Blu-ray Review: ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ Looks Great, Feels Hollow

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CHICAGO – Being a Steven Spielberg super-fan, I looked forward to being able to re-appreciate “The Adventures of Tintin” with a beautiful HD picture and, I hoped, some special features to enhance my opinion of a film that I found pretty seriously flawed in theaters. Well, the HD transfer is a beauty — the film looks just as good as its 3D theatrical presentation — but the film is still flawed and the special features are lackluster. In theaters, it was a near-miss and my opinion has not changed on Blu-ray. Blu-ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 2.5/5.0

Excepting for a few stand-out action scenes that, admittedly, look fantastic in HD, I still find “Tintin” dull. It’s boring. I know that’s a very American opinion (the film has been a juggernaut internationally, where Herge’s comic is much more popular) but I guess this is just the soccer of cartoons — bigger overseas.

After a jazzy, fun opening credits sequence scored to another Oscar-nominated John Williams score, the action of the piece kicks in as we meet the intrepid title character (voiced and mo-capped by Jamie Bell) and his loyal canine companion. Tintin seems like an engaging chap, the kind of wide-eyed protagonist to follow on a globe-trotting adventure. Sadly, he takes a back seat almost immediately to what is basically a non-stop action kid’s movie that becomes monotonous in its breakneck rhythm. Character, humor, whimsy, invention – there’s no time when Spielberg, Jackson and his team are busy crafting the next set piece.

The Adventures of Tintin
The Adventures of Tintin
Photo credit: Paramount

Tintin buys a model of an old ship at a flea market. Before he can even finish looking at it, people are trying to take it from him, including an American (Joe Starr) who warns him of danger and a ne’er-do-well named Sakharine (Daniel Craig). The model ship hides a clue to not only the secret history of the seafaring vessel on which it was based but the path to a hidden fortune. To find that fortune, Tintin will need the help of a drunken ship captain named Archibald Haddock (Andy Serkis, in another inspired bit of motion capture performance), the last living relative of the former Captain of the Unicorn, Sir Francis Haddock.

The Adventures of Tintin was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13th, 2012
The Adventures of Tintin was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13th, 2012
Photo credit: Paramount

It’s clear why Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson chose to shoot “Tintin” with mo-cap animation. There are sequences in this movie that simply couldn’t be pulled off in live-action. While I love watching a filmmaker experiment with new ways to express himself, the problem is that the film ends up being more style than substance. It’s a film that’s missing that “whoa factor,” the awe that so many of his other works (and J.J. Abrams’ ode to the master, “Super 8”) have provided. It’s like a video game cut scene — it might look good, but it doesn’t inspire you to play in its world. Just sit back and watch. And try not to fall asleep.

As for the Blu-ray, the HD video and audio are stellar but the special features are kind of a snooze. How does a movie this technically strong not have a picture-in-picture function or a commentary? Maybe after they make the inevitable sequel.

From Academy Award® winning filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson comes the epic adventures of Tintin. Racing to uncover the secrets of a sunken ship that may hold a vast fortune, but also an ancient curse, Tintin and his loyal dog Snowy embark on an action-packed journey around the world that critics are calling “fun for the whole family.” ABC-TV (Chicago)

Special Features:
o Journey Inside the World of Tintin
o Snowy: The Full Tail
o Go Behind the Scenes of Tintin

“The Adventures of Tintin” features voice/mo-cap work by Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Cary Elwes, Toby Jones, Simon Pegg, & Nick Frost. It was adapted from the Herge cartoon by Stephen Moffat, Edgar Wright, & Joe Cornish and directed by Steven Spielberg. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13th, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Peter's picture

You must not have any soul

You must not have any soul to find this, greatest of all comic book adaptations, and a funny, kietic, involving and, above all joyous film anything less than joy.

It made this viewer feel completely transported.

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