Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“The model ship conceals a clue to one of the greatest mysteries of all time.” That’s the young truth-seeking reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell) who has, along with his loyal dog Snowy, just discovered his new model ship might hold the key to an ancient treasure in the performance capture film The Adventures of Tintin.
Ever since he bought the model ship at the town market, Tintin has been pursued by a dangerous man named Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig) determined to unlock the mystery for himself and eliminate anyone who gets in his way. Believing Tintin has a vital clue, Sakharine kidnaps the young man and locks him in a cage on an old cargo ship headed to Morocco.
With help from Snowy – who snuck aboard the ship and is extremely resourceful in saving his master from certain doom – Tintin joins forces with the salty, drunk Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) and together the three escape the clutches of Sakharine and head out to try to find the final resting place of a shipwreck called The Unicorn, believing the ship just might hold the key to an ancient fortune.
The Adventures of Tintin is an animated action/adventure that tries to be in the same thrilling league as the Indiana Jones films but fails miserably. The film lacks any real humor or original action scenes. It’s all been done much better before.
The performance capture talents do their best to bring the characters to life, but there’s little they can do with the stale, cardboard, one-dimensional writing and character development in the script. There is no heart or passion to these heroes and villains, just the mindless, loud and disengaging action sequences that pile up onto each other.
Another big problem with the film is the convoluted, all over the map plot which adults will have a hard time following let alone children who this movie is supposed to be made for.
The 3D motion capture is completely wasted and unnecessary in the movie. Not once does it make it seem like the audience is sailing along with the characters or dodging bullets. The animated characters have that empty, expressionless look which detracts rather than enhances the viewing experience.
Flat, muddled, and overly busy, The Adventures of Tintin is an underwhelming, disappointing and empty film that should be missed, especially when there are much better animated films for families to see on the big screen right now (including Arthur Christmas and Happy Feet Two).
The Adventures of Tintin hits theaters on December 21, 2011 and is rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking.