The Adventures of Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin

What She said:


So, where do I begin?  The Adventures of Tintin is a Steven Spielberg directed caper about a boy-genius journalist whose sense of curiosity gets him wrapped up in a wild adventure.  There’s lots and lots of action, and some pleasing jokes.  Snowy, Tintin’s little dog, is adorable as well.

And then there are all the negatives to this movie.  It’s action, action, action, with a surprisingly weak plotline to support it all.  The film is basically fight sequence after fight sequence, with a very loose link to pull them all together.  That’s not to say there’s not a story.  It’s just that the plot is a bit thin in that the viewer is consistently being told “and then this happens, and then we travel here, and then these two fight, and this is why you will care,” rather than setting things up properly and letting those watching realize why things are happening the way they are, or even why they care. 

We receive very little background on the character of Tintin other than that he’s a boy-wonder, and that’s conveyed simply by showing some newspaper clippings praising him.  I became distracted by wondering how old he really was, where his parents were, and if it was cool for him to be carrying a gun.  The supporting character, Caption Haddock, is at times just downright annoying.  I know he’s meant to be comic relief, but really people, alcoholism is rarely funny anymore.  As an aside, this is the second time in three days that I’ve seen people act like excessive drinking is comical.  Perhaps I’m a killjoy, but watching Caption Haddock experience hallucination inducing withdraw was not the light humor I’d expect from a kid’s movie.  Perhaps it’s dark comedy, but I didn’t see Wes Anderson listed in the credits.

With a storyline that doesn’t really captivate and characters that you don’t care about, The Adventures of Tintin actually becomes a bit boring.  Action by itself isn’t going to keep the viewer engaged and that’s where this fails.  On an upside, visually the movie is pretty memorable.  Spielberg used that motion capture animation, circa, The Polar Express, and it’s come a very long way since that dud of a movie was made.  The detail in the characters’ faces is downright creepy at times, and their body movements are genuine and seamless, and so it becomes easy to forget you’re watching an animated film.  The only thing I really find perplexing about this type of animation is why they don’t just do a live action film.  I guess it’s because animation appeals more to children, their core audience. 

Anyway, I cannot hide the fact that I was disappointed in this film.  I had higher expectations than this from Spielberg.  I know some will disagree.

Thumbs mostly down.

What he said:


For quite some time now, video games have been coming out with movie-quality animation. I’m not talking about the gameplay itself, but rather the scenes show in between it. I have longed for a day where someone started making animated movies that look like this, this, or this. These things are freaking epic! There are a whole lot of nerds out there who would hand over cash to see a legitimate cartoon for grownups.

So, when I heard about this action/adventure cartoon The Adventures of Tintin, I was super excited. The trailer looked great. I was envisioning something along the lines of The Hardy Boys meets Indiana Jones.

Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) is something of a boy wonder. They never really say exactly how old he is, but the general idea is the kid’s an overachiever. He’s super smart, a successful investigative reporter, and quick on his feet to boot. This film finds him on his latest adventure (you get the feeling he’s been on a few) when he finds an old miniature ship. He sees it for sale at a sidewalk sale and is immediately drawn to it, but the second he snatches it up he is taken for one hell of a ride. Mystery, adventure, danger are all a part of this journey. What is this ship and why do people want it so badly?

Along for the ride are his little dog Snowy and newfound partner Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). Snowy is quite resourceful, to whereas Haddock is something of a bumbling fool; mostly because he’s drunk 95% of the time.

Here I was primed and ready to like this movie, only I didn’t. It started off ok, but quickly went downhill for it for me. Minus a few early jokes, most of them flopped. They simply didn’t amuse me. It was the definition of that guy/gal we all know who tries too hard.

And the action? Surprisingly, I found it quite boring. It was one boring action scene after another and there’s nothing worse to me than something that is supposed to be exciting and isn’t. I didn’t find it compelling at all. I was not on the edge of my seat wanting more. In fact, I just wanted it to be over after a certain point. It was one loud, boring, action scene after another.
I was actually shocked by how much I disliked it. The Adventures of Tintin is based on an old comic, so it’s supposed to mimic an old adventure story. But when it came right down to it, I was bored out of my mind while watching this. Big and loud doesn’t always translate into entertaining.

Also, you know how sometimes the kid is the annoying character everyone wishes would just shut up? Well in this, it’s the opposite. Captain Haddock was awfully annoying. They couldn’t have shoved his obnoxious mug in your face any more if they wanted to. I know I was supposed to think of him as a bumbling idiot with heart, but I merely thought of him as a bumbling idiot. The two character voiced by Nick Frost and Simon Peg were no better. I actually cringed whenever they appeared on screen.

The one good thing I will say about this movie is that it looks fantastic. That’s about all I’ve got to say about it on the positive side though.

Rating: Thumbs down.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on March 19, 2012.