At the Movies: The Adventures of Tintin

A reminder: “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” which opened Friday in IMAX and large screen formats, opens today in regular size theaters. Check it out if you’re looking for a great action-adventure ride.

If you prefer your action-adventure to be more animated, you might enjoy “The Adventures of Tintin,” Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of the popular Belgian comic book by Herge. Well, popular in Europe anyway. I don’t think most Americans have heard of it. Hey, I’m more well-verse in comic books than the average American and even I know very little about it.

Tintin is a boy reporter (I knew I should’ve trademarked that phrase when I was in junior high) who looks a little like the missing sibling of Archie Andrews and Jimmy Olsen. His sidekick is an adorable fox terrier named Snowy.

Their current adventure begins when Tintin (Jamie Bell) purchases a model ship at an outdoor market. Unknown to him, the model has a scrap of paper hidden inside which, when joined with two other scraps of paper from two other identical model ships, will lead to a vast treasure.

Assisting Tintin in the search is Haddock (Andy Serkis), a ship’s captain with a drinking problem. Haddock’s ancestor is the person who hid the treasure. Hoping to find the treasure first is  Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig), a descendant of the pirate foe of Haddock’s ancestor.

With Tintin  holding one puzzle piece and Ivan holding the other, the race is on to find the final clue.

“The Adventures of Tintin” is a standard, predictable adventure story — “Indiana Jones Lite,” if you will. Spielberg does deliver a thrilling chase sequence  involving the three scraps of paper but the rest of it isn’t that memorable.

The film features the motion capture animation technique to make it look as real as possible. The animation is lush and fluid and the 3D does enhance the experience (but it probably wouldn’t seriously diminish your enjoyment to see it in 2D).

Where the movie falls short is with the characters. Tintin isn’t much of an action hero, he’s really a bit bland. And Haddock’s drunken sailor blowhard bit can be tiresome. The best character in the film is Snowy, and it’s really not a good thing when the most interesting person in your story is the canine companion.


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