DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
May Contain Spoilers!
Opening with a similar joke to the marionette gag from Team America: World Police (2004), the first Adventure Of Tintin begins its adventure in Belgium. We meet our intrepid reporter, Tintin (Jamie Bell), as he stumbles upon a replica ship which is also coveted by another collector (Daniel Craig).
But the ship, The Unicorn, holds a secret which will drive the adventures across Europe and North Africa. Written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, the film actually begins with a title sequence not dissimilar from Catch Me If You Can (2003) and the overall tone is that of the early Spielberg films, namely the light-hearted adventures of Indiana Jones. Only this isn’t Indiana Jones and it lacks the spark which made that work so well.
The fast pacing plays well for the animation style, with is clearly the most advanced motion-capture animation that I’ve ever seen. The world is expansive and real, whilst the animation plays well into the style of Herge’s source material, but it’s also quite hollow. And with the hollow performances comes a hollow script and one which tries to pass off plot hole after plot hole with the “oh that doesn’t matter, it’s an adventure” excuse. The story is in many ways, ludicrous with character motivations and actions with make little sense but it is fun, enjoyable and light on its feet.
I saw this in 2D and the 3D direction was clear and effective but if this film required 3D for it to work, then it would have been weak, but luckily it didn’t. It is a glossy, surface work, with little subtext to note but considering that I hated Tintin before this, Spielberg and Peter Jackson have a done a great job of making the dated Belgium reporter more palatable.
Technically brilliant but technical achievements won’t make a great film, but they can break one. The problem is though, that I’m not sure if there was any way of doing this well. Tintin is a unpalatable character for a modern audience and animation is the way to go and with Spielberg behind this, people will watch, but it’s a tough sell and one which I’m not completely won over by. This outing of Tintin was good fun and I would call it a success but am I clambering for number 2? No, not really.