I saw this movie a little while back so the review’s been in the works for a while. I remember reading a whole lot of the Tintin comics back in the day. They were a lot of fun and you could always bet that you would be having a good time there. The film takes things in a bit of a different direction than what I was used to. I think a straight adaption from the comics would have ended up making it better but ultimately this was still a pretty good film. I’d say that the risks it took did pay off by and large.
The movie starts out with Tintin buying a toy ship for a fairly cheap price but immediately afterwards he is heavily encouraged to sell it by some shady characters. They are offering a lot of money but Tintin is a reporter who is always looking for a good scoop and so you can bet that he definitely won’t be selling it now. The decision is taken out of his hands though as he is kidnapped shortly and brought aboard a ship led by Sakharine who wants some secret hidden within the toy ships for some devious purpose. Tintin’s only chance at getting out ahead of this guy is Captain Haddock whose ancestors were actually on the ship. The trouble is that the captain is a big drunk at this point who has none of his predecessors bravery.
Right off the bat the film does do a good job of getting that classic adventure feel across. The film moves quickly and the heroes do go to various locations so it’s not like they’re stuck in any one place. They have to keep moving at all times and each area is very different which works out well. There are some real action scenes here too as Tintin uses a gun and Haddock actually lands some punches on the opponent. There was more action than I was expecting and I definitely say that as a good thing.
Tintin wasn’t afraid to mix it up with the villains in the comics after all. The animation style here is quite different and while a classic style that looked more like the comics would have been better, I would still say this one was good. It’s really detailed but doesn’t go too far into looking like a live action film or anything like that. The style won’t be for everyone though which is why I would call this a fairly big risk but one that worked out well enough. This is a film that will still look very distinct 5-10 years from now.
Now, one big mistake that the film did make was in wrecking Haddock. He may get drunk a lot but he’s never been the type of character to be a coward and that’s where the film messed up big time. He whines a lot during the first half, is scared of everything and constantly makes excuses. He felt like Haddock in name only and that was disappointing because I consider him to be the best character in the series ordinarily. I wasn’t a fan of his here. Sure, he does man up by the very end of the film but it’s too little too late to save him here. For a sequel at least it seems like he would do good.
It’s not a good way to introduce people to him though and even as an origin story it just feels really messy. This was not the right approach if you ask me. Tintin is at least in character even if he gets beat up a lot. He does tend to get saved by his dog Snowy a lot and loses a bunch of fights but at least he also has a lot of high points to make up for that. Downing a plane with a single bullet was really solid for example and he is brave in the face of danger. You can see why he was considered as an ace reporter.
Snowy is definitely the MVP here with how much he contributed against the villains. The movie did a good job of showing their solid bond here and Snowy got his due respect which was really good. The dynamic between the 3 characters is what you always want to see in a Tintin film and that’s certainly intact.
As for the villain Sakharine, well he’s more on the generic side. He’s okay but you won’t remember him all that much and I would say that his motivations are on the weaker side. Once we find out why he’s doing all of this, I wouldn’t say it helps him or anything. If anything he probably just needs to let go of the past and just do his own thing.
Then there’s a subplot with Thomson and Thompson but it is really filler. It doesn’t tie into the main plot for just about the whole movie and it’s just there for some humor. It’s a bit on the forced side though so that would be the weakest part of the movie. In general I wouldn’t say that it ever gets downright boring or anything like that but you will have a hard time figuring out why they even decided to put that in. It just doesn’t add much to anything. Surely there could have been a way to add the Thompson twins to the main plot instead.
It’s fair to say that a sequel looks unlikely at this point but I would definitely be on board with it. The action/fight scenes alone would have me interested in a sequel. Beyond that I’m sure the writing and core adventure would be good like in this film. We could probably drop the Assassin’s Creed style mind meld where Haddock can look into the past though. It’s not a bad idea in theory but I want Haddock to really be focused on the present and steal the show the way he should have stolen this one.
Overall, The Adventures of Tintin is a pretty solid film. To an extent you can call it a basic action/adventure film. There isn’t any area where is really excels to a high degree but it doesn’t make many mistakes and keeps you engaged the whole time. The animation does really stand out so as long as you like it then that will be a nice positive as well. We can always use more adventure films and so I would certainly be able to recommend this to anyone. It’s a well balanced movie.