If ever there was a divinely scripted marriage between a comic book franchise and a film-maker, it is here between Steven Spielberg and The Adventures of Tintin series.
Based on the exploits of the iconic reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy, what is instantly remarkable about The Adventures of Tintin 3D, is how visually pleasing it is. The CGI movie, made entirely through performance capture, features fantastic art direction, and brings the distinctly European comic book pages to life nearly perfectly on the silver screen. I use the word ‘nearly’ because, occasionally, some of the film’s shots do suffer from the ‘uncanny valley effect’, where sometimes the characters do not replicate human likeness perfectly, with their eyes looking eerily soulless, resulting in a degree of involuntary repugnance.
Having said that, in terms of overall production values, the movie is quite pleasing, especially for fans of the franchise’s characters. Aside from Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his trusty canine companion, the movie features other beloved characters like the grouchy Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), and the comically incompetent and almost identical looking gum-shoes Thompson and Thomson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost). The voices of these iconic characters are also well suited to the characters, though I expected Tintin to sound less English, and Captain Haddock to sound gruffer.
Things start with the young journalist buying a model of a sailing ship, the Unicorn, breaking it by accident, and discovering a secret parchment that takes him, along with his dog Snowy, on an adventure through exotic locations in Europe and Africa.
But while the movie hits all the right notes with some frequency, unlike its opera diva character, Bianca Castafiore, it doesn’t quite shatter glass, and neither does it stand nearly as tall as the really great adventure films from Spielberg.
Having said that, in this day and age of soulless, over-the-top action adventure films, The Adventures of Tintin 3D feels refreshing, and even if it doesn’t win the bout by knockout, with its light punches consistently hitting the mark, it easily scores more points than its modern day peers.