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Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

December 23, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin – A Paramount Pictures’ Release

Release Date: December 21st, 2011

Rated PG for violence and some scary scenes

Running time: 107 minutes

Steven Spielberg (dir.)

Steven Moffat (screenplay)

Edgar Wright (screenplay)

Joe Cornish (screenplay)

Based on the comic book series by Hergé

John Williams (music)

Jamie Bell as Tintin

Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock / Sir Francis Haddock

Daniel Craig as Rackham / Sakharine

Nick Frost as Thomson

Simon Pegg as Thompson

Daniel Mays as Allan

Gad Elmaleh as Ben Salaad

Toby Jones as Silk

Joe Starr as Barnaby

Sonje Fortag as Mrs. Finch

©Paramount Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), Tintin (Jamie Bell) and Snowy in The Adventures of Tintin.

Our reviews below:


The Adventures of Tintin Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

This is the work of the Steven Spielberg that I remember.  Thrilling action sequences, some delightful comic moments and memorable characters make up The Adventures of Tintin, the legendary director’s performance-capture take on the classic comic book series by Hergé.  The tightly wound 107-minute adventure arrives in theatres at the same time as Spielberg’s thoroughly “good but not great” World War I saga War Horse, and it’s clear which is the superior of the two wildly different films.

Tintin (voice and performance of Jamie Bell), is a teenaged reporter who has no problem solving even the most dangerous of cases with his beloved dog Snowy always by his side.  When he eagerly buys a model ship at a rummage sale, he encounters “a whole mess of danger” when it drops on the floor and reveals a hidden note that Snowy eagerly sniffs out.  The small piece of paper is one of three clues that lead to uncloking the secrets of the Unicorn, an ancient pirate ship owned by the ancestors of the often drunk Captain Archibold Haddock (Andy Serkis).  Their thrilling adventure takes them to Morocco, with the villainous Sakharine (Daniel Craig) hot on their trail.

Although some still remain critical of the format, the performance-capture animation here is excellent, beautifully created by the technical geniuses at WETA Digital.  Despite being created using modern technology, the look of the characters is still perfectly in tune with the original comic books.  The way Tintin’s iconic hair is used in one scene to pay homage to an earlier Steven Spielberg classic is just billiant.  In terms of the characters, Snowy is a particular delight, sometimes playing the hero but always acting like a lovable dog.  In one scene, I just love the way that he opts to grab a sandwich rather than the keys that they are reaching for.

For older kids and adults, this is one of the most fun movies to see over the holidays.  Filled with great animation, memorable characters and a story that has a mystery worth solving, The Adventures of Tintin is an incredibly entertaining film that features some breathtaking action sequences.  In short, this is the sort of film that made me a fan of Steven Spielberg in the first place.


The Adventures of Tintin Review by Erin V.  

**** (out of 4)

Based on the comics by Hergé, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a fun adventure film with just the right air of mystery and mix of action and humour.  Tintin (Jamie Bell) is an ambitious young reporter (around 17 or 18), who after buying a model of a ship called ‘The Unicorn,’ discovers that he is now in danger from others who want it, as it holds a clue to a secret treasure.  When he is kidnapped, he soon finds himself teaming up with one Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) to figure out the mystery, get a story, and take whoever captured him down.

One of the things I quite liked here was the playful score by John Williams which is a welcome treat to hear in a theatre – it fits the film very well.  The script is also well written, with not a single scene wasted, everything leading up to the conclusion.  The motion-capture acting for the characters is quite well done, allowing the actors’ movements to shine through in many instances.  The look of the process has also been perfected over the years to feel more natural.  The backgrounds and character design is appealing as well here.

The rest of the animation is also gorgeous at times, featuring numerous set pieces, including pirate ships, and elaborate chase sequences that utilize their surroundings impeccably well.  Plus, Tintin’s white wire-hair fox terrier Snowy, is animated very realistically (on set he was a cardboard prop), and what is so believable is that while he is protective of and helps Tintin at times, he is also a dog, and more often than not acts very naturally like it. You can’t help but love watching this adorable pup.

Thankfully when I viewed the film there were only three young kids in the whole theatre, (there is a lot of PG level gunplay and drinking in the film, so parents should leave the little ones at home).  But for the rest of us, including those 10+, it is well worth seeing and one of the best films for a wide audiences to catch in theatres over the Christmas break.  It’s one I’d look forward to viewing again.


The Adventures of Tintin Review by Nicole

**** (out of 4)

Those in the French-speaking world can remember Tintin, a graphic novel series about a teenage adventurer and his dog Snowy.  But even those who aren’t familiar with the series will enjoy Steven Spielberg’s motion-capture animated film.  Based on three of Hergé’s books (The Crab with the Golden Claws, Red Rackham’s Treasures and The Secret of the Unicorn), this movie follows Tintin (Jaime Bell) as he joins up with Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) to crack the mystery of a lost pirate treasure.  The clues are hidden in three identical model ships.  Trouble is, Tintin and Captain Haddock are not the only ones looking for the treasure.  The villainous Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) is after the treasure too, chasing Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock over the sea, and through the Moroccan desert.

The Adventures of Tintin is a fun movie on so many levels.  Along with the sense of adventure, the film also has beautiful animation, with Snowy and Tintin being hyper realistic.  The other characters are slightly stylized yet still quite realistic.  Snowy is probably my favourite af the animated cast, as he is as believable as he is adorable.  One scene near the beginning pays homage to Hergé’s charming illustrations, which should impress Tintin fans.  The music of Tintin, created by John Williams, is exciting and fun.  From the silhouette animation of the opening credits, to the final scene, The Adventures of Tintin is a fun adventure that anyone from 10 to adult will enjoy.


The Adventures of Tintin Review by Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Growing up in Quebec the Tintin book series by Hergé were a familiar sight on library and bookstore shelves.  Using motion-capture animation, director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson have managed to strike the right balance of action-packed adventure and intelligent fun in The Adventures of Tintin.

Combining three of the original titles, (Red Rackham’s Treasure, The Crab with the Golden Claws and The Secret of the Unicorn), this movie has Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his loveable dog Snowy join forces with the perpetually pickled Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) to uncover the secret hidden in an old model treasure ship, all while escaping the evil clutches of one Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig).  The results are some truly exciting action scenes, plenty of smart humour and a well-told, visually appealing adventure story.  The excellent score by John Williams adds to the fun.

The motion-capture animation used in The Adventures of Tintin works really well.  There were times I forgot I was watching animation and not live-action.  The technology has come a long way in terms of believable facial expressions and movement.  This is an entertaining movie from start to finish.  Spielberg knows how to weave a good story and this one has the feel of his earlier Indiana Jones adventure series, particularly Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Combine that with a tale of pirates and missing treasure and it all adds up to a fun, action-filled time at the movies.

Younger children will find some of the action-violence too scary, but The Adventures of Tintin is a good choice for families with older kids and fans of the original books.  One thing is for sure, viewers of all ages will find Snowy hard to resist.


The Adventures of Tintin Review by Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

The books on which The Adventures of Tintin is based are known around the world, except in the U.S. and English Canada. The 23 graphic novels translated into many languages were the manga of their day, from the first in 1930 to the death in 1983 of the Belgian author who went by Hergé (inverting the initials of his name Georges Remi).  Over the years the young globe-trotting journalist Tintin and his clever little white dog Snowy always found themselves in the most interesting locales involved in issues of the day.

Very briefly, Tintin (Jamie Bell) accidentally falls in with the drunken sea captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), the last of a line with a secret sought by the villainous Sakharine (Daniel Craig). The battles between their ancestors, Sir Francis Haddock and the pirate Rackham (same actors) are seen in flashbacks.

Based on three books set in the 1940s, the first animated feature directed by Steven Spielberg uses motion capture produced by Peter Jackson at WETA (New Zealand). Touted as a combination of Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean it does not disappoint in the least. In less than two hours there is not a dull moment, with a nice balance between breathtaking action sequences and humour that will safely appeal to a wide audience. The fine cast includes among others the team of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg as two bumbling detectives. As expected, the soundtrack includes a good John Williams score.


Consensus: Director Steven Spielberg’s take on The Adventures of Tintin is a thrilling and incredibly entertaining performance-capture animated film for older kids and adults, that is filled with memorable characters and great action sequences.  ***3/4 (Out of 4)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2012 10:44 am

    I agree with all of you! This is the most thrilling PG-rated movie in years, and one of Spielberg’s best! Check out my review!


    • January 5, 2012 2:24 pm

      Nicely written review! We agree with everything you said – The Adventures of Tintin is a piece of classic Steven Spielberg entertainment.

      As always, thanks for reading and linking to your review!

      -John C.


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