Voice cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig
Running time: 104 minutes
My siblings and I were huge fans of Tintin as we were growing up. We had read and re-read most of the volumes in the series created by Belgian artist Herge about the adventures of the intrepid reporter and his trusty terrier Snowy.
It’s taken a while but Tintin has finally seen the light of day as a full feature film, helmed by Steven Spielberg no less, and produced by Peter Jackson. The movie was made using motion capture technology, sort of halfway between live action and animation initially seen in The Polar Express and Beowulf. I was really looking forward to watching this DVD as I had missed the theatrical release, which was in 3D.
Tintin’s exploits in this film were culled from three of Herge’s graphic novels. The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure are the basis of this particular adventure, and The Crab with the Golden Claws, from which the first meeting between Tintin and the hard-drinking Captain Haddock was taken from.
In case you didn’t know, Tintin is a world famous reporter, with a knack for finding trouble, who travels the globe in search of adventure and a story, aided by his ever reliable and clever dog Snowy.
In this film, Tintin (Bell) is after sunken treasure when the model ship he has just bought seems to be highly sought after, especially from a conniving presence called Sakharine (Craig). What ensues is pretty typical Spielberg fare ala Raiders of the Lost Ark, as our reporter and dog race around the world collecting clues and dodging bad guys.
The most striking thing about the film is the quality of the animation. At times, I actually forgot that I was watching an animated film as the set designs and characters were pretty realistic and painstakingly detailed. Tintin himself looked a little different from his comic incarnation though but was played with an appropriately boyish wonder by Bell. Serkis was a little underwhelming as Captain Haddock, who was one of my favourite characters in the series. The Captain is generally one of the funniest characters in the series but I was left a little disappointed by Serkis’ portrayal (could have been the script, too).
It was great to finally see one of my boyhood heroes brought to life on film but in my opinion, there was something lacking in this film. I was thinking about this at the end of the movie and I felt that the spirit and humour of the series was lost in the translation to film. It ended up being more Spielberg than Herge. Still, it is a fun and entertaining ride, perfect for the whole family. - Review by S.N.