What an absolute pleasure it is to watch a movie like The Adventures of Tintin, a project as concerned about keeping fans of the 1940s character as happy as those craving the breakneck activity that has become the norm for most 3D fare.
With that as a gauge, this one’s a win. A big one.
Patching together three of the adventurer’s classic stories, The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure, The Adventures of Tintin is the first motion capture exercise that doesn’t feel, well, creepy.
While A Christmas Carol was starting to make a tiny bit of ground in the format, Tintin zips ahead.
True, they haven’t quite perfected the dead-behind-the-eyes hiccup, but at least it’s not the zombie-looking special that The Polar Express was.
For the most part, this is a beautifully crafted flick, a nice visual tribute to the comic strip by Hergé, with Steven Spielberg controlling the gas pedal.
And lucky for us, he’s in the mood to make great time.
Tintin is a young, eager and seemingly fearless reporter, not afraid to put his own safety on the line to get a big scoop.
At the onset of the movie, he comes across a model ship adorned with a beautiful golden unicorn and purchases it from a marketplace vendor. Almost immediately, he’s ambushed by two different individuals, both trying to buy the piece from him for much more than he paid. Convinced the ship holds some secrets, he declines both offers, thus, setting himself up for big trouble, but one big adventure.
And yep, there’s that word again… big.
C’mon, just about everything Spielberg touches is big (ditto for Peter Jackson, a co-producer), and The Adventures of Tintin seems to be some sort of measuring stick for the legend to see just how big he can go.
That means ripping a few pages from his Indiana Jones playbook, which, by the way, is never a bad thing, particularly in the big (again, I know) chase scene –– an extended sequence through the narrow streets of Bagghar that features a whirling camera with no edits. Impressive.
An all-star cast of mostly British actors, including Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Jamie Bell are also up to the task in providing more than enough heart for you to get swept up by Tintin.
This is a solid effort, start to finish. If those talking chipmunks somehow get the better of this beauty at the box office over the holidays, I’m gonna lose my egg nog.
The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.
–– Jason Armstrong is the longtime movie reviewer at The Morning Star. His column appears every Friday and Sunday.