60 Second Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
January 20, 2012 2 Comments
That’s right, I made it to one of the top five movies I wish I saw in 2011. At the risk of having Steven Spielberg retrospectively murder my childhood in a manner worse than discovering there had been a serial killer on the loose during my formative years…I went to see Tintin in 3D.
I’m okay with 3D. In movies like Harry Potter, I actually like it because of the depth perception. 3D can actually cut the movie star down to size and give the viewer a better sense of the the body of the star.
I felt indifferent about the motion-capture technology. The more appropriate medium would have been animation, but that was done for television in 1991. Live action would have been worse, as the characters of Tintin use imagination to surpass the possibilities of actual Hollywood faces. Spielberg and company do a half-way decent job of splitting the difference.
But I hated the music. It was simplistic, bombastic, and constantly in your face. (The ears part of your face.) It displayed a distinct distrust of the intelligence of the audience, something which would have offended Hergé. And I should know, as I read all of the comic books without having to make an Indiana Jones movie in order to be told that a Belgian cartoonist had gotten there first.
The filmmakers did screw around with the original plot. For example, Tintin actually meets his best friend Captain Haddock in Tintin and the Crab with the Golden Claws. By the time of Tintin and the Secret of the Unicorn, which provided the core mystery for the movie, they are already fast friends. Taking liberties like that is not a big deal, although it’s predictably disappointing that Spielberg wants to focus on the chase scenes at the expense of some of the more quiet drama and discovery. And then there’s Hollywood’s need to have a villain. The next critic to pompously presume that film is inherently more nuanced than comic books should get a sock in the jaw.
What did they get right? Well, some of the design. And the sense of fun! The Tintin comic books are full of both high-spirited adventure and some delicious tomfoolery. To be precise, Thomson and Thompson — or is it Thompson and Thomson? — are a never-ending source of delight. Mr. Spielberg best beware that they never learn how he messed with their creator.
In the end, I enjoyed watching a film that reminded me of the comic books, and I went away feeling that these classic cultural treasures have not been overly besmirched. As Professor Calculus might say, all’s well that ends well.
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