Thursday, December 22, 2011


Written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig

Tintin: How’s your thirst for adventure, Captain?
Captain Haddock: Unquenchable, Tintin.

When I was a kid, I abhorred the series of Tintin book. I found them to be tedious and terribly dull. And so when it was announced that the Belgian books would be adapted into a film, I was less than enthused. The involvement of director, Steven Spielberg, helped some but it wasn’t until I first saw the trailer for THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN that I ever even imagined it might actually be a lot of fun. No offense to Hergé, the author of over 20 Tintin adventures, or the millions of fans the world over who adore this adorable character, but after seeing Spielberg bring his particular brand of awe to the tale, I feel that all Tintin needed all along was a little bit of that good old movie magic to bring him to life. I’m not sure if that makes this an authentic adaptation but I think I prefer it this way.

Spielberg chooses to tell Tintin’s story with motion capture, 3D animation instead of the traditional hand drawn animation that would have been more loyal to its origins. This is actually Spielberg’s first crack at directing an animated film and to see it begs the question, why did he ever wait this long? Not only is the aesthetic richly detailed but his imagination is boundless in this limitless format. He can go anywhere he pleases and he most certainly does. Whether that finds our hero zip lining through a crowded marketplace on the handles of a motorbike or flying a plane through the clouds in the middle of a violent lightning storm, the action is always exciting and lofty. Some of it is a bit far fetched at times but as outlandish as it can be, it never feels impossible and it is always a ton of fun.

Tintin, as portrayed underneath all that animation by the charming Jamie Bell, is a curious journalist hot on the trail of a missing treasure. His pursuit finds him crossing paths with a modern day pirate bent of beating him to it (Daniel Craig) and a sea captain who contains the key to solving the mystery (Andy Serkis). As a hero, Tintin is a delight. His good nature and inquisitive mind make him extremely likable to the point where, if I had hair, I would wear it with a cowlick right up front in honour of the great explorer. THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN is the Indiana Jones movie Spielberg should have made instead of that last one. It appeals directly to my all too often silent boyish exuberance and runs with that unencumbered spirit as high and as far as it can. It is vibrant and its energy is electric, allowing Tintin’s own wonder and amazement at his adventure to wash over us and become our own.

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