The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)

Steven Spielberg directs Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig in this motion capture animated adventure where Herge’s plucky boy reporter meets Captain Haddock and hunts hidden treasure.

Some of the fluid camera movements and tricks in this are mind blowing. There’s a grand finale set-piece, involving a race around the fictional North African port town of Bagghar, that is exemplary in its demolition derby playfulness. Everything else has that Spielbergian magic, that urgent sense of building peril, his light visual wit… and yet you know he can do all this in a live action production. The Indiana Jones series proved this fabulous cliffhanger infinity storytelling is possible on this scale. To watch it cartoonified feels a slight gyp. There’s nothing in here to match the heartpounding wonder of the minecart chase in Temple of Doom. Yet by being animated, surely all rules of physics and limitations of human endeavour are off. You just don’t see that new sandbox being played in effectively up on the screen…

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