Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

Few comics have achieved the international fame of Hergé’s Tintin. Graphic novels before anyone used the term, they concern a youth of indeterminate age who engages in rollicking “Boy’s Own” adventures with his brilliant dog and eccentric adult friends. He’s probably least-known in the United States, where Steven Spielberg, who cites Tintin as an influence on the Indiana Jones movies, has spent years getting the property to the big screen.

How has Tintin fared in the translation?

Title: The Adventures of Tintin

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish, from the comics by Hergé.

Jamie Bell as Tintin
Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock
Daniel Craig as Sakharine
Nick Frost as Thomson
Simon Pegg as Thompson
Sonje Fortag as Mrs. Finch
Kim Stengel as Bianca Castafiore

Full Cast and Crew information is available at the imdb


A secret hidden in a model ship leads a young reporter and his dog on an improbable series of adventures with an alcoholic sea captain, two bumbling detectives, and an obsessive villain.

High Points:

The film draws us into its world, a stylized recreation of an imaginary past. Hergé’s clean lines are impossible in anything but a comic or an animated series, but the film creates the atmosphere and tone of that world, where a boy reporter can stumble into adventure, flying planes, shooting guns, and working with international police as he makes his way through exotic lands without any visible means of support. Intrigue lurks in every doorway, streetlights cast uneasy shadows, and villains are both menacing and amusing.

The Adventures of Tintin also manages numerous comical touches, such as the gag with the canaries.

Low Points:

The film provides fun and excitment, and that’s likely all the intended audience needs. Think like a ten-year-old boy and you’ll enjoy Tintin. What you won’t find is the deeper sense of character that marks the best children’s movies.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 Spielberg and company take material from a couple of Tintin graphic novels and remain relatively faithful to their spirit, though they fiddle with plot points and character’s roles. I don’t recall Tintin causing quite so much property damage in the source material, but it suits the medium.

Effects: 6/6 Motion capture often looks uncannily creepy. The artists here strike the right balance, creating a cartoony reality that permits the stylized violence and plot absurdities to pass.

Whether you need to see it in 3-D remains a matter of personal taste.

Story: 4/6 The episodic, cliffhanger nature of the story reflects the source material, and Spielberg has had significant experience making this kind of tale work on film.

Acting: 5/6 Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig stand out as the emotionally unstable Haddock and the diabolically plotting Sakharine.

Production: 6/6 Expensively produced and cleverly filmed, Tintin demonstrates how technology can serve the director, instead of overwhelming the director.

Emotional Response: 4/6.

Overall: 5/6. Spielberg intended Tintin to be Indiana Jones for children, and he more or less achieves that goal.

In total, The Adventures of Tintin receives 32/42.

4 replies on “Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin”

  1. Sorry, skipping the article to avoid spoilers. Which is the same reason I skip trailers but I caught a teeny bit out of the corner of my eye and I just can’t tell, is this thing live action or CGI or what the heck is going on?

    • From what I’ve seen, Motion capture CGI of the uncanny-valley creepy variety, like Polar Express… Not my cup of tea.

      • Motion-capture CGI but, as I say in my review, I found it surprisingly UN-Uncanny-Valley-Creepy. It feels like you’ve been placed into some kind of cartoon world, rather than “the scary semi-human monsters have come to devour you in your nightmares.”

        • Ugh. That whole genre (motion-capture CGI) is uncanny to me. Heck, I dont’ even like cgi-without-motion-capture movies. THey just bug me.

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