Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tintin = Fun Fun

Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

Director: Steven Spielberg

Reviewed: 22 December 2012

jamesintexas rating--***

I am unfamiliar with the Tintin character from Herge, but I see him as the precursor of Indiana Jones.  He's daring and dashing, willing to study books in a library as well as shoot a gun, adept at motorbikes and air travel, quick-thinking, and always up for adventure.  He's got a loyal dog, a fun haircut, and he seems to be an investigative reporter with few ties who is willing to travel the globe in search of a good story.

Tintin (Jamie Bell) becomes wrapped up in a tale of intrigue involving a hidden scroll within a model ship, and his curiosity leads him to Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) as well as Sakharine (Daniel Craig)  and an old grudge from long ago.  Soon, they are sailing and flying to Morocco on an unexpected journey.

A word about the film technique here: it is beautifully rendered.  Spielberg has painted on a rich canvas with this film.  Several sequences are breathtaking.  A flashback in the desert melds the undulating sand dunes into crashing waves.  One fight scene takes several minutes and seems to be all one shot.  The colors are fantastic.

It just never moved me in any sort of way beyond admiration.  The voice work from Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell, and Andy Serkis is all fine.  I still struggle with filmmaking of this sort because the eyes of these characters seem dead to me but they've done the best possible job.  There is a clarity to the technique that is admirable.  I think it is a wonderful children's film, and I think that it never reaches to be more than it is.  I enjoyed it as a Spielberg touchstone, a chance to identify tropes and familiar moments in his film that are referenced (mostly involving Indiana Jones).  A fun time.

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