The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

(On TV, January 2015)  As someone who owned the entire run of Tintin graphic novels in childhood, I wasn’t able to watch this big-screen adaptation without a bit of a protective interest.  Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting comfortable with the film: The character design had a distracting bobble-head quality that sent the whole film into the uncanny valley, and I never could quite reconcile the photorealism of the settings with the way the characters looked.  Despite the quality of the animation, The Adventures of Tintin reminded me of the 2001 Final Fantasy film in that it never quite could manage to make its characters feel as if they matched their surroundings.  This being said, the quality of Steven Spielberg’s direction eventually made me warm up to the entire result.  There are a pair of fantastic action sequences that do much to make the film worthwhile: A water-and-fire naval engagement looks great, but more remarkably a lengthy one-shot action sequence featuring characters racing downhill that would be impossible to do without CGI and a lot of direction skills.  What’s fortunate is that the script is actually not too bad: witty at times, definitely steeped into a pleasant tradition of adventure films at others.  Many of the early Tintin characters and details are there for the fans, and the globe-trotting tradition of the series feels intact.  The Adventures of Tintin doesn’t amount to much more than a big adventure… but that’s not a bad thing.  Still, I just wish a slightly-different direction had been taken about the visual look of the characters.

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