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The Adventures of Tintin

December 26, 2011

Tintin: We’ve got bad news. We’ve only got one bullet.
Captain Haddock: What’s the good news?
Tintin: We’ve got one bullet.

Based on The Adventures of Tintin comics by Hergé, comes the big screen adaption helmed by none other than the mighty duo of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson; which is most likely the coolest collaboration since Tarantino and Rodriguez. Using some of the more advanced technology in motion-capture with a mix of CGI, it is at times difficult to see the distinction between live-action and animation. While there is a good amount of fun to behold here, it is blatantly obvious that the film could have benefitted from a more sophisticated script and less slapstick humor. Regardless, I did have a reasonable amount of funfun with Tintin.

I was only marginally familiar with Hergé’s original The Adventure of Tintin comic books, so I was going into this film fairly fresh. Normally, it is preferable to go into a film neotric; however, in this case, going in dissimilar is a conspicuously impulsive action. In fact, the only pun tied to the source material I was able to comprehend was the 2-D caricature of Tintin near the film’s prime. There is a reasonable explanation for my ranting; the character of Tintin is much more well-recognized internationally; just look at the comparison between box offices. Having said that, The Adventures of Tintin edges towards more faithful fans of Hergé’s original source material.

While I planned to discuss the 3-D in this film, they replaced the IMAX 3-D theater with Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (you can find my review HERE). So I had to watch this in good old-fashioned 2-D. Needless to say (yet I can’t say for certain), I’m pretty sure the 3-D would have been useless, aside from the obvious “sword slicing” and “finger poking” that is inserted into nearly every 3-D movie to show the audience that this was not a complete waste. To be frank, I’m quite pleased that I chose to see this in regular form rather than tampered form. This brings me to my next subject; the animation.

To call the animation in this film lavish seems like a trite aspersion at this juncture. I am unmitigatedly gratified to be classifying The Adventures of Tintin as the best animated feature film of the year outside of the Pixar-realm. This is not Dreamworks animation, nor is it a Tim Burton-esque claymation bijou. This is Nickelodeon, folks. This is actually Nickelodeon’s second successful outing in the animation market this year, first being the awe-inspiring Rango. Much like Rango, Tintin used the same motion capture technology; so this isn’t completely animation, but it is undeniably impressive nonetheless. Going hand-in-hand with the delightful animation are the invigorating sequences involved. One luxurious sequence in particular caught my attention, which was a single-take chase that lasted a few minutes, taking place in a large town in Eastern Europe. That entire sequence was wonderfully rendered and managed to keep me on the edge of my seat.

A few months back at Comic-Con, Spielberg and Jackson joined together on stage to introduce the Tintin panel. During so, we were treated to a number of clips and an unreleased theatrical trailer (all in 3-D, if I may add). These two filmmakers are very much legends in the film industry. Spielberg has showered us with classics including Jaws, Indiana Jones, and the insufferably resplendent Jurassic Park franchise. Peter Jackson is in many aspects the Spielberg of our generation. Jackson has supplemented us all three Lord of the Rings films, the King Kong remake, and the upcoming Hobbit films. These two visionaries collaborating side-by-side seemed like a commendable idea on paper, yet doesn’t have an abundantly exquisite purpose due to the lack of originality involved.

It’s not as if there was anything painstakingly dreadful crowding this collaboration, it simply lacked much confidence throughout that had no implication that this is a Spielberg or Jackson film (despite a majestic score from John Williams). The script was written by Steven Moffa and Attack the Block scribes Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright; so you can imagine that my expectations were undoubtedly high pertaining to the writing portion of this film. To my astonishment, I found the script quite uneventful and gives the film a premature climax that leaves the film open for multiple sequels, yet feels like the film is being somewhat rushed with a continuously chipper tone which embezzles much of the film’s likable aspects. A fine example includes the uneven, unexplained, and unneeded storyline involving a pick-pocket. Another aspect utilized incorrectly was the constant use of unnecessary slapstick humor which was deliberately added to please those who cannot comprehend a straightforward adventure flick. 

The acting is bang-up here. Let me reiterate that all of this was done with state of the art motion capture technology, so it wasn’t consistent solely of voiceovers, it’s the real deal. Having not read the older Tintin comics, I can only imagine that Jamie Bell’s uncanny performance was uncontrollably faithful based on his constant usage of cliché-ridden dialogue that would stem from a 1920s sitcom. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are robbed of screen time in their portrayal of the Thompson twins. They receive around five minutes total of screen time. What’s up with that?

Andy Serkis delivers yet another grotesque (for the sake of the character) motion capture performance, first being in Lord of the Rings, than Rise of the Planet of the Apes. At the rate he is going, he could change the future of filmmaking as we know it! Another notable supporter is Daniel Craig as the films devious antagonist. Craig does well in his given role, much like any role he’s given (dude’s a star, what can I say). Craig’s mainstream acting status consists of portraying protagonists, and it is nice to see a little switcheroo here. 

Nothing substantially important; The Adventures of Tintin is funfun for a watchwatch.

The Adventures of Tintin: 3.5 out of 5

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