"The Adventures of Tintin"
Release Date: Dec. 21, 2011
Running Time: 107 minutes
So what if Tintin is something of an unknown quantity in the United States? With The Adventures of Tintin, director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson introduce the daring young reporter to U.S. audiences in rip-roaring Raiders of the Lost Ark-ish fashion. Rather than adapt one of the comic books written and illustrated by Hergé, Spielberg, Jackson and their screenwriters seamlessly combine three of Tintin’s most enduring tales, The Crab With the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, and Red Rackham’s Treasure. The resulting performance-capture 3D epic pairs Tintin for the first time with his closest ally, the crusty Captain Haddock. Along with Tintin’s faithful dog Snowy, they span the globe in search of the treasure that sank with the Unicorn, a 17th-century ship that was under the command of Sir Francis Haddock before it was attacked by the pirate Red Rackham. The dastardly Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine also wants to get his grubby hands on the treasure by hook or by crook. The director of the Indiana Jones franchise perfectly captures the Saturday morning matinee spirit of the Tintin comic books. Sure, he barely lets us breathe between eye-popping set-pieces, but that only ensures there’s never a dull moment to be found in this treasure hunt. A white-knuckled car chase down the streets of a fictional Moroccan port town ranks among one of the best action sequences ever executed by Spielberg. Taking the animated route clearly allows Spielberg the freedom he needs to recreate the action that is a trademark of theTintin comic books. That said it’s not like Spielberg intends to duplicate Hergé’s charmingly plain style of drawing (although there is a witty nod to it at the start of the film). For example, although he’s portrayed with unbridled enthusiasm by Billy Elliot’s Jamie Bell, Spielberg’s Tintin unintentionally resembles a Doogie Hoswer-era Neil Patrick Harris. Luckily, Haddock looks like the Haddock Tintin fans know and love, and he’s played with boozy bluster by that master of performance capture, Andy Serkis. Back in the late 1980s, Spielberg wanted to make Tintin with Jack Nicholson as Haddock. Great snakes—it’s harder to imagine Nicholson as the rum-soaked seafarer than it is Spielberg pulling off a live-action Tintin. Having fulfilled his decades-long dream of making Tintin, Spielberg will hand off the proposed sequel to Peter Jackson after he finishes The Hobbit. If anyone can make Tintin’s next adventure as thrilling as his first, it’s Jackson.
Aired: Dec. 22, 2011
Web site: http://www.us.movie.tintin.com/