on December 8, 2011
A film by Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg, story by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish and starring Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig and Pegg & Frost. Sounds good, doesn't it? But 'ware! The subject is one of the most cherished icons of 20th century child's story-telling, held dear by pretty much anyone of a "certain age" and transferred from a distinctive style to modern CGI animation. The potential to fail is strong in this one...
Briefly, the story is a mash-up of three well known episodes in the Tintin canon, The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, and Red Rackham's Treasure. Tintin (Bell) meets Captain Haddock (Serkis) and embark on an action packed search for the Captain's ancestor's treasure trove. They are joined by two of the more fondly remembered of Tintin's associates, Thompson and Thomson played by Pegg and Frost, (or is it Frost and Pegg?) and stalked by arch criminal Ivan Sakharine (Craig).
The film is produced using performance capture animation and it bridges the gap between a live action film and the straight "cartoon" of the Bernasconi animated series. Obviously Tintin purists will have their objections as the film does take *some* liberties with the "look", but to the ordinary audience member, the end product is both impressive and reverential to Herge. If there are any objections to the CGI animation (and there are a few minor ones) I think it's important to remember that the art and technology of CGI is still developing and it would be churlish to criticise too strongly. One criticism I have heard is that the emotional expression of the characters suffers in the CGI process. I'll have none of that! The characters' faces are expressive and readable and it is quite easy eventually to forget that they *are* CGI and my wife came out of the cinema remarking that the make-up was very good and she didn't recognise Andy Serkis at all!
Most importantly, the animation really does keep the faith with Herge's vision (Herge even appears in a small cameo in the opening sequence) in almost every way. The characters are depicted as 3D versions of his original ligne claire artwork (without the lignes) and it's a big relief that the story is set in the 1940's Tintin universe, "somewhere in Europe", plus-fours, bowler hats, rusty tramp-steamers, schmeisser machine guns and sea-planes galore. The film really retains the film noir "feel" of the original and that will be important to Tintin's fans. The "scenery" is, like Herge's comics, sumptuously populated and I was crying out for a remote control to pause and rewind the film so that I could revisit some of the little details that I half-missed - the covers of magazines carelessly tossed onto desktops, the contents of the desk's partly opened drawers, little cameo sequences that take place at the edge of the screen while the main action is front and centre, the array of faces in The Milanese Nightingale's audience and so-on. The film has *huge* rewatch potential and I will be pre-ordering the DVD as soon as it becomes available for this reason alone!
The acting is brilliant and all the performers really bring their characters to life. Bell does a fine job and Serkis and Pegg and Frost convey their slapstick antics extremely well. It's good that the actors' performances don't overwhelm the characters' already well-developed personalities. While I've heard some criticism that Serkis overcooks his Haddock, I disagree - the Captain is a larger-than-life personality and Serkis does a fine job with this wonderful character. I am aching, however, to meet Professor Calculus in a sequel (please let it be Destination Moon)!
Ol' Steve has been around a while, now and knows a thing or too about the action/adventure genre and he really lets rip with this one. Indiana Jones for kids? I'll say. The action is breath-taking and at nearly two hours in length it's a rollercoaster ride. The motorcycle chase scene, filmed in a single continuous take is the centrepiece of the film. Spielberg bundles you into the sidecar and takes you on a break-neck race, bouncing you off the walls, leaping chasms and leaving you, several minutes later, sitting in a small cloud of dust with steam coming off the seat of your pants and little cork-screws of sweat radiating off your head. The "Long Take" scene is becoming a bit of a cliche in modern cinematography and, I think, looks a little ostentatious in live action film, but in animation it works rather well and left me exhausted and deeply satisfied. And it doesn't let up - in true Spielberg/Indy style, the film barely slows down for a minute. There's plenty of good, Herge slapstick, not too overdone and obeying the hallowed traditions of visual comedy, and genuine laugh out loud moments aplenty.
In the final analysis, The Adventures of Tintin is a top notch family film. It will, like any film of this sort, have its detractors; but what Jackson and Spielberg have achieved is a joyful, exuberant whoop of a film that will appeal to kids of all ages (i.e. anywhere between about 5 and 85) and will offend none but the hardest of Tintin die-hards.
Did we enjoy it? Ten thousand thudering typhoons! Of course we did!
on December 30, 2011
The Tintin graphic novels follow an unlikely protagonist: a mile mannered, sharp-witted young reporter. There are about two dozen of them, artfully drawn, with a recurring cast of colorful characters woven through various tales. The books have been translated in 50 languages. 200 million copies have been sold around the world, but, oddly, not many of these are in America. That makes Tintin something of a rare gem here, and he's part of my family culture. I worried that Speilberg would spoil the magic, ruin the brand. Somehow, he didn't. At all. The film is brilliant.
Not only did it capture the tone, pace, and geographic sweep of the novels, it also caught so many details -- facial features of minor characters, body posture, personalities, villains, props, gags, cameo appearances, gestures, curses. It is all there. The motion capture style made it almost lifelike, but clearly not. Just like the novels.
It's as if the books had come alive. Another clever adventure with colorful characters in foreign lands half a century ago. Nice to see so many old friends, looking good after all these years.
on March 15, 2012
I've read the Tintin comic books (have all the hardcover sets they sell here on Amazon), and have seen the Nelvana cartoon series (which is pretty much completely lifted from the comic books). Love them all! So many times I have been disappointed when Hollywood takes something I love, adapts it to the big screen, and completely ruins it so that any resemblance between the movie and the original is pure coincidence. With Spielberg and Jackson at the helm, I expected a high quality production, but what about the actual story?
This movie takes elements from three Tintin books - "The Crab with the Golden Claws", "The Secret of the Unicorn", and "Red Rackham's Treasure". Most of "The Crab..." that's in the movie is about how Tintin and Captain Haddock met. In "Unicorn", the flea market scenes actually took place AFTER Tintin and Haddock met, as Tintin had bought the model ship as a gift for his friend. But in the movie, he bought the ship before he met Haddock.
But unless you are that much of a stickler for details, this shouldn't matter. With the exception of these few details, the story was very true to the books and the Nelvana animated series. What was even better was how the characters were written; I am sure Herge would have approved, as they were just as he intended them to be. All the personality quirks of Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock, Thomson & Thompson, etc - all there as we remember them. I thought they did a great job with the casting, as well.
I was afraid they'd ruin this movie by doing something dumb like bringing on a love interest for Tintin (something that never happened in the books, but Hollywood often can't leave stuff alone). This is an adventure story, not a romance, and it was wise of Spielberg/Jackson to treat it as such.
The ending of the movie left me begging for a sequel. I hope they do make one, and it's to the same standards as this one. This Tintin fan loved it!
on January 23, 2012
I am a huge Tintin fan since I was 12! I used to watch the Nelvana cartoon with my family back in the 90's and I never missed one single episode of it!! Besides, that's the TV series that introduced me to the character.
Having grown up with the series, at that time I had no idea that it was inspired on a series of comics written by Belgian writer George Remi (Hergé), so when Internet finally came in the late 90's I started to search for those comics, and boy, I had a hell of a thrill ride!
With that said, needless to say that I was eagerly waiting for this movie! Of course there is some other movie adaptations out there, but truth being told, they never made much justice to the supreme creation of Hergé.
By the way, Hergé used to say that the only person alive capable of taking his creation to the big screen was Steven Spielberg. And boy, he was 100% right!!
This first adaptation of the Tintin adventures around the world is brilliant!! More than brilliant!! It's perfect!! Seriously, the only thing more perfect than this would be if Spielberg copied the entire stories from the comics to the form of a movie. And don't get me wrong, he did keep the original story by Hergé almost intact in this movie, but being the great filmmakers that he and Peter Jackson are, they decided to have a take on more than one story per movie and put those stories to work together as a whole. Did it work? Oh yeah!
In this first movie of a hopeful long series of movies (Hergé made 24 Tintin stories!!) they decide to introduce us to the characters. They introduce to the Tintin rookies the main character, the reporter Tintin and his dog Milou, who are two courageous fellas who are always ready for adventure. We also manage to meet the Dupont twins on this movie, two silly and dumb police officers and Captain Haddock, the longtime friend of the main character. Even the Moulinsart Castle and the lovely Bianca Castafiore was there.
The stories chosen to this movie was "The Crab with the Golden Claws" (where Tintin and Haddock met for the first time), "The Secret of the Unicorn" and "The Red Rackham's Treasure", three of the most exciting stories of the Tintin collection.
The animation is fantastic, fluent and the digital sets take your breath away. The acting is superb, they got the right cast to act, Andy Serkis as Haddock is spectacular!! And that's another strong point in the movie, the characterization of almost every character on Tintin's universe was kept intact, except for Dr. Sakharin, who in the original stories was never a descendant from Red Rackham, but it was a nice addition and brought more drama and interesting developments to the script.
The humor is top notch!! I laughed out loud with the drunk jokes in the movie, in fact, I laughed out loud in the entire movie!! It was fantastic!! Being able to see all those beloved characters from my youth in the big screen exactly the way I used to know them was just great!!
As for the story, well it's the story everyone as a fan already know. It was the same story we know from the comics and the Nelvana cartoon, but told differently, so, except for the Sakharin development, there was no surprises at all for me in terms of story.
The only character I missed on the movie was Professor Tryphon Tournesol. I just love this scientist. He is deaf, but doesn't know it, so he gets everything wrong and usually causes a lot of trouble, but he have a heart of gold. I was eagerly hoping to see Prof. Tournesol on the movie with his shark submarine, but I guess I'll have to wait for the next one.
And boy, I will be eagerly waiting for the next one, the one Peter Jackson will direct. I seriously hope to see more Tintin movies from now on. I'm also really sad that the film went so bad in the USA, I guess US people didn't get the point of Tintin, but I hope they will next time.
Anyway, great movie, wonderful adaptation, I hope to see more of this, and I will finish my review by saying: Great Snakes and Blistering Barnacles!! Go for Tintin!!! You won't regret it!!
on March 20, 2012
We rented TinTin and after watching with the family we had to buy it immediately! The graphics were incredible unlike some of the other 3D style animations like Polar Express. It was so lifelike we had to remind ourselves that this was an animation. The story line was as exciting as any adventure film with such likable characters. TinTin is an amazing kid/man who can do anything and if you are fans of the comic this will not disappoint.
Everyone loved it- (ages 4-10 and adult) No one lost attention and the story line was exciting and easy for even the littler kids to understand.
We were also so excited to know that Peter Jackson was a producer and his WETA studio worked on it. With his incredible work with graphics on LOTR this was no doubt going to be excellent. Jamie Bell is also one of our favorites (Billy Elliot, Jumper - he stole the show, and Jane Eyre) and we were excited to know he was TinTin. And Andy (Gollum) was Captain Haddock.
My only complaint is that I rented the movie at all and didn't just trust our instincts and buy it... We ordered the blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo so we can watch it at all times.
on January 29, 2012
having read all of the tintin books by herge, i was anxious to see this, yet reluctant in thinking they were going to change it a lot for the movie. I was very happy to see they kept it true to the charectors intended by herge. The story was great, and kept you on the edge of your seat, the animation and effects were absolutly stunning. Great job! This movie was much better than I even hoped for. You'll enjoy it no matter how you see it, but the 3D is awesome. I would pay to see it in the theater, and will buy the dvd.
on December 23, 2011
A headlong adventure movie in the spirit of the Indiana Jones movies and the matinee serials that inspired them. In fact, Tintin no doubt was an inspiration in the creation of Indiana Jones and it's wonderful to see Tintin brought to the big screen so grandly and successfully.
I was decidedly unfriendly to the choice of animation style but was won over completely; Spielberg and company have somehow managed to make perhaps the most troubling animation style in existence seem both astonishingly realistic and comfortingly classic at the same time. That is an amazing accomplishment. That it is accomplished in the service of such a fun cinematic romp is a treat to experience.
As a half-Belgian, I grew up on Herge's work of Tintin and loved it immensely. I still have the books that I originally collected back in the 80's. About a year ago, I began reading the Tintin books to my own daughter who has been completely hooked. Then, we learned that Spielberg/Jackson were heading up the effort to bring this to the silver screen.
So, when I heard that Spielberg and Jackson were on the job, I felt that the project was on track to begin with (Spielberg having bought rights to make the movie back in 1984!). After having seen it, I couldn't imagine how much better a Tintin movie might have played out, nor who could have played the characters better. Everyone was perfectly chosen and no one felt out of place...ever.
For those of you unfamiliar with Tintin, what are you in for? Well, to sum it up briefly, Tintin is a young, intrepid reporter who has an insatiable thirst for adventure and need to solve mysteries along with his white, wily dog Snowy (or "Milou" in the original Belgian version) who is never far away from his master's side. Other characters in Tintin's universe include the bumbling detectives, Thompson and Thomson (one with a "p", the other without). Captain Haddock, from the original comic series, is a hopeless drunk ready with a quick lash of his nonsensical oaths ("blistering blue barnacles and ten thousand thundering typhoons!") and even quicker with a bottle of whiskey, often to amusing effect.
*minor spoilers in the next paragraph*
In this movie, Tintin comes across an exquisite replica of a 16th Century ship called the Unicorn. Straight off the bat, the ship is sought after by multiple men who try to relieve Tintin of his purchase at a flea market with cash. Sure enough, Tintin soon becomes embroiled in a mystery that has been buried in the past regarding the ship's secret cargo. The nature of this mystery has supposedly been passed down through to the last surviving heir who happens to be Haddock himself. What follows is a race to decode a cryptic message left in the boat in Tintin's possession. It's a breakneck, fantastic adventure involving danger on high seas, a fantastic aerial sequence, deserts, Moroccan palaces, and Europe itself (albeit a fairly non-descript one that suggests that Tintin is of English origin) ultimately culminating in solving the riddle behind the Unicorn and a revelation of Haddock's past.
For those of you who are familiar with Tintin already, how is the treatment of the source material? I would say that it's fairly decent although bringing such a story to the silver screen does require changes. The movie touches on elements of the "Secret Of The Unicorn," "Red Rackham's Treasure," and "The Crab With The Golden Claws." For the sake of brevity, the pace of the story and the whole Calculus/submarine storyline were abandoned in favor of a plot that moves very quickly. However, elements that closely parallel the original stories (including the moment where Tintin hilariously interrupts Haddock who attempts to incorporate a swig of whiskey during a historical flashback), are handled with exquisitely painstaking detail and you can tell that Tintin afficianados were involved from start-to-finish; this is not a mere cash-grab. In fact, the opening credits feature a vignette that is reminiscent of Herge's original artwork. Also, a quick look around Tintin's apartment shows newspaper articles that depict many of his other adventures from other books. Other touches include a cameo from Herge himself (who has been dead since 1983) as he sketches up Tintin at the flea market, revealing a portrait that is a perfect replica of Tintin from the comics. For a true Tintin nostalgic fan, all of these touches are brief, but a delightful nod for those of us who remember.
As for the motion capture and rendering of the movie itself? Simply astounding. I always thought that Polar Express was beautiful, but there was something about the characters' eyes that gave me the "is there anyone in there" sensation. In this movie, however, everyone looks very much alive and the eyes really betray the emotions of how everyone is feeling. Even the detail of Haddock's spray of explosive saliva as he grates, "No one takes my SHIP!" is a jaw-dropping experience. The ocean water looks extremely real and it's hard to believe that I'm watching an animated feature most of the time. The 3D effects - for those of you who are into it - are really done quite well, but I know that it's not everyone's cup of tea. However, the luminosity issues that plague most 3D movies don't hurt Tintin noticeably; even dark scenes provide extremely good contrast for a great viewing experience. Colors are extremely vibrant and pop even with the 3D glasses. The 2D version looks just as good without the 3D effect...yes, I've seen it twice - I told you that I'm a fan.
As for parents, I would say not to take the PG rating too lightly. Haddock is a drunk, so there is consumption of alcohol but often to humorous effect; however, if that sort of thing offends you, you've been warned. The bad guys also have no qualms at shooting at Tintin, Haddock, and Snowy either...although our trio is not afraid to dish it back either. There is very little blood, but a character does die revealing a blood-spattered newspaper (not excessive, but enough to give you the idea that the fellow isn't doing too well). I took my 8-year old daughter to go see it and she handled it just fine; a lot of the same elements that you see in the movie are in the books as well, so she was already prepared for everything that she was about to see.
I applaud Spielberg for his work on this film. It certainly threw me back 30 years to my own childhood and I enjoyed the movie immensely. The ending of the movie certainly suggest that more could be on the horizon. My only fear, however, is that despite having sold 350 million books, Herge's work is not as widely known in the United States...I can only hope that it does well enough as well as it has overseas thus far to warrant another release. My daughter and I will eagerly be in that line should it ever occur.
on December 28, 2011
Intrepid newspaper man Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his faithful dog Snowy team up with a drunken sea captain (Andy Serkis) in a race with the dastardly Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) to crack the mystery behind three scrolls hidden in model ships. Will European audiences accept Hollywood's interpretation of a beloved character, and will US audiences line up for it?
Like so many Americans, I'm out of the loop on Tintin. I was aware of the character's popularity in the soccer-loving part of the world and could have picked him out of a lineup, but that was about it. Therefore, although I was hugely entertained by this film, I can't comment on its fidelity to the source material. (However, the fact that Herge himself reportedly felt Spielberg was the only one who could do justice to his character bodes well on that count.) The over-the-top exploits that sank "Crystal Skull" for so many people (swinging through the treetops with the monkeys, `nuff said) go down much easier in CGI, which straddles the line between the visceral impact of live action and the suspension of the laws of physics allowed by animation quite successfully here. Tintin is a bit of a cypher--he looks like a teenager but he has his own apartment, everyone treats him like an adult, and his collection of news clippings is evidence of an eventful career. The most interesting character is really the drunken Captain Haddock, whose arc takes him from a pathetic souse to something much greater. I'll dock it one star because the action goes on perhaps just a hair too long, which makes the perfectly good denouement suffer by comparison. I'm on board for any sequels, and I'm thinking that the original books might be fun to read with my young son...
on March 17, 2012
I really did not know what to expect. I am American, so I had never heard of TinTin until the release of this film.
It absolutely took my breath away. I didn't even know what hit me until after watching it. It is even hard for me to write about TinTin.
To be fair, I was lucky enough to watch it in the original 3D version on BluRay. 3D enhanced this movie into the stratospheres. I cannot say enough for how powerful the use of 3D is in this movie. It makes a huge difference and I am sure increased my love for TinTin by leaps and bounds. The 3D TinTin something to behold!!!
This is one movie I am so glad I purchased on Blu Ray. I really want to watch it again and again. I feel I only skimmed the surface the first time through.
The plot is somewhat complex. The characters are remarkable. TinTin and Snowy captured from what I can see, the comic characters to a T.
It is a very fast paced action film that never ever stops for a second. But that is how the comic book is. One thing after another.
That being said, it got under my skin. The motion capture photography is like nothing I have ever seen before. It is spectacular. The colors are cinematic wonders. Spielberg outdid himself. I feel this is the Indiana Jones I had been told was so great. I loved this movie a thousand times more than every Indian Jones put together. But I am sure that is just me.
The animation is in a class by itself. And the movie has stuck with me in a way no movie does. I can't get it out of my mind.
I am surprised by the tepid amount of reviews for TinTin. Maybe it is an American thing. I think in Europe where TinTin is well known it was a smash hit.
I loved it so much. What a wonderful film!!! I had no idea I would even like it. I did not even have any big expectations for it once it was released here in the US. I do not want to give anything away so I won't talk plot here. Just that TinTin buys a ship that holds many secrets untold. That is all I want to say.
I hear Peter Jackson is going to direct the next TinTin. Wow. I cannot wait.