The Adventures of Tintin (2011) – directed by Steven Spielberg

We finally got to see Tintin. Not fully familiar with the Tintin universe (I read Asterix growing up instead) but I was keen to have the blanks filled in.

Tintin is an adventure in the truest sense from start to finish. The genetic connection to the Indiana Jones franchise is clearly evident here as Spielberg harkens back to high adventure in the early twentieth century. Following the titular Tintin and his dog Snowy, intrigue and adventure sees them travel over sand and sea from London to Morocco in search for clues to the lost treasure. Great swashbuckling stuff with characters brandishing swords, guns, flying planes, riding motorbikes, and a mad whiskey toting Scotsman named Capt. Haddock (Andy Serkis). Spielberg’s cinematic mastery is not lost on the animated genre. In a sense it very much felt like the genre’s limitless freedom was a liberating experience for Spielberg. Perhaps a little too liberating with a suggestion of gratuitous camera movement. In an interview with the LA Times, Terry Gilliam expressed his disapproval about Tintin’s frenetic pace seeing it as “Unrelenting. Can you just slow down for a moment?”. I can see his point, but there is no denying the wizardry on offer here. It’s spell binding and it swept me along even if in parts I had no idea what was going on.

The animation, lighting, textures, and modeling was nothing short of breath taking. The realism on show had me second guessing if I was actually looking at a real set. No doubt many people will be asking why, in parts, didn’t they simply shoot the real version? Despite the problematic subtleties of continuity, there is no denying the expense saved by keeping it entirely digital. That said, cgi still cannot capture the subtlety and realism of facial expression, and Tintin is no exception … but it’s oh so close. Nonetheless, it still felt like Tintin was cast with actors who’ve had a wee too much plastic surgery. This small quibble aside, Tintin is a fine example of unadulterated adventure cinema in its purest sense. It doesn’t preach to you and makes no bones about its intentions; to simply entertain. And blistering barnacles this was very entertaining stuff!

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