“The Adventures of Tintin” Movie Review


     Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson collaborate in the very entertaining "The Adventures of Tintin", a motion capture spectacle that had me wondering how much longer we will need actors to continue performing on screen.  The film features performances by Jamie Bell and the ever dependable motion capture journeyman Andy Serkis (Gollum from "Lord of the Rings" and Caesar from "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"). Like "Avatar", the characters have been dropped into an imaginative world full of color and depth.  I viewed the 2D version and was blown away by the picture and there were likely many scenes which would have looked great in the 3D version of the film.

     If your not familiar with the "Tintin" character, neither was I, he was created by  Belgian artist Herge' and I am told he is as popular in Europe as Superman is here in the U.S.. The film was actually released in Europe weeks ago and to date has amassed nearly $300 million in box office.  As a new product here, Tintin likely has a tough go with American audiences, as it is a new commodity to most.  You have to figure Spielberg and Jackson were banking on Europe to anchor the film's success and then would rely on a solid marketing campaign to bring in new fans.  Seeing anything having to do with the Tintin character for the first time, you can count me in as pleasantly surprised.

     Early in the film, Tintin, a young and popular investigative reporter, buys a model of a pirate ship from a street vendor.  He is immediately confronted by the evil Mr. Sakharine, who offers to pay him double what he just paid for the ship.  Tintin refuses the offer and politely walks away.  After a daring escape from a kidnap attempt, Tintin meets a drunken ship master named Captain Haddock who tells him a story about an ancestor of his who has hidden the location of lost treasure by way of three scrolls found in three models of a pirate ship called the Unicorn.  One of the models is the one Tintin buys at the beginning of the film and Sakharine has the second scroll.  The third is  possessed by a sheik in Morrocco where the film's plot centers around a race between the two adversaries to get the third and final scroll.

     With what ensues on screen, I have to figure George Lucas would be proud as Tintin plays kind of like a young "Indiana Jones".  He hops the globe by way of ship and plane, always in some sort of peril from the goons sent to obtain the scroll he has in his possession.  When on land there are exciting car and motorcycle chases as well as gun battles.  Perhaps you thought Tintin was a non violent sort of film and you'd be wrong. There are intense sword and hand to hand fights and Tintin himself even totes a gun.  The film only goes to a "PG" level though and is suitable for kids of all ages, but adults will have a good time too.  Spielberg has created a new visual world and the Tintin character thrives throughout the film in Spielberg's signature action style.

     It remains to be seen whether or not The Adventure of Tintin will catch on in America and become an icon the way it has in Europe.  They couldn't have picked two better filmmakers to bring Tintin to the screen, as the results are typical of their works of the past.  Barring the success of this entry, it is my understanding that Jackson will direct the second installment with Spielberg taking on the producing chores.  American audiences are always slow to embrace new characters, especially when they're foreign, but if anyone can make Tintin into a franchise it's Spielberg.  There is likely no one better in the art of storytelling. GRADE: B