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"Unicorn" movie: Your reviews, having seen it. [Warning: Spoilers!]

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#21 · Posted: 17 Nov 2011 18:11
My biggest problem with this movie is that it didn't include my all time favorite Tintin scene where a bunch of people go to Tintin's apartment claiming to be descendents of Red Rackham. Then Haddock scares them all away!

Haddock's entire character was toned down a little too much. He didn't drink very much or swear. I can understand why the producers would do this, but it was a little sad that my favourite character was reduced in such a way.

Over all, its a pretty good adventure/action movie, but it really didn't feel like Tintin.

Exactly what I felt in my review above.. glad to see that there are people who felt disappointed (be it ever so slightly) by the movie... I, for, one, felt sad to see all the stories of about 4-5 books, all of which are priceless treasures in their own right, being jumbled up into one big... mess?mixture?amalgamation? don't know what to call it.. :(
#22 · Posted: 17 Nov 2011 20:36
I wrote this at the same time as Mondrian was posting his post above. So if I seem to be repeating much of what he's said (only less succinctly as usual!) that's why.

like minds... I enjoy reading your detailed posts, f. ex. you breaking down the weaknesses of Sakharine's plan with Castafiore's voice is brilliant analysis of the movie. It's full of similar "that would never happen in a book" -moments, half the time you only get uneasy feeling of something not being quite right without fully realising what exactly is wrong. It's a huge pleasure to read an exact analysis and get that "that's what I think, but I've never been able to formulate it so clearly" -feeling.

On the other hand, I think the visual style, script and story has completely missed the point of much of what's most important about Hergé's art and writing. But as Jock keeps saying, we still have the books and I guess this doesn't detract from them. My son seems to have been inspired by the film to get more interested in the books than he was previously.

Second (or third) that. Plus I can't say I'm too disappointed because I sort of knew there's nil chance of them pleasing my "acquired taste" (or fastidiousness, if I'm being totally honest). Au contraire, I truly hope the movie (and sequels) will do brilliantly as I'm more interested in the tidal wave of Hergé biographies, analysis, reprints of rarities and all other literature which will inevitably follow the succesful movie.
#23 · Posted: 18 Nov 2011 16:31
I join you Mondrian and Balthazar: I can't understand many Spielberg's solutions in that film. Were they really necessary? Why was there so much un-Tintin-like stuff in the movie. Didn't the film makers trust that Herge's original plot is interesting/action-packed enough to modern viewer?

The first opening minutes of the film were highly promising, jazzy music, opening textes rolling on, Tintin figure moving on the screen - everything looked so cool. Finally a jack pot, that what I thought. And then ... well ... a brilliant looking movie, which wasn't a Tintin movie.

I will go and watch it again in the near future. So it wasn't that bad either. :-)
#24 · Posted: 18 Nov 2011 22:41
To those who say not enough to detail was given to herge's drawings, I have this to show to you:

I was surprised no one posted this as a counter argument.
I have not seen the movie but I am willing to go into this with an open mind to feel the same sense of mystery and adventure I had felt when I first started reading the books.
I dont go to movies like Tintin to watch the political context.
In the end its all about having a great time.

Remember if they had just stuck to the books in the exact manner, to those audiences today who are fed on big budget extravaganzas and super heros, it may not have been enough. You need to add that extra element to get people excited.
Remeber after all this is a business investment too of almost 150 million dollars.
Think rationally people and those that have seen the movie - ask yourself..did you have a good time like the books gave you
#25 · Posted: 21 Nov 2011 05:07
I absolutely loved the movie. I awestruck all through it and I couldn't stop smiling. I realised sometime in the movie that they would change a lot of parts, like Mr Saccharine, but I felt that the whole movie was completely believable - as in, believable in the Tintin-universe.
There was one part that I didn't like all that much, and it was when Captain Haddock tried to fuel the seaplane with "fumes". That part had me cringing in my seat. It made me realise that one of the things I liked about the books was that they hardly - if ever - used gross-out humour.
However, I was extremely delighted at the cameo of Herge, and also at the part that I think was taken directly form The Secret of the Unicorn when Tintin starts telling the Captain's story for him in order to prevent him from drinking some more.
All in all, I thought the movie was wonderful and I'd readily see it all over again.
#26 · Posted: 22 Nov 2011 12:20
Ten thousand thundering typhoons – What have they done to Tintin?!
By Mamun M. Adil

I’m not sure about how I feel about Spielberg’s latest flick, The Adventures Of Tintin, which is based on the beloved comic book character, Tintin, who was created by the Belgian cartoonist, Georges Remi, and known as Herge, more than 80 years ago.

One on hand, I can’t help but be wowed by the special effects of the movie (they’re not just 3-D, they are performance captured). The mind-blowing graphics, the mesmerising sequences and the humour ensure that the movie keeps one enthralled, as we watch Tintin discover a model ship at a flea market, only to be immersed in an adventure of a lifetime. The ship carries a secret message on a scroll, you see, and as it turns out, the secret can only be revealed after two other scrolls in two identical ships can be located.

During the course of the movie, our hero faces the villain Ivan Ivanovich who is also looking for the scrolls, and in their pursuit he ventures to Bahgar (a fictitious Moroccan port which is shot spectacularly well) partly on board a ship and partly on a plane that he pilots himself.

Along the way, Tintin befriends an oft-intoxicated Captain Haddock who exclaims many Tintinphiles’ treasured phrase, “blistering barnacles!”. And as it turns out, Ivan is actually a descendent of Red Rackham, the arch enemy of one of Captain Haddock’s ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock, who hid the treasure in the first place.

But despite the suspense, action and the dazzling special effects, the Tintin fan in me can’t help but feel cheated.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Tintin has been raped by the making of this movie, as some critics have said, but I can’t help but view the movie as just more or less an conflation (read: a mish-mash) of three separate Tintin books The Crab With The Golden Claws, The Secret Of The Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure, with certain characters and elements brought in from other books, all thrown in for good measure – without any rhyme or reason – such as the shrill diva and opera singer, Bianca Castifore, who does not appear in the aforementioned comic books that the movie is based on.

In short, not only do I feel that the movie has not been true to the books, it lacks soul, thanks to the ‘creative’ liberties that Spielberg has taken.

One of these is Ivanovich’s character which has been transformed from a rather awkward collector into an evil villain. Another is the introduction of the Ivanovich’s falcon, his partner in crime, which is definitely not part of Hergé’s Tintinverse. Despite the fact that it flies miraculously well, and swoops rather majestically, and follows its master’s order with amazing precision, it doesn’t belong in a film about Tintin, who was, despite the situations he finds himself is in, is, a simple reporter. (The fact that we are never told which paper he writes for, or the fact that we have never seen him write a story in the comics is irrelevant!)

In fact, it would be safe to say that despite the fantastic adventures that Tintin found himself falling into in the books (whether it was reaching the moon or fictitious countries such as Slydavia), the fact remains that Tintin himself was just an ordinary chap – he could have been you or me – just a lot more agile and lucky.

And while Spielberg’s Tintin is rather fantastic, able to survive lengthy action sequences and fly an airplane for long periods of time, which makes him just a little less than a superhero, it’s not the Tintin I have grown up with and cherished over the years.

Similarly, Captain’s Haddock is more exaggerated in the movie. Not only does he have a SCOTTISH accent (where on earth did he get that from?), he gives moral, motivational speeches “be true to yourself” which sound like nothing less than chalk on cheeseboard for true a Tintinphile, given the fact that the ‘real’ Captain would NEVER utter such garbage. In fact, he would be more comfortable calling Tintin a “donkey”, a “Mister Mule” or a “Miserable blundering barbecued blister”!

And yet another unforgivable act that Spielberg is guilty of is the omission of the lovable Professor Cuthbert Calculus in the movie, since he played a pivotal in the book, and, consequently the discovery of the treasure. And his prized discovery, the shark submarine is also omitted.

In short, by producing this movie in the manner that he has Spielberg has proved that he doesn’t understand Tintin in the least. (He admitted that he hadn’t herd of Tintin until he was in his 30s, and boy does it show in the movie!). And while the movie may wow the newer generation, some of us can’t help but feel that Hergé must be rolling in his grave somewhere. Not only that, it is safe to say that the Tintin in Hergé’s comic books had a lot more soul than Spielberg’s rendering of this beloved, bequiffed reporter.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Captain Haddock call Spielberg a “miserable wipper-snapper”, a “bragging nitwit” or a “two timing traitor!”

Mamun M. Adil is an avid Tintinologist who occasionally blogs on www.mamun77.blogspot.com.
#27 · Posted: 25 Nov 2011 05:30
Hi All,

As said in another post, I was fortunate enough to see the movie in Sydney Australia last night thanks to Paramount Pictures.

I was blown away visually with the scope of the film. Motion capture is incredible. The characters are incredibly realistic and I really think it captures Herge's drawings perfectly.

Peter Jackson said in a past interview:

We're making them look photorealistic; the fibres of their clothing, the pores of their skin and each individual hair. They look exactly like real people – but real Herge people!

This summary was spot on the money and I'm completely convinced that Spielberg was correct in utilising motion capture for the film.

I think the visual style, script and story has completely missed the point of much of what's most important about Hergé's art and writing

I think Balthazar, it's incredible difficult to capture Herge's visual style in a film, some would say almost impossible but wouldn't you agree this film comes as close to an acceptable standard?
It's hyper realism not a cartoon format like the 1992 series (though I agree very faithful and true to the books). With this film, you really think your there in the moment, especially with the 3D element.

Whilst I knew the film would deviate from the books (it's pretty much commonplace with film adaptions!) I was overall, extremely impressed with the end result. I personally would have loved a faithful adaption of the books but knew this was never going to be the case.

In my opinion the film serves 4 distinct purposes:

1. Appease the Tintin purists in finally seeing the works be adapted into a film. I think we can agree that any efforts are exciting and will serve to add fresh debate and discussion amongst us all!

2. Break the elusive USA market. By tapping into America Tintin finally goes mainstream globally.

3. Appease the studios. The movie must have all the common components of a blockbuster film (action, suspense, drama, humour etc)

4. Appeal to children to create a new and ongoing audience for the coming generations.

My son seems to have been inspired by the film to get more interested in the books than he was previously

I argue this is fundamentally the best thing to come from the movie, this and encourage a new and interested audience to experience and enjoy Tintin as we all do. The film creates curiosity and hopefully leads a new or dormant audience to read the books to experience the real deal!!
If the movie serves this purpose Balthazar I'm in full support for it!

Getting back to my review:


- Loved Thom(p)sons, thought they were captured perfectly onscreen
- Loved the title sequence - reminded me of Spielberg's other movie Catch Me If You Can
- Liked Snowy, felt he was portrayed well, always doing things in the background and was not left out by any means. He held his own!
- Others has said they did not like it but I loved the glass shattering at Bianca's performance. Thought that effect was memorising!
- Haddock's 'Bingo' when they opened the cache of alcohol. Great light relief and summed up his character perfectly. I think Herge would have approved at this touch!
- Red Rackham's entrance slowly walking down the mast in Haddock's dream sequence was genuinely gripping and somewhat frightening, dare I say!
- Herge's cameo and the street market sequence - great to introduce the film!
- Desert sequence with Tintin/Haddock wandering on the sand - perfect adaption!
- Row Boat - as above thought I was reading the books!


Haddock speech near the end to Tintin - to me it sounded too much like Samwise in Lord of the Rings, Two Towers not Haddock's personality at all
- Crane fight at the end - someone else has said it was similar to Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge comic sequence, I agree. I found it too over the top.
- Tank/Bird/Motorbike sequence - found this too unbelievable and think Spielberg included this in the movie to add the extra chase/action summary element for the film.
- Haddock's 'what a dish' comment for Bianca. This goes totally against his character

Despite the negatives, summing up, watching the movie for me was a very special experience. It's been a 30 year wait :)

#28 · Posted: 25 Nov 2011 11:16
I want to mention great detailing…

After just one viewing, I am not sure if I can list all the Tintin books that received a nod, but in addition to the officially acknowledged Secret of the Unicorn/ Red Rackham's Treasure/ Crab with the Golden Claws, I could see elements from (as quoted above):

Land of Black Gold
- The red jeep, the Emir hosting Castafiore
Castafiore Emerald - the lady's name on the poster has the emerald
The Calculus Affair - the shattering glass

Can anyone name other books covered?

I assume these books will never be converted to the movie format and this is Steven Spielberg's way of paying homage to the books that won’t make it to a full movie.
#29 · Posted: 25 Nov 2011 16:28
it is safe to say that the Tintin in Hergé’s comic books had a lot more soul than Spielberg’s rendering of this beloved, bequiffed reporter.

Just as I figured.
#30 · Posted: 25 Nov 2011 17:38
Well, I took the Tintin fandom mostly from its TV shows, since I didn't have any access to its comic when I was in my elementary school. So my loyalty to Tintin might be a little different to most members in this forum, but please, don't blame me for that… :(.

At the time I watched the movie, seated in the cineplex, I thought it might turned out as a disappointment (because yeah, when I saw the movie poster and looked at Tintin's face, I was like, “OMG, Tintin! What have they done to your face?”, and so on…). But it wasn't!

It had great opening credits, I admit, with references to almost all Tintin's comic.

John Williams is again doing a great job, but I still definitely missed the Tintin theme from the TV show (come on, who isn't familiar with that? :D).

And right after the opening credits, my heart jumped, rejoicing, knowing that Hergé made a cameo appearance early in this movie! Afterwards, I enjoyed the movie, scene by scene, until the end.

But that doesn't mean I don't have anything to comment on or criticize.

But, before I butcher Spielberg and the rest of his team members, why not talking about its positive side?

Let's list them down :
- I admit that the 3D rendering is awesome! It really give Hergé's universe a glow, glorious and polished look unlike any other.
- Actions are also definitely awesome! Although exaggerated at several parts, I think that it is still quite acceptable.
- Some antics from the comic book, like Thom(p)sons silliness, are maintained well.
- Details from Herge's universe (like Tintin's apartment, The Unicorn, the flea-market etc.) are perfectly crafted.
- Scene enhancement, like when Haddock told Tintin the story of Sir Francis Haddock. The battle scene, IMO, is greatly improved! Not only does it look much more dramatic, it’s much more thrilling and adrenaline-pumping (finally justice is done by Hollywood to Tintin), especially the part when Red Rackham walked on the mast to fight man-to-man with Sir Francis, that is totally badass, and the reenactment by Sakharine at the end of the movie, I think is quite awesome too!

And now the negative side :
- Almost all character are slightly out of their own, just look at Tintin at the very beginning of the movie, he became slightly narcissistic! Remember the time he stroked his hair in front of the mirror? If you do, then you know what I mean.
- And oh, Haddock too. I perhaps don't mind a lot when seeing his drunkenness reduced to the minimum, but when he told Tintin motivational quotes, I felt that he is totally out of himself - come on, it is usually Tintin who does that! I actually a little glad seeing Haddock changes, but well, it feels strange.
- The storytelling pace is too fast. When I watched and compared them with the TV show, I felt that the storytelling pace is a little too quick (this is perhaps a side-effect of merging three stories into one). When I remembered about the TV show, its storytelling pace is always moderate, never too quick, never too slow, which gave me a little difficulty grasping the story.
- Sakharine! I must admit he actually done a great role as a villain, but until I remembered the TV show again, I felt pity on him. It's kind of awkward to have him becoming the villain. He did a great job, but still, it's awkward :s.

There are actually more points I'd like to point out but I ran out of memory :P. So I think I'll explain some of my analysis on why could be this Tintin movie become like this.

- The movie became anglicized. No matter how many Tintin fans (esp. purists) blame Spielberg, I think that the one that need to be blamed are the scriptwriters. This sounds subjective, but on every alteration that happen in this movie, I think that it is Steven Mofatt that should be blamed (I am also a Whovian, although still quite new to it, not really sure that it does influence my view on Moffat, though).
While other people think it is became so Hollywood, I think that the movie, perhaps because it's made in English, became so anglicized, that many of the details (esp. the antics) also became anglicized (such as, well, writing on the bullet-proof glass, and so on). Tintin still retains most of his Belgian spirit, but unfortunately some of his personal details are anglicized too.
- The biggest advantage can also become the biggest disadvantage, too. Like first, the 3D choice for the movie. Sure it has a myriad of strength in quality, but as a trade for that strength, 3D images might reduces the warmth and softness of a handmade 2D drawing. Another example is the story compression (or mish-mash). It is one of the factor that affects storytelling pace of this movie. Were there only just 2 stories instead of 3, perhaps the pace can be lowered a little, and everybody can enjoyed it better.
And don't forget details' alteration too. Some alteration gives more power, yet some other weaken and eventually give (perhaps unforgivable) flaw to the story.

I think that's all for now, if there are some more thoughts I'd like to share, then I'll definitely post it right away :D

My first post in tintinologist.org forum, YAY!

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