The Adventures of Tintin is essentially director Stephen Spielberg’s latest Indiana Jones sequel, and we’re not talking about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull here.
We join the beloved French comic character Tintin (Jamie Bell) as he and his dog plunge unwittingly into a quest for treasure that will lead to violent clashes with the villain Sakharine (Daniel Craig). Along the way he is joined by the perpetually drunk Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) and the dim-witted but trustworthy Thompson twins (Simon Pegg & Nick Frost). Written by Stephen Moffat (Doctor Who) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), The Adventures of Tintin features a fairly straightforward plot that moves at a brisk pace and is peppered with all the witty and charming dialog you could wish for.
As the two parties quarrel over the items needed to find the treasure the entire story plays out as an extended chase sequence with occasional breaks for exposition and comedy. The hunt for the required objects mostly serves as an excuse to bring the cast to a variety of unique environments to sprint through and partially demolish, but the energy and pacing never made me feel like I was following some contrived sequence such as the one in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The biggest criticism that I can give The Adventures of Tintin is that there are points where the action becomes overwhelming. A chase will occasionally drag on for too long or follow so closely after another that it causes the mind to shut off and the eyes to glaze over.
One of the major draws for this film is its remarkable use of motion capture technology in the animation of the characters. Many films such as The Polar Express and Mars Needs Moms have used similar methods in the past but the results dove head first into the uncanney valley with characters that ranged from plastic to creepy. The Adventures of Tintin solves this by exagerrating facial features in a manner that ironically makes the characters feel more human. This emphasizes the fact that moving like a real person is always more important than looking like a real person.
Any fan of adventure movies should take the time to check this movie out. It’s a clear return to form for Indiana Jones era Speilberg and a well made film that should appeal to most audiences. In my previous review I begrundgingly said that Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows functioned well as a silly popcorn movie, but that is a backhanded compliment that I would like to withdraw altogether. The very few things that A Game of Shadows did well The Adventures of Tintin does better.
Recent Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows