05 July 2012

Movies: The Adventures of Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0983193/

Animated action adventure

Tintin is an investigative reporter, has a white fox terrier named Snowy, is friends with Thomson and Thompson, police detectives. While the bumbling-ish detectives try to track down a pickpocket, Tintin purchases a model ship. Another man named Sakharine (yes, phonetically the artificial sweetener) wants to buy the ship from Tintin, who refuses to sell it. So of course after Tintin puts it in his apartment, someone breaks in and steals it. And a world-running adventure begins involving ships, airships, desert treks, whatnots.

If you've not watched the animated series or read the comics growing up, as I haven't, you'll be coming in to this film with no cultural frame of reference. However that won't stop one from enjoying the show.

The animation style - a close to realistic 3D thing that's far removed from the original Tintin comics style - was annoying to me at first. It is square in uncanny valley, especially as they take care to put nose hairs in Captain Haddock's nostrils, little short hairs on people's necks, stubbles, etc. But I got over it. Once you can get past and watch it for being a movie the animation really is top-notch. The 'camera direction' made a point of doing things real cameras with real actors couldn't possibly do. Almost like they're showing off. Especially one very long action sequence done in 'one take' that would be impossible with live action. It sort of straddles the suspension of disbelief one grants animation vs. live action, and at times that bugged me, but like I said I got past it.  I'm probably too ingrained in oldschool animation to be quick to feeling comfortable watching some of the newer computer generated styles.

The voice cast did well, they fit their characters instead of insisting, "hey it's ME voicing this part, can't you tell". Especially when you have names like Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg working it, just to name a few.

Aside from my animation style gripes, it really is an enjoyable film, an enjoyable story. Good direction too, you can see an experienced live action director had their hands in directing this film.* It has good action sequences, should go over well with the young'uns. As for how real Tintin fans receive the film? I have no idea. But I liked it.  Good film.

* After I wrote that sentence I took a look and saw that Steven Spielberg himself directed the film. I dunno how I missed that in the credits, I figured he just produced or something. I also see that the writing credits go to Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who and Sherlock fame) and Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs the World and other stuff fame). So yeah - some very talented folks behind this animated film, and it shows.
The John Williams score was, well, exactly like one would expect for an animated adventure film. But that's the thing, it didn't sound like John Williams, it sounded like every animated adventure film. Sort of on the fence on whether that's a brilliant thing on his part or not.

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