The Adventures of Tintin
HARRY SHUKMAN pulls no punches in his review of the new Tintin film.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
I’m going to start by saying sorry. I am a massive Tintin nerd. In fact, at the screening of this film, the only other people in the audience were kids and their parents. I even used to have the Tintin haircut. So there was no way I was going to see the new The Adventures of Tintin movie without being as anally retentive as a geek in costume at a re-adaptation of Star Trek. Maybe even worse.
Spielberg’s re-imagining follows the three comics leading up to Red Rackham’s Treasure. One of the very many best books in Hergé’s collection, here we follow plucky Belgian boy reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell), who after buying a model version of the ship The Unicorn finds himself in the middle of a treasure hunt.
It’s a boy’s ideal comic: there are guns, pirates, gold, fighting and the inspired theory that drinking can help reveal lost childhood memories.
Everyone’s favourite Belgian reporter now on the silver screen
Everything kicks off when Tintin is quickly given the classic rag and chloroform gangster hello for getting too involved in the history of the mysterious model ship rumoured to lead to its sunken treasure.
Shanghaied onto a freighter bound for Morocco, he meets none other than half-cut Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) just as much a prisoner. Now it’s up to Tintin and Haddock to lay down the bottle and find the Unicorn’s gold before the evil Sakharine (Daniel Craig) can.
Sounds amazing. Sounds like a fantastic interpretation of the comic books that we know and love, right? Wrong. With a talented cast, a legendary director, and a promising opening, it looked like The Adventures of Tintin was going to be exactly what I was waiting for.
But soon after first few scenes, and playful nods to the books (like some of Hergé’s original sketches in the background) it comes as a great disappointment to see it descend into set-piece chases and non-stop blockbuster action. The intrigue and adventure are subbed for extended escape scenes and lengthy flashbacks. Not much is left of what made the comics so special.
That it happens in beautiful motion-capture animation makes it more painful to see Tintin turned into a boring film where its run time of 107 minutes feels long. My expectations were set absurdly high, but it seems as though a talented cast and crew working on a great childhood favourite of millions could have come out with a film capturing more of Hergé’s magic.