In 2008 Steven Spielberg directed one of the largest steaming piles of crap I’ve ever seen. That pile was named Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It had the potential to be a great revamp of a classic series, but if you’ve seen it, you already know it was not meant to be.
In 2011, Spielberg has made up for his last role at the helm with The Adventures of Tintin based on three comic stories written by Belgian artist Hergé. Spielberg also co-produced Tintin with Peter Jackson who’s WETA studios was in charge of the digital animation of the film. The two already have plans for Jackson to direct a sequel and the two collaborating on a following third film.
Spielberg has owned the rights to Tintin since acquiring them after Hergé’s death in 1983, so this project has been at least been mulling in his mind for the past two and a half decades. That thought and preparation paid off in the feature film I’m writing about today. This movie should have been made years ago, but the wait was well worth it. Tintin has adventure, excitement, mystery and lovable characters from Thomson and Thompson, Captain Haddock and of course our heros Tintin and his clever pup Snowy.
Not only are the characters amazing, the voice actors they got are top notch. Jamie Bell plays Tintin, Andy Serkis plays Haddock, Thomson and Thompson are played by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, and our villian Sakharine is played wonderfully by the great Daniel Craig.
This story reminded me so much of what it felt like to watch the Indiana Jones Trilogy (For that’s all that exist in my mind for the franchise) for the first time. The mystery that Tintin unravels rivals great heist stories, detective films and even action adventure movies.
The WETA studio has gone above and beyond what I ever could have imagined an animated film to look like. More than a few times, I was so absorbed by the beauty I was seeing on even my modest screen at home was enthralling and entrancing. It was not what I expected and far surpassed anything I could have dreamed. I’ve been a Peter Jackson fan for many years now and have loved watching his ability to work with CGI grow and expound more than even he could have hoped for. From the first time we see the first ghosts in 1996’s the Frighteners, we were shown what would become the Ring Wraiths in 2001’s Fellowship of the Ring. It’s shown me great hope to see how well he’s going to handle 3D in the new Hobbit films and made me even more excited to see the continuing adventures of Tintin.
The story for Tintin is superb, based very closely on the original stories the film is based on but updated to a more modern vernacular by another of my favorite film makers/writers Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim, Shaun of the Dead, etc.) The writing keeps the action rolling, there are few if any dull spots but the action picks back up so quickly, you forget about it within seconds.
I highly recommend The Adventures of Tintin for a family movie night, or just a night to help forget the last Indiana Jones film and replace it with a true adventure story that will take you on a trip few movies can lay claim to.