The Adventures of Tintin (film)

The Adventures of Tintin (also known as The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn)[5] is a 2011 3D computer-animated action-adventure film based on the comic book series of the same name. Produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, co-produced by Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy, and written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, the film is inspired by three of Belgian comics writer Hergé's Tintin series: The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941), The Secret of the Unicorn (1943) and Red Rackham's Treasure (1944).[6] It stars the voices of Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.[7][8][9]

The Adventures of Tintin
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteven Spielberg
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onThe Adventures of Tintin
by Hergé
Music byJohn Williams
Edited byMichael Kahn
Distributed by
Release date
  • 23 October 2011 (2011-10-23) (Brussels)
  • 21 December 2011 (2011-12-21) (United States)
  • 26 December 2011 (2011-12-26) (New Zealand)
Running time
107 minutes[2]
  • United States
  • New Zealand
Budget$135 million[3]
Box office$374 million[4]

Spielberg acquired the film rights to The Adventures of Tintin series following Hergé's death in 1983, and re-optioned them in 2002. Filming was due to begin in October 2008 for a 2010 release, but the release was delayed to 2011 after Universal Pictures opted out of producing the film with Paramount Pictures, who provided $30 million on pre-production. Sony Pictures also chose to co-finance the film. The delay resulted in Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who had been originally cast as Tintin, departing from the project. The world première took place on 22 October 2011 in Brussels.[10] The film was released in the United Kingdom and other European countries on 26 October 2011 and in the United States on 21 December 2011 in Digital 3D and IMAX 3D formats.[11]

The Adventures of Tintin was a commercial success, having grossed over $373 million against a budget of $135 million,[4] and received generally positive reviews from critics,[12] who favorably praised the stylized use of motion capture (particularly on the faithful look to Hergé's works), visual effects, action scenes, performances and music, to which they even compared the film to Spielberg's previous work Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was the first motion-captured animated film (as well as the first non-Pixar animated film) to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.[13] Composer John Williams was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Score and the film was also nominated for six Saturn Awards, including Best Animated Film, Best Director for Spielberg and Best Music for Williams.[14]


In 1930s Brussels, while browsing in an outdoor market with his pet dog Snowy, young journalist Tintin purchases a miniature model of a ship known as the Unicorn, but is accosted by an Interpol officer named Barnaby and a ship collector named Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, who both unsuccessfully attempt to get the model from Tintin. After Tintin takes the model home to his apartment, it gets accidentally broken during a chase between Snowy and a cat; a parchment scroll slips out of the ship and rolls under a piece of Tintin's furniture. Meanwhile, bumbling police detectives Thomson and Thompson are on the trail of pickpocket Aristides Silk.

After visiting Maritime Library to uncover the history surrounding the Unicorn, Tintin returns to find the Unicorn has been stolen, to which he suspects Sakharine. He heads to Marlinspike Hall where he accuses him of the theft, but noticing Sakharine's model is not broken, he realizes there are two Unicorn models. Returning to his apartment (to find it ransacked), Tintin is shown the scroll by Snowy, but they are interrupted by the arrival of Barnaby, who is then assassinated while attempting to recover the Unicorn.

Tintin places the scroll in his wallet, but is pickpocketed by Silk the next morning and is right afterwards abducted by accomplices of Sakharine on the SS Karaboudjan. He learns that Sakharine formed an alliance with the ship's staff and led a mutiny to take control. On board, Tintin encounters Archibald Haddock, the ship's captain who is permanently drunk and has forgotten most of his past. Tintin, Haddock and Snowy outrun the crew and escape from the Karaboudjan in a lifeboat. The ship fails to ram their boat because they instead rammed an empty lifeboat Haddock accidentally released during his escape. Presuming them to have survived by the number of lifeboats, Sakharine sends a seaplane to find and capture them. Feeling cold and thirsty on the lifeboat ride, Haddock foolishly uses a stowaway bottle of scotch whisky to put out a fire he started in the boat, accidentally causing an explosion that leaves the trio stranded on top of the upturned boat. The trio seizes and uses the plane to fly towards the fictitious Moroccan port of Bagghar, but it crashes in a desert due to low fuel and a thunderstorm.

While trekking through the desert along with Tintin and Snowy, Haddock hallucinates and remembers his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock, the 17th-century captain of the Unicorn whose treasure-laden ship was attacked by the crew of a pirate ship led by Red Rackham, who is later revealed to be Sakharine's ancestor. Sir Francis surrendered, but since the pirates killed all of his crew, Sir Francis eventually sank the Unicorn and most of its treasure in order to prevent it from falling into Rackham's hands. The story implies there were three Unicorn models, each containing a scroll; together, the scrolls can reveal coordinates of the location of the sunken Unicorn and its treasure.

The third model is in Bagghar, possessed by Omar ben Salaad. Sakharine causes a distraction in a Bianca Castafiore concert that results in him stealing the third scroll. A chase through the city ensues, during which he gains all the scrolls. Just as he is ready to give up, Tintin is persuaded by Haddock to continue. With help from Thomson and Thompson, Tintin and Haddock track Sakharine back to Brussels and set up a trap, but Sakharine uses his pistol to resist arrest. When his men fail to save him, Sakharine challenges Haddock to a sword fight with the cranes at the dock. After the fight, Sakharine is pushed overboard by Haddock; he is then rescued and arrested by Thomson and Thompson.

Guided by the three scrolls which indicate the location of Marlinspike Hall, Tintin, Haddock and Snowy find there some of the treasure and a clue to the Unicorn's location; Tintin and Haddock both agree on setting up an expedition to find the shipwreck.

Voice cast

  • Jamie Bell as Tintin.[15] Bell replaced Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who dropped out when filming was delayed in October 2008.[16] Jackson suggested Bell to take on the role after previously casting him as Jimmy in his King Kong remake.[17]
  • Andy Serkis as Captain Archibald Haddock and Sir Francis Haddock.[18] Spielberg suggested Serkis, given he played Gollum in Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong in the 2005 remake, which were both roles requiring motion capture, and also because he considers Serkis a "great and funny actor".[19] Serkis joked he was concerned Jackson wanted him to play Tintin's dog, Snowy,[20] who was animated traditionally, i.e., without motion capture.[21] Serkis remarked upon reading the comics again for the role that they had a surreal Pythonesque quality.[22] The actor researched seamen, and gave Haddock a Scottish accent as he felt the character had "a rawness, an emotional availability, a more Celtic kind of feel".[19]
  • Daniel Craig as Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, the main antagonist and descendant of Red Rackham; and Red Rackham the pirate who attacked the Unicorn, the ship captained by Sir Francis Haddock.[15] Spielberg described Sakharine as a "champagne villain, cruel when he has to be but with a certain elegance to him." Jackson and Spielberg decided to promote Sakharine from a relatively minor character to the villain, and while considering an "interesting actor" to portray him, Spielberg came up with Craig, with whom he had worked on Munich. Craig joked he followed "the English tradition of playing bad guys".[19]
  • Nick Frost and Simon Pegg as Thomson and Thompson respectively, bumbling police detectives who are almost identical. The duo was invited out of necessity to have a comedy team that could act identical.[19] Spielberg invited Pegg to the set and offered him the role after he had completed How to Lose Friends & Alienate People.[23] Pegg had previously starred alongside Serkis in John Landis' Burke & Hare, in 2010.
  • Toby Jones as Aristides Silk, a pickpocket and self-proclaimed kleptomaniac.[18][24]
  • Daniel Mays as Allan, Captain Haddock's first mate.[25]
  • Mackenzie Crook as Tom, a thug on the Karaboudjan.
  • Gad Elmaleh as Omar ben Salaad, an Arab potentate.[18] Elmaleh stated his accent was "the childhood coming back".[19]
  • Enn Reitel as Nestor, Sakharine's butler; and Mr. Crabtree, a vendor who sells the Unicorn to Tintin.
  • Tony Curran as Lieutenant Delcourt, an ally of Tintin.[26]
  • Joe Starr as Barnaby Dawes, an Interpol agent who tries to warn Tintin about purchasing the Unicorn and ends up being shot by Sakharine's thugs on Tintin's doorstep.
  • Kim Stengel as Bianca Castafiore, a comical opera singer. While Castafiore was absent from the three stories, Jackson stated she was added for her status as an "iconic character" and because she would be a fun element of the plot.[19] Renée Fleming provides the singing voice for Castafiore.
  • Sonje Fortag as Mrs. Finch, Tintin's landlady.
  • Cary Elwes and Phillip Rhys as French seaplane pilots working for Sakharine.
  • Ron Bottitta as Unicorn Lookout.
  • Mark Ivanir as Afgar Outpost Soldier/Secretary.
  • Sebastian Roché as Pedro/1st Mate.
  • Nathan Meister as a market artist who bears the resemblance of Hergé.
  • Sana Etoile as a Press Reporter.



Spielberg has been an avid fan of The Adventures of Tintin comic book series since 1981, when a review compared Raiders of the Lost Ark to Tintin.[21] Meanwhile, the comics' creator, Hergé—who didn't like the previous live-action film versions and the animated series—became a fan of Spielberg. Michael Farr, author of Tintin: The Complete Companion, recalled Hergé "thought Spielberg was the only person who could ever do Tintin justice".[27] Spielberg and his production partner Kathleen Kennedy of Amblin Entertainment were scheduled to meet with Hergé in 1983 while filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in London. Hergé died that week, but his widow decided to give them the rights.[21] A three-year-long option to film the comics was finalized in 1984,[27] with Universal as distributor.[28]

Spielberg commissioned E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial writer Melissa Mathison to script a film about Tintin battling ivory hunters in Africa.[27] Spielberg saw Tintin as an "Indiana Jones for kids" and wanted Jack Nicholson to play Haddock.[29] Unsatisfied with the script, Spielberg continued production on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; the rights returned to the Hergé Foundation. Claude Berri and Roman Polanski became interested in filming the property, while Warner Bros. negotiated for the rights, but they could not guarantee the "creative integrity" that the Foundation found in Spielberg.[27] In 2001, Spielberg revealed his interest in depicting Tintin with computer animation.[30] In November 2002, his studio DreamWorks reestablished the option to film the series.[31] Spielberg said he would just produce the film.[32] In 2004, the French magazine Capital reported Spielberg was intending a trilogy based on The Secret of the Unicorn / Red Rackham's Treasure, The Seven Crystal Balls / Prisoners of the Sun and The Blue Lotus / Tintin in Tibet (which are separate stories, but both feature Chang Chong-Chen).[33] By then, Spielberg had reverted to his idea of a live-action adaptation and called Peter Jackson to ask if Weta Digital would create a computer-generated Snowy.[6]

We're making them look photorealistic; the fibres of their clothing, the pores of their skin and each individual hair. They look exactly like real people—but real Hergé people!

Peter Jackson explains the film's look[34]

Jackson, a longtime fan of the comics,[35] had used motion capture in The Lord of the Rings and King Kong; he suggested that a live-action adaptation would not do justice to the comic books and that motion capture was instead the best way of representing Hergé's world of Tintin.[6] A week of filming took place in November 2006 in Playa Vista, Los Angeles, California, on the stage where James Cameron shot Avatar.[36] Andy Serkis had been cast, while Jackson stood in for Tintin.[22] During the shoot, Cameron and Robert Zemeckis (director of The Polar Express, another motion-captured animated film) were present.[6] The footage was transmitted to Weta Digital,[36] who produced a twenty-minute test reel that demonstrated a photorealistic depiction of the characters.[34] Spielberg said he would not mind filming it digitally because he saw it as an animated film, and reiterated his live-action work would always be filmed traditionally.[37] Lead designer Chris Guise visited Brussels to see the inspiration for Hergé's sceneries.[38]

An official announcement about the collaboration was made in May 2007, although both filmmakers had to wait to film it: Spielberg was preparing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull while Jackson was planning The Lovely Bones.[34] Spielberg had considered two books to become the main story, The Crab with the Golden Claws and The Secret of the Unicorn, with the main plot eventually following the latter and its immediate sequel Red Rackham's Treasure. Jackson felt the former's story "wasn't really robust enough to sustain a feature film", but the filmmakers still included elements from the comic such as the Karaboujan and the first meeting of Tintin and Haddock. Spielberg invited Edgar Wright to write the script for the film, but Wright was busy and instead recommended other names, including Steven Moffat.[39] In October 2007, Moffat was announced as the screenwriter for two of the Tintin films.[40] Moffat said he was "love bombed" by Spielberg into accepting the offer to write the films, with the director promising to shield him from studio interference with his writing.[41] Moffat finished a draft,[42] but was unable to finish another due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. He then became executive producer of Doctor Who, leading Spielberg and Jackson (both of whom are fans of the show) to allow him to leave and fulfill his duty to the series.[43] Wright then returned and agreed to take over the script while Joe Cornish, a fan of Tintin with whom Wright was working at the time, also worked with him. After two drafts of the script, Wright left in order to begin filming Scott Pilgrim vs the World., with Cornish staying on to finish the script under the Guidance of Spielberg and Jackson.[39]

More filming took place in March 2008.[22] However, in August 2008 (a month before principal photography would have begun), Universal turned down their option to co-produce the film due to the poor box office performances of other recent performance-captured animated films such as Monster House (2006) and Beowulf (2007), as well as the directors' usual request for 30% of the gross. Paramount Pictures (DreamWorks' distributor) had hoped to partner with Universal on the project, having spent $30 million on pre-production. Spielberg gave a ten-minute presentation of footage, hoping they would approve filming to begin in October. Paramount, along with their subsidiary Nickelodeon Movies, offered to produce as long as the directors found a studio that was willing to co-produce the film: Spielberg and Jackson agreed[16][28] and negotiated with Sony's Columbia Pictures to co-finance and distribute the first film internationally by the end of October.[44][45][46] Sony only agreed to finance two films, though Jackson said a third film may still happen.[6]

Filming and visual effects

Principal photography began on 26 January 2009 while the release date was pushed from 2010 to 2011.[15] Spielberg finished his film—after 32 days of shooting—in March 2009. Jackson was present for the first week of filming and supervised the rest of the shoot via a bespoke videoconferencing program.[35] Simon Pegg said Jackson's voice would "be coming over the Tannoy like God".[47] During filming, various directors including Guillermo del Toro, Stephen Daldry and David Fincher visited. Spielberg would try to treat the film like live-action, moving his camera around.[6] He revealed, "Every movie I made, up until Tintin, I always kept one eye closed when I've been framing a shot," because he wanted to see the movie in 2-D, the way viewers would. "On Tintin, I have both of my eyes open".[48] Jackson took the hands-on approach to directing Weta Digital during post-production, which Spielberg supervised through video conferencing. Jackson will also begin development for the second film, for which he will be officially credited as director.[17] Spielberg says "there will be no cell phones, no TV sets, no modern cars. Just timeless Europe".[49] His frequent collaborator and cinematographer Janusz Kamiński served as lighting consultant for Weta, and Jackson said the film will look "film noirish, very atmospheric". Spielberg finished six weeks of additional motion-capture filming in mid-July 2009.[6][50] Post production was finished on September 2011.[51] From the very beginning to the very end, the film took a total of seven years in production.

To improve the quality of the indoor lighting nuances, Weta Digital and NVIDIA developed a ray tracing software called PantaRay, which required 100 to 1,000 times more computation than traditional shadow-map based solutions.[52] For the performance of "Snowy", various models served as a reference for actors on-set, manipulated by property master Brad Elliott. According to animators, Snowy was also the hardest character to animate and develop due to the type of coat he has as well as being white. Later, a dog's motion was captured digitally so the animators had inspiration for realistic movements. His vocal effects were taken from various breeds of dogs.[53]


Music from the Motion Picture: The Adventures of Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn
Film score by
Released21 October 2011 (2011-10-21)
LabelSony Classical
John Williams chronology
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Music from the Motion Picture: The Adventures of Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn
War Horse
Professional ratings
Review scores
Film Score Reviews
Movie Wave
Soundtrack Geek8.33/10
Static Mass Emporium

John Williams composed the musical score for The Adventures of Tintin. It was the first time Williams composed the score of a film since 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,[54] as well as the first time he composed the score for an animated film. Most of the score was written while the animation was still in the early stages, with Williams attempting to employ "the old Disney technique of doing music first and have the animators trying to follow what the music is doing". Eventually, several cues had to be revised during the editing of the film. The composer decided to employ various musical styles, with "1920s, 1930s European jazz" for the opening credits, or "pirate music" for the battle at sea.[55] It was released on 21 October 2011 by Sony Classical Records.[56]

Track listing

All music is composed by John Williams.

1."The Adventures of Tintin"3:07
2."Snowy's Theme"2:09
3."The Secret of the Scrolls"3:12
4."Introducing the Thompsons and Snowy's Chase"4:08
5."Marlinspike Hall"3:58
6."Escape from the Karaboudjan"3:20
7."Sir Francis and the Unicorn"5:05
8."Captain Haddock Takes the Oars"2:17
9."Red Rackham's Curse and the Treasure"6:10
10."Capturing Mr. Silk"2:57
11."The Flight to Bagghar"3:33
12."The Milanese Nightingale"1:29
13."Presenting Bianca Castafiore"3:27
14."The Pursuit of the Falcon"5:43
15."The Captain's Counsel"2:10
16."The Clash of the Cranes"3:48
17."The Return to Marlinspike Hall and Finale"5:51
18."The Adventure Continues"2:58
Total length:65:22

Differences from the source material

The film mainly draws its story from The Secret of the Unicorn (1943) and The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941) and to a much lesser degree, from Red Rackham's Treasure (1944). There are major differences from the source material, most notably with regard to the antagonists. In the book, Ivan Sakharine is a minor character, neither a villain nor the descendant of Red Rackham. As Sakharine was made the main antagonist in the film, the book's main villains, the Bird brothers, are absent from the adaptation, save for a small "cameo" in the initial sequence at the market. As a result of this change, many events transpire that bear no relation to events in the books involving Sakharine's character.[57] As in other adaptations Snowy's "voice" is not used.


The film's first press-screening was held in Belgium on 10 October 2011.[58] The world première was held in Brussels, Belgium on 22 October 2011—attended by Princess Astrid and her younger daughters, Princess Luisa Maria and Princess Laetitia Maria; with the Paris première later the same day.[59] Sony later released the film during late October and early November 2011 in Europe, Latin America and India. The film was released in Quebec on 9 December 2011.[60] Paramount distributed the film in Asia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and all other English-speaking territories. They released the film in the United States on 21 December 2011.[61][62]

Home media

On 13 March 2012, Paramount Home Entertainment released The Adventures of Tintin on DVD and Blu-ray.[63] Both formats of the film were also released in a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack and a Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack, with each pack including 11 behind-the-scenes featurettes.[64]

During its first week available on home video, The Adventures of Tintin Blu-ray was the number-one-selling HD movie after selling 504,000 units and generating $11.09 million in sales.[65] The film was also the second-highest-selling home media seller during its first week, with 50% of its profits coming from its Blu-ray market.[66]


Critical response

The Adventures of Tintin received positive reviews from critics. Based on 223 reviews collected by review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the film scored a 73% approval rating with an average rating of 6.97/10. The site's critical consensus is, "Drawing deep from the classic Raiders of the Lost Ark playbook, Steven Spielberg has crafted another spirited, thrilling adventure in the form of Tintin."[12] Metacritic, another review aggregator which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 68, based on 40 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[67] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.

Colin Covert of Star Tribune gave the film 4 out of 4 stars and said that Spielberg's first venture into animation was his most delightful dose of pure entertainment since Raiders of the Lost Ark.[68] Amy Biancolli of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Such are the timeless joys of the books (and now the movie), this sparkling absurdity and knack for buckling swash under the worst of circumstances. The boy may have the world's strangest cowlick, but he sure can roll with the punches."[69] Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4, labeling it as "an ambitious and lively caper, miles smarter than your average 3-D family film". He praised the setting of the film, stating its similarity to the original Tintin comic strips and was also pleased with the 3-D technology used in the film, saying that "Spielberg employed it as an enhancement to 2-D instead of an attention-grabbing gimmick".[70] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and wrote, "The movie comes at you in a whoosh, like a volcano of creative ideas in full eruption. Presented as the first part of a trilogy produced by Spielberg and Peter Jackson, The Adventures of Tintin hits home for the kid in all of us who wants to bust out and run free."[71] Kenneth Turan of Los Angeles Times said, "Think of The Adventures of Tintin as a song of innocence and experience, able to combine a sweet sense of childlike wonder and pureness of heart with the most worldly and sophisticated of modern technology. More than anything, it's just a whole lot of fun."[72]

Giving the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, Lou Lumenick of New York Post wrote, "Spielberg and an army of collaborators—deploying motion capture and 3-D more skillfully than in any film since Avatar—turn this unlikely material into one of the year's most pleasurable, family-friendly experiences, a grand thrill ride of a treasure hunt."[73] Richard Corliss of Time wrote, "Motion capture, which transforms actors into cartoon characters in a vividly animated landscape, is the technique Spielberg has been waiting for—the Christmas gift … that he's dreamed of since his movie childhood."[74] Jordan Mintzer of The Hollywood Reporter was also very positive about the film, describing it as "a good ol' fashioned adventure flick that hearkens back to the filmmaker's action-packed, tongue-in-cheek swashbucklers of the 1980s. Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a visually dazzling adaptation". Comparing it to another film, Mintzer said Tintin has "an altogether more successful mocap experience than earlier efforts like The Polar Express".[75]

Belgian newspaper Le Soir's film critics Daniel Couvreur and Nicolas Crousse called the film "a great popular adventure movie", stating "[the film's] enthusiasm and childhood spirit are unreservedly infectious".[76] Le Figaro praised the film, considering it to be "crammed with action, humor and suspense".[77] Leslie Felperin of Variety wrote, "Clearly rejuvenated by his collaboration with producer Peter Jackson, and blessed with a smart script and the best craftsmanship money can buy, Spielberg has fashioned a whiz-bang thrill ride that's largely faithful to the wholesome spirit of his source but still appealing to younger, Tintin-challenged auds."[78]

La Libre Belgique was, however, a little less enthusiastic; its film critic Alain Lorfèvre called the film "a technical success, [with] a Tintin vivid as it should be [and] a somewhat excessive Haddock".[58] The Guardian's Xan Brooks gave the film two stars out of five, stating: "While the big set pieces are often exuberantly handled, the human details are sorely wanting. How curious that Hergé achieved more expression with his use of ink-spot eyes and humble line drawings than a bank of computers and an army of animators were able to achieve."[79] Blog Critics writer Ross Miller said, "Author Hergé's wonderfully bold and diverse array of characters are a mixed bag when it comes to how they've been translated to the big-screen" and that while the mystery might be "perfectly serviceable" for the film, "the execution of it at times feels languid and stodgy, like it's stumbling along from one eye-catching setpiece to the next". However, he summed it up as "an enjoyable watch with some spectacular set-pieces, lavish visuals and some fine motion-capture performances".[80]

Tom McCarthy, the author of a study of the Tintin books, described Hollywood's treatment in this film of its characters and stories as "truly execrable", stating that it ignores the books' key idea of inauthenticity. The themes of fakeness and phoniness and counterfeit that drive many of the original plots are replaced in the film with messages that feel "as though we have wandered into a seminar on monetisation through self-empowerment … It's like making a biopic of Nietzsche that depicts him as a born-again Christian, or of Gandhi as a trigger-happy Rambo blasting his way through the Raj."[81]

Steve Rose from The Guardian wrote about one of the film's major criticisms: that The Adventures of Tintin, much like The Polar Express, crossed into the uncanny valley, thereby rendering Tintin "too human and not human at all".[82] Manohla Dargis, one of the chief critics of The New York Times, called the movie "a marvel of gee-wizardry and a night's entertainment that can feel like a lifetime". The simplicity of the comic strip, she wrote, is a crucial part of the success of Tintin, who is "an avatar for armchair adventurers". Dargis noted that Tintin's appearance in the film "resembled Hergé's creation, yet was eerily different as if, like Pinocchio, his transformation into human form had been prematurely interrupted". Another major fault in the film, Dargis points out, is how it is so wildly overworked; she writes that there is "hardly a moment of downtime, a chance to catch your breath or contemplate the tension between the animated Expressionism and the photo-realist flourishes". Nevertheless, she singles out some of the "interludes of cinematic delight", approving of the visual imagination employed within the movie's numerous exciting scenes.[83]

The film was named in New York magazine's David Edelstein's Top 10 List for 2011.[84] It was also included in HitFix's top 10 films of 2011.[85]

Box office

The Adventures of Tintin grossed $77,591,831 in North America and $296,402,120 in other territories for a worldwide total of $373,993,951.[4]

In the United States, it is one of only twelve feature films to be released in over 3,000 theaters and still improve on its box office performance in its second weekend, increasing 17.6% from $9,720,993 to $11,436,160.[86] On its first day, the film opened in the UK, France and Belgium, earning $8.6 million. In Belgium, Tintin's country of origin, the film made $520,000, while France provided $4.6 million, a number higher than other similar Wednesday debuts.[87] In France, it was the second-best debut of the year for its first day after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.[88] On its first weekend it topped the overseas box office with $56.2 million from 21 countries.[89] In Belgium, it earned $1.99 million. It also earned the top spot in many major markets like France and the Maghreb region ($21 million), where it set a record opening weekend for an animated title; the UK, Ireland and Malta ($10.9 million), Germany ($4.71 million) and Spain ($3.75 million).[90][91][92] It retained first place for a second consecutive and final weekend, earning $39.0 million from 45 territories.[93] In its native Belgium it was up 20% to $2.39 million, while in France it plummeted 61% to $8.42 million. Its biggest debut was in Russia and the CIS ($4.81 million).[94][95]

The film grossed 7.5 crore (US$1.1 million) on its opening weekend (11–13 November 2011) in India, an all-time record for a Spielberg film and for an animated feature in India. The film was released with 351 prints, the largest-ever release for an animated film.[96][97][98] In four weeks, it became the highest-grossing animated film of all time in the country with 25.4 crore (US$3.7 million).[99]


The Adventures of Tintin was nominated for Best Original Score at the 84th Academy Awards.[100] It was the first all-digital motion-captured animated film (as well as the first non-Pixar film) to win a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.[101] It also received two nominations at the 65th British Academy Film Awards in the categories of Best Animated Film and Best Special Visual Effects.[102]

List of awards and nominations
AwardCategoryRecipients and nomineesResult
Academy Awards[100] Best Original Score John Williams Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[103] Best Animated Film Nominated
Annie Award[104] Best Animated Feature Nominated
Best Animated Effects in an Animated Production Kevin Romond Won
Best Music in a Feature John Williams Won
Best Writing in a Feature Production Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish Nominated
Art Directors Guild[105] Fantasy Film Nominated
BAFTA Awards[102] Best Animated Film Steven Spielberg Nominated
Best Special Effects Joe Letteri, Keith Miller, Wayne Stables and Jamie Beard Nominated
BMI Film & TV Awards[106] Film Music Award John Williams Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Animated Film Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards[107] Best Animated Feature Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Best Animated Film Nominated
Empire Awards[108] The Art of 3D Won
Florida Film Critics Circle[109] Best Animated Film Won
Golden Globe Awards[101] Best Animated Feature Film Steven Spielberg Won
Golden Trailer Awards[110] Best Animation/Family Nominated
Best Pre-show Theatrical Advertising Nominated
Grammy Awards[111] Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media John Williams Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society[112] Best Animated Film Nominated
Best Original Score John Williams Nominated
IGN Best of 2011[113] Best Animated Movie[114] Nominated
Best Movie Actor Andy Serkis[115] Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association[116] Best Animation Nominated
New York Film Critics Online Best Animated Film Won
Online Film Critics Society[117] Best Animated Feature Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award[118] Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Picture Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg Won
Satellite Awards[119] Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish Nominated
Saturn Awards[14] Best Animated Film Nominated
Best Director Steven Spielberg Nominated
Best Music John Williams Nominated
Best Production Design Kim Sinclair Nominated
Best Editing Michael Kahn Nominated
Best Special Effects Scott E. Anderson, Matt Aitken, Joe Letteri, Matthias Menz and Keith Miller Nominated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards Best Animated Film Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Animated Film Won
Visual Effects Society[120][121] Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Jamie Beard, Joe Letteri, Meredith Meyer-Nichols, Eileen Moran Nominated
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Tintin—Gino Acevedo, Gustav Ahren, Jamie Beard, Simon Clutterbuck Nominated
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Bagghar—Hamish Beachman, Adam King, Wayne Stables, Mark Tait Nominated
Docks—Matt Aitken, Jeff Capogreco, Jason Lazaroff, Alessandro Mozzato Nominated
Pirate Battle—Phil Barrenger, Keith F. Miller, Alessandro Saponi, Christoph Sprenger Nominated
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Matt Aitken, Matthias Menz, Keith F. Miller, Wayne Stables Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association[122] Best Animated Feature Nominated
Women Film Critics Circle[123] Best Family Film Nominated
World Soundtrack Academy[124] Best Original Soundtrack of the Year John Williams Nominated
Soundtrack Composer of the Year Nominated

Video game

A video game entitled The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, developed by game developer Ubisoft,[125] has been released to coincide with the release date of the film. Gameloft released a game for iOS devices to coincide with the film's European launch.[126]

Possible sequels

Originally, the second Tintin film was to be based on Hergé's The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun.[127] However, screenwriter Anthony Horowitz later stated that those books would be the second sequel and another story would become the first sequel.[9]

Peter Jackson announced that he would direct the sequel once he had finished The Hobbit trilogy.[127] Two years before The Secret of the Unicorn, Jackson mentioned that his favorite Tintin stories were The Seven Crystal Balls, Prisoners of the Sun, The Black Island, and The Calculus Affair, but he had not yet decided which stories would form the basis of the second film. He added "it would be great" to use Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon for a third or fourth film in the series.

By the time The Secret of the Unicorn was released, Spielberg said the book that would form the sequel had been chosen and that the Thomson and Thompson detectives would "have a much bigger role".[128] The sequel would be produced by Spielberg and directed by Jackson.[128] Kathleen Kennedy said the script might be completed by February or March 2012 and motion-captured in summer 2012, so that the film would be on track to be released by Christmas 2014 or mid-2015.[129]

In the months following the release of The Secret of the Unicorn, Spielberg revealed that a story outline for the sequel had been completed and that it was based on two books.[130] Horowitz tweeted that Professor Calculus would be introduced in the sequel.[131][132] During a press tour in Belgium for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Jackson said he intended to shoot performance-capture in 2013, aiming for a release date in 2015.[133]

In March 2013, Spielberg said, "Don't hold me to it, but we're hoping the film will come out around Christmas-time in 2015. We know which books we're making, we can't share that now but we're combining two books which were always intended to be combined by Hergé." He refused to confirm the names of the books, but said The Blue Lotus would probably be the third Tintin film.[134] In December 2014, when Jackson was asked if the Tintin sequel would be his next project after The Hobbit trilogy, he said that it would be made "at some point soon". However, he added that he wanted to direct two New Zealand films before that.[135]

In June 2015, Jamie Bell stated that the sequel was titled Tintin and the Temple of the Sun and that he hoped shooting would begin in early 2016 for a possible release by the end of 2017 or early 2018.[136] In November 2015, Horowitz stated that he was no longer working on the sequel, and did not know if it was still being made,[137] and in March 2016, he confirmed that the script he had written for the sequel was scrapped.[138]

On 18 March 2016, announced that Jackson would produce the sequel rather than direct. The website also announced that a third Tintin film was in development, with Jackson serving as executive producer. Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis were reported to be reprising their roles in both the films.[139] Spielberg later announced that Jackson was still attached to directing the sequel, and that it would enter work once Jackson completed another Amblin Partners/DreamWorks production.[140]

In March 2018, Spielberg reiterated the above in saying "Peter Jackson has to do the second part. Normally, if all goes well, he will soon start working on the script. As it takes two years of animation work on the film, for you, I would not expect to see it for about three years. But Peter will stick to it. Tintin is not dead!".[7][8] In interviews later the same year, Jackson affirmed his intent to make another Tintin film, but said that a script was yet to be written.[141][142][143][144]

See also


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