- Running time:
- 107 minutes
- Jamie Bell -
- Voice of Tintin
- Andy Serkis -
- Voice of Capt. Archibald Haddock
- Daniel Craig -
- Voice of Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine/Red Rackham
- Nick Frost -
- Voice of Thomson
- Simon Pegg -
- Voice of Thompson
Unassuming but undeniably heroic young reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his faithful dog Snowy get sucked into the middle of a decades-old mystery when Tintin discovers a major secret hidden in a model ship. He follows clues that may lead to a legendary pirate’s treasure with the help of cantankerous alcoholic Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), while evading the nefarious Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig).
The buzz: Tintin is huge! Almost everywhere but America, that is. The boy hero, created in 1929 by Belgian illustrator Hergé, starred in two dozen graphic novels chronicling his globetrotting adventures—complete with mystery, sci-fi and political elements. Director Steven Spielberg is a longtime fan who always hoped to bring Tintin to the screen. He teamed with another celebrity superfan, producer Peter Jackson, and screenwriters Steven Moffat (“Doctor Who”), Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) and Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block”) to make the dream come true as a motion-capture animated 3D movie.
The verdict: Has there ever been a doubt Steven Spielberg knows how to make an adventure movie? At its best, “Tintin” quickens the pulse and dazzles the eye with elaborate action set pieces involving plucky heroes, shadowy villains, sword fighting pirates and breakneck chases in various exotic locales. Some of these manage to soar beyond the limitations of live action—as you would hope from Spielberg’s first at bat on an animated venture—but, sadly, too few. (The suspense and spectacle in live action holiday box office rival “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol,” directed by animator Brad Bird, leaves “Tintin” in the dust.) Even more problematically, the motion-capture animation technique (most prominently used in Robert Zemeckis’ recent work including “Polar Express” and “A Christmas Carol”) remains as soulless as ever, giving already paper thin adventure types an inherent creepiness that’s unpleasant to watch. Whenever the focus shifts from computer-generated humans to the scene-stealing canine Snowy, the difference is jarring. Suddenly we’re following a character who doesn’t speak in comic book dialogue or look like a zombie, and I would have happily followed him right into a movie all his own. If you come to “Tintin” with preexisting affection for the franchise, it might be easier to just go with the flow and overlook the film’s dull plot, slow to develop characters and miscalculated humor (a pair of bumbling detectives played by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are a real annoyance whenever they’re on screen). But since the film is at least partially intended to introduce beloved material to an even wider global audience (and finally crack the U.S. market), Tintin may have stumbled into one adventure he can’t successfully complete.
Did you know? After working with the actors to capture their performances, Spielberg went on to film “War Horse” while the “Tintin” animation was being completed. Now, in the U.S. at least, both of his films are opening within days of each other.
“The Adventures of Tintin” is also playing in select IMAX theaters. Find local showtimes here.
“The Adventures of Tintin” is also playing in 2D. Find local showtimes here.
Follow Metromix's Geoff Berkshire on Twitter: @geoffberkshire
Movie theaters and showtimes for The Adventures of Tintin 3D in New York.
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