The Adventures of Tintin (Steven Spielberg) 2011

There are a lot of comparisons with this movie and Tintin and Indiana Jones and it is easy to see why.  It is a lighthearted jetsetting treasure hunt movie set to the music of John Williams.  In fact, it seems like the adventure movie Spielberg wanted to make but got wrangled into with Indiana Jones 4.  The storyline was done, Harrison Ford was way too old, and Lucas was ever present with his dumb ideas.  Plus (and I’m not going to blame Lucas for this), Jones got too silly which was in contrast to the series we already came to know.

With Tintin, Spielberg is able to correct many of those problems.  The movie is about investigative reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy.  Tintin (Jamie Bell) finds an old model ship which has a part of a clue for hidden treasure.  Tintin finds continually drunk Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) who is part of the family of sailors who lost the treasure.  They are trying to find it before the evil Sakharine (Daniel Craig) does.

As I mentioned, many things which soured the Jones series was able to get corrected here.  For one, we have the teenage Tintin who has all the youtful exuberence that Ford was lacking.  This movie is family friendly, but it works here mostly because of the motion capture universe.  I don’t really feel into getting into the psychology of it all, but you are willing to go along more with stuff in an animated setting than you would with real people.  In Tintin, you don’t mind there is a super smart dog who practically has a telekinetic link with his master, you don’t mind a man powering a plane with his drunk belches, etc.  You do mind when Shia Lebeouf is swinging around on vines like freaking Tarzan.

The motion capture gives Spielberg freedom of camera movement and character movements.  There is one of the final action scenes in particular where the camera continually follows Tintin chasing Sakharine for the map.  Everything is happening from buildings collapsing, Snowy chasing map pieces, and characters zipping around everywhere.  It is great to look at and would have been impossible in live action.

The voice acting in this movie is very good.  Jamie Bell does a good job giving the rather blandly written Tintin a personality.  Andy Serkis does the best job as Haddock and steals the movie.  Simon Pegg and Nick Frost also do a good job with the small roles they have.  The weakest performance has to go with Daniel Craig which is sad.  It’s not that he is bad, but compared to everyone else he is very bland.  With this kind of movie, you want a villain who can deliver more of a hammy performance like a Tim Curry.

My only real complaint is that you aren’t given much of a character of Tintin.  Now I know nothing about Tintin so I can’t make any comment about how well it translates or whatnot.  I am just talking about in terms of being exposed to this character for the first time.  We aren’t really told much about Tintin and why he is a special character.  It comes off more like anyone could fill this role of generic treasure hunter.  It seems like there will be sequels and hopefully in the second one we get more of a focus on Tintin’s background and his overall character.

This was a fun movie.  Personally I feel bad I saw War Horse first instead of this.  The characters are charming, the writing by Moffat and Wright is clever, and the action set pieces are well done.  It is, as I said before, more family oriented so I guess some could take issue it is too kiddy.  But I had a good time with this movie and would give it a recommendation.


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