Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock's ancestor.Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock's ancestor.Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock's ancestor.
Tintin (voice of Jamie Bell) is a young-lad reporter who, apparently, finds himself in extraordinary situations with some frequency. While shopping in a local market, he purchases a model boat called the Unicorn. Almost immediately, Tintin and his faithful canine friend Snowy are pursued by the mysterious Mr. Sakharine (Daniel Craig), ostensibly so that the latter can complete his collection. But of course that's not the real reason, is it? No, he's after more, much more. It all has to do with the Unicorn's real-life namesake and what happened to it (scuttled at sea) and, more importantly, what it carried. Right off, Tintin (okay, Snowy) discovers a scroll hidden in the model's mast that may be a clue to something bigger - but there are two other scrolls.
It's an old-fashioned treasure hunt. Tintin runs into a frequently inebriated Captain Haddock (voice of Andy Serkis), who has a strong connection to the original Unicorn and to the scrolls themselves. With Haddock and Snowy at his side, Tintin races across the globe to solve the mystery before Sakharine, a journey that takes him to multiple continents, fighting bad guys with swords, guns, fists, and feet. It's a throwback movie; a movie quite similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark, itself a throwback to the serials of the early 20th century. And, of course, the director here is one Steven Spielberg, whom you might recognize as a progenitor of that Raiders universe himself.
The movie is animated, both literally and figuratively, and the animation is so exquisitely realistic that it's easy to perceive it as completely lifelike. The action is intense and relentless, but because of the depth of detail in the animation, it's tough to imagine it as anything other than a terrific live-action film. When Tintin leaps from building to building or from a moving car, we actually cringe - can he make it?
Here's an added bonus - apparently, the movie is very close to the source material. Tintin has not been updated or modified to mollify new audiences; remember, so many Americans have never heard of the intrepid reporter. And there's no time waste on explaining who Tintin is, or what he is, or how old he's supposed to be. You know why? Because it's irrelevant, that's why. He's just an adventuring dude with a smart dog and a lot of panache.
Bell, Serkis, and Craig are all superb in their roles (the latter two have dual roles each). Simon Pegg and Nick Frost show up as Interpol agents named Thompson and Thompson and offer excellent comic relief; are they bumbling, or are they just that good? It's the latter.
There really is so much to like about this movie, and it's one of those rare films that can be recommended not only to children in general but to girls and boys alike. It's artful, engaging, fascinating, and wonderful to behold.
- Nov 11, 2012