Captain Haddock, The Secret of the Unicorn, Tintin Movie Trailers, Uncategorized

Things to notice in Tintin Trailer 3

 The blessing and curse of being familiar with the source material so well is that when we see the trailer from the movie based off of it we instantaneously recognize the sections from the book and quickly identify what has been changed and what looks the same. And our source material is a comic, meaning the fans know exactly what the story should be like AND what it should look like. Let’s focus a bit on what the latest trailer shows us about what has been left intact and what has been changed, so that whether you’re a die hard purist or an American who’s never heard of Tintin in his life, you can decide for yourself whether or not you should go see this movie.


The trailer opens with the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s ship engaged in an intense battle in the middle of a storm. In the album this scene took place on a beautiful sunny day with normal weather. For whatever reason, that just wasn’t dramatic enough for the makers of the movie, so now we’ve got a stormy fight on rough waters and a couple flaming sails for good measure. It’ll take some getting used to, but the reality is that all the changes will do is make it more impressive on screen. At least the actual Unicorn ship has remained identical. Whether you think the change was unnecessary or not, I think it will definitely be worth seeing.  I like how one critic put it in a recent article: ”Finally! Pirates without zombies!”




Sir Francis Haddock! While the weather may have changed, he looks like they copied and pasted him into the movie. And the same goes for his attitude…He’s pumped with energy and rage, ready to take down every enemy in his way. I’m looking forward to hearing him yell out an old English Haddock insult or two. In fact, one of my all time favorites is in the original French, when he yells out ”moule a goufres!”, literally ”waffle iron!” (actually I think it was in the plural but I can’t remember how to spell that). Aaah…Belgian humor…Somebody call the guys who dub the movie into French to make sure that the line makes it in there, at least in Belgium.

ship sunk

In my first post on this trailer I made it sound like the ship we see sink was the Unicorn, but actually it was the pirate ship that first sunk. We are only told about this fact by Red Rackham as we see men hauling stuff onto the sieged Unicorn. Now we get to actually see it happen. I think the cinema really is the perfect way to show the pirate ship battle.

I think a good reason for them adding a bit more drama to the weather and the battle in general is because the treasure they are fighting for is greater now.  Whatever it is is powerful and valuable, and apparently cursed too. The original fight felt like a fun old fashioned pirate movie, and that suits a chest full of jewels fine, but any fight for a thing that can change the course of history needs a scene more ominously set.


They kept the part with Tintin using the wooden beam as a battering ram! I always wanted to see that in 3D…


Poor Haddock is convinced that they are saved from harm. Right about now it looks like Tintin is noticing those Moroccan markings on the side. Before he has time to process what that means…


…they get shot at…Kalli suggested that the pilot meant to aim at the middle but the plane’s new double guns prevented them from hitting them. This is probably the actual explanation the makers were going for here. I looked up the original scene, and the plane has normal guns there. Surely somebody else, like me, must have said ”no WAY would they have missed that shot!” and then came up with this great idea so that they would. These guys are actually concerned that the audience will think the action movie is unrealistic! And this coming from Spielberg! You ought to see it just for that. Of course, later on we have Tintin swinging on the remains of a bike, but that’s so cool we don’t care if it’s possible or not.


Here’s another one of those things we know happens in the book but do not actually see happen: Haddock falling into the water. In one panel they are on top, in the next they are soaked. All these years later, Weta designed the splash for us to see that we had only imagined. And it’s huge! Come to think of it, probably not many Tintin fans put down ”The Secret of the Unicorn” wishing they could have seen Haddock make a splash…I’m weird that way…

wrong side

They decided to just have a little fun with this scene…Somehow Haddock seems to get about everywhere on the outside of this plane! People who saw this footage at Comic-Con have described the scene (warning: spoilers in this part). Tintin is running low on gas…very low on gas…and cries out ”we’re running on fumes!”. So Haddock runs out to check the tank, and it occurs to him that maybe if he belches into the tank the plane can run on that. And then he gets hit by lightning. This should be quite something to watch. It’s an excellent example of something only the early not quite sober Haddock would do.


Evil Sakharine and his thugs. It’s interesting that, even though he was never a villain in the book, he is still dressed the same as he did in it. His outfit, his face, it all fits the part. I will miss the Bird Brothers a bit, but not much. Sakharine is about 6 times scarier than those two wimps. 


I love the faces these guys have! Even in low quality, you can see the worry and caution on their faces. These faces have no dead eyes..they are ready to hit the silver screen. 


”Geronimo!” Some have seen the sidecar, as well as nearly any other cool action scene not in the book or not like in the book, as an attempt by Spielberg of trying to ”Indianajonesize” Tintin. But really all he did was add some really cool action sequences to fill time, add interest, and make trailers look cool.


This would be one of those scenes that makes trailers look cool. Remember folks, if you’re interested in seeing stuff from the storyline and the book, it’s in the movie. But the story itself doesn’t have much action, so it doesn’t show up as much in the trailers. It’s evident though in the design of the world and the characters and in little bits they kept in like Barnaby at the market, Tintin’s house ransacked, Thompson falling down the stairs, Silk taking the wallets, the Unicorn and Rackham’s ship fighting, the broken wall revealing the basement, etc They did not just take the basic skeleton of the story and mold it how they wanted…they put lots of effort into generally keeping fans happy. Jackson I’ve sure had something to do with all this as well, who pretty much learned to read with the books! 

And if you have never even read the book and are wondering whether this is just some kids movie THINK AGAIN. This will not just be another Spielberg movie…it will be even better. It’ll have wonderful characters, great locations, car chases, pirate ship battles, thrilling special effects in the 3D that really works, intrigue, comedy and a John Williams soundtrack to finish it off.


  1. As Stephen said, this trailer most likely contains a much higher ratio of action to plot than the actual movie – I’m guessing it’s more steered towards American audiences, who (unfortunately) tend to desire more action in their movies.

  2. Caleb

    Just want to point out that the clip of Sakharine, Allan and the thug above should be related to the shot of the photo we saw a month ago in which Sakharine shoves Allan to the wall. And Allan seems really scared as he still has his back to the wall. I wonder if he’ll (Allan) still punch his crew in this movie whenever they make a mistake. Those scenes in the comic are hilarious.

  3. lalunafelis

    It’s very refreshing to see a fan of the comics to actually see the movie in a positive light. To be honest, I’ve gotten REALLY tired of people complaining about the Uncanny Valley and/or how Hollywood has “dumbed down” Tintin with “pointless” action stunts. I actually suspect this so-called “Hollywood kitsch” was what Herge himself actually wanted, hence he gave the rights to Spielberg in the first place. Thank you, Stephen.

  4. Great analyses, Stephen. You always seem to be able to see the frames from a different angle and point out interesting things about them. It makes a great read.

    I really love how carefully Spielberg has made Tintin Hollywood-ready. The albums will still remain the same, we’re not losing them. And Spielberg and Jackson care enough about Tintin to stay true to the core of the characters.

  5. Pe-ads

    “the story itself doesn’t have much action, so it doesn’t show up as much in the trailers” Great summary of the trailers, and great reason why we shouldn’t take all our cues and expectations from them 😉

Comments are closed.