Short Reviews: The Adventures of Tintin (2011)


“Do you only ever watch horror movies and depressing stuff?” is a question I’m asked (almost verbatim) far too often for my liking. So in response, given the content of this blog has mainly covered such fare, I give a hearty resounding cry of “NO!”

I have a very eclectic taste in films, and while it’s true I prefer films with substance than the money-making phoned-in stuff (e.g. pretty much all of Vince Vaughan’s output in the last decade) I still have plenty of love for the lighter side of the silver screen.

So, to embrace both my inner child and inner fanboy, I’m going to chat about The Adventures of Tintin.

I was not pleased when I heard about this movie. I didn’t care that Peter Jackson and Stephen-fucking-Spielberg were attached, I simply had no hopes whatsoever for the quality of the finished piece, and expected that a beloved series from my childhood would be Alvin-and-the-Chipmunksed into an unwatchable and pandering kids’ film.

For context, from ages 6-10, I read very little except the Tintin comics. Well, I actually read quite a bit more than just that, but I was obsessed with them. I loved them. I owned several, and would take regular trips to the local library to track down the more obscure ones (my memory is that local bookstores sold few of them). I’d even written to a local television station hoping they would re-air the Nelvana animated series, but forgot to put a return address and had no reply (in fairness, I was 8.).

So there was a lot of dormant fanboy love for Tintin resisting a new film. Imagine the surprise when it turned out to be pretty spectacular!

It (loosely) follows the plot of The Secret of the Unicorn with added splashes of The Crab with the Golden Claws thrown in, and it’s clear that all involved with the film are as much fanboys as I was am. Everything in this film is done with care and respect for the original series, while at the same time not being afraid to change some things up (Sakharine is not a villain in the comic, more a nuisance, but the upgrade to nemesis works well) and it’s amazing how, although the story veers off the source material quite significantly, it all still has the same spirit of fun and adventuring that the comics imbued every panel with.

It’s also quite astounding work with the motion-capture; though it isn’t perfect, there’s nowhere near the amount of dead-eye syndrome going on that plagues other mo-cap films. Voice acting is also top-notch across the board, and each performer really brings their character to life.

You might find this in the “family” section of your local video shop, and sure, kids can watch it, but make no mistake – this is a movie that’s been made for people who already grew up with Tintin, and if you’re one of them (or even if you’re not!) you should definitely see this immediately!

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