Tintinnabulation

This week I went to see the movie ‘Adventures of Tintin’ with my now grown sons. When they were boys, I introduced them to the Tintin books, mostly the English ones. So it was partly nostalgic to see it with them. My recommendation is that the 3-D version is not worth the extra price; just see it in ordinary 2-D. And don’t expect a huge Steven Spielberg effects extravaganza or epic war scenes of other Peter Jackson movies, though both guys have done their parts here – just expect the fun of seeing Tintin. If you are a Tintin fan, you won’t be disappointed with the creation of hilarious if improbable action that typifies the comic book. The mixture of plausible slapstick and subtle humor were faithfully included and make for an enjoyable hour and 45 minute experience. There is a great setup of action and there are easy transitions between settings (ships at sea to airplanes to crossing a desert) which you can take for granted in the books but are hard to do in a movie without causing disruption.

Having seen several more sophisticated action movies lately, one can be jaded – expecting more mature handling of different social and cultural issues- but these are based on comic books of a previous generation and the movie makers were loyal to the spirit of those comic books. Unlike the latest rash of comic book movies based on superheros, there is no embellishment of characters, no explaining formative childhood experiences, just plain Tintin. I’m guessing that if you remember the books, you might even know some of the plot line or be able to guess what happens next in an action sequence, but enjoy it regardless. There isn’t really any character development per se – some action movies based on comic books do a good job of developing characters and making the movies deeper than their original comics, but you won’t find that here. There are the bumbling detective Thompson twins; there is the silly white dog (Snowy or Milou, depending on whether you read the American or European versions) who sometimes is as smart as any human; there is Captain Haddock who gets to say “Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles!” and is always looking for the next bottle of whiskey. There are no strong female roles, there is no interaction with the people in what looks like Muslim Africa, and there is only a nod to the Captain’s alcohol problem, where in the end he throws the whiskey bottles instead of drinking them, as if he has decided to stay sober, but then there is no such sensitivities in the comic books either, so I can’t criticize the movie for what it lacks. Maybe the fact that this movie is showing all around the world and in many languages offers its own redemption in this regard.

Overall, the three of us rated the movie between 8.5 to 9.0 on a scale of 1 to 10. I hope you enjoy. Be sure to see the trailer at IMDB. If you want to see other reviews, try Grace Randolph’s review or Jeremy Jahn’s review. Now I’m more hopeful that someone will do a movie version of Asterix & Obelix. That would really ring some bells. And I’ll have a great excuse to get my sons back together for a trip down memory lane while enjoying some fun entertainment.

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