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Have you ever wondered what the life of a young journalist is like? Of course, you could probably hear my story, but my career as a journalist is far less dangerous, mysterious, and exciting than that of Tintin, a boy reporter with spiky orange hair in the movie “The Adventures of Tintin” directed by Steven Spielberg. In the film based on a comic, Tintin is a well-known public figure for being a skilled reporter and detective. He and his faithful dog Snowy had solved many a puzzling mystery together, but none as confusing as the Secret of the Unicorn.
It all started when Tintin bought a marvelously detailed model ship called the Unicorn, a large ship from the 1600s, in an outdoor European market. That’s when the trouble started. Ivan Sakharine, an ominous-looking man immediately asks to buy the ship from Tintin. Tintin refuses and returns home with the ship, but Snowy breaks it, revealing a parchment scroll hidden in the mast. Tintin investigates the scroll and finds that there are two more scrolls, which can piece together the secret of the Unicorn, which was sunk a long time ago.
But, Sakharine and his henchmen are after the scrolls, so they kidnap Tintin and imprison him on the SS Karaboudjan, a large ship that is searching for the Unicorn. Tintin escapes and meets the drunken captain of the ship, Haddock, who is unaware of the criminals aboard his ship. Tintin soon finds that Haddock is the descendant of Sir Francis Haddock, the captain of the sunken Unicorn. The mystery of the sunken ship deepens with every puzzling clue they find, and Tintin and Haddock have to evade the dangerous Sakharine while discovering the truth behind the secret cargo.
I like the storyline, which is a combination of 3 comics by Hergé. It is exciting, humorous, and suspenseful. It is very entertaining to see the antics of the two clumsy detectives who help Tintin throughout the story. They let a pickpocket go without doing anything about it, and stumble and trip over themselves when in pursuit of a thief. Also, I like Tintin’s detective logic and wit, especially when he set up champagne bottles to shoot their corks and imitate gunfire so his enemies would think that he is shooting them.
Snowy, Tintin’s white dog, shares his master’s cunning as well. He chewed through the ropes that bound Tintin’s wrists when he was being held prisoner. Finally, I like the new technology of 3D Motion Capture that makes the animation a lot more realistic. But, one of my favorite scenes is the opening sequence done in 2D silhouettes, which sets the mood of the story.
I think “The Adventures of Tintin” is a great film visually, but it lacks the emotional qualities of E.T. and War Horse, 2 other films by Spielberg. Most of the film is mystery, suspense, and fight scenes. Very little of the film shows the friendship between Tintin and Haddock. They are partners working towards a common goal, but they don’t seem to care much about each other. Even though they saved each other’s lives, it was because they need each other to accomplish their task.
“The Adventures of Tintin” gets 4 starfish, which makes it a “Perrific™” film! I would recommend this film to ages 8+, because there are scenes involving firearms, weapons, and alcohol. I really enjoy this hilarious, action-packed movie, and I’m sure many older kids and adults will as well!
Moral: A true thirst for adventure is always unquenchable.
Perry Chen and Zhu Shen are Carmel Valley San Diego community residents and are a unique son-mother team of talent and aspirations. Perry Chen is the youngest award-winning film/ entertainment critic & animator, artist, speaker, and entertainment personality. He started writing movie reviews at 8 using a kid-friendly starfish rating system, under the guidance of his mom Dr. Zhu Shen and his 3rd grade teacher Ms. Harris. Perry’s debut on the CBS Evening News in 2009 made him a national sensation. He has been featured extensively on local, national, and international media, including NPR, Fox, CNN, NBC, The Guardian, The China Press, and many more. He has interviewed prominent filmmakers at film festivals, red carpet premieres, and press junkets. He won a prestigious “Excellence in Journalism Award” at the San Diego Press Club in 2010 as its youngest member. Perry currently writes movie reviews for the Animation World Network, San Diego Union Tribune, Amazing Kids! Magazine, and his own Perry’s Previews website with a combined readership of over 2 million worldwide.
Dr. Zhu Shen’s love for the movies started when she was a young girl, growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution where watching movies was the only entertainment available to the masses. Her journey to become a filmmaker took a convoluted path. She studied medicine at Peking Union Medical College before coming to the US and earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Colorado, and then an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson School. She is a producer of the upcoming documentary feature “Average Joe on the Raw,” about journey into raw food and health. Dr. Shen is also an award-winning biotech executive, author, speaker, China business expert featured on national and trade media including CBS, Fox, Business Week, Pharmaceutical Executive, and more. She has worked at IBM, Bayer, Chiron, Immusol, and is the CEO of BioForesight, consulting on cross-Pacific life science business. *Photos of Perry Chen and Zhu Shen by Brian Bostrom
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