The Adventures of Tintin

Based on the Belgian creator Hergé’s popular children’s comic book series, The Adventures of Tintin, this is a computer animated feature film by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, who teamed up to give Tintin the loving special treatment that it deserves and hopefully kindle interest in the original comic books for a new generation of children.

This movie is full of extremely detailed and fantastic action set pieces as you would expect from the directors of such iconic action/adventures as the Indiana Jones and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, and is fun for the whole family while remaining true to the spirit of the comics. 

There are story elements from three of the Tintin books fused together to make a blend of action packed adventure sequences that take us to exotic locations around the world. Tintin, a young reporter, follows the clues to a mysterious buried treasure as we are introduced to the main characters.

I was under the impression that, as there would not be enough action in one Tintin comic to base a whole movie on, the movie would be a combination of two or three comics, and indeed that is what has been done, but the action set pieces are so numerous and drawn out that only half the story arc from two comics is actually covered in the movie and we are left hanging at the end. It is clear that the adventure continues with the next film.

The movie is a mix of very realistically rendered motion-capture performances from the actors used to play the characters on the one hand, and extremely fantastic and unrealistically cartoonish action sequences on the other.  You get the feeling that you’re watching a live-action film at times and then a Disney cartoon at other times. The John Williams music score is very evocative of the Indiana Jones soundtrack also by the great John Williams.

The staggering drunkard Captain Haddock, hilariously played by Andy Serkis, is the most fun to watch as he gets our hero from one misadventure into another. The movie moves at a breakneck pace without stopping and has plenty of stunning eye candy but could be a little overwhelming at times on the first viewing.  The movie and the viewer would probably benefit from multiple viewings; I know I would love to see this again on Blu-ray.

I saw this film in 3D but the 3D effects are mostly very subtle and probably not worth spending the extra money on. I think it will be just as enjoyable in 2D and maybe even more so for some people who find the 3D effect distracting and uncomfortable.

At the beginning of the film, watch for a wonderful homage to its comic creator in a cameo appearance as a street portrait artist, painting a caricature of Tintin as he appears in the comics.

Tintin et Moi (Tintin and I) (2003) is a detailed, in-depth documentary about Hergé, the Belgian creator of the popular children’s comic book series The Adventures of Tintin and the circumstances under which he was sometimes forced to work when the company he worked for came under Nazi control during W.W. II. Never having traveled to any of the placed that he so accurately depicts in his hero’s adventures, he meticulously researched all the locations in books, newspapers and from people who had been there. This documentary is even more interesting because it’s all based on an interview he did for a young student, years before, that he felt he could open up to and talks intimately about his personal life and his creations.



Michael Charney said...

I have mixed feelings, as I often do with childhood treasures. The Green Hornet was totally ruined, the Green Lantern incoherent. Captain America was fine, though... This one holds a special place, and I want to see a few trailers before I set myself up for disappointment--particularly with the motion capture technique, which has never really been to my liking. I always felt that Tintin should have been done as an old-fashioned, 2D comic/cartoon: that would have been the real homage to Herge'.

Sandra McLeod Humphrey said...

To be honest, this was one I wasn't going to see, but you've got my curiosity piqued, so I may see it after all. I really appreciate your reviews--they're very helpful!

Jacques Sprenger said...

John, is the movie available in French?

JP said...

The movie is only available in French where it's playing in French speaking countries, and once it comes out on Blu-ray and DVD it will have a French language option. But if you are living in an English speaking country, I don't think you will be able to see it in French while it's still playing in theatres.

Jacques Sprenger said...

Love your blog; very visual and very pleasant. The info on movies is extremely useful. Hope you have a "million" visitors every month.

P.S. Where do you get your photos if it's not a trade secret?