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File:Tintin film poster 2929.jpg

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn is an adaptation of the Tintin comic series. It was directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Peter Jackson, Spielberg, and Kathleen Kennedy, and written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish, with music by John Williams.

It stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and Daniel Craig in the primary roles.

Yeah, it's that kind of movie.

Two films are planned, the first being based on The Secret of the Unicorn with some The Crab with the Golden Claws, followed by Red Rackham's Treasure.

The film is motion captured CGI, but you can't quite tell just by looking at it. The 3D CGI was done by Jackson's Weta Digital, who you probably know for making the highest-quality special effects of the last 10 years. We may have finally climbed up the other side of the Uncanny Valley.

See the available trailers here.

Tropes used in Tintin (film) include:

  • A Boy and His X: Tintin and his dog Snowy.
  • Actor Allusion: Thompson and Thomson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) remark that being a police contains a lot of paperwork, in reference to Hot Fuzz, where paperwork was a running gag.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the videogame adaptation of the film Thomson and Thompson have an attack where they spin their canes fast enough to deflect fireballs at enemies.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Ivan Sakharine is a much more malevolent character than he was in the comics, in which he is more annoying than malicious, and, ironically, is one of the only characters who Tintin accuses mistakenly of being a villain. Also unlike his movie counterpart, he doesn't seem to have any particular grudge against Captain Haddock.
    • Inverted with Barnaby. In the comic, he works for the villains and, while he turns on them, it's out of a petty grievance rather than remorse. In the film, he is an Interpol member who is shot by goons working for Sakharine. Interestingly, this is a reversal of the comic, in which Sakharine is attacked by Barnaby, who wants the scroll in his Unicorn model.
    • Also inverted with Omar Ben Salaad, who's an innocent extra in this movie and a drug smuggling boss in the comic.
    • Interestingly and very surprisingly, the Licensed Game based on the movie actually uses the Bird brothers from the comic as the villains instead of Sakharine.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Haddock's Unusual Euphemisms tend to grow into this when he's particularly excited. This is something carried over from the comics.

 "Billions of blistering blue barnacles!"

"Ten thousand thundering typhoons!"

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Tintin, mixed with an Intrepid Reporter.
  • The Alcoholic: Captain Haddock. Played for Laughs and Played for Drama!
  • Anachronism Stew: The date of the movie is somewhat difficult to determine; no matter what, the use of the term "third world" is definitely out of place (see "Artistic License History") and the cars just complicate matters (see "The Thirties"), as do most of the guns.
  • And the Adventure Continues...: The film ends with Tintin and Haddock discovering a clue to the location of the Unicorn, where the rest of Rackham's treasue would be hidden.
  • Animated Credits Opening: Similar to Spielberg's previous film Catch Me If You Can, with multiple references to the other Tintin books.
  • Artistic License History: At one point Bianca mentions this is her first time visiting the third world. The term "third world" originated during the Cold War in the 1950's, while this film takes place in the 30's.
  • Ascended Extra: Ivan Sakharine. In the comic, he is a rather minor, non-villainous character, a harmless ship model collector who mostly serves as a Red Herring. In the film, he is the main antagonist and the descendant of Red Rackham.
  • Aside Glance: Snowy looks straight at the audience at least twice, and even winks! This might be a nod to the comics, where he could talk, but only the reader could "hear" him.
  • Badass
    • Tintin, the young reporter has the skills of a combat soldier. He's also Badass Adorable, being, in Haddock's words, a "baby-faced assassin."
    • Sir Francis Haddock pretty much single-handly takes on the entire pirate crew by himself. And makes Errol Flynn look like a sick kitten with polio, by comparison.
    • Sakharine and his ancestor. Every bit as elegant as smashing you with a crane.
    • Pretty much everybody who does fight, and there are quite a few fights.
  • Badass Beard: Haddock, as always.
  • Badass Cape: Red Rackham has one that's on fire in his first fight with Sir Francis Haddock.
  • Badass Trenchcoat: See the poster above. Allan also has one.
  • Beard of Evil: Sahkarine, with his pointy goatee. The artists apparently referenced Rasputin when working on his movie design, which makes sense - his comic design was already pretty Rasputin-y. The redesign helps him resemble Red Rackham a little more. His slicked-back, distinguished look vs. Haddock's unkempt look is very much a case of Good Hair, Evil Hair.
  • Big Bad: Sakharine.
  • Big Badass Bird of Prey: Sakharine's pet hawk.
  • Bilingual Bonus: At one point, Sakharin is addressed by Castafiore as 'Monsieur Additif', the French word for 'additive'. Saccharine is... wait for it... an additive.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The Pirate flashback is chockful of sword and gun killings, all without a single red stain. Averted with Barnaby's death.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Captain Haddock.
  • Brave Scot: Unlike previous adaptations of Tintin, Andy Serkis chooses to give Captain Haddock a Scottish accent.
  • Chase Scene: One of the more spectacular ones in recent memory.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A minor, yet hilarious one. Early on, Haddock's breath is established to smell strongly of whiskey. When Tintin and Haddock are flying towards Bagghar in a seaplane with almost no fuel, Haddock drinks a whole bottle of medicinal alcohol and belches into the plane's fuel tank to give it an extra boost.
    • Also, Snowy's knack for finding holes in brick walls leads Tintin and Haddock to the bricked up portion of the cellar where they find Sir Francis' treasure.
  • Circling Birdies: Diegetic birdies, no less! They escaped from a cage.
  • Composite Character: The film version of Sakharine is a combination of several characters from the comic. He has the appearance and some of the scenes of Sakharine in the comic, but his ownership of Marlinspike and his Adaptational Villainy are inherited from the absent Bird brothers and his employment of Allan is a trait from the comic's Omar Ben Salaad. The part about him being Red Rackham's descendant seems to be from a humorous scene from Red Rackham's Treasure involving several people who claim to be descended from Rackham.
    • Barnaby is a composite of Barnaby from Secret of the Unicorn and Dawes from The Crab With the Golden Claws. He even combines their names.
  • Cool Boat: The Unicorn. "Finest ship that ever sailed the seven seas!"
  • Creator Cameo: A particularly heartwarming one at that. The late Hergé appears at the beginning of the film as a caricaturist who Tintin pays to draw his likeness, while drawing him Hergé comments that Tintin looks familiar and then reveals his finished work: a portrait of the comic book version of Tintin.
    • One of the pirates in Red Rackham's ship looks similar to Hergé as well.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Captain Haddock seems to often cause more trouble for Tintin than he solves, but it's obvious he can more than handle himself in any given situation.
    • As an example, late in the film Haddock is attacked by 3 soldiers, and he flails around angrily a bit, leading us to expect slapstick takedowns or just failure. Next we see him he throws 3 punches and knocks them all out.
  • Death by Adaptation: Barnaby. The shooting outside Tintin's apartment does occur in the comic, but he is later reported to have survived after receiving medical attention.
  • Demoted to Extra: With Ivan Sakharine's ascendancy to the role of Big Bad, Omar Ben Salaad — a drug-running strongman from The Crab with the Golden Claws — is reduced to a mere plot-advancer, as proprietor of the third Unicorn model.
  • Determinator: Tintin, in spades. This causes a sort of chain - by leading him on this amazing adventure and never giving up Tintin inspires Haddock to stop drowning his sorrows and become a determinator as well, and so Haddock in turn re-inspires Tintin to take up the fight again when everything looks bleakest.
    • Notably, Haddock becomes a determinator almost immediately after getting his memory of Francis Haddock's tale back - Francis is clearly a determinator of his own, willing to blow up his own ship to stop Rackham, and Haddock is just like his ancestor.
  • Development Hell: Spielberg has owned the film rights to Tintin since the 1980s, when a friend pointed out to him the similarities between Tintin and Indiana Jones.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Sakharine.
  • Director Trademark: Spielberg's favorite shot to use, the reflection shot, shows up near the beginning when Tintin first gets in his apartment.
    • Writer Trademark as well - Edgar Wright wanted to use a gag in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World where Scott holds up a drawing of Ramona from the comics, but this only made it into the promotional materials for the film. He finally gets to use it here.
  • Doing It for the Art: The chase scene in Bagghar, from the point where Snowy jumps into the car, to the point where Tintin catches the falcon by the dock is done as a single shot, over two and a half minutes long. And it's an action scene following multiple characters across an entire city. Great snakes!
  • The Dragon: Allan.
  • Dramatic Thunder
  • Epic Tracking Shot: The abovementioned chase sequence. Sure it's done in CGI, but seriously, wow.
  • Eureka Moment: When Tintin thinks the bad guys have won, Captain Haddock gives him an inspirational speech about never giving up, and a chance phrase gives Tintin an idea about how to regain the upper hand.
  • Evil Former Crew: Haddock's crew betrayed him to Sakharine who offered them a large amount of money.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Barnaby is gunned down by Sakharine's goons, which is brutal enough for a PG rated film but he even uses his blood stains to spell out a message that becomes a major plot point. There's also Captain Francis stabbing, shooting and slicing up dozens of pirates, albeit bloodlessly.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sakharine.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: You wouldn't take a man named "Sakharine" seriously... until you saw him, at least.
  • Foreshadowing: When you hit a wall, you push through it.
    • Notice what color Sahkarine wears throughout the entire movie. And his character design just screams Rasputin, with a very Alternate Universe Spock-esque beard.
  • Friends Rent Control: Tintin owns a surprisingly upscale apartment for someone who works as a reporter.
  • Funny Background Event: Snowy, often; particularly in the desert, when he appears in the background with a giant bone from nowhere.
    • Right after Thomson and Thompson pull the pickpocket out from the Circling Birdies moment, the old lady whom the pickpocket crashed into strikes a man with her cane whom she seems to think was groping her.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: During the scene where Tintin tries to recover some keys from a sleeping man, Haddock explains about some of his former crewmen. One of them was a shepherd once, but he was kicked out because of his "animal husbandry".
    • He's holding a rat in that scene.
    • The official artbook has a concept painting of the inside of the Karaboudjan where a mermaid masthead from another ship has been tied to one of the support beams. There have been lamps installed on her, she has nice headlights.
    • It's also implied that Sahkarine slept with Bianca Castafiore to be her escort into Morocco. Bianca's quote sums it up quite nicely: "He's been very...passionate in his support."
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: Castafiore's voice. At first, Tintin doesn't know what Haddock and Snowy are complaining about. Then she hits a really high note and shatters not only everyone but Sahkarine's glasses but also the bulletproof case holding the third model ship. Oh, and the chandeliers and crystalware too.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Seamstress: During the motorcycle scene, Captain Haddock collides with a clothesline and spends the rest of the chase wearing a pink dress.
  • Had the Silly Thing In Reverse: Captain Haddock takes aim at the villain with a bazooka ... and promptly takes out the dam behind them.
  • Heel Face Turn: Nestor.
  • Hereditary Curse
  • Heroic Dog: Snowy.
  • Hostage for Macguffin: Both Sahkarine and his ancestor seem fond of this trope.
  • Identical Grandson: As in the comic, Haddock looks and acts exactly like his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock. In addition, Red Rackham is given an Identical Descendant in the form of Sakharine and one of Sir Francis's crew members looks exactly like Nestor, which probably isn't a coincidence. Unlike the comic, the film makes an attempt to justify this by bringing up the possibility of the characters being the literal reincarnations of their ancestors.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Tintin. He hits the lever on a searchlight while running and later brings down a plane with a single pistol shot.

 Tintin: The bad news is — we've got one bullet. The good news is, we've got one bullet.


 Haddock: You know what you're doing, eh?

Tintin: Relax, I interviewed a pilot once!

  • Ink Suit Actor: It's not confirmed, but a couple of reviewers have commented that Sakharine looks uncannily like Steven Spielberg himself. At least one critic thinks he made himself the villain because people will naturally blame him for any changes to the comic.
    • Actually, he looks more like Daniel Craig with glasses and a long beard.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Tintin, who is a young adult, and Captain Haddock, a man at least in his late thirties to forties.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: In-universe. Haddock tells Tintin that one of the crewmen of the Karaboudjan has no eyelids. He semi-explains that a card game was involved before telling Tintin that he "had to be there".
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: Not that it was a point of any real suspense in the comics, but Haddock's first name (Archibald) was not known until the final completed story, Tintin and the Picaros. In the film, Haddock introduces himself right away with his full name.
  • Le Parkour: Tintin tends to slide around a lot more than in the comics.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Tintin's escape from one room on the Karaboudjan.
  • Made of Iron: Tintin, Haddock and even Snowy. They come out unscathed from fistfights, crashes and falls that would have severely injured or killed almost everyone else.
    • Sir Francis Haddock's parchment slips. Those little centuries-old bits of paper go through a ton of abuse during the chase scene, going as far as bearing the full weight of Snowy as he tries to wrestle them away from Sakharine's hawk in midair. It's a wonder those things were still in one piece, let alone readable.
  • Meaningful Echo: "You hit a wall, you push through it."
  • Million-to-One Chance: When Tintin shoots down a plane with one bullet.
  • Mythology Gag: Lots of Shoutouts to the comics in the animated credits sequence, on newspaper clippings in Tintin's apartment and in Omar Ben Salaad's palace and elsewhere:
    • Hergé has already drawn the Bird Brothers (original villains in Secret) and Professor Alembick (one of Tintin's traveling partners in King Ottokar's Sceptre) at his cartoon booth in the market.
    • Tintin in the Congo: A shield on the marketplace where Tintin buys the Unicorn and his outfit in Bagghar.
    • Tintin in America: The newspaper clipping about him rounding up a gang. Sakharine's Sword Cane resembles that used by the unnamed bald villain in this album as well.
    • Cigars of the Pharaoh: A newspaper clipping in his apartment.
    • The Blue Lotus: A newspaper clipping in his apartment, as well as a vase similar to the one Tintin hid in at one point in the album.
    • The Broken Ear: A bigger version of the statue is in Omar Ben Salaad's palace. The statue also hits someone's head in the opening credits.
    • King Ottokar's Sceptre: A newspaper clipping in his apartment, and a sign outside a building with Syldavia's Coat of Arms.
      • The purple dress Castafiore wears to perform in, as well as the composition of the shot where Castafiore is singing for Ben Salaad and his guests, comes straight from the scene in King Ottokar's Sceptre where she performs for the Syldavian court.
    • The Crab with the Golden Claws: A statue of a crab with Golden Claws in a fountain in Omar Ben Salaad's palace and a crate of cans show up in the harbour, which Snowy uses to trip up some goons. The entire movie sequence between Tintin's kidnapping and his arrival in Bagghar (minus captain Haddock's dream about his ancestor) is directly taken from The Crab with the Golden Claws. Ben Salaad himself was, of course the original villain (and therefore Alan's boss).
    • The Seven Crystal Balls: The opening credits are about Tintin chasing a guy with a crystal ball. The Siamese cat that appears to belong to one of Tintin's neighbors is also lifted from the one that takes up residence in Marlinspike Hall (and proceeds to fight with Snowy) in this comic.
    • Destination Moon / Explorers on the Moon: The rocket is shown in the credits sequence and the anti-gravity sequence with the alcohol occurs in the film itself, transferred to a free-falling airplane.
    • Land of the Black Gold: The red Jeep that Sakharine and his goons were riding in during that chase scene.
    • The Castafiore Emerald: A poster for Bianca Castafiore's concert has an emerald placed near her name.
      • The red dress Castafiore wears on the cover appears in her first scene in the movie.
    • A train switchboard displayed in the opening credits lists several of the places Tintin visited in the comics.
    • The newspaper on which Barnaby scrawls in blood is Le Petit Vingtième, the same paper in which Tintin began as a strip cartoon.
    • There is a sign marking the cattle that Snowy must jump through as belonging to Cutts the Butcher — whose calls are mistakenly and incessantly directed to Marlinspike Hall in the comics.
    • Sakharine's plan to use Castafiore's voice to shatter the bulletproof glass may be an oblique reference to the ultrasonic weapon from The Calculus Affair.
    • And his use of a trained bird may be an oblique reference to The Castafiore Emerald. The gypsies were accused of using a trained monkey, and Tintin pointed out how improbable this was, but the thief did turn out to be a bird.
    • During the final credits, one of the first songs used in the film is titled Loch Lomond, another of the Captain's favourite whiskeys.
    • In the opening credits sequence, there's a brief shot of Tintin and Snowy running in front of a spotlight, clearly a nod to the Nelvana animated adaptation.
    • The villain running with the crystal ball in the opening sequence sort of resembles recurring villain Rastapopoulos.
    • The scene with Castafiore features an audience with members whom resemble characters from the original books, including Shiek Bab El Ehr and Piotr Skut.
    • There are several gallons of paint and other materials on the infamous step in Marlinspike Hall that never seemed to get fixed in The Castafiore Emerald.
    • The ancient statue/secret door in Flight 714 also appears in the opening credits.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: Thompson and Thomson are seen holding a stakeout at a Belgian marketplace using this technique.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: When Tintin and Haddock are stranded out in the middle of the ocean with no food or water, Sakharine sends in a plane to kill Tintin and bring Haddock back. Tintin and Haddock promptly hijack the plane and use to get out of the mess alive.
    • Additionally, when Tintin can't figure out what "Karaboudjan" refers to, a bunch of goons promptly kidnap him and take him to the ship with that name.
  • Noodle Incident: Haddock remarks that one of his crewmen lost his eyelids during a rather memorable card game.
  • Oh, No, Not Again: Tintin's landlady, Mrs. Finch, has this reaction to finding out that a man has been gunned down on their doorstep.
  • Old Retainer: The film's version of Nestor appears to be this to the Haddocks.
  • The Oner: The Bagghar chase sequence.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Bianca Castafiore.
  • Only a Model: The model of the Unicorn.
  • Palette Swap: In the co-op missions for the video game based on the upcoming film, Tintin and Haddock are a team, as are Thomson and Thompson. Snowy, instead of being excluded, teams up with a black-furred version of himself who is still named Snowy.
  • Powder Trail: Sir Francis Haddock sets it off, Red Rackham snuffs it out, repeat, repeat...
  • Promoted Fanboy: Spielberg, Jackson, Moffat, Wright, Bell, Pegg, Cary Elwes... yeah, it was pretty much a prerequisite to be a Tintin fan if you wanted to be involved in this movie.
  • Qurac: The Sultanate of Bagghar.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Haddock and Sakharine.
    • Almost Color Coded for Your Convenience but it's reversed. Haddock who always wears blue is wild and prone to anger while the cool and collected Sakharine is descended from Red Rackham.
  • Say My Name Trailer
  • Scenery Porn
  • Seadog Beard: Thundering typhoons! Do you think we could have a proper Tintin movie if Captain Archibald Haddock didn't have one of these?
  • Sequel Hook: Tintin finding the coordinates for the rest of Rackham's treasure.
    • Well, they are already working on the second movie.
  • Serkis Folk: Arguably the best-looking example yet. It even has Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Also, there is an action sequence with Tintin driving a motorcycle with Haddock in the sidecar, a probable reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (which was partially shot on sets designed for a live-action Tintin movie).
    • Captain Haddock's reaction to seeing Snowy is a reference to the Sherlock Holmes case, "The Giant Rat of Sumatra", and Peter Jackson's film Braindead.
  • Short Run in Peru: The film debuted in Europe before opening in North America. Even then, it opened in Quebec one-and-a-half weeks before the rest of the continent due to the large Franco-Belgian comics market there. (And yes, if you were wondering, they got the original English version too, which allowed anyone from English Canada or the US willing to take the car trip to Montreal to catch the movie early.)
  • Sword Cane: Sakharine has one, which he threatens Tintin with on board the Karaboudjan.
  • Sword Fight: Both Red Rackham and Sir Francis, and their two descendants.
  • Tap on the Head: Nestor to Tintin, among others.
  • Tall Tale: Haddock's story of the taking of the Unicorn.
  • Television Geography: The film is set in a country whose currency is the pound and had a historical King Charles II, but several shops have French signs and cars drive on the right side of the road. (This is carried over from the English translation of the comic, which was originally set in Belgium and used francs and Louis XIV.)
  • The Thirties: The style of the cars, clothes, planes, etc. Also a newspaper clipping mentioning the events of King Ottokar's Sceptre gives the explicit date of 1938.
  • Those Two Guys: Thomson and Thompson.
  • Wag the Director: Cary Elwes basically begged Steven Spielberg for a part in this movie.
  • What Might Have Been:
    • Danny DeVito was going to play Senor Oliveira de Figueira, but the role was eventually cut from the script.
    • Thomas Sangster from Phineas and Ferb could have been Tintin.
    • During the 80s production, there were plans for Jack Nicholson as Haddock.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Seen briefly when Haddock is hit by lightning.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Sakharine alludes to this trope while interrogating Tintin ("Consider just how useful you are to me") but the latter escapes before he can actually make good on the threat.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Sir Francis was forced to reveal the treasure's location in exchange for his crew's lives. Rackham had them killed anyway.