Isn’t Tintin supposed to be a dog? C’mon, I can’t be the only one who thought The Adventures of Tintin might be some new animated twist on the tales of a certain German Shepherd named Rin. My bad. The movie is actually based on a popular European series of comics created in 1929 by a Belgian artist known as Herge’. Tintin is not a german shepherd. He’s actually a curious young reporter-detective-adventurer who, along with his dog Snowy (a fox terrier), gets caught up in the wild and wacky world of criminals, villains, artifacts and treasure. He’s part “Brenda Starr”, part “Indiana Jones”.
From a purely visual standpoint, The Adventures of Tintin is rather stunning with its use of motion-capture technology. But the story itself falls a bit flat, even at the direction of the almighty Steven Spielberg.
Here’s the gist: Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) buys a model ship at an outdoor marketplace, only to discover that a nefarious dude named Red Rackham (Daniel Craig) wants the ship so badly that he’s willing to kill for it. Turns out the ship, called The Unicorn, is one of a series of three model ships that together will unlock the ancient secret to a hidden treasure. Rather than relinquish the ship, Tintin (who can’t resist the urge to follow a good story) embarks on a dangerous journey on the high seas, where he ends up joining forces with a drunken Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). Haddock holds the key to the entire mystery if he can sober up long enough to figure it out.
The movie, like the comics, is peppered with slapstick humor, social commentary, and quirky characters. In many ways, it feels like an animated version of Pirates of the Caribbean, with a couple of keystone cops thrown in (a pair of detectives named Thompson and Thomson, voiced by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg).
The Adventures of Tintin should appeal to nostalgic fans of the comic series and boys aged 8-12. Beyond that, it could be a tough sell. Then again, family movies are big this time of year, so perhaps Tintin will be able to capitalize on that.
The movie is rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking. And while the motion-capture technology is awesome, the 3D doesn’t add much.