by the Belgian comic artist, Hergť, the character
of Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy have amassed an enormous and
devoted following across the globe. European fans have devoured his
adventures since 1929. Counted amongst Tintinís admirers is legendary
director Steven Spielberg, who takes the opportunity by way of cutting
edge technology to bring his childhood hero to the big screen.
an aspiring journalist, has a nose for both a scoop and for trouble.
When the young man buys a model ship at an outdoor market, he canít
predict the secret hiding inside the toy; one that will lead him and his
intrepid canine pal, Snowy, on a high-stakes, action-packed mystery.
The scroll tucked inside the model of the ship called the Unicorn is
coveted by our filmís bad guy, Sakharine, who possesses one of the
scrolls, but needs Tintinís and a third located in Morocco to lead him
to hidden treasure. Sakharine shanghais Tintin and Snowy and dumps them
onboard a boat steered by a permanently intoxicated captain. Forced to
swill liquor by the evil Sakharine, Captain Haddock is too snozzled to
remember the great ancestral line he hails from. Itís that lineage that
plays a part in the search for the scrolls as it is Haddockís ancestors
who hid the treasure in the first place. The captain and the cub
reporter join forces to try to keep the scrolls out of Sakharineís hands
and return the treasure to the Haddock family.
repetitive and obnoxious, Tintin is sensory overload thatís somehow
blindingly dull. I walked into the cinema with very little clue as to
who exactly Tintin was and left the movie exactly the same way. Donít
look for any character development here, folks, cos it ainít happening.
Spielberg expects his audience to already be as clued in as he about
the ginger lad with the towering hair wall. In Europe, the popularity
of Tintin is such that his tales have been adapted into nearly every
medium; comic books, radio shows, live action movies, even stage plays.
In the United States, however, Tintin was no Charlie Brown or Archie,
not even a Beetle Bailey. Appearing on these shores mostly as a feature
in a Jack and Jill-type monthly childrenís story anthology that ceased
publication in the mid-1970ís, for many Americans, Tintin is simply not
a household name. There needed to be some background: Why does this
young fellow live alone with just a clever terrier for company? Why
does everyone in the streets know who he is? Whatís with the hair
wall? As an uninitiated viewer, I felt like Iíd been dropped into the
middle of a story long in progress. Having missed the main characterís
exposition left me with no reason to care about him as his personality
isnít exactly the most charismatic.
When the film becomes more about
the recovery of Captain HaddockĎs family name and treasure, I found
myself bored, as well. Haddockís continual screw-ups, moaning, and
bleary, drunken escapades grew extremely thin very fast. A lot of the
Indiana Jones-style, swashbuckling action repeats itself rather unthrillingly, occurring in a vacuum of constant momentum so unimpeded
by an involving narrative, that the onslaught of big explosions and
heaps of destruction are strangely unaffecting. Spielberg chose to make
this film in the performance capture medium; animating over his actorís
movements. It seemed a lot of effort for a not great result. Though
nowhere as creepy as The Polar Express, this computer-generated
animation (provided by producer Peter Jacksonís Weta Digital effects
house) still has that similarly off-putting photo-realism with
stiff, waxy-ish features and glassy eyes on its characters. If he
hadnít intended to make a full-on live-action feature, I have no idea
why the director didnít simply opt for the original Hergť character
designs; taking those charming, flat drawings into 3D. For as
rich-looking texturally as the animation is, there seemed to be no point
to filming the movie in this way, and for all the expense, everything
still looks terribly ordinary and forgettable.
In contrast to
Hergťís signature, gloriously clean drawing
style, things in this version seemed packed in, convoluted and
Aesthetic grievances aside, ultimately, no amount of CGI razzle-dazzle
is going to substitute for a shallow script. Creating such a callow,
strident version of this beloved comic reduces it to being just another
noisy cartoon thatís loud enough to keep the kiddies glued to their
seats due to the barrage of onscreen overstimulation, but itís not doing
a thing to help them cherish the characters. With an introduction by
Steven Spielberg, I looked forward to discovering what so much of the
world adored about this comic book legend and his friends, but after
watching The Adventures of Tintin, Iíll let the world keep him.
Lady Miz Diva
December 21st, 2011
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