By Australian Council on Children and the Media
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Rating
  • Parental guidance recommended
Recommendations
  • Not recommended for children under 8
  • Parental guidance for children under 13
  • Suitable for children over 13
Warnings
  • Contains violence and scary scenes
  • Contains frightening scenes
Genre Animated action adventure
Length 107 minutes
Release Date 26/12/2011

Story

The Adventures of Tintin is the first in a trilogy of Tintin movies. This movie begins when Tintin (voice of Jamie Bell) buys a model of an old sailing ship called the Unicorn. The ship itself disappeared at sea over 300 years before, possibly carrying treasure. The sinister Ivanovich Sakharine (voice of Daniel Craig) wants to buy the model ship, but Tintin refuses to sell it.

By chance, Tintin discovers a metal cylinder hidden in the model ship. The cylinder contains a parchment scroll that has a strange riddle written on it and a series of seemingly meaningless numbers. It turns out that three model ships were made, and each has a hidden scroll. Together the three scrolls show the location of the sunken Unicorn’s treasure. Sakharine has one scroll, and Tintin now has another.

Sakharine kidnaps Tintin and imprisons him aboard the cargo ship Karaboudjan. Tintin escapes along with the always drunk Captain Archibald Haddock (voice of Andy Serkis). Tintin and Haddock make their way to Morocco, where a sheikh holds the third model ship. Here their adventures continue.

Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Pirates; curses; revenge; alcoholism
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.

Tintin contains cartoon action violence. There’s not much blood and gore, but people do get killed. For example:

  • A man hits Tintin over the head with a torch, knocking him unconscious.
  • Sakharine’s thugs kidnap Tintin. They hold a drug-soaked over his mouth, which makes him unconscious. They put him into a large crate.
  • Sakharine threatens Tintin by holding the tip of a sword in front of Tintin’s face. Sakharine tells his henchmen to make Tintin talk by breaking every bone in Tintin’s body.
  • On several occasions, the henchmen fire machineguns at Tintin.
  • There are several fist fights where Tintin punches villains in the face.
  • Captain Haddock knocks out both Tintin and Snowy with an oar. While drunk, Haddock builds a large fire in the bottom of a boat and attempts to put the fire out by pouring whisky onto it, causing a large explosion.
  • A man is shot and killed in Tintin’s apartment doorway. Although we don’t see bullet wounds, the man has obviously been shot and is dying. His hands drip with blood as he reaches out for a newspaper. He smears blood over an article as if he’s trying to leave a message before he dies.
  • In a flashback scene of a sea battle, ships fire cannons at each other. There are explosions and flames as the ships collide and are engulfed in flames. Men fire guns and get shot dead. They also fight with swords. Recoiling cannons knock sailors into the sea. Some of this violence is presented in a funny way.
  • Pirate Red Rackham orders his men to kill Sir Francis’s men. The pirates push sailors bound in chains off the ship and into the sea. Sharks circle the sinking men.
  • Sir Francis and Red Rackham have a sword fight. Sir Francis stabs Red Rackham through the chest and kills him.
  • Captain Haddock and Sakharine have a duel with giant cargo cranes. They destroy buildings as well as the cranes. Haddock is nearly killed. The clash ends in a sword and fist fight.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under the age of five years. For example:

  • Tintin is thrown through the windscreen of a plane when it crash-lands after being hit by lightning. He lies unconscious on the nose of the plane with his face inches from the plane’s spinning propeller. He slowly slides closer. His dog, Snowy, pulls Tintin to safety.
  • A large snarling Rottweiler dog chases Tintin. A tree branch hits the dog in the face as it runs after him. Tintin escapes when Snowy distracts the Rottweiler.
  • While chasing after Tintin, Snowy is nearly run over by speeding cars and then almost trampled to death by cows. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

This movie contains mild sexual references. For example:

  • A sailor sleeps with a rat between his hands. Captain Haddock tells Tintin that the man was sacked from his previous job because of his ‘animal husbandry’.
  • A man sees a female opera singer and says, ‘What a dish’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • A man smokes a cigarette.
  • Many characters say things about Captain Haddock’s alcoholism, which runs in his family. Captain Haddock is very drunk most of the time and drinks alcohol a lot. He gets violent and causes life-threatening situations because of his drunkenness.
  • Thugs hold a drug-soaked cloth over Tintin’s mouth, which makes him unconscious. 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

Throughout the movie, characters use funny words in place of more coarse language. The movie also contains some name-calling and put-downs. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a motion-capture animated action adventure directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson. The movie targets a wide-ranging audience from seven years up to adults. Younger children might find the movie’s content too intense. Its running time of 107 minutes is also quite long.

The main message from this movie is that if you care about something, you should fight for it and never give up.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include never giving up. For example, Tintin is a journalist who never gives up when he’s chasing a story, no matter what happens.

Although Captain Haddock’s alcoholism is played for comedy, you could talk with your children about the real-life physical, emotional and financial consequences of alcoholism, particularly when it runs in families. 

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  • Last Reviewed 2011-12-20