Tintin (Jamie Bell), a well liked journalist, spies a model ship for sale in a market. After purchasing it for a pound, a man comes up and offers to pay double. When Tintin refuses, the man warns him of the danger surrounding the model ship. Tintin brushes it off as a crazy rant. That is until someone breaks into his flat and steals the model from his mantle.
The model is of a ship called the Unicorn. Only the family of its captain, Sir Francis Haddock (Andy Serkis) knows what happened to the ill-fated vessel. The mystery of the ship has become the stuff of legend.
After the burglary, Tintin and his dog, Snowy, set off on an adventure to retrieve the model and uncover the story of the Unicorn.
Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig), also seems to have an intense interest in the Unicorn. He has a matching model. His desire is so consuming that he is willing to go as far as murder to attain his goal. Nothing will stand in his way. Not Tintin. Not Captain Haddock (Sir Francis’ drunken descendant). Not the bumbling detectives Thompson (Simon Pegg) and Thomson (Nick Frost).
The Adventures of Tintin is based on a Belgian cartoon series, if my memory of The Amazing Race serves me correctly. There is a slight nod to this at the beginning of the movie when a caricaturist draws a picture of Tintin.
I’m sure the story has been done before. Or at least one similar. But it is not one that I recall. And it is a refreshing break from rapping rodents and promenading penguins. This animated feature film is geared more towards a slightly older, more mature demographic that the aforementioned fare. As such, the story and dialogue is much more developed and sophisticated. However, it is careful to not go too far above the level a tween can appreciate. (I took my 10 and 12 year olds and they loved it.) I’ll warn that it pushes the two-hour mark. So it’s a little long for a kids’ movie. But nothing the age group it’s aimed at can’t handle.
The animation is absolutely superb. Probably some of the best I have ever seen. It teeters on the edge of photorealism. Every gust of wind through the hair, every wave meticulously detailed, but not so far as to become a distraction. And, of course, with this level of animation, the 3D adds nicely to the experience. (Hence my recommendation for seeing it in a theater. Unless you’ve got state-of-the-art equipment at home, I don’t think you’ll be able to fully appreciate the work that went into it.)
Given the story line, the protagonist, the pirates, and swordplay, and so forth, the movie is geared more toward boys. But I’m sure my girls would have enjoyed it just as much.
If you’re looking for a movie to take the kids to that has a little more substance and a little less fluff, check out Tintin. You won’t leave disappointed.