Note: Originally published in the Durham College Chronicle.
While originally known for creating some of America’s greatest films, director Steven Spielberg tries his hand at adapting a European Icon.
The Adventures of Tintin is a 3D animated film based upon the comics of French author Hergé. The comic follows the exploits of the young journalist Tintin and his dog Snowy, as they solve mysteries and travel around the world.
With the Indiana Jones films in his portfolio, Spielberg isn’t new to the action adventure genre but this time around he chose to experiment with new 3D animated technology.
The film was shot with actors in motion capture suits with the computer animation added after using their performances as a base for the animation. The technique was used a number of times by the film’s producer, Peter Jackson, in his Lord of the Rings and King Kong films.
Much like those films, the effect is impressive, with the characters’ actions looking realistic and distinct. The animation also allows the film to have more over-the-top moments and camera angles that would have been impossible before.
Even with the impressive 3D animation the film still needs solid performances from the cast to make it worthwhile. Luckily the film has a solid cast with Jamie Bell playing the title character, long-time Jackson collaborator Andy Serkis as Tin Tin’s hard drinking companion Captain Haddock, and Daniel Craig as the film’s villain Ivan Sakharine, rounding out the cast. The three actors have a good chemistry onscreen despite the film’s 3D animated filming technique.
The basic plot of the film follows the young journalist Tintin purchasing a model ship and discovering legend of a treasure of a wrecked ship, the Unicorn. Along the way Tintin, Snowy and Haddock must out-think and out-run the villain Sakharine to find the treasure first.
Spielberg, while new to the field of 3D animated films, uses the technology to fill every frame with something interesting. With large pan shots of a boat revealing people moving on the three main levels of the ship, to the manic car chase scene through a small middle-eastern town during the film’s climax, there’s so much going on in the film that it can be difficult to take in. It will take multiple views to see everything.
While the film uses the new technology quite well, the plot isn’t what it could be. The film doesn’t spend enough time getting the viewer to like the characters before jumping into the story. While the characters are quite popular in Europe, some audiences in North America might be confused as to who this character is.
Despite the film’s eagerness, Spielberg pulls off a fun and exciting action adventure film that avid Tintin and jaded Indiana Jones fans will enjoy.