Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Movie Night: The Adventures of Tintin

Girlfriend loved the film. I enjoyed it, but was also disappointed.

There was a lot of good stuff here. The action scenes were fast-paced and awesome, with a car and motorcycle chase through the streets of a terraced middle eastern city being the highlight. The CGI work is unparalleled. There's not a trace of uncanny valley, despite the cartoony style. And the animators threw in all these amusing background events, so that half the fun of the film is trying to catch them all.

But when I walked out of the theater, I was miffed because, for all that, the film cheated me out of the payoff. Twice.


The trailers mentioned "a weapon that could have changed the course of history." That's bullshit. The Unicorn's secret cargo is your bog-standard piles of pirate's gold. But an even bigger cheat is that they don't find the treasure. Instead they find a small portion of the gold, a nice hat, and a sequel hook. If you read my other blog, you know that I hate it when books do this. Translating the story from paper to the big screen does not improve my opinion.


There are other storytelling issues, too. Most seriously, the movie isn't quite sure whether Tintin or Haddock is the hero. When Haddock first shows up, he seems to be a comical sidekick. But from the plane crash onwards, he gets nearly all of the character development and focus, to the point that the villain fights Haddock in the final battle while Tintin just kinda runs around trying not to die. The film also isn't 100% certain if it's supposed to be a serious adventure, a tongue-in-cheek adventure, or a straight-up parody. And there are some frankly amateurish mistakes: Tintin is a cipher with little personality, the whole pickpocket subplot is a waste of time, and the ending is rather blatantly obvious.

I did like the film and would watch the sequel willingly, but this is a B- effort. They could have done better.

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