Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Adventures of Tintin

When we were kids, my brother and I loved reading the Tin Tin comic books. We were drawn in by the action and mystery of the stories.

The new Steven Spielberg film, The Adventures of Tintin, more or less lives up to the original stories. Unfortunately, the action and speed of the picture overwhelm the mystery itself. The film fails in the first half to grab the audience's interest with the mystery of the Unicorn. For most of the film, the viewer doesn't quite remember why we're so keen to find out more about the ship. The antagonists are not very frightening, mostly because we don't know why they pose a threat to Tintin or his quest. There are actually very few moments when the audience is scared. Any suspense is spent quickly as the pace of the film keeps moving. Indeed, the movie goes so quickly that one can get caught up in the pace of adventure without remembering the motive behind the action. Or one is simply bored.

Each character lacks the sort of depth that would give the story richness. We know little about Tintin's background except that he's a journalist who just happens to be curious about things - not too off the mark from the books. Drunken Captain Haddock's personal history is fairly shallow but it provides the only known motivation for the quest of the Unicorn. We don't know anything about our adversary until the very last scenes of the film.

To be honest, there's not much to say about this movie. It's visually enjoyable, especially in 3D and I think it's the perfect weekend movie for kids who don't need a reason to be swept away in a simple treasure hunt sort of adventure. The comic relief provided by the two bumbling detectives, Thomson and Thompson, is indeed humorous, if a bit annoying. The kids I took to see the movie loved it, but I wonder if they'd enjoy it as much the second or third time, without the 3D glasses.

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