Reviews: Tintin

A better Indiana Jones movie than the recent one that I deny the very existence of.

I started out watching this movie because I was forced to by the circumstances. I.E family movie. Having endured past family movies I was expecting this one to be forgetable. I am a huge Indiana Jones fan and abhorred the movie that doesn't exist. (I'm also a star wars fan so I have a lot of practice with that.) This movie was excellent. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson did an excellent job. I have to say that This really was an excellent adventure movie and a better Indiana Jones Movie than the one that again never happened.

Fun for the Whole Family

Iíve got to say, I did not expect to like it as much as I did. I donít know how faithful it is to the original comic, but it was a really fun and insanely creative adventure film. All the characters were memorable and likable in some way and the CG animation was stunningly detailed while keeping the cartoonish quality on the animation. All the actors are good (I actually thought that the lead actor was Elijah Wood, but it turns out that itís the guy who played Billy Elliot), but special attention should go to Andy Serkis (who you may know as Gollum) on his performance of the drunken ship captain. It shows that heís got a great comedic delivery and can hold his own as a secondary lead. Hopefully he gets more diverse work because of this rather than just voicing monsters. Steven Moffat and Edgar Wright penned the script with one other person and they give the film a very offbeat quality that I think puts this above a lot of animated adventure films. All in all, a really good experience that I wish Iíd caught in theaters. Also, gotta give special props to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost who play two very amusing dry comic relief characters. I always love when those two are in a movie together and this is no exception. Go see it.

Breakneck pace = Most Triumphant Understatement for this film.

Holy moly, does this film move fast. Everything, from a light dash for a cat to a twisty-turning Mac Guffin battle, is FAST. Remember how quick paced Raiders Of The Lost Ark felt? Then imagine watching all the Indiana Jones films on fast forward as quick as you can in the space of an hour. Imagine doing that as the first time you watched the films. That's how fast Tintin is.

That's not to say that the film is bad, I liked it, and the battles can be impressive, but they go nonstop for quite a while. You really appreciate the "rest" scenes as such, and it's telling that the part of the film that everyone I asked seemed to love was the pirate battle, which was slower and focused more in dramatic motion and spectacle. But the most fatiguing scene was the hawk chase, which was done all in one shot (which done wrong, can make one grow tired faster) and comes after so many action scenes that by then our senses are all but worn out & numbed. At least Mr. Spielberg has better action choreography than Michael Bay.

The motion capture has highs and lows. Everyone except Tintin & Snowy look good, & are cartoony enough that we don't mind their over-realism. I especially liked that each henchman had their own distinct look, helping make them characters even in the role of Mooks. (And am I the only one who thought the villain looked uncannily like Steven Spielberg himself?)

I noticed a lot of the audience in my screening was families with little kids, but there's some debate over whether this film is for them or not. It's established early on that this is a world where bad guys carry automatic weapons, good guys keep guns too, and those who are hit by them will die. On the other hand, sometimes the physics is cartoony enough to allow for gags like a guy getting spun around by a propellor, just seconds after that propellor nearly took Tintin's head off. There's also plenty of alcohol gags, so it's really up to debate whether it's an appropriate film for kids or not. (Me, I cheered on the T-rex eating the lawyer when I was six.)

Overall, Tintin is fun, but prepare for action, IT'S NONSTOP. (Oh, and Andy Serkis is the film's best actor.)

Uncanny Valley

Regardless of what the page said this movie is definitly in the uncanny valley, and despite the fact I love tintin the movie was less than enjoyable because of that. I had to look away from the screen half the time, which really defeats the point of seeing a movie.

If you're not a fan, and don't like Uncanny Valley animation, don't bother

It felt like one of those movies made as part of an ongoing television series, like the Power Rangers or Pokemon movies: the characters aside from Haddock got little to no development, motivation, or background, as the film assumes you to be already familiar and already enamored of them (which I wasn't, and it didn't really give me much reason to be), and the plot rings hollow as a result (not aided by its blend of being overly complex AND predictable at the same time). I've heard a lot about amazing visuals, but the attempt at realism with many characters completely ruined that for me - Haddock and the idiot cops* were cartoonish enough to be fine, and the villain's unrealistic facial hair drove him out of Uncanny Valley, but Tintin himself and most of the background characters were just too creepy for me to enjoy visuals involving them (which, as Tintin was involved in most of the impressive stuff, means the only scene I found visually engaging was the shattering glass scene, which isn't exactly enough to save a movie). Having heard so much praise for the character, the film, and having had so much respect for most of the people involved, this was a genuine disappointment.

CAN be enjoyed by Tintin fans, if approached right

Let's start with the obvious: this film is NOT the Tintin comic, and if you watch it expecting an exact recreation of the experience of the comics, you WILL leave dissapointed, and probably more than a little angry, convinced that the beloved comic has been reduced to another generic action-adventure with glitzy effects and no depth.

But if you approach it differently - if you see it not as a replication of the comics, but rather an approach, or perhaps a homage, to them - you will leave a lot more satisfied. You will be able to appreciate the skillful voice acting and genuinely awe-inspiring visual effects, and the sometimes overdone and tongue-in-cheek, but nonetheless thrilling action and chase sequences. You will be able to appreciate how the storylines of three seperate Tintin comics have been blended together in a manner that, while obviously silly in its adventure-movie-plot sort of way, does not feel overly contrived or unbelievable. You will appreciate how, through small but significant touches - like reproduction certain small sequences from the comics almost exactly - Speilberg (at least to me) gives off the impression that he really was adapting the comics out of a genuine appreciation for them, rather than simply a desire to milk their popularity for profit.

Again, it's not the Tintin comic, and in many ways it has been simplified, and, perhaps, lost some of the comic's essence. But realistically speaking, it's hard to see how this could have been completely avoided; and all things considered, I really believe Speilberg did a better job with what he had at hand than many other directors would have.

So if you're a Tintin fan - even a particularly dogmatic one - see it. Keep your expectations realistic, and you will enjoy it - not in the way you enjoyed the comics, perhaps, but you will enjoy it as an appreciative approach toward the comics that you love so much.

And if you're not a Tintin fan...yeah, see it anyway. You'll enjoy a visually stunning action-adventure which, while far from deep, will certainly provide some thrills.