THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN Is the Spielberg Movie You’ve Been Waiting For
Spielberg, where you been, man? The last time you thrilled me out of my seat was with Minority Report way back in 2002. Since then you’ve made some great flicks, but that Crystal Skull trick you tried to pull for your last movie was garbage. You’re back in one big way with a whirlwind of a movie: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. You’ve brought some friends with you too: Peter Jackson as producer and Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish as writers. I wasn’t scared off by WETA’s motion-capture animation either, which is usually terrifying and gives humans cold, soulless eyes. Tintin is a balls-out action adventure mystery thrill ride form beginning to end. Take your War Horse and shove it, Tintin’s running this show.
Based on one of the popular series of comic books ever (that I know nothing about), Tintin moves lightning fast. The momentum this film builds up is unholy. We’re quickly introduced to Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his dog Snowy (Paul Walker) as they’re loitering around an outdoor market, looking to score a story. Tintin’s a journalist and he has his own pad with a maid and everything, but I have no idea how old this dude’s supposed to be. Did I miss something? Anyways, a model ship called “The Unicorn” catches Tintin’s (cold, soulless) eye and once he brings it home, shit goes bonkers. Someone tries to kill him and his maid. A devilish collector by the name of Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) is gunning for the model ship at any cost. Tintin ends up on a ship where he meets the loveable drunk Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). Then he’s on a plane. Then he’s on a motorcycle. Then he’s on a rhino riding a Razor scooter. Then Snowy poops on the treasure map!
Seriously there’s no point detailing Tintin‘s plot. Spielberg gives us no reprieve from the action but that’s ok with me – the action is spectacular. The escape from the ship and the INSANE motorcycle chase are pulled right from the frames of Indiana Jones. They’re simply dazzling and proof that Spielberg hasn’t lost his eye. The motorcycle chase has this super-long tracking shot that is jaw-dropping. It never ends! I’m still watching it!
It’s weird to talk about the cinematography and set-pieces when the damn thing was 3D animated by a team of people and no stunt men were involved. But hey, these are the times we live in, so props to the folks at WETA for killing it here and not giving me a headache.
Andy Serkis is the man once again, albeit under the mask of mo-cap. He gets all the laughs in the movie as his character not-so-subtly advocates drinking. Paul Walker manages to give Snowy lots of personality. He even saves Tintin’s khaki-ass once or twice! As far as the character of Tintin goes, I don’t know, man. We don’t know anything about him except he’s a clever journalist that shops at Banana Republic. Like I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t even grasp how old he’s supposed to be. Maybe we’ll get more of a clue in the sequel, which is already in the works.
Despite those small character flaws, Tintin kicks ass and marks a welcome return to high adventure by one of the genres best directors.