Though only a young boy, Tintin has made a name for himself as a successful investigative reporter. After purchasing a model ship from the bazaar, he is approached by a man about selling it at a high price. Tintin refuses to let go of the model and takes it home. With the high demand, Tintin goes into investigation mode and discovers that there is a mysterious history between the rare model in his possession and the family it represents, with the potential for untold riches when digging deeper. After finding his apartment ransacked and surviving an attack at his doorstep, he continues to search of the answers. Sakharine, the man who attempted to buy the ship from him, sends his men to kidnap Tintin, but Snowy, Tintin’s dog, sneaks on board the ship to rescue his friend. When Tintin meets the surly Captain Haddock, he devises an attempt to escape, find a way to restore Haddock’s memory and learn about the Haddock family’s secret fortune.
Starring: Jamie Bell (Tintin), Andy Serkis (Captain Haddock), Daniel Craig (Sakharine), Nick Frost (Thomson), Simon Pegg (Thompson), Daniel Mays (Allan), Gad Elmaleh (Ben Salaad), Toby Jones (Silk), Joe Starr (Barnaby), Sonje Fontag (Mrs. Finch)
This animated feature includes an interesting cast of vocal talents from the genres of comedy, action and drama. As the main character, Jamie Bell gives the young Tintin a confidence in the way he carries himself. Andy Serkis, as the drunkard Haddock, is able to put together a feeling of aloofness and brashness in his partnership with Tintin. Daniel Craig’s typical confident voice is not how he presents himself in this film. As Sakharine, he appears to simply be angry at all times, which matches a man on a path of vengeance. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg serve as the awkward, absent-minded officers and bring their trademark banter.
While the story used to exist as a series of comics, Steven Spielberg looked to bring these characters to a larger audience and tell the story of Tintin is a way that transported the viewer into the adventure (whether watching in 3D or not). Tintin is not an average kid, as he has the respect of the people for his investigative reporting and willingness to put himself in danger for the good of others. His dog Snowy is a rather intelligent creature, very aware of what Tintin is saying and of what he needs. The ship he finds is a representation of The Unicorn, a fabled ship that engaged in a legendary battle at sea. The legend is hazy because only one member of the family remained and he was controlled by his vice, alcohol. Oddly enough, the same alcohol that makes him unreliable and uncontrollable allows him to recall the story of his relative, Sir Francis Haddock. Sakharine has a connection to the Haddock legend as well, which represents the hesitation he feels for disposing of Haddock, even though it appears that Sakharine finds him fairly useless.
The beginning of the film includes a brief moment that pays homage to the classic comics with a caricature of Tintin at the start of the film. In addition, it stays true to the original concept with the use of the original characters and the involvement of Snowy as a plot-focused engager. Where this film differs from the original is in the political tones of the story. When Georges Remi first drew the comic, he had a focus on the political battle against the socialist Soviet Union and on some made-up villains that combined the evil powers of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. This film takes more of focus on Books 9, 11 and 12 with the story of an adventure for mystery and treasure.
This film is a great family film that incorporates a nostalgia for the original concepts and a little maturity in the themes surrounding Captain Haddock. Tintin’s inquisitive nature at the start of the film is a little overly dramatic, but it feels like the characters settle into their roles as the film continues.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5