Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Adventures of Tinitn Review

Tintin is the kind of movie that every adolescent boy didn't even realize that they wanted to watch really badly. It is a fun movie and something different than anything else, yet it seems very familiar at the same time. Spielberg has said that a big influence in Indiana Jones has always been the comic books made from the 1930s to the 1970s also named The Adventures of Tintin by artist HergĂ© (Georges Remi)... and it's here that there are some striking similarities. Imagine sort of a Hardy Boys meets Indiana Jones. The style of the action set pieces seem very reminiscent of the scene that you might remember from the truck chase scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. There is also a great deal of detective sleuthing done by the titular character. This is a fun movie, to be sure. Sometimes though, the action scenes seem to persist a little longer than they should, in my opinion. This effect kind of wears down on the viewer and it loses it's narrative a bit. This is something I also thought Peter Jackson's King Kong was also guilty of. Interestingly, it is Peter Jackson who is up next to direct the following installment of Tintin, trading producer / director roles with Stephen Spielberg. Like Raiders of the Lost Ark, this movie will also likely get a longer title change in the future to The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

The opening credits are a real work of art here. It is unmistakeably similar to Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can right down to the flute-heavy John Williams score. This style seems like a perfect fit for Tintin and the added depth on stylized 2D animation is pretty cool, and this is something PIXAR has been doing as well.

We are gaining some serious ground into the uncanny valley, where artificial characters look real, even if there is still something so different about them. This movie represents a new style mix to the CGI animated feature formula. Now the skin looks very real, even though the features are exaggerated. The movements of the characters and half of the time, the physics are grounded in the real world, which makes some of the scenes a little more tense. Another thing they do different than any other animated movie, is add many adult themes into a movie centered around a teen character, which will obviously be watched by a younger set. I really like this. It doesn't play down to its younger audience in any way. On the other hand, some of these adult themes seem hard to take in an animated movie with this style. Seeing alcoholism thrown around so lightly in a movie like this seems a bit too much sometimes. Some of the humor revolves around almost slapstick situations, and the universe the movie is set in seems a little inconsistent. Still, it's a little hard to fault them for trying something different, even if it doesn't always work the way it should.

The acting is very good behind these animated characters. The character of Tintin is played by Jamie Bell, whom I think sounds eerily similar to Elijah Wood. He does a nice job playing the wannabe adult /detective, Tintin. Captain Haddock is played by performance capture icon Andy Serkis (Gollum, Kong, Caesar). Serkis is amazing here, as usual. I think that the characters that really stand out in this movie though, are Interpol's Thomson and Thompson (Nick Frost and Simon Pegg). The banter of these two bumbling agents is just too funny. I love it. It is one of my favorite comic relief bits in any movie like this... and now you know where the '80s band got their name The Thompson Twins (Hold me now) from.

The movie as a whole seems to lack a little something for me. It is hard to say just what it is. I guess this movie just isn't for everyone. Perhaps it is almost too much of a throwback for its own good. The movie seems a little out of place in today's world. Maybe that is more a state of how messed up today's world is than actually anything wrong with the movie. It is still refreshing in its own right, but also far from perfect.

Overall: 7.5 (out of 10)

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