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The Adventures of Tintin

This Indiana Jones knock-off adventure has astonishing visual effects but little humanity.
The Adventures of Tintin
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
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Mpaa Rating
PG (for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking)
Directed By
Steven Spielberg
Run Time
1 hour 47 minutes
Cast
Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost
Theatre Release
December 21, 2011 by Paramount Pictures

The Adventures of Tintin, a new performance capture 3D film from director Steven Spielberg, is a fun, entertaining, fast-paced adventure with astonishing visual effects. Unlike the Indiana Jones movies it purposefully invokes, though, as well as the gist of Spielberg's work, the film never amounts to anything grand because a lack of humanity—surprising, given the cherished filmmaker's established sensibilities.

Based on a series of Belgian comic books from the 1940s, the story, set primarily in Europe, centers on Tintin (Jamie Bell), a young journalist famous for solving crimes alongside his little dog, Snowy. When Tintin buys a model ship at a local market, he unexpectedly finds himself in the middle of a new mystery involving two other ships, a set of scrolls and a hidden treasure. This leads Tintin and Snowy, along with a drunken sea captain, Haddock (Andy Serkis), and eventually two inept detectives, Thomson and Thompson (Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, respectively), on a wild escapade as they seek to unlock the mystery before the villainous Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig), who appears to be in for more than treasure.

Any and all of these characters could have been quite fun and fascinating; unfortunately, neither the script nor Spielberg develops them with much depth, and unless you've read the Tintin comics, you won't get to know them very well in this film.

Sakharine may not be a Nazi, but this plotline clearly channels Spielberg's Indiana Jones series through and through. From the setting itself, to the three scrolls with a secret message, to a trip to the Middle East, to a chase scene featuring a motorcycle sidecar, it all feels delightfully familiar. The score, wonderfully composed by John Williams, adds to the ...

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