Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

 “How’s your thirst for adventure Captain? — Unquenchable!”

Growing up, The Adventures of Tintin was quite a treasured story for me. I was enthralled by the magic of Hergé’s works at a very young age and have been collecting The Adventures of Tintin comics ever since (I have most of them except for the very elusive Tintin in the Congo for obvious reasons). So naturally when production of a film based off of my childhood favorite was announced, I just had to see it!

"The Adventures of Tintin", out now

Directed by Steven Spielberg and co-produced by Peter Jackson, the film is based off of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of popular comic books by the Belgian artist Georges Remi, aka Hergé. The story begins with Tintin, an aspiring and young journalist, buying a model ship that ends up being one of three model ships containing scrolls that reveal the location of a lost ship laden with valuable treasure. Tintin is then pursued by the nefarious Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine and mysterious Barnaby, thus setting the scene for a fantastic glob trotting adventure. For those of you who have read the comics, you’ll notice the resemblance to The Crab with the Gold Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure.

The visual direction of the film is outstanding, which makes complete sense considering Spielberg’s history of excellent hollywood blockbusters. Certain lavish scenes such as the ship battle, motorcycle chase, and a crane fight are triumphant displays of brilliant cinematography and computer animation that will be etched in the crevices of the viewer’s mind for quite some time. Unfortunately, the pacing and general poise of the story advancement doesn’t hold up nearly as well.

The first third of the film is excellent – it exudes a classical Hergé atmosphere with the promise of adventure and mystery. However, Once it draws near the halfway mark, things unfortunately degenerate into an extended action scene that tests the moviegoer’s endurance and sensitivity to the strain caused by wearing 3D glasses. Consequentially, the film’s main characters, such as Tintin and Captain Haddock, end up feeling disappointingly thin and underdeveloped due to the spotlight constantly swerving towards the explosions and chase scenes.

I was initially worried about the motion capture detracting from the film but thankfully, stellar production values and striking attention to detail ensured that the characters rose from the depths of the “uncanny valley” that often plagues live action films. Despite this, I’m sure that there are still many people out there who firmly believe that two dots on a piece of paper convey more emotion and expression than digital eyes forged by the hands of artists working with a rendering farm composed by hundreds of computers.

Although, Spielberg’s incessant barrage of action threatens to drown out the soul of the beloved comic, he thankfully makes up for this with genuinely heart-warming scenes that help to alleviate the exhausting sensation of being subjected to so much adrenaline.  At the same time, I sometimes couldn’t help but wonder if the screenwriters often got confused with the direction of the movie as they oscillated wildly between wanting to please fans of the comic with inside jokes and obscure references and then wanting to entice the newcomers with goofy slapstick and action scenes.

The film has been a great success ($350,000,000+ raked in at the box office as of time of writing), which means that there’s a very high chance that the producers will follow through with the next two installments of the trilogy. I sincerely hope that they can address all of the issues of the first installment and hopefully produce a more cohesive film experience that pleases all demographics. Seeing as how they are a very capable bunch, the future looks very promising for this film trilogy.

-Andrew Walker, Staff Writer 

Posted by on January 11, 2012. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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