Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

By Davin Arul
Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Cary Elwes

First things first: this review comes to you through the eyes of a non-fan.
Nothing against Herge's work – it was purely a budgetary consideration back in my teens. Asterix or Tintin? Finally, roast boar, bruised legionaries and magic potion won my hard-earned dollars.
Which brings me to Messrs Spielberg and (Peter) Jackson's adaptation of the beloved-by-millions Tintin comics.
Having no emotional investment in the characters and stories, I can say that this big-screen outing of Tintin kept me thoroughly entertained, almost from start to finish.
There were a couple of oh-get-on-with-it-already moments, but for the most part, every scene in the film propels the story along nicely.
It hasn't exactly turned me into a fan, so I'm not about to rush out and grab all the comics to catch up on what I've been missing since that fateful financial decision.
But even to these indifferent eyes, The Adventures of Tintin has all the trappings of a rollicking good adventure: shadowy comings and goings, sinister baddies, abductions, escapes, punch-ups, shootings, chases, more chases, still more chases, and even – what's this – duelling cranes? (As in the heavy machinery, not the bird.)
While one Tintin follower tells me that the originals seldom had this level of spectacle (read: excess approaching the level of 1941), I didn't really find anything too out of place.
Of course, it has the brave but somewhat one-dimensional intrepid boy reporter Tintin (Bell) at its centre, along with the characters you would expect: Captain Haddock (brilliantly motion-capture-performed by Serkis), the plucky pooch Snowy (NOT Serkis, no matter what others might tell you) and the bumbling cops Thomson and Thompson (Frost and Pegg).
The loyal dog Snowy. Nope, not Anthony Serkis!
TAoT has a strong Indiana Jones vibe in its chase sequences, with the already mentioned over-the-top moment or two.
But it succeeds 90% of the time in maintaining a heady and infectious sense of adventure, liberally dosed with humour – the kind that will make you chuckle along, but not split your sides laughing – and it's all boosted by a pleasing John Williams score.
There's a wealth of detail for keen-eyed viewers to spot, and I hear fans of the comic found numerous familiar visual elements that might as well have been winking at them from the screen.
It wouldn't be complete without Captain Haddock, literally the life of this party; without his … er, alcohol-fueled hijinks, colourful metaphors and alliterative epithets, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed myself half as much.
The good ol' Captain
By Toutatis (oops), I'm glad that for once I didn't have any fan baggage to weigh me down.