I will try to make this review as un-biased as possible, but I do warn you that it won’t be easy. Many children for over 70 years have grown up reading the adventures of Tintin (or having them read to them) and will have fond memories of the boy hero’s adventures, and probably a soft spot for Snowy. So when Spielberg went into production on a film version I am sure many people would have been worried about what he will do with ‘their’ Tintin. Well everyone can relax, it’s most definitely in safe hands; The Adventures of Tintin is, um… Tintin-erific?
Only a true fan could have made this film and director Steven Spielberg completely indulges himself in the world of Tintin and Herge. He often keeps the shot wide or medium which lets the audience view and admire the beautifully animated landscapes and locations. Spielberg must have known the weight of expectation on his shoulders when making the movie, and he never diverts from Herge’s original M.O; adventure, mystery and thrilling action. If you’ve read our interview with Tintinologist Michael Farr, then you’ll know Herge (back in the day) named Spielberg as the man to bring Tintin to the big screen, and it’s done with a huge amount of love and passion.
The Adventures of Tintin is surely the pinnacle of motion capture, and Spielberg treats the technology like an over-excited child with a super 8 camera and a toy set; he fluidly moves the action across scenes and locations and the action set pieces are pure spectacle. In a scene in which Captain Haddock recounts the story of the Unicorn, Spielberg cuts the action between Haddock recounting the story and the actual events in the past. The frame whizzes around at high speeds and cuts effortlessly between both locations, it’s stunning, and the action sequences on board the Unicorn are truly magical, I was in effing awe.
Screenwriters Moffat, Wright and Cornish have freely taken story points from across the Tintin volumes and have created a patchwork quilt of a script, which perfectly matches up to any Herge story. The cast all fill their roles well, and the animators have done a great job re-creating the characters on screen. When it comes to Tintin himself, considering that Herge’s drawings of the boy hero lacked any great amount of detail surrounding his facial features, I thought he looked pretty good in the film. Pegg and Frost also shine as Thompson and Thomson, and Andy Serkis is brilliant barging his way across the scene as Captain Haddock (even if his accent does sometimes drop).
The Adventures of Tintin starts not with a shot of the hero himself, but brilliantly begins with a shot of his creator Herge drawing a portrait of Tintin in a busy market square. The film is littered with little in jokes and trivia, and I will need to see the film again to catch them all. Tintin is pure old school fun, full off adventure, mystery and action. I already know when I will be seeing the film again upon its release, and I cannot wait.