Before the days of Harry Potter, I grew up with ‘heroes’ such as Tintin and Johnn Quest. I have read all of Tintin comic books, if I’m not mistaken – in the Indonesian translation. Through his adventures, I would be transported to foreign lands – imaginary or real. I was very excited when I heard that Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg were collaborating to bring his adventures to the big screen.
And the verdict is … ?
The Adventures of Tintin is an excellent three-dimensional portrayal of our much loved intrepid journalist. Jackson and Spielberg stay true to Herge’s characters in the books – you can really reconcile the image of the characters in your head with their depiction on the screen. The animation is top notch, somehow real and yet very cartoon-like as well – there is certainly very little on the screen to inform us that Jamie Bell is the actor playing Tintin, or Andy Serkis is the talent behind Captain Haddock, nor would we recognise Daniel Craig as the actor behind Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine / Red Rackham.
The movie introduces Tintin as he wanders through the market and buys a replica of a three-masted saling ship that carried precious cargo in the17th century. The replica carries a secret message inside one of its masts that needs to be combined with other messages that are also stored in two other replicas. Legend has it that when the messages are correctly deciphered, they lead to the location of a hidden treasure – the ship’s cargo. In the process, Tintin meets Captain Haddock, the descendant of Sir Francis Haddock, the captain of the ship in the old days. It is said that only a Haddock can understand the hidden meaning inside the three messages. Together they have outwit Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine who is also as eager to get the messages and discover the treasure.
My only criticism of the movie is Tintin’s over verbalisation in the movie – when the plot is revealed, Spielberg believes that his version of Tintin should follow the comic-book depiction by voicing out his thoughts – usually to his dog Snowy. I would’ve liked it if Spielberg makes his Tintin more like a character in one of his ‘real’ movies, by conveying his feelings and thoughts through other means. However, it is a minor critique as the characters do show a lot of emotions through their facial expressions and actions.
If you grew up with Tintin comics, you would enjoy the movie – seeing Bianca Castafiore, Nestor and other characters that you know from the books brings you back to your childhood!
I can’t wait for further Tintin movies from Jackson/Spielberg!
PS: Even the late Hergé makes a cameo in the movie – have a look at the cartoon artist who draws Tintin in the market!