The Adventures of Tintin (3/29/12)

Adventures of TintinMovie Sixty Six

The Adventures of Tintin should be a fantastic movie considering the talent involved. A film directed by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson should be a smash hit, but Tintin  falls short.

It’s worth pointing out that audiences in the US are most likely unfamiliar with the character of Tintin, despite the long-running series’ popularity elsewhere. There isn’t a high wall of accessibility to the film, but some familiarity or nostalgia would probably help make it more enjoyable.

The film starts with Tintin, a reporter, and his dog, Snowy, in a market where he buys a model ship. He is immediately warned about the ship and then approached by a man willing to buy it. Later that evening the ship is stolen and Tintin goes on a quest to retrieve the model but also to uncover the mystery of why the ship is so important.

One thing about The Adventures of Tintin that I simply couldn’t shake is how weird the characters look. The art direction is a very odd mix of incredible realism and cartoonish. The character models are totally human from the neck down but their faces are totally grotesque in most cases. It’s a decision to make them look like realistic versions of their cartoon counterparts and it reminded me of realistic Mario. Everything inanimate looks absolutely stunning, however.

In fact, the computer generated world of Adventures of Tintin is incredible. The action is constant, but also oddly cartoonish at times. The overall package is something of a mixed bag where I’m not sure how things could have been better since this should be an incredible movie! Other than the weird character models I don’t have any serious specific complaints other than I was kind of bored, in spite of all the action on screen.

The Adventures of Tintin is almost like eating a bunch of donuts and ice cream for breakfast. It sounds delicious in theory but ultimately leaves you wanting something less tasty and more filling. The movie is not bad, but it’s also kind of uninteresting which is quite a feat considering the talent and eye candy involved.

I give it 3 cgi/cartoon comparisons out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


13 responses to “The Adventures of Tintin (3/29/12)

  1. I thought that it was the best action-adventure movie Spielberg’s done since “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, and had some utterly stunning edits/transitions which show what a living, breathing film encyclopedia like Spielberg can do when he’s given a toolset like the digital performance capture system he used on this film.

    Tintin may well be a character who resonates more in Europe but it was the adventure that I found so captivating – I’m going to rewatch the Blu-Ray again tonight, so I’ll have to see if my opinion still holds.

    • I am positive if I had watched this on the big screen I would have enjoyed it much more. I hope Spielberg uses this medium again in the future and I agree he did a great job. Something about the film just left me wanting more.

  2. Nice review. I agree, this could’ve been much better given the talent involved. However, I absolutely loved the animation, especially the titular character (and Jamie Bell’s performance).

  3. Yes, the faces tended to fall into the uncanny valley and I too wondered why the character designs were cartoonish/realistic instead of going for one or the other. However, I enjoyed the film tremendously (seeing it on Blu-Ray). It’s not the deepest film Spielberg has ever done, but it’s a fun adventure that’s rarely done on film anymore.

  4. I have this one sitting on the table in my NetFlix envelope. I hope to watch it and review soon.

    Nice to read your review.

  5. great review. I gave it a similar score. Technically it is superb, and you’re quite right that the realism often gives way to cartoonish character design. i really enjoyed tintin but i definitely felt like it was a showcase and a shout of “look what we can do!”
    Hopefully any sequel, which is very likely, will expand on the platform that this first movie has provided.

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  8. I agree with almost everything posted here, except that American audiences would miss out through lack of familiarity/ nostalgia. As someone weaned on the original Tintin comics series (& who has rediscovered Tintin in the nostalgia of early middle age) I cringed at this CGI butchery. Usually I enjoy Spielberg, & I love Tintin, but the two together = agony. Without wishing to sound prematurely cranky, motion capture is the cancer of animation. The irony is that the original artist (Belgian genius Herge, aka Georges Remi) gave his blessings to Spielberg when the rights were optioned. Readers please note, Herge died in 1983!

    • I had to go back and re-read my own review, haha
      I’m glad that nostalgia wasn’t the missing “it” factor that kept me from loving this one. I would actually be interested in seeing CGI Tintin circa 1983…The characters would probably be much more terrifying.

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