Even if you don’t appreciate any of the partnering names, The Adventures if Tintin may be the greatest collaboration of filmmakers to ever work on a non-anthology feature length film. Directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson (who will reverse rolls for the sequel),with a script by Steven Moffat (BBC’s Sherlock and Coupling), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hott Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim V. the World), Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) and starring the voices of Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, and Andy Serkis; phew! With all that talent, I thought the end result would have been much more spectacular.
Ace investigative reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy are out and about at a local market when Tintin comes across a model boat that he must have. Seconds after making his purchase, numerous shady characters come out of the wood work, offering up a hefty sum for the model. Refusing to sell, Tintin takes the boat home, where things just get weirder. The ship breaks, his home is broken into and the ship is stolen, and a man gets shot to death on his front step; Tintin has stepped into something he doesn’t understand. It’s the perfect for someone like Tintin though, and it sets forward his next investigative adventure that ultimately teams him up with his polar opposite, Captain Haddock.
Whether it was a geeky love letter from the fan writers or a redo by the film’s director, The Adventures of Tintin comes off as an apology for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Replace Tintin with Indy, add Nazi’s and snakes, and the two franchises would be identical. Disappointed fans of the Indian Jones films will take Tintin to heart and be thrilled by the resurrection of the good-spirited Spielberg action film. While I’m not saying I dislike Indiana Jones films, the obvious overwrought comparison left a bitter taste in my mouth. With tons of elaborate actions scenes, gunfire, and booze, the film read more like, “look what I can do,” instead of keeping my attention. Tintin is still entertaining, but for a technically gorgeous film from an unprecedented meeting of minds, Tintin was simple, just more of the same.
That said, the indisputable triumph of The Adventures of Tintin is the animation. Weta digital has taken its talents to a new height and have created a group of the most realistic motion-captured human beings. Detailed wrinkles and movements are complemented to the highest extent with amazing mouth movement. However, it does beg the question, with a film where embellished noses and ears are the only distinguishable differences, is it necessary to create a fully animated feature when it could practically be completed?
The voice acting also was a high point for the film. Daniel Craig and Nick Frost were chameleons. Craig’s voice as the film’s villain was completely unrecognizable to the point I started to doubt it was really him, while I was only to distinguish Frost’s voice by identifying that of Simon Pegg’s, who plays the other half of the bumbling twin detectives, The Thom(p)son’s. The entire cast did a fantastic job of not taking the characters into the world of the absurd, only strengthening the film.
Suffice it to say, I was let down by The Adventures of Tintin. This doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining or a bad film. I still am unsure how parents will react to children seeing the film as it’s chock full of alcoholism and gunfire, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen in any of the Indy films. Maybe I went into the theater with expectations so high, they could only be knocked down, but regardless, when released on the heels of Scorsese’s 3D triumph Hugo, The Adventures of Tintin is largely overshadowed by the former.
Rating: 3 out of 5 ‘Staches