It’s taken me a month to get the theater to check out the first of two movies Mr. Spielberg has out right now. Despite the credits reading like a who’s who of my favorite storytellers (Peter Jackson, Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright), I was only somewhat interested in the story but very interested in the animation.
The Basics: Based on a Belgian comic book series popular during the 1930′s, the story follows the many adventures of its title character, Tintin (that’s pretty much what it says) an intrepid young reporter.
What I Liked: The animation did not disappoint. The very first frame looked so photo-real that for a split second, I thought maybe there was short before the feature. CG animation has come a long way in the last decade or so. I remember being fascinated by Sully’s fur in Monsters Inc. But getting skin tone and texture has still been lagging and human characters often seem dead-eyed. Well, not anymore. Despite these characters looking like the cartoons they were based on, they are amazingly real; Tintin and Captain Haddock especially. Tintin, played by Jamie Bell, is a really amazing performance. Some of his movements and emotions are so subtle; it’s really astounding. And Captain Haddock, played by King of All Motion Capture Andy Serkis, completely reminds me of Tommy Lee Jones.
It’s easy to see how this story captured Spielberg’s love of 30s and 40s serials. It has the same sort of innocent adventurous feel as Raiders of the Lost Ark. And it’s great to see what Spielberg does with a camera when there are no physical obstacles. Some of the shots during the action sequences are dizzying!
What I Didn’t Like: You can tell that the filmmakers were trying to capture the spirit of a 1930′s comic while trying to update some aspects, but not everything translates to the modern world. The bumbling twin-like detectives, played by Brilliant Comic Bromancers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, just come across as silly. And there are more than a few extremely convenient plot contrivances. Several times I found myself thinking, “Really, it’s that easy?”
Bottom Line: Not completely up to standards for the filmmaking gods behind it but still very much worth a trip to the theater (and worth the 3D glasses – I don’t often say that). Give your child-like spirit a night at the movies!