A to Z Challenge: U (John Williams’ film scores)

*Read John Williams’ biography here

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Another Spielberg collaboration for John Williams, this movie was released in 2011. It was released as a 3D motion capture computer animated action adventure (although I have not seen the 3D version). It is based on the comic book series of the same name which was created by Belgian cartoonist, Herge.

The script was written by three writers, one of whom was Steven Moffat (from Doctor Who and Coupling). The screenplay was inspired by three of Herge’s comics: The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure and is about an intrepid reporter (Tintin) who, along with Captain Haddock, set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock’s ancestor. The film stars the voices of Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig and Nick Frost.

Fun fact…the Belgian embassy in Canberra, Australia has a replica of the ship in a cabinet in their formal lounge, and a previous ambassador had a dog called Snowy (the name of the dog in the movie/comic).

This was the first motion capture animated movie (and the first non-Pixar animated movie) to win the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film. John Williams received a lot of nominations for his music, including an Academy Award, Grammy Award, Saturn Award and two World Soundtrack Academy Awards but missed out on all of them.

This was Williams’ first score for an animated movie. Williams’ approach was that of the “old Disney technique of doing music first and have the animators trying to follow what the music is doing”. This approach meant most of the score was written in the early stages of the film’s production. However, several cues had to be revised when the film was edited. Williams used a few different styles of music, incliding 1920/30’s European jazz and pirate music.

I have seen this movie a few times (I quite enjoyed it). The music has that noir feel to it, which I think is perfect because I always felt the movie has that kind of noir element to it. The protagonist is nothing like a noir protagnoist, more the settings and and feel, particularly in the early scenes of the movie.

What do you think – noir or not?

16 comments on “A to Z Challenge: U (John Williams’ film scores)

  1. I’ve only seen it once, but thought it great fun. I should have known this was a Williams score! Yet again he missed out on awards! Must get the DVD.

  2. I never did see this one. But Steven Moffat would definitely be a draw.

    • Absolutely Moffat is a draw. Have you ever watched Coupling (the British TV show)? Similar, but better, than Friends.

  3. I’ve not seen this but I did enjoy the books, very much.

  4. Spielberg and Williams is almost like Blake Edwards and Henry Mancini…

  5. I haven’t seen this one yet but when I was young I use to read the Adventures of Tintin all the time in French. Jackie’s Bookbytes Letter U

    • My Barbarians have Tintin books they enjoy, but they are in English (although they were taken to see an earlier Tintin at the cinema with their French classes).

  6. I’ve seen this once and enjoyed it! I have read a lot of the books as a child

  7. I know the original cartoons not not the movie. Not sure I’d jump through hoops to go watch it, though! There are others that are higher up on my list!

  8. I enjoyed the books when I was young, but have stayed away from the movies after seeing some that I didn’t enjoy very much.

    • The French ones are quite different to this one. This is very contemporary in its approach, but definitely has retained the spirit and feel of the comics.

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