December 29, 2011

MOVIES: The Adventures of Tintin (Steven Spielberg, 2011)

If you come to The Adventures of Tintin with a pre-existing fondness for the characters, you may enjoy the movie; if not, I think you're going to find them flat and uninteresting, and the story predictably simple.

On the plus side, these are the best CGI humans we've seen yet, only occasionally slipping into creepy "uncanny valley" territory; it's helped by the fact that they're not quite going for photorealism, and the characters retain just a little bit of cartoonishness (there are a lot of enormous noses). Some of the action sequences are exciting, and John Williams' score is a lively rouser in much the same style as his Raiders work.

But the characters are paper-thin, given one characteristic apiece, at most. Tintin is intrepid; Thomson and Thompson are bumbling incompetents; Haddock is a drunk (and the movie treats that as a joke in an offensive way). They're cardboard cutouts being pushed around the world in service of a story that's not very interesting, and it doesn't add up to very much.

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