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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: August 31, 2012.

Mystery.  Pirates.  Globe-trotting adventure.  A dog. What more could you ask for in a movie?

How about Steven Spielberg (E.T., Indiana Jones) and Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) working together? The amazing result of this dream duo is The Adventures of Tintin, Spielberg’s first animated venture on the big screen. Tintin impresses as a can’t-miss, wonderfully creative, just-plain-fun-in-the-theater action adventure. Tintin is based on a series of classic comic books created by Belgian artist Georges Remi, who wrote the comics under the pen name Hergé. Spielberg and Jackson pulled from three of the comics to create the storyline for Tintin: “The Secret of the Unicorn,” “The Crab with the Golden Claws,” and “Red Rackham’s Treasure.”

The main character Tintin (played by Jamie Bell) is a reporter who has solved many crimes around the world. Accompanying Tintin is his adorable sidekick, a dog named Snowy, who happens to steal scenes anytime he’s on.

The mystery begins right from the start. In the opening minutes of the movie, Tintin buys a famous model ship of “The Unicorn” off the streets of Belgium. He is immediately approached by two men, one warning him of its dangers and the other, a Mr. Sakharine (Daniel Craig), offering to buy the ship from him at any cost. After declining, Tintin’s interest in his newly acquired model ship is piqued. After some research, Tintin finds out that The Unicorn, captained by Sir Frances Haddock, had been carrying a secret cargo and had sunk over 300 years ago after being attacked by pirates.

The following night, Tintin is captured and thrown on a boat headed out to sea by the movie’s villain, Sakharine. After escaping (with Snowy’s help, of course) he stumbles into the captain’s cabin where he meets the drunken Captain Haddock (a hilarious Andy Serkis), whose crew had been paid by Sakharine to turn on him. Tintin and Haddock are able to fight their way off the boat and escape. Haddock becomes Tintin’s traveling companion—and turns out to possibly be the only person who can find the true location of The Unicorn. From there, they’re stranded in the middle of the ocean, fly through a deadly storm, crash land in the Sahara desert, and blowing-up a dam (by accident) for a climactic and astonishingly monumental chase scene through a Moroccan town. Tintin and Haddock are driven by one thing: figure out the location of the Unicorn and its hidden treasure before Sakharine and his group does.

The motion-capture animation is nothing short of spectacular. This is the first motion-capture movie where everything felt very natural and realistic—and honestly, the first motion capture film where the characters didn’t look odd and creepy (see 2009’s A Christmas Carol or 2007’s Beowulf). Characters’ eyes, both human and canine, weren’t hollow and lifeless; and movement wasn’t robotic and “fake.” If you happen to catch Tintin in 3-D, some scenes in the movie move so fast it feels more like you’re on a Disney Motion roller coaster ride rather than in a movie theater.

According to the MPAA, The Adventures of Tintin is rated “PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking.” The fighting in the action scenes may be a bit much for younger viewers. Bloody fingerprints are shown briefly on a newspaper after a man is shot—the only blood audiences see in the movie. Captain Haddock is drunk for half of the movie and often has a bottle of whiskey in his hand. However, Tintin makes it clear throughout the movie it’s important for him to sober up. By the end, the captain is able to make a distinct decision to abstain from drinking even in hard times.

Overall, Spielberg and Jackson did a great job staying true to the original comic books and characters. If you want an action adventure movie that is fun for the whole family, then I would highly recommend The Adventures of Tintin.  As many successful films do, Tintin sets us up for a sequel: As Tintin says at the end of the movie, “How’s your thirst for adventure Captain?” Captain Haddock replies, “Unquenchable”!


To learn more about author April Kruger, visit Cross Shadow Productions

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