The Adventures of Tintin
In our younger days, my brother and I went through a period of time being semi-obsessed with both Tintin and Asterix and Obelix. There was something appealing about the utter Euroness of them both. The exotic settings and adventures certainly played to my youthful sensibilities. And probably the budding hipster in me loved that nobody else had them and we could keep their mythologies to ourselves. I still consider the Tintin cartoon to be one of my all time favorites and was pretty disappointed to learn of its adaption into a big screen feature.
The fact that both Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson were teaming up together on this one only intensified my apprehension. I have real problems with both directors. Why Spielbergian hasn't become an adjective for overwrought schmaltz is beyond me. And though they may have been fun at the time the Lord of the Rings trilogy is now laughable to watch. In fact, Peter Jackson directed one good movie, Heavenly Creatures, a long time ago. But Jackson didn't direct Tintin, Spielberg did and it's his fault that it wasn't very good.
The Adventures of Tintin begins with Tintin buying the model of an old ship at a flea market. Obviously this model ship will be the crux of the mystery and it is soon revealed to be so as an American detective offers him more than double what he paid for it. Sensing its worth, Tintin refuses and the game is afoot. If the movie had spent more time following Tintin as he uncovered the mystery of the ship then I might not have had so many problems with the movie. After a short period of time we learn that there are three models of the ship each containing clues to the location of the actual ship that sank to the bottom of the ocean full of treasure. What ensues is basically a jumble of implausible action sequences that finish out the film. By the end of the movie I basically felt bombarded by flat blocks of bland color palatte struggling to form 3D images. The end of the movie completely flops.
But Tintin wasn't totally without charms. I'm a big fan of Jamie Bell and he did a good job capturing the essence of Tintin and Andy Serkis was great as Captain Haddock but the real star of the movie to me was Snowy. I'm guessing they didn't dress a real dog up in one of those idiotic looking suits so I'm going to have to give the animators credit for that one. For a fan of the series there are many subtle references to other story lines and the spirit of the world created by Herge was definitely in tact throughout the film. The inclusion of Thompson and Thomson was fun and their interplay provided some of the funniest parts of the film though their role in the story was minimal.
I have to say that the animation didn't look as bad as I thought it would. In part because I thought it was going to be virtually unwatchable. I don't really understand why animators are trying to make things look more and more lifelike. I've always thought the wonder of cartoons was that they weren't lifelike at all. Things can happen in cartoons that don't in real life. Physics can be suspended. But if animators want to continually make things look more and more real then I'm going to suspend my belief less and less.
So, though I think it doesn't quite work overall, fans of Tintin or younger movie goers should find enough to enjoy but I wouldn't pay full price for it and I don't think the 3D added much to the viewing experience. I'd wait for DVD.