It's hard to believe that Tintin was created back in 1929. For a character with that much history, he's managed to remain timeless throughout all his adventures and depictions.
My actual first exposure to Tintin (that I recall) was on a print for Camel Cigarettes (remember when Joe Camel was supposed to be cool?). I slowly started reading bits and pieces of Tintin but never came across the full books (and I completely missed the animated television series).
With the movie by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, there shouldn't have been any cause for concern but the more I started getting into Tintin recently, the more worried I started becoming. The fact that Spielberg first acquired the rights back in 1983 and steps were made in making a live-action version in 2004, the future for Tintin and his dog Snowy didn't look too promising.
The movie has been released in other parts of the world but opens in the United States Wednesday December 21, 2011. Having had the opportunity to watch it last weekend I can finally say my worries were unfounded and unnecessary.== TEASER ==
If you've read any of the Tintin stories, you'll have a good idea what to expect with the movie's plot. Based off of The Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham's Treasure and The Crab with the Golden Claw, there are a lot of familiar elements here to ease the transformation from 2D to 3D CG animation. The opening credits even do an excellent job in capturing the feel to make older fans feel comfortable and prepare them for the glorious spectacle they are about to behold.
The inclusion of the Weta Workshop was a brilliant move on Spielberg's part. The movie is an absolute treat for your eyes.
There is a lot of detail to see in this movie. The big one is what I call the 'hair test.' It's something I first noticed or paid attention to in Monsters, Inc. With Tintin having a unique hairstyle, there is some attention drawn to it and it brilliantly passes the wind test, where you can see individual strands blowing. There are other scenes where the tiniest details stand out such as leaves blowing in the wind, sand in the desert, raindrops during a storm or the smoke and flames from a fire. Of course there's also Snowy. When he's not behaving as the world's most intelligent dog, he's jumping and barking around while wagging his little tail.
Basically, there is great animation all around. I've heard comparisons to Indiana Jones and there is that feel. The luxury of the CG animation is the filmmakers are able to take Tintin and his associates around the world. There is a wide range of locations and settings that almost makes it feel like you're watching three of four separate movies. They wanted to give us a grand adventure and we do get that.
The comic stories do take Tintin on several adventures and despite the colorful presentation in the books, it doesn't quite compare to the feeling given in the CG. You really get a feel for the grand scope of the adventure.
Of course the movie isn't just about pretty graphics and locations. The characters are developed nicely and all have their own feel to them. Tintin is the serious reporter/adventurer, Captain Haddock is the drunk but brawny muscle/comic relief, Thompson and Thomson are the bumbling police detectives and of course we have a worthy movie villain to stir things up.
One of the great things about the movie is it runs on different levels. It's meant to be a family movie and there are several cute and humorous moments. There are also some more adult elements such as the violence which includes fists, shootings and even death. Of course Haddock wants to do nothing but drink whiskey all day long. When these bits are thrown in, it's not quite in a gratuitous manner. I can safely say my daughter can handle a certain level of mature content and I wouldn't expose her to inappropriate material but the way it's all depicted and with the other humorous moments, it doesn't come across in a harmful way. Of course I'm just speaking for myself so parents should make their own decision in taking young ones to the theater.
There is indeed plenty of action and suspense. The scene in Bagghar almost gets to be a little too over the top. This might be the movie's only downfall. While we're immersed in a giant mystery and adventure, there are tiny moments where it feels it drags just a bit. Then we're slammed with this almost comical action scene. It was all played out nicely but added a different feeling and interrupted the flow of the movie.
For those that have read the stories that inspired the movie, there are some changes made. The changes could slightly disappoint some but overall, the entire movie played out as it was intended. The 3D worked for me, but then, I'm not bothered or get headaches from 3D movies. We have great animation, a story full of action and suspense along with plenty of funny moments that will put a smile on your face. Tintin is the type of movie I want to see in theaters. There is plenty to see and plenty that is worth seeing. It's a movie I want to see again. In fact, I will be doing just that when I take my daughter to see it. It's well worth seeing in theaters on a big screen so you can absorb and enjoy every element of the movie.