‘The Adventures of Tintin’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated December 12th, 2014 at 9:24 pm,

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jacksons The Adventures of Tintin Review The Adventures of Tintin Review

For a holiday movie family outing, you could do much worse than The Adventures of Tintin

Tintin is a beloved comic book character in Europe, but the titular reporter’s serialized adventures have never had the same impact here in the United States – even though the comics have been available for decades and a Tintin animated series ran on HBO for several seasons back in the early ’90s.

With The Adventures of Tintin, filmmaking titans Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson combine forces to bring Georges Prosper Remi’s (a.k.a. Hergé) iconic creation into the modern day mainstream as a blockbuster 3D adventure. The film was directed by Spielberg, with Jackson serving as producer and his WETA Workshop visual artists taking on the daunting task of transforming live-action actors into photo-realistic CGI versions of Hergé’s cartoon characters.

The film combines several of the Tintin comics into one tale – specifically “The Crab With the Golden Claws” and the two-part adventure “Secret of the Unicorn” and “Red Rackham’s Treasure.” In this amalgamated storyline, we find young reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his fateful dog Snowy out on a casual stroll through the market, where he happens upon a gorgeous model ship for sale. No sooner does Tintin have the ship in hand than a variety of shady characters come looking to steal it. Through happenstance, the inquisitive reporter discovers a coded message hidden in the mast of the model ship – a discovery that quickly lands him in the clutches of the sinister Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig), as a captive aboard a hijacked sea vessel. It’s aboard that ship that Tintin meets Captain Haddock (motion-capture guru Andy Serkis), a volatile drunk whose men betrayed him in favor of serving Sakharine.

Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis in Tintin The Adventures of Tintin Review

Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis in ‘The Adventures of Tintin’

Upon escaping, Tintin and Haddock join forces to piece together the mystery of the model ship and the secret message – a mystery that has direct ties to Haddock’s ancestry and a long-lost treasure. As Tintin, Haddock and Snowy uncover each new clue in the race for the treasure, they must also contend with Sakharine and his evil henchman. Only one side will win the prize, thereby settling an age-old feud generations in the making.

The Adventures of Tintin is light whimsical fun that feels like a cartoon version of an Indiana Jones adventure. There are plenty of chuckle-worthy jokes, some well-designed action sequences that make good use of the film’s 3D format, and the effects works by WETA (which also worked wonders with  Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is second to none. After an impressive Saul Bass-style opening sequence, the film cleverly offers a quick shot of Hergé’s classic artwork, before transitioning into the polished modern visuals; the goal for this film was to turn flesh and blood actors into living cartoons, and that was certainly accomplished. Visually, the film looks great and that “valley of the uncanny” effect that comes from watching CGI humanoids is only a minor distraction here, having been much improved by the combination of better technology and talented live actors providing the “soul” of the characters.

Captain Haddock and Tintin in The Adventure of Tintin The Adventures of Tintin Review

Haddock and Tintin in one elaborate 3D chase sequence.

Unfortunately, beyond some impressive visuals and mild thrills, The Adventures of Tintin is not that enjoyable. I said the film feels like a cartoon version of Indiana Jones - and that’s true in terms of style and tone – but where they differ is that Indiana Jones is a captivating main character, whereas Tintin simply is not. To sum it up thusly: Tintin’s dog Snowy is about three times as entertaining as Tintin himself, and is arguably the best character in the film. Not to take away from the considerable talent of actor Jaime Bell – it’s just that a sweet, baby-faced reporter doesn’t hold much interest in this world of wise-cracking, tough guy leading men you typically find in action/adventure films.

Andy Serkis is undeniably the master of motion-capture performance (he played Cesear in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Gollum in Lord of the Rings, etc.), but Captain Haddock is pretty much a nonstop comic relief device – one that admittedly gets a bit tiring over the run of the film. More effective are the comic hijinks of Shaun of the Dead duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who play bumbling twin inspectors Thompson and Thompson; their screen time is more tapered, keeping their humor fresher and funnier than the Haddock schtick. As for the villain, Ivanovich Sakharine: he’s largely forgettable, and you probably wouldn’t  recognize Daniel Craig’s uninspired voice work if you didn’t see his name in the credits.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thompson and Thompson in Tintin The Adventures of Tintin Review

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as bumbling inspectors, Thompson and Thompson.

The script writing dream-team of Steven Moffat (Doctor Who), Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) have an obvious fondness for the character and the material, and they do a good job streamlining the various source stories into one coherent, lighthearted tale. Spielberg is similarly having fun, alternating between homage to classic scenes from the comics, and over-the-top 3D action sequences designed to thrill a modern audience. There is much adoration and enjoyment crafted into each and every moment of this movie, but somehow, someway, much of that love and fun never reaches the audience, and the film ends up being a slightly hollow experience, overall.

In the end, The Adventures of Tintin is a movie that should’ve been enjoyable for people of all ages, but will more than likely be thrilling for young boys first discovering the world of old-school action/adventure serials (i.e., those too young to have seen the original Indiana Jones movies). Still, for a holiday movie family outing, you could do much worse than The Adventures of Tintin.

The Adventures of Tintin has already been out in overseas markets for some time; the film is now officially playing in U.S. theaters everywhere.

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Our Rating:

3 out of 5

TAGS: Tintin
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  1. why this bad review,i am very dissapointed of screenrant,the comics are so cool,the directors made the best of it. i said it before i love marvel dc and other u.s comiclabels,but it is poor that in the u.s.a for my opinion no one is interested to the european culture or comic books. they are a million times better than some stupid cartoons like he-man or marshal bravestar or lone ranger or the theodor seuss books!

    • I’ve collected Tintin comics since I was six. I went to see the Hergé exhibit at the animation museum in Belgium and took my Photos with all of the life-sized Tintin Figurines. I love the character. The movie just wasn’t that entertaining to me.

    • That’s Bravestarr- with two ‘r’s’! And that show made my childhood magic. Who next on the list of hate, Bucky O’ Hare?!

    • That’s Bravestarr with two ‘r’s. That show made magic in my childhood. Who next on the list of hate, Bucky O’ Hare?!

  2. 3 outta 5,i love d movie,d review seems as if it doesnt want d users of this site 2 see d movie,i love every review screenrant has done apart frm dis one.

    • Reviews are not meant to be loved. They are meant to be informative and give an opinion of the movie.

    • Maybe because the reviewer didn’t like the movie? I haven’t seen the movie but the previews have not done anything for me. Just like any movie, you will have some who will like it and others who don’t.

  3. I’m no kid,and still i enjoyed tin tin,it was a funmovie,and worthwhile! Money wellspent,i say!

  4. Can’t wait to see Tintin in IMAX 3d!!

  5. Every critic review (I’ve read) of TinTin is the same, which leads me to believe them. I still do want to see this film, but I wont get my hopes up. Hopefully its better than the reviews; it does look like fun.

      • i read some TinTin as a child. I’ll definitely see it, don’t worry

  6. TinTin is a very good Movie,and just can be recommended to any Movie Lover in my opinion !
    It’s really fresh and at the same time old style,reminiscent of the good old adventure movies and of course Indiana Jones as well !

    On the other hand,they captured the feel of the TinTin Comics really well,its just a joy to watch the Movie with the fantastic colors,it’s like art !

    4 1/2 Stars out of 5

  7. this was the least entertaining film I’ve seen in a long time. I never read a Tintin book, I don’t know the story, I just knew Spielberg knows how to make great films and went blindly in to experience something great. It was horrible. From start to finish, I felt like I was watching TV on Nick Jr., nothing compelling in the story, nothing funny about it even though they throw bad joke after bad joke at you relentlessly.

    Don’t get me wrong, if you are taking a 6-9 year old to this movie, you are in the right boat. And it is a great technical example of what they can do with digital rendering and 3-D. Just don’t expect much depth or something that’ll last in your head or heart. It’s like a teenager wrote this, not a professional artist.

    It was a total waste of an evening out with my wife who felt exactly the same about the movie. this was an epic fail.

    • Besides the fact that alcohol every scene and the shooting scene at the begininning with the blood on the news paper its good for kids

    • well, it was a nickelodeon film.

      • Just because it was a nickelodeon film, doesn’t mean nick had anything to do with production. One of the exec’s at nick donated some money, and their facilities to shoot the film, that’s all.

        For those listening out there, I would not listen to this man or this review. It is my opinion that this film was one of Steven Spielberg’s best work to date, up there with Schindler’s List, Raiders, and Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. I am nineteen, and went to see this film simply because I heard that it was about treasure, having not known about Spielberg or jackson’s involvement. My friends and I were blown away. I have looked it up since then, and 315 million dollars agrees that this is worth a look. You will never see anything quite like Tintin, with amazing visuals, storytelling, and heart, this one is not to be missed and probably the best movie I’ve seen in ages.

        I have taken my girlfriend to see it afterwards, and it’s one of her favorites too. Great elements of the film is Daniel Craig’s amazing vocal and physical work, The wonderful dog snowy, the secrets revealed in a breathtaking swashbuckling pirate flashback sequence, and a mindblowing motorcycle chase scene in morocco. I found zero flaws with the film, although I would like to learn more about Tintin’s past in the sequel, to be directed by the phenomenal Peter Jackson.

        It makes me proud that hollywood is still making masterpieces such as this, where here I thought all hope was lost, I now have faith in cinema once again. Thank you Steven Spielberg!

        This is an incredible movie experience unlike any other that you won’t want to miss, trust me, it’s worth ANY ticket price, and I will be the first in line when it comes out on dvd. ;)

  8. I didn’t really enjoy it that much. Its visually amazing but there is 0 characyer development and no buildup its just action all the time no breaks. With no buildup I found no reward at the end. After 2 hours all I knew about tin tin was he is a detective…. idk his age or any background. It just was a poor story with good visuals. Speilberg should stick to war movies. 2 1/2 out of 5 I just wansnt that entertained, but if the oscars went by pure visuals it would win but I’ve liked other animated movies better.

    • Trey is dead-on as I felt the same way. Tin-Tin seems way too young to not have a family to report back to and shouldn’t he have a girlfriend at his age? The visuals were great but I found myself seriously bored throughout the movie and I found the use of alcohol as a plot device rather annoying. No kids you can’t “Quantum Leap” by getting drunk.

      • Thanks I agree completely with the alcohol as a plot point. And tin tin was just a boring lead he had nothing going for him. All he thought about was the task at hand…. by his age he should have a lot morke emotion and I think some sort of love interest mite have added a new layer to the story. It just wasn’t good story telling on the writers part. Less action and more character development please.

  9. well, you know, this is the tipical norteamerican movie, with all the computer animation and all those sheet, and as you know, rin tin tin is my favourite caracter in the enire world, so this is the tipical nrteamerican calient so, threre you go, bye bye and rin tin tin for everyone

    • I don’t mean to appear rude but “HUH?!”

    • rin tin tin was a dog. this is about tin tin, a boy reporter/detective

  10. This is the greatest movie ever!!!!!Steven put things that exited the viewer handsome funny jokes!I love tin in and I was so exited when I heard that the movie was coming out!I have a giant poster and a lunchbox of tintin! I give this movie a FiVE STAR!!!!I am only eleven and tintin is my favorite comic!I got the best audio at the IMAX 3D in San Antonio.I can’t wait or TINTIN 2!!!!!!

  11. Tin Tin is awesome, dont miss it.

  12. This movie should of been called “A lash of stupid decisions save the day and you now have A.D.D”

  13. Tin Tin, the movie, was like watching a bunch of stupid little boys build things out of blocks and then spend an hour knocking them over and kicking the pieces around. The mocap was only used as a way to create more havoc, bigger explosions, and longer idiotic action scenes.

    Those who actually believe the mocap was NOT straight from the uncanny valley should really set aside their love and undying affection for Weta and Peter Jackson, and actually LOOK at the film. From what I saw, it is only slightly improved from the stuff dished out by Zemeckis.

    Storywise, it was cliche, dry, and borderline-racist. I felt like I was watching an episode from Johnney Quest. What is the year, 2011 or 1965?

    • Obviously you know nothing about Tintin. Why don’t you (and everybody else who mouns about the so called lack of character development) first actually read a couple of Tintin books before you go off about stuff you know nothing about? The movie perfectly captured the spirit of the characters in the books. Being a huge Tintin fan for 43 years now, and an 3D animator myself, I was very critical of this movie, and did look very closely. And I was blown away, it far surpassed my expectations. There was no uncanny valley. What, in your expert opinion, would you have done to improve on this film?

      • A review should come from both sides. From the point of the view of someone who has read the books they know a lot about tin tin. As for me and some others who havnt this move taught us 0 about the characters. Good visuals that’s all I give it

        • I’m not at all saying it didn’t capture the characters correctly cause I knew nothing about it going in. As an action animated movie (again I’m not thinking about the comic book cause I haven’t read them) it fell flat for me. It was sub par

  14. I grew up reading this book but had never imagined that the 3D version is technically ground breaking and Spielberg has brought up the comics original charm.

  15. Well, I haven’t watched Tintin yet but it is obvious to me from comments so far that views are divided along one basic line: those who grew up reading Tintin and those who didn’t and thus find it hard to comprehend Tintin in these complex times when everything has to be deep and ‘badass’ to be cool. I think I find myself in the former category with Gys and Murdock because Tintin was, I daresay, an important childhood influence of mine. I am especially irked when people compare Tintin to Indiana Jones and make it look like the latter’s ‘been there and done that’ already when everyone knows Tintin came first and was the inspiration.

    Having said that, merging ‘Crab with the Golden Claws’ with the other two stories may be a bit too much for one movie methinks since there is little connection but I’ll wait till I see it. I disagree with Kofi however that the movie would only appeal to young boys first discovering old action. No. It will also appeal to folks in their thirties and above who live/lived outside the States (as kids) and literally grew up with the character. They would most likely revel in nostalgia and be fascinated with the re-telling.

  16. hey! The Tin tin movie is so fun

  17. With asheka’s comment, I rest my case. Each one of us in this category is quite grateful to Spielberg for helping us relive our Tintin experience in a new way and re-introduce the character to those who may have ‘missed out’.

  18. Loved this movie…sequel please !

  19. For myself I rate this as a four star movie, but as other commentators have said I’m a long time Tintin reader so I didn’t need too much explained.

    As a “Tintin” vehicle I thought this was great, but I can see how someone who’d not read Tintin could find themselves at sea… (drum-roll please)

  20. I saw TinTin on New Years Eve, (no I don’t have a life, I work on a farm!), I loved it!
    TinTin has always been HUGE here in Australia, I was in primary school when the english versions of Herge’s novels came out in the 1960′s & 70′s.
    Then we had to wait till the 90′s for the excellent animated series, which I have on DVD.

    This Tintin caught the spirit of Herge’s novel, set up the “Red Rackem’s Treasure” sequel, even threw in a brief reference to “The Crab with The Golden Claws”.

    I loved Spielberg’s homage to the “Castle Of Cagliostro” car chase.

  21. the movie was awesome. tintin was a total bastard, cavalier with peoples lives and property… hes a 17 year old kid who keeps a gun tucked into his pants around the house… also he spends the whole movie narrating to his dog… like “the man who knew to much” on acid

  22. Finally watched Tintin. Nice work. Used the most interesting parts of Secret of the Unicorn and some parts of Crab With the Golden Claws. Though the funniest parts of the latter story were omitted (as some might not have been politically discreet in these times). I don’t think there was much Red Rackham’s Treasure in the movie though (which is predominantly a slow (IMO)treasure hunt story with Tintin in a shark-like submarine and some desert island adventure). In fact, the movie ends with the promise of a Red Rackham’s Treasure sequel, if you recall. Which pushes Prisoners of the Sun farther away in the future.

    Castafiore’s cameo was a pleasant surprise as there had been no mention of her in the previews. Finally, I actually get to hear her sing “Ah! my beauty past compare..!” but Spielberg didn’t deliver on that one. Lol!

    Nostalgic movie. The references to the Ottokar Sceptre and Cigars of the Pharaoh on framed awards in Tintin’s apartment were a nice geeky trivia. Spielberg did a good job. The Golden Globe was well-deserved.

  23. I had a feeling about this one…

  24. Thompson and Thompson are not twins or related at all. Please, do someone research before giving a horrible review in the future.
    I found Tintin excellent, witty, beautiful and inspiring in a world filled with cruddy remakes and male characters full of testosterone.
    I would reccommend this film to any and everyone, it was wonderful and opens the door for a sequel.

  25. My very first Tintin was the Crab with the Golden Claws so I was excited to hear the first major movie in years was going to include parts of that story. For me, Tintin just wasn’t Tintin without Captain Haddock, and the stories starting from this point became more sophisticated and thrilling. I was actually surprised at how much I liked the film – I thought the motion capture would be clunky (and even though animation still can’t get the faces quite right, this is the best I’ve seen in that regard) and I was worried that the story just wouldn’t have the feel of the Tintin comic books. I was wrong on the first – the animation was excellent, but right on the second. But I had set realistic expectations going into the theater. It’s virtual madness to assume a movie is going to be just like a comic book. One is a completely different form of media from the other. So, as a standalone movie, we loved the Tintin character, thought the Captain Haddock character was decent enough, were disappointed with the Thompsons, wished we’d seen a Bianca-Haddock interchange (although that will be much funnier once he’s set up in Marlinspike Hall), actually really liked Snowy to our surprise, were really impressed with Sakharine and Silk (the subtle inflections were scary good), laughed at how funny first mate Allan looked, and absolutely loved the backgrounds. This is a good movie and we’re excited to see what comes up next. Our vote for the next movie is … see our blog.

  26. I really liked your review, Kofi, and I agree with all of the praise you showered on Tintin: I think it’s well-written, brilliantly directed, and the aesthetic is spectacular. But I think you’re wrong about the main character.

    The whole point of Tintin is that there’s very little substance to him, because he’s more of a blank canvas onto which the reader can imprint their own personality – that’s why he’s remained so popular for so long. Socio-political factors aside, it’s hard to pin him down to a specific generation; we don’t even know how old he is!

    He’s basically there to be a straight man to the more comedic characters and to drive the plot, and I think in those regards, Jamie Bell does an excellent job.