Finally, Steven Spielberg has returned! After a massive misstep with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull he has returned with the incredibly fun The Adventures of Tintin. Tintin is a blast to watch, full of action and adventure. It’s a globetrotting film that starts in one place and ends in the next, always keeping you invested in the characters and where they’ll end up. It’s not groundbreaking or revolutionary in terms of the story it’s telling, but it’s a return to true form for director Steven Spielberg and it’s one that can be thoroughly enjoyed by both children and adults.
Tintin (Jamie Bell) is a young reporter who is eager and determined for the next exciting story. He’s armed with his magnifying glass and trusty sidekick dog Snowy, who acts as a strong companion where most films would cash in for cheesy, but cute jokes at a dogs expense. After purchasing a replica boat of the Unicorn Tintin is immediately approached by a shady character named Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig), who wants to buy the boat at all costs. Tintin politely declines and heads home, despite various warnings from worried onlookers.
His apartment gets ransacked and his boat gets stolen. Tintin goes to Sakharine in search for the boat, but leaves with only more pieces of this mysterious puzzle. Tintin’s boat contains a clue to a lost treasure. After doing a bit of detective work Tintin discovers this and realizes that Sakharine took the boat, but not the clue, which fell out at his apartment and is now in Tintin’s wallet.
He sets out after Sakharine, hoping to get aboard his ship and beat him to the ultimate treasure. Along the way Tintin runs into Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), the most important part of the whole treasure. Haddock’s ancestor Sir Francis Haddock hid the treasure and the story of its location was passed down from generations. Haddock once heard the story, but after years of heavy drinking he’s forgotten everything about it. Tintin must help Haddock regain his memory and find the treasure while avoiding death by Sakharine and his crew of thugs.
The Adventures of Tintin is a classic Spielberg film that no one knew Spielberg still had in him. Its Uncharted meets Indiana Jones, the perfect adventure story that keeps you at the edge of your seat while amazing you with impressive sequences and visuals. The film starts out slow, but picks up almost instantly. Once it picks up it never really stops until the ending credits. It’s your familiar adventure story that involves a very likeable lead, voiced by Jamie Bell and his idiot side kick, voiced by Andy Serkis. To top it all off you have Daniel Craig voicing the repulsive villain who shows not one redeemable trait.
Bell’s Tintin is your straight forward Indy character. He’s always looking for an adventure and he’s not afraid to take risks if it means getting a good story. Helping him out is Haddock, the drunken ship captain that makes for most of the laughs. Serkis proves again that he’s one of the best voice actors in the field today, making the bumbling idiot a blast to watch.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play Inspector Thompson and Thomson, two fools that help Tintin occasionally while adding some more laughter. Their bits are short and sweet, but fun and worthy of screen time.
Craig plays your usual slime ball. Sakharine is cold, sleazy and just unlikeable for the entire running time. His character never has a moment of clarity at the end, which is perfect for keeping the film rolling. Too often you see light adventures like this try and become a little deeper, which results in losing the audience because of character over-complications.
The true stars of the film are the action sequences. Spielberg takes full advantage of the animation and 3D, giving some of the most impressive sequences to date. He connects dozens of moments that would have been impossible in a live-action film. Tintin goes from riding a motorcycle, to fighting on a building, to flying in the air in a matter of seconds and it feels very fluid and never too silly or over-the-top.
Often times the animation is so clear and detailed you’ll forget it’s not real. Shadows work real well in the film and the bright and exotic locations help give it more than enough visual pop. Tintin is a very colorful film that still manages to keep a realistic tone and look. Character models are over-exaggerated in certain parts like noses and body figure, but other than that it looks very real.
The writing is also very clever and enjoyable. Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) helped pen the script and it’s very easy to spot some of their British humor.
The Adventures of Tintin isn’t a complex film by any means, but it’s so damn entertaining. It feels like a product of the 80’s and not a spoof of them. Steven Spielberg understands that not all films need to be grounded, realistic and full of action to be considered fun and entertaining. Sometimes you can get by with an engaging story that feel’s familiar. Tintin is a light film that’s not afraid to toss in some jokes in between lengthy action sequences. Each action sequence manages to outdo the last, which is a very strong compliment considering all of the stuff that happens in the film. There are airplane chases, boat fights, motorcycle chases and much much more.
Also, for a children’s film Tintin is very adult oriented. There’s a fair share of blood and gun play to keep most adults entertained and even I wondered how it got away with a PG rating. Tintin is very much an adult character that faces adult dilemmas and it’s great to see Spielberg being able to find that middle ground to relate the story to all ages.
The Adventures of Tintin is the perfect holiday film. It has a little bit of everything for everyone. Kids will be amazed by the visuals and simple story, parents will love reliving an Indiana Jones film with a new set of characters and everyone else will be in a state of enjoyment because of all the action and video game like visuals. The story establishes itself quick and the action and adventures take over from there. Bell, Serkis, Craig, Pegg and Frost all provide some fine voice work while Spielberg provides dazzling imagery and striking action sequences. It looks great in 3D and it’ll probably look even better on Blu-ray. Take your family, friends, kids or just yourself to this. It’s a popcorn flick that respects your intelligence and doesn’t sacrifice story for action; it equally has both!
The Adventures of Tintin – 8.5/10