The Adventures of Tintin – 2011
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis , Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toby Jones, Tony Curran, Gad Elmaleh
Screenplay by Stephen Moffatt, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish based on The Adventures of Tintin, by Hergé
The faces of The Adventures of Tintin and his co-stars look disturbingly similar to those of Beowulf, The Polar Express, A Christmas Carol and other creepy animation disappointments. What those Robert Zemeckis efforts lacked, …Tintin has enough of to rise above. The problem with Zemeckis’ efforts in motion-capture animation were in the lifeless eyes. As much as the animation looked like genuine human movement, one look at the eyes made each talking character to seem absolutely soulless. The result: a zombie-like infestation of characters that produced more nightmares than dreams.
Based on the comics that began in a Belgian newspaper in the late 1920’s that morphed into a worldwide phenomenon by the 1950’s, The Adventures of Tintin plays like a children’s Indiana Jones. The title character, a young journalist living in an unnamed European town, happens across the replica model of an old ship, The Unicorn, which he gets at a bargain. Buying this ship opens the young man into a world of adventure which, after rolling to a start, the movie is unleashed in a way not approached by Spielberg since at the least Minority Report, and at the most, the original Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The advantage to the film is the fact that Jamie Bell’s vocalization of Tintin walks up to the precipice of precocious, but never comes close to falling into the pit of annoying. He is aptly served by a precocious terrier, Snowy, who always finds the right thing at the right time. Just as well is the performance of Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock, who, while riddled with problems, but given the advantage of good heritage.
The adversary, Sakharine, is ably vocalized by Daniel Craig. He does a good job, for what it’s worth, but is not served well in how much he is made to look like the director, Spielberg. Once I got past the odd mix, it was easy for me to enjoy, because I have spent many years feeling like Spielberg is a villain. His efforts are reminiscent of Belloq early on, but things fall apart towards the end.
The visuals are what one should expect from the one who brought us Jurassic Park. There are some breathtaking moments that astound even as they make us blush with their ludicrous nature. The thing I am most thankful for is that there can be no product placements in a period piece. There would be nothing be ridiculous than seeing a Coke advertisement in the pursuit of the Falcon.
Overall, this is a very easy film to enjoy. Both of my girls were enthralled throughout most of the film. You get to see enough to keep the adults thrilled, while not worrying about any images that might show up again in their dreams.
(**** out of *****)