Tuesday, February 4, 2014
The Adventures of Tintin (2011) [PG] ****
The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn is the first in the series of 3D motion capture animation films based on Tintin, an intrepid young reporter whose dogged pursuit of a good story inevitably lands him in one dangerous adventure after another. This adventure begins when Tintin buys a model ship, called the Unicorn, from a street vendor. Immediately, the sinister Mr. Sakharine tries to buy it from him, and when Tintin refuses, Sakharine resorts to theft, kidnapping and murder. Tintin and his remarkable dog Snowy find themselves on an old cargo ship where Tintin rescues Captain Haddock, the ship's drunken captain. They escape and end up in Morocco at the court of a sheik, who also possesses a model of the Unicorn. Captain Haddock, it turns out, is a descendant of Sir Francis Haddock who lived three centuries earlier, and was forced to scuttle the original Unicorn after he was attacked by a pirate who happened to be an ancestor of Sakharine. Sakharine is trying to find the sunken Unicorn and its treasure, and to do so he needs all three model ships built by Sir Francis, because each model contains a secret scroll with clues to the location of the lost treasure.
Offering 3D animation, and the action-packed, frenetically-paced story telling for which director Steven Spielberg is known, Tintin is more than a little reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and other Spielberg adventures. However, what begins as a promising adventure story for children of all ages gradually becomes simply a series of dazzling but increasingly chaotic set pieces that leave the viewer dazed and weary rather than energized. The end result is an animated endurance contest that is rarely as entertaining as Spielberg had intended, and may have you watching the time and wondering how much longer until the credits roll. But the film's real flaw is that it simply has no heart. We watch Tintin, but we don't develop any feelings for him, we don't cheer him on. And it is this lack of feeling, of emotion, that separates The Adventures of Tintin from truly memorable animated films such as How to Train Your Dragon and Hugo.
[Blogger's rating: *** out of 5 stars.]
Labels: action, adventure, animation, family, mystery