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The Adventures of Tintin Review
You would think that Steven Spielberg's first entry into motion capture filmmaking would be anything but conventional. This is one of this generation's great filmmakers after all. Surprisingly, there is very few scenes during the course of The Adventures of Tintin that are truly inspiring.
The film follows Tintin, a child detective, as he tries to find the treasure from a long lost ship. The plot seems like your generic adventure story and it is. This film comes across as a lesser Indiana Jones film. Considering this was a collaboration between Steven Spielberg (who directed the film) and Peter Jackson (who was a heavily involved producer on the film), this can't be called anything but a disappointment. The film also cements my hope that Spielberg will remain in live action filmmaking. It seems that he is unable to get the full potential out of motion capture filmmaking. The film rarely makes the audience feel any emotion for the motion capture characters and the camera doesn't move around in as interesting ways as it did in live-action/motion capture crossbreeds like Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Jackson's own Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The only exception to this is a breathtaking tracking shot through the streets of a Morrocan city as the heroes of the film try to race the villains to a clue. The scene is a technical masterpiece, but Spielberg never tries to attempt anything similar throughout the other portions of the film.
The real failure of the film is the script though. With so much talent involved in the process of writing this film (Doctor Who's Steven Moffat, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World's Edgar Wright and Attack the Block's Joe Cornish), you would think this would be the highlight of the film. However, it seems there was so much talent involved that it resulted in a film that was in-cohesive. The film at time relies on nostalgia and presents dark subject matter (such as alcoholism), but at other times the film is gearing itself completely towards children. The script also features some great banter between characters, but it also relies too heavily on the actors of each character making the characters stand out. The film rarely stops for character moments, and the film just feels like action sequence after action sequence. This would have been just fine (it did work with Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol last week) if the action sequences were memorable or well staged, but they always seem like attempts to get the characters to the next location to continue the story. Even the chase through Morocco can't completely pull off this task without seeming like a struggle.
The saving grace of this film, though, are the actors. Jamie Bell is a solid lead and its hard to imagine anyone else in the role now despite not even being the first choice for the project. The King of motion-capture acting, Andy Serkis, also plays a prominent role in the film as Captain Haddock. Serkis once again makes acting in this medium look easy. His Haddock is a hilarious wreck of a man but fully realized. The surprise of the cast is Daniel Craig who plays the villain of the piece. His voice and mannerisms are completely unrecognizable, and it's great to see Craig (who has been choosing some safe roles as of late) play a character against his type.
Adventures of Tintin was able to obtain a plethora of talent in the making of this film, but this film might be a case of too much talent being a bad thing.
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