Such a great endeavor made by contemporary movie legends should not go unnoticed, and The Adventures of Tintin is exactly what is needed for a great family movie night. This movie was a collaboration of Wingnut and Amblin, produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Steven Spielberg, and with such epic backing, you know you can’t go wrong. This film is based on the series of adventure stories by Hergé, set in Post WWI Europe, but Tintin’s tales take us all over the world.
This particular story focuses on the young freelance investigative reporter’s discovery of a model of a sailing ship he bought in the local market. Being a bright young man, Tintin (Jamie Bell) is knowledgeable about history, he buys the model from a vendor for a pound, but finds this ship to be far more valuable, as there are people out there willing to steal, lie, cheat and kill for it. Two men ask to buy it from him, first an American detective, then, a Mr. Sakharine (Daniel Craig), whom is most adamant about having it. This is a model of the galleon, The Unicorn, a merchant vessel from the 17th century, that was commonly used to transport rum and tobacco from the New World, but there is more to it than being just a model.
He takes the ship home, and his faithful partner, Snowy, a white terrier, mixes it up with a local Siamese cat, and in the fray, they manage to break the main mast on the little ship. Tintin does not notice when a small silver tube falls out of the model, but Snowy does, and it rolls under the cabinet he had placed it on. Tintin traces the origin of the model back to a local manor house, and goes to find out more about it. The house is boarded up, and he thinks it is currently
empty. He and Snowy go in to check the place out, and he is soon clubbed over the head by a butler. When he comes to, Sakharine is there, asking about the ship, and a scroll. Tintin has no idea of what he is talking about, and they let him go. Tintin comes home to find his flat in a shambles, and it looks as though the thieves could not find what they were looking for. Snowy leads Tintin to the scroll case, and he finds a centuries old parchment with an odd verse written on it, and some strange marking as the bottom. As he is going back out to notify the authorities, he sees the American detective from the market at the front door of the apartment building talking to the landlady. He decides to find out more, and goes to speak with him. Shots are fired, and the man spells out the name of a ship on a newspaper with his blood-stained fingers.
This leads Tintin to a ship bound for a city in Morocco, where he eventually meets with the drunken sea captain, Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) that is the reason for all the recent craziness. This leads to a chase for a lost treasure, and clues to find The Unicorn. Sakharine’s quest is not only for treasure, but for family pride and revenge from a sea battle that took place on The Unicorn three hundred years before. This is a journey that will take Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock from a stormy crossing on the Mediterranean Sea into the Sahara Desert and to an oasis town run by a sheikh that enjoys all the finer things in life, from ship models to the sounds of the vocals of a very talented Milanese soprano that can shatter even bulletproof glass.
The Adventures of Tintin also goes by the title, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, but this is just one of many stories and there is already a sequel in pre-production. If it is anything like this amazing film, then it will be a great treasure for the family animated movie collection. There is also a TV series that was made in the early 1990s based on the tale of this young ginger-haired version of Fletch. This movie is one amazing rollercoaster ride, and its origins should be more closely examined as well. Not every treasure is lying in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea, and this one should have a place in your DVD library to be marveled at again and again.
I give this film a Musing review of