Monday, January 16, 2012

The Adventures of Tintin

Andy Serkis and Jamie Bell are Captain Haddock and Tintin through motion capture animation by Weta in "The Adventures of Tintin"

***1/2 out of ****

The Adventures of Tintin plays the Zemekis game of modern digital movie-making and pulls it off better than anyone else has. This is a top quality kid adventure flick that has all the devoted energy you could imagine from two of the most spectacle driven filmmakers working today.

Steven Spielberg directing and Peter Jackson producing is a winning combination. I was under the impression for a time that Spielberg wasn't very good at adventure stories anymore. Maybe it took a big lovable geek like Jackson to be his new George Lucas.

The animation approach was a perfect choice for bringing this beloved Belgian comic to life. Live-action would have been a constant battle against the real physical world. This movie exists in it's own whimsical environment where all the objects and characters are zany but the backgrounds and sets are rendered so well they could pass off as real. As a result you are given the sense of a breezy adventure around the world dominated by entertaining caricatures.

Andy Serkis, once again, steals the show as a drunken ship captain. He still proves to be the most refined professional at motion capture acting. Somehow, his performance comes out more expressive than everyone else in the film.

The story does lag a little near the end but I can't say I got tired. I'd say it is the only weakness to this movie. It does surrender to a MacGuffin formula where I don't care as much about what the characters are after than I do for the chase scenes and rich visuals. I had that kid-like feeling watching this one. I seriously wished this had come out when I was ten years old. It's just too much fun.   

Check out this very fun interview with the two greats who produced this movie. Holy crap! Jackson looks normal again! Really, if you're a geek, watch it!

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