Film Review: The Adventures of Tintin


 The film Steven Spielberg has been trying to make, to bring to reality, for 28 long years has finally hit the big screen. Spielberg first became aware of Tintin after the success of the ‘Indiana Jones’ franchise, which led to it being compared to the Belgian series. As a result, the movie mastermind delved into the stacks of Tintin comics available to him and quickly fell in love. Ever since, he’s been waiting to make this movie. First it was going to be live-action, but then 2004’s ‘The Polar Express’, featured such good ‘motion-capture’ technology, that spielberg was persuaded to go down that route instead of the conventional animation techniques. Peter Jackson got on board at this stage, as his company actually does the computer animation for the film. Jackson intends to direct the sequel, with Speilberg and Jackson co-directing for the finale.

The end result of the years of planning and waiting, is a rip-roaring film that can be enjoyed by all ages. Jamie Bell plays (not just voices) the lead role of Tintin, a young journalist, with Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost all providing able support. Out of all the above, for me personally, Craig and Serkis manage to pull of the best performances. Serkis is a master of the technology having been characters of all shapes and sizes, from Gollum to King Kong! He’s also pretty good as a vocal actor too, being the best drunken captain I’ve ever seen in a film. Craig is the devious villain and knows exactly how to play it. At first you aren’t sure if it’s him or not, but as the story progresses the hints get louder and his voice gives him away, still a good, solid performance from ‘Bond’.

Bell may not yet be a Hollywood star, but his performance here, as the star of an emerging franchise, will put his name up in lights, that’s for sure. Pegg & Frost’s detectives Thompson and Thomson, continue the wondeful, flowing chemistry that the duo’s characters have in every film they occupy together. They play to the typical slapstick comedy that is found in ‘family-friendly’ movies, but still manage to shine when it comes to wit. There is a surprising amount of comedy throughout the film, with Captain Haddock, played by Serkis, having the best lines, as the sidekick to the intuitive Tintin, he often seems to be the dunce. Tintin’s faithful companion, Snowy often makes him like a dunce! He’s the ‘smart animal’ in the film, a role occupied by a certain other animated dog….Gromit! I like Snowy as he often reminds me of Gromit, from the ‘Wallace & Gromit’ series.

Characters have brilliant facial expressions, and the ‘dead-eye’ worry, isn’t an issue, although, at times, Tintin seemed to be a little bit basic, in comparison to the other character’s faces. Lighting is brilliant throughout, as it creates huge thunderstorms and brilliant sunny days. The film stays colourful and vibrant throughout, and even with the 30% colour-loss, due to the use of 3D, the colour never drained from the screen, as other films have suffered from. I have no real issues with 3D, other than the extra expense and the colour loss, but it wasn’t really needed, at times it added to the experience, at others there was no need.

Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis during filming.
The story does zip along at a quick pace, yet remains to be un-confusing, a victory, as this could’ve been as wordy and pointlessly long, as Spielberg has suffered from in his past works. It’s pretty good too, as it’s a mash-up of three seperate novels: ‘The Crab with the Golden Claws’, ‘The Secret of the Unicorn’ and ‘Red Rackham’s Treasure’. What all this means is that Spielberg has literally HUNDREDS of stories to choose from, meaning Tintin could run as a franchise for years, far exceeding the likes of ‘Transformers’ and the now concluded ‘Harry Potter’ series.
We’re zipped around from location to location, as different environments, city landscapes, the sea and even the Sahara Desert, are used to ensure it never becomes too samey for the audience. Captain Haddock’s backstory allows for some ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’-style action, and really benefits the entire story. Infact, just when the film starts to become stodgy, a bit of perfectly placed humour or action bring attention back to the screen. My favourite scene in particular is set in Morocco, lasts for a good 3-4 minutes and is a pure chase scene, with all the main characters and a variety of different methods of transport used. It epitomised what I thought of the film. That it was perfect.
 It hits the family market, younger kids, fans of the series, fans of the likes of Pegg, Frost and Craig, everyone! I urge no-one to be put off by the animation or even the fact it’s called Tintin. It’s vibrant, intresting and certainly different from the normal kids film. Everyone in my screening was entertained throughout, with adults and kids lapping up the wit and slapstick humour. As I can honestly find no real faults with it, I’m going to give, ‘The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn’, to give it its full title, 5/5.
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9 thoughts on “Film Review: The Adventures of Tintin

  1. Ah, I wasn’t sure if it was motion capture but thought it might be as the facial expressions were so wonderful (my favourite part of the film). I also didn’t know who Daniel Craig was playing because he sounded unrecognizable! Maybe I was a little harsh on the film in my review but it just didn’t quite do it for me in terms of characterization.

  2. Preview screening?! Can’t wait to see it this week! Have you got Twitter buddy? If not, you really should – you write about so many different types of things that you should really get yourself out there.

  3. Wow! You seemed to have liked it a lot!
    5/5 maybe is a bit too much and should be destined for other Spielberg movies like Raiders or ET, maybe even Schindler (minus the smaltzy “I-could-have-done-more” coda).
    However I do share most your feelings on the film.

    http://wp.me/p19wJ2-ro

    • I dunno, it’s certainly the family film of the year, for me anyway, as the adults will enjoy as much as the kids will. I was also expecting a lot and it delivered, unlike other films recently *cough* Tinker, Tailor *cough* but yeah it’s difference of opinions really!

      • I agree about tinker cough… I was bored to death.
        As far as action family blockbuster of the year I think I still prefer Rise of the Planet of the Apes (and Source Code… But that one feels like from ages ago)

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