Slow Critic on Tintin

8 01 2012

Spielberg, Jackson, and Wright, I recant my previous statement. You guys absolutely get it.

I still would have preferred Tintin in 2D animation. (In fact if someone were to make a whole movie in the style of the opening credits I would be ecstatic.) However, the 3D characters felt entirely true to Herge’s books, porous skins and all. Any movie based on a book or comic has to be different than the source material in order to work as a movie, and when it comes to the characters, Tintin is different in all the right ways. While far fleshier than their pen-and-ink origins, they are totally convincing translations into near-real life. The designs and voices are spot-on, as are the choices, tactics, and reactions of Tintin, Haddock, and Snowy.

In typical Spielberg fashion, the action set pieces ramp up and up and finally go too far. Massive, wanton property destruction without consequences doesn’t fit in Tintin’s universe. But while the movie maintains a human scale, it works. The numerous easter eggs for fans of the comics were fun.

Unfortunately, Marcie found it tedious. That may be further testament to the movie staying true to its roots, which are aimed at young boys after all. But it suggests the movie won’t have a lot of appeal beyond kids and dudes, which is too bad.

When I was a kid, the magic of Tintin came from exploring our world with him. The first time I got on a plane to another country, I felt like I was living a Tintin adventure. Even when he visited fictional nations, the stories always spoke to real cultures and environments, and the richness of experience available in real life. It’s hard to see animated movies playing that role, when so many live-action movies transport audiences to exotic scenes. Still, I find myself eagerly awaiting the next Tintin movie.

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