2011-12-21

The Adventures of Tintin – What If Indiana Jones Was A Journalist?

by Yo Snyder

Take two parts Indiana Jones, one part Hardy Boys, and add a dash of Pirates of the Caribbean and you have the ingredients for The Adventures of Tintin.
Now, saying all that might make this movie sound like a derivative,
all-in-one wannabe, but it isn’t. It’s fresh, it’s fun, it’s dazzling
and it’s a delight. It perfectly captures the spirit of all those icons I
mentioned and mashes them up into something different but just as
exciting and fun. Sure, everyone else in the world probably already
knows this as Tintin has far more notoriety and popularity outside the
U.S. than within our border, but better late then never, right? To be
honest, this was really my first dosage of Tintin, and I’m definitely
ready for some more.

First, let’s talk about the animation. How does it compare to other motion captures films such as Polar Express? Well, while it’s not quite on the same level as something like Avatar,
it still looks really good. There are still some moments of “valley of
the uncanny” where despite the realism of the graphics your brain just
knows that something is “off”. Still, we don’t get the dead-eye “zombie”
look of Polar Express. I also suppose some might wonder if
motion capture can look so realistic, why not just film with actual
actors to begin with? That thought did occur to me, but then there would
be some amazing action sequence filled with camera moves that you just
couldn’t do in live-action (there’s an amazing scene towards the end
with a couple of cranes that’s just amazing). That’s why you do a film
this way; it allows you freedom you couldn’t otherwise have. The friend I
took with me to the movie said he hasn’t ever seen a movie that looks
quite like this. While there are plenty of motion capture efforts out
there today, I’d have to agree with. This melding of technology with
old-school adventure and action all wrapped in a comic strip aesthetic
makes for a unique, and most importantly, fun experience. 

I also liked how Tintin was able to balance that whole comic strip vibe with the action-orientated feel of an Indiana Jones adventure (a vibe that’s enhanced by John Williams’ excellent score).
There are plenty of moments that may feel silly or over-the-top, and
plenty of jokes and comedy that might almost feel childish, but this is a
movie based on a comic strip and that kind of humor is all apart of it.
There are times where this movie very much feels like a fun but serious
action-flick, and other times where it feels like a silly comic strip;
and you know what, that worked for me. It gave Tintin its own unique feel and was just a whole lot of fun.

A
big part of that fun is due to another amazing performance from Andy
Serkis as Captain Haddock. Seriously, taking into account that he did
this movie and the amazing role he had in Rise of the Planet of the Apes,
it will be a crime if he doesn’t get some sort of award for the work
he’s done. Sure, a best-acting Oscar may be a long shot, but make up an
award for him, I don’t care. This kind of work deserves some recognition
because he’s portrayed a rapidly evolving and disillusioned ape who
doesn’t talk but says volumes in every look and action and a
delightfully colorful and funny character who brings energy and humor to
The Adventures of Tintin. It’s truly impressive stuff and Serkis
deserves some sort of recognition for his rare and unique talent in
this field of motion captured acting.

However, Haddock isn’t just
the sidekick who provides comic relief in the film, he’s actually very
central to the plot and plays an important role in very key moments by
providing some profound insights. My favorite is when it seems like all
hope is lost and Tintin is ready to give up. Haddock may have his issues
and may have spent much of his life as a drunken failure, but in this
pivotal moment, he reminds Tintin of one important fact; when you care
about something, you fight for it.  You know, that’s exactly how God
feels about you. He cares about you, and he certainly feels you’re
someone worth fighting for. In fact, he so strongly believes you’re
worth fighting that he went to the cross for you, died for you, paid the
price for your sin, and defeated death for you. In short, he did
everything to win life, eternal life, by fighting for your very soul.
And why did he do these things? Well, as John 3:16 so eloquently states,
it was simply out of love. Captain Haddock is absolutely right when he
says we fight for the things we care about, and God himself is the one
who set that precedent in place.

The Adventures of Tintin
is just flat-out a lot of fun. I was only vaguely familiar with the
character before seeing this movie, and perhaps that helped me enjoy it
more; I didn’t really have any expectations. I can’t say for sure what
real fans of Tintin might think, but I certainly felt that this epic
team-up of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson paid off. The Adventures of Tintin
is exciting, fun and funny, and it’s the type of adventure that leaves
you with a smile on your face as you leave the theater, and it’ll leave
you anticipating more great adventures with these fun characters.

Score: 5 of 7