No, this movie isn’t close to the comic books or the 1990 television series that I watched as a kid. This is a new Tintin that is forcefully placed in a time and space that the actual Tintin came from. I still don’t complain simply because this movie took me back to my childhood (there were many they-got-it-all-wrong moments though) and at the same time introduced Tintin and his universe to a generation that is used to crap like Ben10 and whatever else they show on TV today.
My cousin had a mix of the English and Bangla translations of the comic. It was only when my parents bought me my own Tintin collection years later that I realized through some reading-up that what I had in my hands was actually translated from French.
The movie sticks to this translated version. Therefore Milou becomes Snowy, Haddock has a Welsh accent, Tintin doesn’t seem to have a Belgian accent, Dupont and Dupond become Thomson and Thompson. The slapstick humour and the sense of adventure remains but the cultural and political commentary from the comicbook are missing in action.
The script of The Adventures of Tintin is based on three of the original comic books – The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941), The Secret of the Unicorn (1943), and Red Rackham’s Treasure (1944). The script writers headed by Steven Mofat do a pretty good job. We see our characters travel around the world from an unnamed European town to the fictional Morrocon port of Bagghar.
A fan boy would complain as to how the need for Tintin to buy the model of the Unicorn lacks reason. This is because in the comic book, he buys it thinking it’ll make a good present for Haddock. However, in the film he buys it just out of interest because he is yet to meet Haddock. Also, the fact that he also buys Thomson and Thompson, their walking sticks is ignored. Honestly, the attention to detail and realism is not as much as it was in the books.
The movie is a treat to the eyes (unless you watch it on previous-generation 3D glasses like me) and shows the true potential of what technology is capable of. This movie goes beyond the cheap thrills that 3D movies are generally associated with. The last 20 minutes of the film have some fantastic use of 3D that actually take the narrative forward. Steven Spielberg uses the motion capture technology to breathe life into his characters. Tintin played by Jamie Bell (Jimmy from King Kong and the guy in Green Day’s ‘Wake Me Up’ video) and Haddock played by Andy Serkis (Gollum in LOTR and King Kong in King Kong) are perfect for their characters. Daniel Craig is pure evil in his (motion captured) portrayal of Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine. I wish I saw more of the two detectives played by real-life best friends Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
You do not comment on the technical aspects of movies that have pioneering folks like Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg behind them but The Adventures of Tintin is simply outstanding in this respect, right from 2D-ish title sequence to the climax. The fact that John Williams has lent the music to the film makes it even better.
I hear Peter Jackson is set to direct the second one in the planned trilogy and I am surely looking forward to it.