Monday, December 05, 2011

Movie Review: The Adventures of Tin Tin: Secret of the Unicorn

Tin Tin and Snowy

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Jamie Bell (as Tin Tin), Daniel Craig (as Red Rackham), Andy Serkis (as Captain Haddock)
Overall: 7/10
Spoiler Warning: Minimal

Born in Brussels, Tin Tin is a young intelligent journalist who undauntedly goes up to space and down to the ocean for the quest of truth. Unlike the flying batman, swinging spiderman or the ultra muscular superman, Tin Tin possesses no special talent but his insatiable curiosity and enormous courage to find the truth. This pretty much represents the down to earth Greco-European culture, in stark contrast with the vulgar American culture

It is then ironical for Spielberg, the all famous American director, to breath new life into Tin Tin from Hergé's renowned two dimensional ligne claire into three dimensional quasi - animation.

Spielberg and Peter Jackson produce an animation so realistic that it can't really be called an animation. The use of performance/motion capture technique (or mocap) literally captures the live movement of Jamie Bell (as Tin Tin) and Daniel Craig (as Red Rackham) that melts effortlessly into the animated background. It is  also a delight to see how the computer - generated water react realistically with the computer - generated cloth in the movie. 

The Star Wars saga music composer John Williams (another American) has also appropriately departed from his grandiose style in Star Wars and Harry Potter and has instead incorporated many lively elements. The musical theme accompanying the appearance of Thomson and Thompson is particularly relieving and can be a perfect piece of atmospheric music in a lazy afternoon.

The only drawback, as a lover of Tin Tin since as a child in Montreal, is that everything is real, all too real. The realness achieved by mocap is itself the greatest defect that renders one of Tin Tin's most famous characteristics; namely the two dimensional ligne claire void.

After all, it's not so ironical for an American to make an essentially European cultural icon into movie; the Europeans create the culture, only left to the Americans to destroy and (hopefully) remake. 

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