Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock's ancestor.Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock's ancestor.Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock's ancestor.
After discovering an elegant model of the ship the 'Unicorn' at a market, Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) and his loyal dog Snowy are intrigued as to why so many desire it, and comment on the secrets it holds. When the model is stolen, more information surfaces and the pair set out to discover the truth, teaming up, after a surprise meeting, with the boisterous drunkard Captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis). The group's adventure spans the globe, with each destination bringing more danger and that crucial step closer towards unravelling the mystery.
From the moment the picture opens, the film's tone and mood is set: mystery and adventure merged with fun and frolics. The classy, hand-drawn, animated titles use the signature silhouette imagery with style and sophistication, making the wit and wonder evident even before audiences have graced their eyes on the monumental motion capture work.
In a rather lacklustre year for animation, with the only true blossom of beauty being Studio Ghibli's impeccable 'Arrietty', Spielberg's latest thankfully ends this dry-run with a picture that explodes with vibrancy, craftsmanship and realism. Unlike Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture entries (The Polar Express  and A Christmas Carol ); The Adventures of Tintin is an entirely different bunch of blistering blue barnacles – every frame enforces impeccable detail and naturalism, and like the best animated pictures, viewers will forget they are watching digitalised representations in no time. Whether the visuals are mind-blowing as in the all-important action sequences – or brilliantly subtle – like the red, sweat-streaked cheeks and brows of Tintin and Haddock as they trek through a desert – this film is a clear example of just how magnificent technology is in this day and age.
Without a shadow of a doubt this is the year's finest animated entry – expect an Oscar nomination and a deserved win. As well as its tremendous visual flair, the feature's script is a revelation: beautifully written and whimsical dialogue that is frequently hilarious and manages to merge the three classic tales so seamlessly. Considering Hergé's stories are separate volumes, the typing trio behind this movie are able to make a sensible structure with the texts, making the film flow as gracefully as its perfect imagery. As well as the laughs, the script provides great character development for those new to the world of Tintin without insulting audiences with an hour's lesson. Young children will have no trouble picking up who's who in the early stages, before settling back for the incredible roller coaster ride of the second and climatic act.
Action fans will gain greatness from this movie too. Expect high octane chases, pirate swordplay and more bullets than a Sylvester Stallone entry – just a lot less gore and swearing. In fact, although The Adventures of Tintin is action-packed, its PG certificate is justified; I cannot recall anything remotely damaging or frightening for young eyes, so parents have nothing to fear with this one when deciding on their half-term picture.
The film also sees the much needed return of composer John Williams who provides yet another dazzling and effective score. The music captures the essence of the film in an instant and compliments it throughout.
The voice casting is collectively brilliant with Bell and Serkis being the obvious standouts. Bell's inquisitive tone and frequent high-pitched bursts mirror the speech bubbles Tintin utters in the comic panels. When reading a Hergé story, this is exactly how the character sounds in your head. Serkis steals the show as Captain Haddock and is given splendid dialogue to growl through bitter Scottish chords. Haddock's often stupid remarks and forgetfulness is beautifully represented through the animated character. Daniel Craig is also fantastic as the less-than-trustworthy Ivanovich Sakharine while Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are side-splitting as the lovable policing dunces Thomson and Thompson. Plus Snowy is absolutely wonderful.
There is no doubt that Spielberg's adaptation will be top of the box office upon release and hopefully those new to Tintin will be influenced to re-visit the books and television shows of yesteryear and become more involved with one of the century's most beloved and important literary creations.
Verdict: 'The Adventures of Tintin' is quintessentially the perfect family film and has plenty to offer audiences of all ages. This is an incredibly joyous, thrilling and comically genius adventure. Hergé was onto a winner with his thoughts towards Spielberg and he can rest easy now knowing his tales have been faithfully and beautifully translated into a cinematic masterwork. Great Snakes, it's good.
- Oct 16, 2011