The Adventures of Tintin (PG)

Action/Adventure 101 December 21, 2011
By Nick Pinkerton
Steven Spielberg's motion-captured, 3-D The Adventures of Tintin rolls together plot elements from three comic-book adventures starring Belgian artist Herge's intrepid boy reporter, Tintin, first introduced in 1929 and one of the all-time most iconographic characters in comic art. After stumbling across a mysterious clue in a model ship, Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) bands together with the brawling, bibulous Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) to assemble directions that lead to a sunken treasure. They're trying to get there ahead of the nefarious Ivan Sakharine (Daniel Craig), whose pirate forebear once tried to lift the booty from Haddock's ancestor. "Some things are easily lost," repeats Tintin in one scene; he's contemplating his latest mystery, but the line could be a critique of his latest outing. This is illustrated at the start of Adventures, as the new Tintin — created by producer Peter Jackson's Weta Digital effects team with every hair in his quaff articulated — is placed alongside the character as drawn by Herge. The contrast between niggling photorealism and Herge's light, crisp line is shocking — and not favorable to Spielberg's opulence. But if Adventures, in its complete artifice, has sacrificed simple wonderment, it also takes advantage of the capacity for unchained camerawork created by today's platoons of CG technicians. Adventures is an awesome movie mechanism, but that awe comes at a cost. It's doubtful that this fading of charm will be noticed when the movie is in riotous, reeling motion — but just as doubtful that Spielberg's Tintin will displace Herge's once the free fall stops.
Steven Spielberg Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Gad Elmaleh, Toby Jones, Mackenzie Crook, Sebastian Roché Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Hergé Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg Paramount

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