It has taken years for Herge’s famous boy investigative reporter to come to the big screen and even the Belgium writer himself said that only one man could make it possible and that was Steven Spielberg. Well by using state-of-the-art computer generated animation, he is here and was it worth the wait? Well…
While out in a market, Tintin and his faithful dog, Snowy, come across the model of a ship called the Unicorn. Taken by it, Tintin buys it and is immediately asked to sell it to an American who claims it would bring nothing but trouble, and the mysterious Sakharine. Refusing, Tintin takes it home and it is stolen, the thief not realising that what they were truly after, a scroll hidden inside, had fallen out. This begins an adventure that leads Tintin across the world, trying to stop Sakharine from getting his hands on the scroll as well as another, similar ship belonging to an important royal in Morocco. Along the way he picks up the oft-drunk Captain Haddock who has links himself to the Unicorn.
Technically, this film is an amazing achievement. The use of the actual actors who are then computer generated into the characters from the pages of Herge’s books are simply magnificent, as are the backgrounds and the scrapes that the boy reporter gets into. My jaw was mostly on the floor as yu get sucked into the adventure. The casting is very clever too. Jamie Bell is perfectly innocent in an old-fashioned way as the title character, while expert CGI actor Andy Serkis is given much more than normal to do as Haddock, with his Scottish accent, which is so good you do have difficulty understanding him sometimes.
Daniel Craig gets to play bad as the evil Professor and the most exciting casting is Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as the Thompson Twins, although they are given very little screen time compared to the rest of the cast.
Spielberg is an expert at directing action sequences and here he is allowed to let his imagination run riot. Whether it be a pirate shop battle or a chase through the streets of Morocco, he has made enough Indiana Jones films to know what works and what doesn’t. However, this is not only one of the film’s strengths but also a major flaw. So frantic are some of the scenes, you become lost in the action and you lose exactly what is going on.
With all the acting talent, Spielberg at the helm, Peter Jackson as co-producer and Doctor Who scriber Steven Moffat, along with Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright and Attack The Block director/writer Joe Cornish behind the script, you feel like you are in very safe hands. At least, you would have though so. For all it’s technical wizardry, the film feels somewhat empty, like it lacks a heart. The plotting is very complex which doesn’t help and you come out thinking that it was good but not incredible as it should have been.
Maybe I was after so much more but I found myself wanting, and, if I have to be totally honest, I did check the old watch a few times, which is never a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a terrible film by a long shot, it’s just not as good as it really should have been.
Kids will love it and I guess that’s all that really counts and it does introduce a new generation to a character that seems to have been with us forever. It has also been rumoured that a second adventure is in the pipeline. Hopefully they can improve on the storytelling and give this young detective much more that just flashy animation.