Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

To say I was a big fan of Tintin when I was growing up would be an understatement.

I grew up overseas and my father working in oil. We would take vacations to Singapore and in the late 70s and early 80s there were no other English language comic books for a kid to get. So I started collecting the Adventure of Tintin.

Still to this day my three favorite books of the Tintin library are The Broken Ear, Prisoners of the Sun and The Blue Lotus.

Steven Spielberg’s version of Tintin is actually the sixth Tintin film. The first was a 1947 stop-motion animated film. There were two live-action films in the 1960s and two animated films in 1969 and 1972.

The Adventures of Tintin follows the curious reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell) who buys a model of the fabled ship unicorn at a flea market.

Purchasing the model throws Tintin into an adventure that pits him against Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) as they both scour the globe looking for the Unicorn’s treasure. Along for the adventure are Tintin’s dog Snowy and the hapless drunkard Captain James Haddock (Andy Serkis) , who may or may not have a connection to the treasure.

The movie is an adaptation of the Tintin books, “Crab with the Golden Claws”, “Secret of the Unicorn” and “Red Rackham’s Treasure”. However the film doesn’t adapt each story completely. Hi-lights were ripped from Golden Claws and Red Rackham where the main backbone of the film was Secret of the Unicorn.

I have to say that this animation is light years ahead of what Robert Zemeckis did in Polar Express. Even though in Tintin, we have cartoon looking people strapped into real environments, there is none of that sense of dead behind the animated character’s eyes. Some people will have a problem with such rich environments having such cartoony characters but that is really how I always imagined Tintin.

In some scenes if you look closely you can see the film winking to other Tintin adventures. And I have to say I smiled with glee with the film’s opening scene that has Tintin posing for a caricature drawing. It is an honorary tip of the hat to Herge and a delight.

Captain Haddock’s drinking problem is evident throughout the book series. And here it is right out in front which could put some parents on edge. He is a functional drunk or often the comic relief when he is drunk. The character is hard to adapt these days but its like Spielberg didn’t want to make the Captain anymore politically correct. And I admire his resistance.

The Herge sense of humor is all over this film. I am not sure if Western audiences will understand the beauty of it but we will see. The film was a little slow in parts for me. But once it got started with the high adventure I was hooked.

The sequel has already been greenlit since the movie has already made over $300 million overseas. Peter Jackson is tentatively slated to direct the second film and it will be an adaptation of Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun.

3.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

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