THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: a Rollercoaster Ride of Family-Fun!

The Adventures of Who?

I’ll be honest – it was with great trepidation that I walked into a recent screening of THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN.

You see, growing up in Europe, I grew up with “Tintin” (in French, no less) and was intimately familiar with his adventures and his eclectic entourage of characters. This being a “big Hollywood production,” with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, no less – I was a bit worried.

I shouldn’t have been.

Not even 10 minutes into THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, I wanted to hug Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson for having brought Tintin, his dog Milou (“Snowy” to you Americans), and the rest of Tintin’s world to (animated) life!

THANK YOU, MR SPIELBERG, and THANK YOU, MR JACKSON!

This movie was simply great, and walking out, I was looking forward to the next installment, and the next one after that (it was apparently conceived as a trilogy, and they can’t come fast enough for me).

Some background about French comic books, and “Tintin” in particular – while American comic books usually feature super-human characters, with acquired super-powers, fighting super-human antagonists, usually to save the world, if not the Universe – the French comic strips I grew up with were not like that at all, particularly “Tintin”.

Tintin is  a junior reporter whose adventures take him around the world (and one time beyond it) meeting and collecting an entourage of off-beat, eclectic characters. What always stood out about Tintin was that his world was our world – and it was always rendered in exquisite detail by Tintin’s creator, Hergé (who, I am happy to say, makes a very nice cameo in the movie).

And that’s really where THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN shines … by literally bringing the world that Hergé created to life, in the manner and style that Hergé did, maintaining the 1940’s, yet timeless style of “Tintin’s” world. Tintin is screened in 3D, and the 3D is used well to add detail to the world depicted, never in a gimmicky manner (although, I have to add, that the 3D does not work during the title sequence, which should have been kept in 2D – a minor quibble, I admit).

Just as transitions between scenes were done very well (literally having an element from one sequence flow into the next one), so was it also enjoyable to see the movie peppered with references to Tintin’s world throughout – references that might mean nothing to most neophytes to Tintin’s world, but that were instantly recognized by those familiar with “Tintin” (yes, that would be me – bringing a smile to my face).

 

Three of the original TINTIN comics in which the new film draws it's inspiration and story-lines.

 

The film is based on three of the original comic books: The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941), The Secret of the Unicorn (1943), and Red Rackham’s Treasure(1944), and combines them well.  Here’s hoping that the follow-up sequels will equally explore other memorable comic books, particularly since a bevvy of “Tintin” characters were still missing from this movie.

The only other criticism I’d have about Tintin is that the characters, while largely represented in an authentic manner, on occasion deliver a litany of lines that would be more apt in a preachy self-realization seminar on alcoholism.  Honestly, they could have done without this, but that is probably the only notable influence of the American/Hollywood culture on the movie.

This was, if anything, a movie where it was very obvious that Spielberg and Jackson enjoyed making it and many aspects of Tintin harken back to the best aspects of the Indiana Jones films (the parts that George Lucas hasn’t messed up). The Adventures of Tintin appears, to me, to be a return to the kind of Grande Aventure film that Spielberg enjoys making.

To this, I say: “Carry on, Mr. Spielberg, take me on the next Grande Aventure…!”

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