Director: Steven Spielberg
Growing up in Europe, where Tintin is more popular than Superman and Batman put together, I have loved the books since I was a child. There have been attempts to make the books into movies before. A live action one was tried in the 1980s and flopped, and there was an HBO animated series in the early 1990s that was pretty good and very faithful to the books in both story and animation style. But this one with Spielberg at the helm promised more… and it delivered.
The motion-capture animation is, in a word, stunning. It doesn’t look creepy at all, but fabulous. I saw the 3D version which adds a little but isn’t essential. Everything about this world is done with wonderful attention to detail and though it’s a different and more photo-realistic style than Hergé’s art, it has a similar feel and tone. It’s breathtaking.
As far as the story goes, this film is really a version of The Secret of the Unicorn. It follows a very similar plot, but it’s been expanded a bit — made into more of a globe-trotting adventure. Amazingly, though some of the details have been switched around and there are new events — it still feels like aspects of the original book. The writers did an incredible job of creating new events that fit right in with Tintin (some parts are borrowed from other books). The sight gags, humor, the little dog Snowy, the Thompson Twins, all the wacky characters are included and they all feel just right. The voice performances are pitch-perfect, as is the animation.
I did hear one review that was critical of the plot as being a bit dated, and while I understand that, it is the plot of the original book so that strikes me as a strange criticism. One might as well criticize Emily Bronte’s work for being old! Personally, I prefer the original plot to something new: this has a classic feel to it and really is a wonderful, sweet, wholesome story of adventure and old-fashioned treasure-hunting. If you’ve read the books you’ll love the film, and if you’re discovering the character for the first time, the film’s a great introduction. Go see it and enjoy it and then read all the books. The whole series is timeless.