ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Should I Watch..? The Adventures Of Tintin

Updated on June 28, 2018
Benjamin Cox profile image

Benjamin is a full-time carer and former volunteer DJ at his local hospital radio station. He has been reviewing films for over ten years.

Promotional poster for "The Adventures Of Tintin"
Promotional poster for "The Adventures Of Tintin" | Source

What's the big deal?

The Adventures Of Tintin (also known as The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn) is a CG animated family adventure movie released in 2011 and is based on the eponymous character created by Belgian artist Hergé. Directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson, the film stars Jamie Bell as Tintin and Andy Serkis as his companion Captain Haddock with both of them on the trail of a treasure hunter interested in Haddock's ancestors. Spielberg intended to make a live-action version but after consulting with Peter Jackson's WETA Digital company, the decision was made to make the entire film in CG. Despite a hefty budget of around $135 million, the film was a critical and commercial success with worldwide takings over $374 million. Despite enthusiasm for a sequel, no definitive plans exist at the moment.

Enjoyable

4 stars for The Adventures Of Tintin

What's it about?

Tintin, a renowned boy journalist, and his dog Snowy are browsing in a marketplace and come across an exquisite model of an old naval vessel, the Unicorn. Ignoring the desperate warnings from an American stranger not to buy it, Tintin buys the model ship and immediately has to fend off the offers from another stranger, Ivan Sakharine, to buy the ship. Intrigued as to why so many people want it, Tintin accidentally discovers a parchment concealed within the model ship's mast after it is stolen from his house.

While British detectives Thompson and Thomson are busy searching for a pickpocket who steals Tintin's wallet (with the parchment inside), Tintin is abducted by associates of Sakharine and placed on board the SS Karaboudjan. The ship's captain, Archibald Haddock, has suffered a mutiny and kept permanently drunk to prevent him from getting into mischief. But Tintin and Snowy are masters of mischief and realising that Haddock is key to solving the mystery of the Unicorn, Tintin comes up with a typically daring escape plan...

Trailer

Main Cast

Actor
Role
Jamie Bell
Tintin
Andy Serkis
Captain Haddock / Sir Francis Haddock
Daniel Craig
Ivan Sakharine / Red Rackham
Nick Frost
Thomson
Simon Pegg
Thompson
Toby Jones
Aristides Silk

Technical Info

Director
Steven Spielberg
Screenplay
Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish *
Running Time
107 minutes
Release Date (UK)
26th October, 2011
Genre
Animation, Adventure, Family, Mystery
Academy Award Nomination
Best Original Score
* based on the comic book series "The Adventures Of Tintin" by Hergé
The photorealistic animation is breath-taking at times with an astonishing level of detail
The photorealistic animation is breath-taking at times with an astonishing level of detail | Source

What's to like?

As a fond reader of Tintin adventures as a child, I'm delighted to say that the big screen adaptation is a welcome reminder of a more innocent kind of hero - one that doesn't rely on firearms, explosions and cheesy one-liners to defeat the bad guys. The same is kinda true in this film as Tintin relies on his wits, intelligence and occasionally supernatural reflexes and athleticism. Whatever, the resulting adventure is a globe-trotting expedition in the spirit of the original and is thoroughly enjoyable. The plot, a blend of themes and ideas from a few of Hergé's tales, provides a decent mystery for the audience to enjoy as well as much daring-do from the characters.

The animation, seemingly evolved from the 3D motion-capture process involved in The Polar Express, is a revelation - uncannily lifelike but brilliantly vibrant and bursting with colour, like the comics were. The animations are all brought to life by the cast - Bell is perfect as Tintin, retaining the character's boyish charm and enthusiasm while Serkis is unrecognisable as Captain Haddock beneath a very convincing Scottish accent. I must also mention Pegg & Frost as the Thompson twins who actually contribute a good deal of goofy humour to the film. Craig, in a rare baddie role, struggles against type but provides a suitable foil for the clean-cut Tintin. And as for Snowy, I'm reminded of why I still want to own a West Highland Terrier of my own - charming, warm, playful and occasionally mischievous.

Fun Facts

  • The painter seen in the beginning finishing Tintin's portrait bears a striking resemble to Tintin's creator Hergé. He also completes the picture in Hergé's style.
  • The film is a realisation of a long-held dream for Steven Spielberg - he first acquired the rights back in 1983 in the week Hergé died. Spielberg originally planned for Jack Nicholson to play the part of Captain Haddock.
  • The movie is the first animated film and the first comic book adaptation in Spielberg's long career. It's also his first PG-rated film since Hook in 1991.

What's not to like?

While it may sound like somewhere Tintin might have found himself lost in, the film inhabits the so-called Uncanny Valley of animation - the characters are just too lifelike to be accepted as "real". It's most noticeable when the opera singer Bianca Castafiore makes her cameo - the character looks like a human under extreme amounts of makeup and prosthetics and her excessively pointy nose makes the character look quite grotesque. With the comics, this was never a problem but in the film, it is slightly distracting and sometimes ever unnerving.

There are one or two liberties taken with the source material as one might expect - I cannot find any mention of Haddock's Scottish ancestry (although it does suits the part), the film has no mention of Tintin's other faithful companion Professor Calculus and the role of Sakharine was never a villainous one. And while the action sequences are definitely exciting, they don't really seem to fit the characters that well - something as ridiculous as duelling docking cranes would never have appeared in the comics. Tintin's extraordinary ability to survive traumas and incidents that would kill a normal man also removes the crucial element of tensions because you don't ever fear for Tintin's life.

Like the original comics, the film has a genuine sense of adventure
Like the original comics, the film has a genuine sense of adventure | Source

Should I watch it?

It would be easy to dismiss The Adventures Of Tintin as another Spielberg-directed family adventure movie but the fact is that this is still a great movie for everyone to watch. The plot may be a little tiresome for younger viewers but the film's numerous thrill-rides and heroic escapades provide a little old-fashioned escapism for today's viewers. Wonderfully animated, brilliantly directed and well performed, this is one film that would be criminal to miss.

Great For: family nights in, nostalgic fans of the comics, animators

Not So Great For: the pedantic, Scottish seamen's reputation

What else should I watch?

It's not possible to mention "adventure" and Steven Spielberg in the same sentence without bringing up the original Indiana Jones trilogy. Both Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade are timeless pieces of cinema that remain brilliant for families to watch and enjoy over and over again. The second film in the series - Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom - gets a little dark but will always be remembered for that brilliant mine-cart roller-coaster chase. Unlike Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull which simply won't be remembered at all other than killing a once-revered franchise.

Motion-captured animation is an area of movie-making coming on in leaps and bounds as technology moves forward relentlessly. But it's a tricky science to master - the hyper-realism in films like The Polar Express, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the 2009 version of A Christmas Carol all share this fault of looking too realistic, which in turn makes them unrealistic - a phenomena known as the Uncanny Valley. For me, the most successful motion-captured performance is a niche that Serkis already specialised in. Anyone who saw his portrayal of Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy will tell you that it is a fabulous effort from animators and actor working together, even if the character himself is pretty repugnant.

© 2016 Benjamin Cox

Soap Box

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)