The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Apparently Tintin is famous everywhere else except for America.

Starring Jamie Bell as Tintin, the intrepid young reporter whose relentless pursuit of a good story thrusts him into a world of high adventure teamed with his little dog Snowy, and Daniel Craig as the nefarious Red Rackham.

I have never read any of the graphic novels that this film is based off of and going into this, I wasn’t expecting much considering motion-capture is just simply freaky and having Peter Jackson and Steve Spielberg giving it a go, doesn’t really make me feel safe about it either. However, I just looked at it like a young Indiana Jones with dead eyes.

Where this film really benefits from is the screenplay written by Steve Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish. With the script, you get a lot of mystery to keep your attention on the little details, the humor that will actually having you chuckling more than expected, and plenty of interesting motivations that really keeps the viewers interested in the plot even when it seems to dive into some real familiar territory that we have kind of all seen before, especially from Spielberg.

This film also benefits from the fact that Spielberg starts this films pace at a high of 11 and never lets loose once. The whole film you have hotels moving, guns shooting, fist-fights, pirate ships running into each other, Snowy moving from one vehicle to another, and just so many other exciting and fun things going on here that it’s actually a lot of fun. We get a lot of really fun action sequences that keep the plot moving and never stop as the camera constantly moves around each setting. This reminds me of what the 4th Indiana Jones film should have been like, if it weren’t for those damn aliens that George Lucas put in. That asshole.

The problem with this frenetic feel that Spielberg gives this flick is the fact that it is almost way too highly-energized and it feels as if Spielberg was just doing this to get away from the fact that the story itself is a little uneven. We never actually get a chance to rest and understand what is exactly going on with this plot, because every time they show us one clue, one crazy action sequence will just come by and follow it. Hey, I’m not against a film that just wants to be fun but what I do get annoyed by is when we never get a chance to just relax while watching it.

One of the other main problems that the flick runs into though is the fact that motion-capture still does not work for me. It isn’t quite on-par with certain films like ‘Avatar’ or ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ and the film tries so hard to be just those epics, but instead comes off as a long video-game sequence that I would find in ‘Drake’s Fortune’ or even ‘GTA’ games for that matter. I also never understood why there were some characters in this flick that tried to look like real people, while there were others who looked exactly like a cartoon. I mean it is based on a graphic novel, so I can definitely see why they would have cartoonish-looking characters here but what I never could fully grasp was why they didn’t do that for every character in this flick.

This is what leads onto my next biggest problem and that was Tintin himself. I have never really read any of the graphic novels in the first place so I was kind of depending on Spielberg to give me a really cool look at this character, but I could never really stand behind this kid considering there was nothing ever spectacular about him when it came to how he looked and how he acted. Tintin’s face looks very flat, with his cheeks looking like he’s a big baby and he doesn’t really have the round noses that all of the cartoonish characters have either. The film really tries hard to make Tintin look like a real person which makes him stand-out as terribly creepy and just plain dull looking. Jamie Bell is also very good in the things that I have seen him in but he just doesn’t have the physical presence to get us by this problem or even really get us to stand behind Tintin. Thankfully though, Tintin had his dog Snowy to steal just about every scene. With this film and ‘Beginners’, it’s been a pretty good year for movie dogs.

The one character in this flick that I could get behind was Captain Haddock, played by the always great Andy Serkis. When we meet Haddock he’s a lot of fun, cracking one-liners left-and-right, and Serkis just always seems to be having a ball with this role considering he pretty much owns motion-capture performances. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost aren’t in this film as much playing Interpol agents Thompson and Thompson, but they are still a lot of fun every time and Daniel Craig is a pretty mean son-of-a-bitch as our main baddy, Ivanovich Sakharine.

Consensus: The Adventures of Tintin still seems weird with the motion-capture animation and constantly moving plot, but where this film makes up for that is in its script that is full of mystery and humor, and a Spielberg direction that calls back his old Indiana Jones days that still works all of these years later.



  1. Excellent review! I’m still debating whether to see it in the theater. I’ve never been a fan of motion-capture, but that wouldn’t dissuade me from giving it a watch. The reason I’m hesitant is backed by the same weaknesses you mentioned; I’ve heard that it’s so busy, you barely have a moment to focus and reflect on what you’re being dealt. Nifty visuals aside, I think I can wait.

  2. Agreed! Joseph from PopCitizen here. I thought the deadeye was a little unnerving at first, but it stopped bothering me at all after the first fifteen. Except that damn opera singer. Terrifying. My only real problem with this movie was its lack of a emotional center. There was nothing approaching any sort of catharsis, much less drama. Which also didn’t bother me, until I realized that nothing worth resolving was resolved at the end…

    • True but for me I would have liked something that made me feel a bit more for this story considering it was just constant action again and again. Thanks Joseph!

  3. Nice write-up. I tend to agree with most of your points (as you saw in my review). I do hope that they use the Thomson Twins a little more in the sequel as I think they have real potential. Keep up the good work!

  4. While the movie really could of benefited from working itself into the atmosphere, i have to say. I really did enjoy all the hilarious moments and the parts where Haddock comes to after taking a swig of alcohol lol! go snowy!

  5. I liked this movie. It was frenetically entertaining and very much faithful to the comic books. The mo-cap animation didn’t bother me at all but I saw the movie in IMAX 3D so I’m not sure how it looked in lesser formats. I did feel that the movie felt longer than its run time would suggest.

  6. I’ve got to agree with you on that last point Castor, the film certainly felt very, very long to me – longer in fact than War Horse – and yet it ended at what I thought was just the beginning of the third act. I wonder if Steven would have structured it this way if he hadn’t been given the go ahead for the sequels in advance?

    Either way I did enjoy myself during it, the film is a lot if fun no doubt and unlike Dan I loved the mo-cap, thought it was miles above Beowulf and all that other Zemeckis fair. Spielberg gave us CGI with JuRassic Park and he may well have made his next big advance here, who knows?

  7. I really wish I coulda liked this a whole more than I did. If I were to review it, I think i’d give it the same score. You summed it up pretty well there man! Thanks for the review!

  8. Great review–the best thing about the movie was its kinetic energy for sure. Had Spielberg let up any ore than he did, it would have dragged the movie down a little too much. Even though it was flimsy, the pace made up for it. Two scenes: the one down the city mountain — and the back-and-forth between Haddock’s ancestor on the pirate ship — were dizzyingly constructed and that’s certainly something, dead eyes or not! Thanks for commenting on my review, too, Dan!

  9. “This reminds me of what the 4th Indiana Jones film should have been like, if it weren’t for those damn aliens that George Lucas put in. That asshole.”

    Hahaha. I still feel like I’m the only one who actually liked the aliens in that movie. It made sense. In that era, governments were all into looking for proof of extraterrestrial existence. Still, it would have been better if they didn’t show us actual aliens, only the possibility.

    How was the animation compared to “The Polar Express”? I really enjoyed that movie and I still do enjoy it every time I see it. I never noticed dead eyes.

  10. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t quite “get” mo-cap here. I honestly would have preferred a live-action Tintin with all of these talented people involved. The actors in this film are great choices, just felt they were a little wasted with the mo-cap.

    I did really, really enjoy the film. I grew up watching some Tintin on TV and stealing glances at my brother’s comics.

  11. Nice review. My perspective of the film is clouded by having read the graphic novels (albeit a long time ago), so I am very interested in the views of someone who has not read the books. I agree about the depth of the Captain Haddock and Red Rackham characters versus the Tintin character.


  12. I loved Tintin! I thought it was a well crafted and well executed film. Mo Cap has come a long way since Polar Express (which was very creepy) and I hadn’t had that much pure fun in awhile! I felt as if Spielberg was a kid in a candy store– no limitations or restrictions on his imagination–and with that 6 minute (no edits or cut always) action sequence he proved he was loving and mastering this medium! I can’t wait to see what Peter Jackson does with next!

  13. I saw this movie with a huge Tintin fan. In fact, I just recently found out that a crapload of my friends are Tintin fans, due to the fact that I’ve been mentioning I’ve seen this movie. And I live in America.

    The Tintin fan I saw this movie with loved it. She said it contained a lot of references to the comic books and she liked trying to catch all of the references. Fair enough.

    I know what you mean about the motion capture. I think it only looked good when it’s in the background or when it’s a close up (the skin and hair look super real), but when it’s just a medium shot, it simply doesn’t cut it. It just looks weird.

    So this movie didn’t know how to take a breather. I had this feeling that, with all this action, we’ll soon have some sort of cool revelation, but after one action after another, it seems to just…end. Not that there wasn’t any revelation, but it just never gives itself the necessary downtime to set some things up. But the dialogue and slapstick humor were pretty cute and funny.

  14. This movie was actually one of the movies I “kinda” wanted to see but could easily forgo if I had other plans with my money. Eventually, I did end up watching this with my boyfriend and we bought thought this was ok. We both agreed that the movie was a little too fast at times. I gotta say, though, that the crane “sword fight” was pretty awesome. That was probably my favorite scene in the movie.

    Great review!

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