Wednesday, March 07, 2012
The Adventures of Tintin a Journey of Endurance
Posted by Courtney Small
Needless to say I was excited to hear that the likes of Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish had teamed up to bring Tintin to the big screen. Directed by Spielberg, and based on three of the comic books, The Adventures of Tintin follows a young journalist, Tintin (Jamie Bell) who inadvertently stumbles upon a mystery of epic portions. After buying a model of the Unicorn ship, Tintin finds himself face to face with the sinister Ivan Sakharine (Daniel Craig), a mysterious man who is determined to get his hands on the model ship at all cost. When Tintin’s house his broken into, Tintin and his dog, Snowy, embark on a quest to find out what secrets the Unicorn is hiding. Along the way Tintin meets Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), a drunken sailor whose ship and crew have been taken over by Sakharine. Tintin soon realizes that Captain Haddock might be the key to unlocking the whole mystery…that is if he can stay sober long enough.
The Adventures of Tintin does a good job of capturing the spirit of the original books, although at times it does feel like there are too many cooks in the kitchen. The plot feels uneven for the most part with not much substance. Many of the dialogue heavy scenes feel like they serve no other purpose but to get you quickly from one action sequence to the next. This is most evident when Tintin quickly voices his internal monologue in order to speed up the exposition. By the halfway point the mystery starts to lose its appeal and there is nothing really left to focus on but the eye popping action sequences.
In the books Tintin was always a character who has been able to handle himself when situations got heated. Sure he and Haddock got captured a lot, but they knew their way around a fight. In the hands of Spielberg, Tintin becomes a mixture of Indiana Jones and MacGyver with James Bond’s shooting accuracy sprinkled in for good measure. At times he is almost too good at being the action hero, as you never get the sense that Tintin is ever in any real danger. Although the film is packed with more action sequences than needed, the crane fight was unnecessary, it is hard to deny that Spielberg crafts a pretty fun ride.
The animated format allows Spielberg to really let loose creatively in regards to the action. Whether it is an epic pirate fight or a car chase scene that involves a broken dam, Spielberg plays it all on a grand scale. There are so many action sequences in the film that I was exhausted by time the last big sequence hit. One thing you cannot say is that you did not get your money’s worth in the action department. One of the reasons the action works so well is the great animation.
While some of the characters body movements still seems a bit off when using motion capture technology, the overall animation is fantastic. Spielberg really does a solid job bringing many memorable moments from the books to life. He even includes a quick nod to the comic book when Tintin holds up a cartoon drawing of himself. The voice work overall is strong as each actor is suited to their roles. Andy Serkis and the duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who play the bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson, were especially good in bring their characters to life. At the end of the day I was entertained by The Adventures of Tintin but I could not help but feel a little disappointed that, with the number of books in the series, the film’s plot was not stronger. It was a fun couple of hours, but I wonder if I will really remember this film a week from now.
The Adventures of Tintin is part of our "The Must See List" series.