‘The Adventures of Tintin’ Movie Review
A Review by G-FUNK
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Daniel Craig
Plot: Boyish journalist Tintin happens upon a model of a ship – The Unicorn – in a street market, which sets him off on a globe trotting adventure searching for lost treasure along with the drunken Capt. Haddock.
Review: In one sentence, this is the movie that Kingdom of the Cystal Skull should have been.
Tintin is a movie with a rich pedigree behind it, and I’m not just talking about the popular series of comic books. In addition to the fine cast and Spielberg calling the plays, you’ve got Peter Jackson and the Weta Workshop backing him up and a script by Stephen Moffat (head writer for ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Sherlock’), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). This could have easily turned into another case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, such as the aforementioned Indy misadventure, but they all seem to of a like mind and singular purpose.
Following the stylish and awesome introduction we get dropped into the world of Tintin. The startling realistic animation did initially prod the Uncanny Valley, but it only takes a few minutes for the viewer to adjust to what they are seeing. It’s astounding to think that the film has intended to be a live action feature until Jackson and the Weta special effects crew produced an animated Snowy, causing Spielberg to take his first foray into the field of animation. The cartoonish visuals perfectly compliment the over-the-top action and pulse-pounding chase sequences without shattering the suspension of disbelief. Spielberg has proved himself an accomplished director time and time again, but few recent offerings highlight his talent more than his first animated feature. Given total control of the screen he shows how important colour, lighting and detail can be, something many big-budgeted animated films seem to forget. The conclusion of an epic chase through a Moroccan city which includes motorbikes, tanks, collapsing buildings, an eagle, a burst damn and a dog occurs in one long take – something that could only have been achieved by an imaginative director working with animation. Another stand-out is a flashback battle between two pirate ships which puts every action sequence in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels to shame.
Casting plays a key role, especially since the motion capture technology makes the performance so essential. Jamie Bell is the perfect embodiment of the lead character, Andy Serkis is awesome fulfilling his legal obligation to appear in every motion capture film made, Daniel Craig is gold playing a slimy villain and you will never imagine Thompson and Thomson sounding like anything other than Simon Pegg and Nick Frost ever again. The narrative is perfectly paced, taking a welcome step away from the needless padding many blockbuster films feel is essential these days. The mystery unwinds thread by thread while the action keeps things alive. The script is tightly written with strong banter between the characters, who are surprisingly realistic – especially the flawed Captain Haddock.
As a holiday movie The Adventures of Tintin can not be recommended strongly enough. It’s the modern day answer to Indiana Jones, being fast paced and exciting with an old-school charm. In spite of the violence and some baffling complaints from pundits about Haddock’s drinking problem (which will be addressed in an upcoming article) it’s a very family friendly film. Because it doesn’t pander to children it can be heartily enjoyed by all ages.
Score: NINE outta TEN