter and his dog Snowy.

Today The Secret of the Unicorn leapt from a darkened screen like a star burst  as I sat surrounded by the sound of wonder and the excited rustle of popcorn as some where in the audience a young-some-one-like-me became engrossed in the adventures of the ginger haired boy reporter and his dog Snowy. The legend continues. Go see it.

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  1. What a wonderful movie – and review. I hope it’s a huge hit.

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