Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Adventures of Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin; CGI animated adventure, USA/ UK/ New Zealand, 2011; D: Steven Spielberg, S: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toby Jones

When the young reporter, Tintin, buys a miniature model of a ship, he finds himself in the middle of an adventure, since the same ship is sought by Sakharine, who wants to collect three models of ships containing scrolls which could lead him to the location of a real sunken ship, the Unicorn, that contains a lost treasure. The fight for the ship was between Sakharine's and Haddock's ancestor, so Tintin teams up with the always drunk Haddock. They manage to arrest Sakharine and get the scrolls.

Steven Spielberg's first (CGI) animated film, "The Adventures of Tintin" has a very good concept based on pure adventure, but a weaker execution: the sole fact that Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson actually knew about the Belgian cult comic-book series "The Adventures of Tintin" by Herge, already testifies how literate they are, yet the film has too much 'rough' edges and chaotic moments, which makes it quite uneven at times. The first half an hour is disappointing, wasting too much time on empty walk and goofy jokes, and Spielberg rarely rises to the occasion there, but the film livens up a bit when Haddock shows up, which results in arguably the best part of the film, the comical ship sequence, filled with fun stylistic ideas reminiscent of B. Keaton - among others, Haddock wants to lower a lifeboat and leave the ship with Tintin, but just then, a bad guy emerges from a blanket on it. The bad guy aims his gun at Haddock, who is holding the rope connected to the lifeboat, and orders him: "Hands up!" Haddock obeys, and let's the rope go, which ironically causes the lifeboat to fall down to the ocean, together with the bad guy in it. After that good part, though, the film returns to the less memorable, albeit solid territory, but sometimes the banal examples of humor and over-the-top stunts do not make it any favors (the airplane sequence is almost a buffoonery). However, overall it is a fairly well made achievement, and the finale - the Bagghar chase scene, filmed in a single 3-minute long take (!), truly takes the cake - once again gives a glimpse of inspiration, which should not have been that sparse.



Christopher Sobieniak said...

From what I've seen of it, I thought the film was fine, at least I can understand the pacing problems you have here, Spielberg certainly spent quite a long time before getting this film out at all after Herge's passing. A lot of us though often question the use of CG in this and the "Uncanny Valley" issues that come up. I would say why not use real actors to begin with (it hadn't been a problem before when two live-action Tintin movies had been produced in the 60's).

Marin Mandir said...

It is not the pacinng I have a problem with. The pace was consistent throughout. But the inspiration wasn't. For me, the real fun did not start until the ship sequence (where Tintin meets Haddock). The CGI was unusual. I think it was essential for a Tintin film to be animatied to work (haven't seen the live action Tintin movies, but from a quick google of the images, I can see the problem: you can never find an actor that looks exactly like him), but I wish it was a classic, hand-drawn animation, though I understand that CGI is far quicker in completing an animated film.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

In most cases, that seems to be the route most studios want to take these days over hand-drawn endeavors.