Tintin Film Review From Someone Who Read The Books
Having read all of the Tintin books as a child and more than a few times over throughout my youth I can say it would be difficult to squeeze the stories into a single movie or for that matter even a dozen movies. In the case of this first film I had a mixed feelings. Tintin being a part of my childhood I feel it to be sacred and something not to be changed or altered but as said it is difficult to make them films unless you plan to do one for every book.
I think Spielberg did his best when he made the film and had to borrow scenes from a few other books to make this one primarily "the secret of the unicorn." As any one who has read the books knows Tintin actually met Captain Haddock in the book "The Crab With The Golden Claws," which was actually a couple of books before "The Secret Of The Unicorn." Sakharine featured prominently in the film as the antagonist and relative of Red Rackham was was not the villian in the books and not Red Rackham's relative. The Bird brothers, Max and G. Bird were actually the villians of the story. I also noticed that even though they named Alan as Haddock's first mate and he had lines his character was reduced to more of a secondary role in the film. There are a few other changes and alterations but you get the idea.
Overall as a story by itself I think it was very well done. The motion capture animation was so life like that closeups to a face almost made you think they were real people. Action sequences throughout the film were very incredibly well done. I notice a few touches they added to try and stick with the original as well, the big noses of the characters that seem unnatural are carryovers from the books, the painting Tintin has done of himself at the beginning, and even birds flying around the head of someone who was hit and dizzy. If you look closely in the film you also notice a crate that is destroyed in Haddock's crane fight contains cans of crab meat that come from the book, "The Crab With The Golden Claws."
The redeeming factors of the film outweigh the issues I have with it. I would want them to continue the series, but possibly follow more closely to the books in the future. I support it partially because the original creator Herge chose Spielberg as the one to bring Tintin to life on the big screen before his death. That said I think Spielberg has the responsibility to do justice the Herge's original storyline and very little straying should happen. I hope that the film does well and I look forward to sequels.
One thing I would mention also if there are any reading that have not watched the 1991 Nelvana cartoon adaptation of the Tintin Books you should do so. This adaptation with animation done using the book frames as direct templates and following the story exactly are still the most faithful to the books in my opinion.
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