26 December 2012 | piratecannon
Spielberg Strikes Again
When I learned that Steven Spielberg was tackling the beloved TinTin comic strips so as to make a feature film faithful to the source material, I was admittedly indifferent. I didn't read these particular comics as a kid, and I wasn't a fan of the Polar Express gloss that (I imagined) would lend an unwelcome veneer to what could have been a lively action movie a-la Indiana Jones.
I suppose I owe the venerable director an apology. The Adventures of Tintin thrives on its comic roots (as opposed to being hindered by them), and the seamless transition viewers are treated to finds our not- so-innocent hero—he is carrying a pistol, after all—globe-trotting between some truly spectacular action sequences that are directly reminiscent of Spielberg's actioners of old.
The story we're presented with is a nifty little mixture of what I can only label a Holmes-esque detective story and a whip-crackin' adventure tale that—as many other critics have noted—takes some of its cues directly from Raiders of the Lost Ark. There are times where some of the action is a little too slapstick for my liking, but there's no getting around the fact that Spielberg once again showcases his bravado as a creator of ingenious thrill rides (the sort that, in my humble opinion, are often conspicuously absent in recent Hollywood fare).
Where the movie stumbles is in its decision to have the rosy-cheeked Tintin dole out lessons on alcoholism to a blissfully out-of-touch sea captain who exists for little more than comic relief. In fact, there's a particularly awkward scene where our protagonist barks at his sidekick at the mention of alcohol, only to never revisit the issue (and, in fact, to completely ignore it until said captain symbolically kicks a bottle of whiskey over the side of a slick pier.
This is small potatoes, though, because Tintin soars in almost every other aspect—in fact, one has to wonder if there's much more that Spielberg and company can do to perfect the formula that's made him the blockbuster mogul that he is.
If you're looking for a family movie with some teeth, Tintin is just what the doctor ordered. That's a nice contrast to the usually gooey stuff that crops up during most holiday seasons, isn't it?