The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (Steven Spielberg, 2011)

Since 1981, the year the first Indiana Jones was released, Steven Spielberg's hero has been reference to the little Belgian journalist. Spielberg who did not knew Tintin at the time bought the albums and was immediatly a fan of Hergé's creation. However, the late Hergé died in 1983 and his widow, Fanny Remi, made the succession of the name and the use of it very difficult. At first she sold to anyone who wanted to buy it. Food, markets, stickers, cards, anything you could imagine has been marketed. It ended with her new marriage with one of Hergé's biggest fan: Nick Rodwell. Rodwell decided that Tintin will no longer be a sellout and that the use of its image and name was gonna be restricted. It is one of the reasons why an adaptation of the albums has been retarded for a while.

Spielberg's adaptation has been announced in 2007, but the motion capture, proposed by Peter Jackson, wasn't Spielberg's first choice of treatment. It took two years to decide to use this technology that identifies the characters without using real actors and widely known faces. Tintin kept his secret with him, a round face short red hair, and a baby face. There is a lot of mytery around Tintin, is it his real name? Who are his parents? What is his religion? etc. Hergé kept Tintin's privacy like he kept his: secret.

The Spielberg adaption mixes three albums of the great belgian drawer; The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, and Rakham the Red's Treasure. The story is well rounded and the mix of the three plots blends really well with great respect to its author and the kind of plots and humor he liked to play on the audience. As a great fan of Tintin myself, I could recite the lines of the albums during the projection. Needless to say that I was already conquered with the openning credits! The most important thing to understand is the fact that the essence of Tintin is unaltered by Spielberg's taste of grand spectacle.

The lesser aspect of the story is the final act that develops quickly and in a too spectacular action film oriented approach than the actual source material. The pace of the ending clashes with the setting of the beginning of the story and the meticulous adaptation of the intrigue. However, Spielberg proves that he is a true fan of the author and gives a great hommage to the great work of the Belgian comic book master.


  1. I had a great time with Tintin. I agree- the ending arrived a little too clumsily. When I found out that Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish had written the screenplay for a movie directed by Spielberg and directed by Peter Jackson, I knew that I had to see it.

  2. Speileberg may not score much points when it comes to his use of motion-capture animation here but the film still benefits from a fun and kinetic direction that brings him back to his old Indiana Jones days. Serkis is a riot the whole time as well. Great review.

  3. There are many interesting aspects to the directng oof Spielberg in Tintin but as you said the animation wasn't that great. Thanks for commenting!


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