After being used to so many of sci-fi and hi-tech films seen in Hollywood, one has to admit that while watching this, there are many ‘Why don’t they use Google’ moments. But it takes a lot to bring these comics to life while retaining the simple charm of those old comics that most of us would have read as kids.
Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have planned this as a trilogy and this is the first of the three and based on three original comic books: The Secret of the Unicorn (1943), The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941) and partly Red Rackham's Treasure (1944) and takes you on an adventure from the city to high seas to Saharan deserts.
Being a first, it establishes the characters: Tintin (Jamie Bell) as a journalist with a white fox terrier called snowy and how he meets booze loving Captain Haddock (Andy Serkins) as they attempt to thwart Ivan Sacharine’s (Daniel Craig) evil plans. And, then there are the twin detectives Thomson and Thomson.
Comic timing by Captain Haddock is well done. The moment when he uses his alcohol breath to restart a plane is probably the funniest. And his lines ‘billions of blue blistering barnacles’ are sure to evoke your memories when you read those comics. It would be nice to see a return of these characters in the sequel and the other regulars such as Professor Calculus. Hope a sequel covers Tintin’s Indian adventures too.
Many of the earlier versions of Tintin in motion picture or television shows haven’t been impressive. Although I was skeptical about how this movie would turn out, Spielberg’s genius makes it tick. Although the story deviates from the books at certain places, it doesn’t affect the end product. There is a flow in the story, although it combines three books, there the thrill of non-stop adventure and a bit of drama.
The special effects are its high point. Filmed using motion-capture, i.e., translating actors’ real movements in a studio to characters on screen, it seemed a good decision to retain it as a comic rather than enact it live retaining the charm that Herge’s comics. Also, the creator believed that only Spielberg could do it that well. Nevertheless, considering that it was an animated film, the 3D could have been much better though.
While, I’m not sure whether those who have not been fans of the comics would really find the film interesting, it’s still a worthwhile watch, irrespective of your age. This film works well for comic book enthusiasts and also for those with kids.
Rating 7/10: Very enjoyable; retains the charm from the original comics