Monthly Archives: January 2012

My Ten Cents On: The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Growing up, The Adventures of Tintin was one of the cartoons that I would eagerly anticipate coming up on TV. It was the TV version of all the Hardy Boys novels I used to read, and to me represents the type of children’s entertainment that didn’t treat kids as if they are mentally handicapped (screw you Dora). So when I heard they were remaking it, I was pretty giddy, hoping that what I remembered to be a smart show would still keep that level of intellect. I was pretty pleased to hear that they weren’t going with too many recognizable voices and expensive A-list names, as that’s my peeve with big budget animate movies most of the time. Anyway, I’m excited to get into this, so lets jump right in!

+ Voice Acting

This man, is my vocal idol.

Since I’ve already preempted this in my intro, I might as well go here first. I’m so glad that they got voices that aren’t immediately recognizable. It was a treat to hear these characters speak and not imagine the person behind them. I saw and heard Tintin and Captain Haddock, not Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis. Much like how we recognize the voices of the Simpsons, and other cartoon shows, the same should be done for animated films. Its a fun novelty to hear a Donkey speaking like Eddie Murphy, or a cat that sounds like Antonio Banderas, but nothing beats hearing a voice, and picturing that it comes from that character, and not from the actor behind him.

That being said, everyone here did a great job, voice acting-wise. Andy Serkis is my idol. I do have a little bit of voice range, but this guy is amazing. How do you voice both Gollum from Lord of the Rings to voicing Captain Haddock, not to mention playing King Kong and most of the monkeys from Rise of the Planet of the Apes? He is simply amazing and the quintessential animated performer. Jamie Bell does a decent job at being Tintin, his voice having that innocent and inquisitive tone that we’re used to hearing from Tintin’s character. Daniel Craig’s gruff, sharp voice, while personally I don’t feel it fits James Bond, it does fit Rackham, the main villain of this film. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, playing Thomson and Thompson, respectively, used their chemistry and impeccable comic timing to bring life to the two bungling police investigators, and made them a couple of the funniest characters I have seen in a while.

All-in-all, an amazing bit of casting.

+ The Animation and Imagery

The action scene here, I'll admit, was pretty interesting to watch.

I’m not usually a fan of this kind of art style, and up until now, it still doesn’t sit well with me. Animation has always been, for me, meant to have characters move in ways that you couldn’t get real people to, not to make them look as real as possible. But, the way they used the animation in this movie was brilliant. The action sequences consisted of long, highly choreographed cuts, and an intricate series of events. Tintin does look a bit creepy to me, but the animation style was just beautiful all-throughout (actually, that was a bit detrimental to the film, but I’ll get to that later).

The movie did have some amazing visuals

The flow was very good, it wasn’t that jarring, and for the most part, you could see everything that was happening. The wide shots looked like something out of a painting, and the level of detail that went into the animation made my eyes pop with excitement! All-in-all, a brilliant look to the film.

+ Dialogue

These two had some really hilarious moments.

Like I mentioned, Tintin was one of those cartoons that treated its audience as an intelligent group, and so did this film. The dialogue was chalked full with witty yet wacky banter between Frost and Pegg, and great interaction between the characters. The plot itself is pretty simple, that if you really tried you might figure it out before the characters do, but at least the way they talk with one another showed a level of trust that the audience is intelligent enough to follow it, which is refreshing in films made for all-audiences.

– Bad Build-up and Climax

The problem with all the amazing visuals was that it built up the wrong way, the best visuals were in the middle of the film, so when the climactic final battle came around, it felt pretty underwhelming. The middle of the movie had an amazing vehicle chase and an amazing Pirates of the Caribbean-esque battle between two ships, and I thought to myself: “I wonder how they’re gonna top this!” Sadly, they didn’t and the resolution of the movie fell flat given everything we got to see before hand.

It was a bit disappointing, and the climax was pretty stupid in my opinion. The conclusion of all the puzzles was pretty weak and the scheme to apprehend the criminal mind was kind of dumb. It showed an uncharacteristic lack of foresight from Tintin, and led to one of the most needlessly violent and destructive and underwhelming fights I had seen in a long time. To say I didn’t enjoy the final battle was an understatement. It was the pot-hole at the end of the highway. Kind of a bust to what otherwise would have been a close-to-perfect film.

– The Villain

While I did like Daniel Craig’s voice for the villain role, I didn’t like the way the villain was implemented in the film. He had evil written all-over him, and we were given no choice in trying to figure out who the bad guy was. I always saw Tintin as half muder-mystery half adventure, but the movie started out with a murder-mystery feel for like the first 10 minutes and just became an adventure movie the rest of the way.They really didn’t put much effort into finding a creative twist in the film, they made a very weak connection between Craig’s character, Sakharine and Captain Haddock. The reason behind the villain being the way he was isn’t for money, its for vengeance, and a pretty stupid one at that.

Is it me, or does he look a bit like Robin Williams when you squint your eyes?

Also, its not a good thing that I had to go online to figure out the guy’s name was Sakharine. Really? That’s his name? He doesn’t even sound imposing, let alone memorable. The original 1930’s comic, he was a side character who wanted to collect model ships, and the villains turned out to be these thieves known as the Bird Brothers, and their plans are foiled by a kleptomaniac who stole their wallets, serving as the twist of the original story. In this one, he’s the lead villain, and they don’t make any effort to conceal it at all. The mystery is sucked out faster than the air from a malfunctioning space shuttle, which leads me to my next point.

– Very Little Mystery

As witty as the dialogue is, the mystery in the plot felt like it was written for toddlers. They figured out the maps and the clues so easily, that a majority of the movie was spent on action scenes and the mystery elements would just pop up once in a while. It was as if Spielberg and Jackson didn’t expect us to be able to handle the mystery, or at least they thought that action would sell more tickets than mystery (which is probably true). But for a film like Tintin, I had expected a little more impressive things coming out of the detective-work department. Though, I didn’t notice that too much while watching the movie itself, so I have to give this movie:

My Cent’s Worth: 7.5/10

It may not have had the best story, or the best ending. But it was a lot of fun to watch, and I’m not reviewing through any scientific criteria or framework, no, I’m just telling you how much I liked the movie. I was truly disappointed by the ending, and I am now kind of ticked off that the movie was so much fun that I forgot to look at the mystery element, but the point is, the movie was so much fun. If you haven’t given this movie a try, go for it!