The Adventures of Tintin – 3D
Studio: Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures
Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toby Jones
Rating: / 5 Handbags
I wanted to love this movie. I really, Really, *REALLY* wanted to love this movie. I had seen the mixed reviews, but I was hopeful. I figured The Adventures of Tintin might have been too European for North American tastes. But no, I was wrong. It wasn’t a *GREAT* movie. It was a good movie, don’t get me wrong, it’s not horrible, but the magic just wasn’t there.
You have to understand, I grew up on Hergé (Les aventures de Tintin), Goscinny and Uderzo (Astérix et Obélix), Peyo (Les Schtroumpfs) and Chaulet and Craenhals (Les 4 As) – yes, I read them in French. As a matter of fact, I remember getting in fights because some idiot guy would try to take them away from me. Girls weren’t supposed to be interested in such things, at least not good Catholic school girls.
A black eye and a bloody nose took care of that misconception.
At any rate, I was really looking forward to sharing this movie with my kidlets, particularly 5 year old Goober who loves all things pirates.
The movie starts out with a clever conceit, a young man in a market place is having a portait done of himself. Oh look, it’s Hergé and he’s drawn Tintin in cartoon form. Yes, how cute, chuckles all around.
Tintin thanks the artist for the drawing and begins to meander through the crowd, spotting an old model ship, which he buys from the salesperson for half the asking price. This sets off a bidding war between two men who simply *must* have the model. Tintin politely, but firmly declines, taking his model ship home with him. The result is an escalating series of episodes involving dire warnings, break-ins, shootings, kidnappings, a car chase, cows, break-outs, escapes and plane crashes.
So why is it all so boring?
Yes! You heard me! BORING!
*SIGH* Unfortunately, I have to lay all this at the feet of Thomson and Thompson, the two incompetent detectives from Scotland Yard. The Thom(p)sons are in “hot pursuit of a wily pickpocket named Silk, and their escapades interrupts the flow of the mystery swirling around Tintin and his new friend Capitain Haddock. While the interlude works well in the book, and is quite entertaining, it only slows down the action in the movie. And while those familiar with The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackam’s Treasure are probably happy to see a familiar face, to those who have had limited exposure to Tintin’s universe would probably find the action horribly, horribly contrived. Omitting The Thom(p)sons would be akin to an act of heresy, however I’m sure that the entire plot device could be wrapped up in such a way as to not drag down the action all the while allowing Thomson and Thompson the opportunity to make an appearance in Bagghar in time to save the day.
Once this thread is dealt with, the pacing of the movie improves exponentially. When you finally get the back story of what happened between Captain Haddock’s ancestor, Sir Francis and Red Rackam does the movie finally pick up steam and move to a satisfying conclusion. The sea battle between the Unicorn and Red Rackam’s ship is definitely worth the price of 3D admission and is as thrilling as any I’ve ever seen.
Technically the film is gorgeous, everything from the color palette, to the design details are, in a word, sumptuous. Nothing has been overlooked, including the scene wipes which rank up there with my favorites from Brotherhood of the Wolf and Highlander. The world that these characters inhabit is so rich and exquisitely rendered that you feel you can reach out and really touch what’s on the screen.
As great as the 3D and CGI are, The Adventures of Tintin does suffer for the technology on occasion. There are a couple of scenes in the movie that I swear are included only because the movie is shot in 3D. I HATE that. 3D should serve the story and enhance the experience, not the other way around. If at any point in a movie, the viewer is taken out of the story to think: “Oh hey! Cool 3D effect”, the director has failed as a story teller. Thankfully, this only happens briefly once or twice in the movie, but it is an unfortunate faut pas.
The truth of the matter is I can sit back and nitpick this movie to death, but it won’t change the fact that Goober, my little 5 year-old adrenaline junkie sat through the entire 107 minute runtime. Once The Adventures of Tintin was over, he walked out of the theater proclaiming: “This is the best movie ever!” and is now curled up, snug and cozy in his bed with a copy of The Secret of the Unicorn tucked under his pillow where he thinks I won’t find it.
And at the end of the day that’s probably all that Peter Jackson and Steven Speilburg are going to care about.
Me too for all it matters.