Bottom Line: Steven Spielberg makes a comic book movie. Who woulda thunk it?
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell
Intrepid animated story of Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell), a European journalist, and his adorable dog Snowy. Tintin buys a model of a ship called the Unicorn and decides to take it home, but almost immediately breaks it. Upon breaking it, he notices a scroll of parchment, which is one of three clues that will lead to the location of the actual ship. Later, Tintin is abducted and imprisoned by Sakharine (voiced by Daniel Craig), an evil man who tried to buy the model ship from him. Tintin meets the drunken Captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis), and the two set out to find the location of the Unicorn.
Steven Spielberg wouldn’t be the first person I’d associate with animated films, but with the way TINTIN was written, he was perfect for the directing role. Fans of his work who have seen every INDIANA JONES movie would agree. We have a few subtle but loving nods to that franchise here in this adaptation of the lovable Hergé comics. The motorcycle Tintin and Snowy ride in one scene look just like the one Indy and his father ride in LAST CRUSADE. The scene in which a knocked-out Tintin’s head gets a bit close to a plane propeller almost gets the same outcome that was the result of the propeller-cutting scene from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. There are a lot more, but his experience with that other series helps create adventurous escapism overall in TINTIN. It’s clear that his concentration on this fabulous project outweighed his stability with WAR HORSE last December; he directed both films, which hit theaters only four days apart from one another.
I wouldn’t say TINTIN was flawless, but it was highly entertaining. There weren’t many flaws that I did notice because I was so intrigued by the plot and so mesmerized by the beauty of this realistically animated motion capture piece. Maybe the only misstep that truly provided an impact on the film was the characters. The captain, especially, is annoying when he’s drunk, and even more when he is sober. His fantasies and hallucinations are ridiculous and hard to follow. I must give him a bit of applause, though, for the scene in which he starts a fire on a boat and tries to use whiskey to extinguish it. The scene, as with at least 75% of the film, had me smiling and chuckling. That said, this isn’t a must-see, but it’s fresh and fun for all ages.