The Adventures of Tintin (PG) C+
"The Adventures of Tintin" is a motion-capture animation film, based on the comics/graphic novels and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. If you're a big fan of the Tintin character and you enjoy action/adventures films such as Spielberg's "Indiana Jones" series then you'll love "Tintin". If not, there's still enough here to give it a mild recommendation.
Tintin (played by Jamie Bell) is a teenage newspaper reporter who investigates mysteries. At the beginning of the film Tintin buys a model ship, that suddenly everyone wants. The ship gets stolen from Tintin's apartment, but the valuable item inside the model is left behind. Tintin and his dog Snowy set out to learn the secret of the ship, named The Unicorn (thus the original title of the film: "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn". Good decision by the studio to use the shorter name).
Tintin and Snowy are kidnapped and end up on a ship, where they meet-up with Haddock, the ship's captain (played by the king of all motion-capture actors - Andy Serkis), who's also behind held captive. They soon learn that there are more than one miniature of The Unicorn and why these models are so valuable. These three team-up to solve the mystery and beat the evil Mr. Sakharine (Daniel Craig) to a lost treasure.
"Tintin" is high-energy, non-stop action from the first scene to the final frame. Whether or not you think this style is exciting or exhausting will pretty much determine whether or not you enjoy the movie. Diehards of the Tintin stories and of this genre will be thrilled. For me the pacing is over-the-top and after a while I became numb from chase scene after chase scene.
On the technical side, the film is well done. The motion-capture is very realistic, especially with the human faces, which can be tricky. Except, unfortunately, with Tintin's face, which is a bit of a problem because he's in practically every scene. The creators made his eyes bug-out too much, and he hardly ever blinks. This makes him look creepy and blank. I find it hard to believe that this was done on purpose, but the fact that they couldn't get the main character's eye right is somewhat shocking.
The Spielberg touches are everywhere. Along with the very detailed chase sequences there are some great transition shots and creative dissolves between scenes. There's a good amount of slapstick comedy in the script, and some comic-relief characters - a pair of bumbling British detectives (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost). And snowy the dog is not only cute, but he plays a key role as Tintin's sidekick.
"The Adventures of Tintin" is rated PG for the action violence, brief scenes of smoking and the fact that Haddock is drunk a great deal of the time. It's appropriate for kids 10 and up, but I'm not sure that kids who aren't familiar with the books will find this an adventure they'll enjoy.
On "The Official L-C-J Report Card", "The Adventures of Tintin" gets a C+. It got a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animated feature but was ignored by the Academy Awards because officials don't consider motion-capture true animation, and neither do I.
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