Greetings again from the darkness. Not that I am hoping for marital strife, but I like it when Steven Spielberg wants to get out of the house, especially when he joins forces with Peter Jackson (serving here as Producer). This year he has delivered awards contender War Horse and this crowd pleasing motion-capture animation film (also) for the whole family. If you are unfamiliar with Tintin, it is a long-running, extremely popular European comic series by Herge’, who passed away in 1983. This is Planes, Trains and Automobiles … plus Ships, Rowboats, Motorcycles, Zip lines and just about every other form of transportation that comes to mind.
Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) is an investigative newspaper reporter who looks 14, but clearly isn’t. He lives on his own, travels the world and is treated as an adult by those with whom he crosses paths. There is an early scene where Tintin is sitting for a local artist and the resulting portrait is an exact replica of his simple look in the comic series. Tintin has a trusty sidekick … his genius little dog, Snowy. Together they go on adventures that Indiana Jones can only dream about! This particular story focuses on the hunt for the lost Haddock family treasure. Tintin literally stumbles into the drunken sea Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) who is more concerned with his next swig of whiskey than the the fact that he has been kidnapped by the bad guy Rackham/Sakharine (Daniel Craig). This bad guy has unlocked the mystery location of all the clues to the lost treasure and needs Captain Haddock for the final step. Unfortunately for him, Tintin and Snowy get in the way and try their darndest to stop him.
The action sequences are amongst the most exciting and thrill-packed that you will ever see. They look like “Jonny Quest” on steroids. The story is quite convoluted and complicated, and small kids will be totally lost on exactly WHY the characters do what they do. But it won’t much matter, because the visuals of each scene are captivating. There are even a couple of Interpol agents on the trail … Thompson and Thomson (voiced by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, respectively). Expect many site gags tossed in to offset the breakneck pace of the globe-trotting adventures.
Spielberg has always done nice work when he can go after a kid’s imagination – even big kids like me. The look of this movie is pretty amazing, especially when compared to 2004’s The Polar Express. If you doubt how far technology has come, look at these two side by side. Many of the characters here are as close to lifelike as we have seen – check out the skin and facial contours of Captain Haddock and Sackharine. Wow. Herge’ creation is given script work here by Steven Moffatt, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish. The great John Williams provides the score. This is one you can bring the kids to and all will enjoy.
SEE THIS MOVIE IF: you are fan of animated family fun with loads of action OR you just want to see how far motion-capture technology has come
SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: to you, Indiana Jones is the be all and end all of action heroes in the movies OR you refuse to get props to anything with French origins
watch the trailer: