Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA/New Zealand, 2011. Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, WingNut Films, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Hemisphere Media Capital, Nickelodeon Movies. Screenplay by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, based on the comic book series The Adventures of Tintin by Herge. Produced by Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Andrew L. Jones, Jeff Wisniewski. Costume Design by Lesley Burkes-Harding. Film Editing by Michael Kahn. Academy Awards 2011. Golden Globe Awards 2011.
Hergé’s children’s book series is adapted to the big screen with a sense of wonder and excitement by Steven Spielberg, here trying his hand as director of an animated film for the first time. Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell), a young amateur detective, steps into a whole mess of trouble when the purchase of a ship-in-a-bottle at an antique fair turns out to be coveted by a group of bad guys who know that within it is the key to the location of lost treasure. Before he knows it, our young hero and his faithful canine companion are touring across Europe to North Africa in search of the solution to their mystery while also trying to keep ahead of those who would happily see them dead. Computer-generated animation seems to be getting better and better with every attempt by Hollywood to improve its quality, and this film is a new high in detail and beauty; landscapes shine like something out of a living storybook but with a verisimilitude that is uncanny and often makes you forget you are watching an animated film. The downside is that the human figures are a jarring comparison, with dead eyes and awkward physicality killing the spirit in what is otherwise a rousing adventure. Spielberg is usually an ace at taking a very traditional story and, through his expert direction of actors, utilizing their personalities to make it all feel fresh, but without humans to push around here the effect is lost. A sequel-baiting ending is also annoying, but otherwise it is a healthy good time that both young and old will find diverting.