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Adventures of Tintin Early Reviews are Mixed: Delightful, Dazzling, CG Wizardry, Vidgame Action

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood October 17, 2011 at 6:34AM

Despite his stellar review, TOH! London critic Matt Mueller says there are a few drawbacks to Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. An "almost bombastically annoying" John Williams score, for one, creepy close-ups of Tintin are thankfully few, and a "ridiculously frantic and breathless pace" join what some other critics aren't so impressed with. But there are many fans, which should help Tintin reel in an impressive global box office (October 26 overseas, December 21 in the US).
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Despite his stellar review, TOH! London critic Matt Mueller says there are a few drawbacks to Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. An "almost bombastically annoying" John Williams score, for one, creepy close-ups of Tintin are thankfully few, and a "ridiculously frantic and breathless pace" join what some other critics aren't so impressed with. But there are many fans, which should help Tintin reel in an impressive global box office (October 26 overseas, December 21 in the US).

 

Check out the early reviews and trailer below:

Matt Mueller, TOH!

"[It] delivers the frolicking, boy’s-own-adventure goods in delightful, delirious spades. From frequently breathtaking animated imagery to superb vocal outings by its British cast and a tight screenplay (by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish) that retains the globetrotting charm of Belgian originator Herge’s comic-book series, the movie keeps a could-be-confusing plot humming along nicely while adding in dollops of wry, affectionate humour. Tintin is a fine example of what can be achieved when some of cinema’s brightest minds come together to honour great source material."
 

THR:

"A visually dazzling adaptation of the legendary – at least outside the US – comic book series by Belgian artist Herge. The first part of a trilogy produced by Spielberg and Peter Jackson, this kid-friendly thriller combines state-of-the-art 3D motion capture techniques with a witty, globe-trotting treasure hunt featuring the sleuthing boy reporter, his trusted fox terrier, and a cast of catchy side characters."
 

Empire:

"Animated or not, depending on your stance of this whole performance-capture game, Spielberg has brought a boy’s heart, an artist’s guile, and a movie-lover’s wit to computer generating Hergé’s immortal hero,..Here is a joyful play of opposites: the romance of old-school cinema, conjured by the slick synthesis of CG wizardry."
 

InContention:

"It’s all sufficiently propulsive that the motion-capture technology used to render this whole adventure becomes a less distinguishing hook than it might have been – which is as well, since for all its unprecedented state-of-the-art application here, the medium still demands occasional compromises in magic, notably in the area of character work. Tintin in particular, pastier and more physically edgeless than the wiry ginger of Hergé’s designs, isn’t the most appealing of presences,..[the film’s smashing key set pieces] fully justify this technological leap of faith, while also successfully adapting the distinctive flat-color textures of Hergé’s trademark ligne claire drawing style. It’s in these scenes, presumably the toughest for the director to build with these unfamiliar tools, that The Adventures of Tintin nonetheless feels most effortlessly Spielbergian."
 

Guardian:

"Yet while the big set pieces are often exuberantly handled, the human details are sorely wanting. How curious that Hergé achieved more expression with his use of ink-spot eyes and humble line drawings than a bank of computers and an army of animators were able to achieve. On this evidence, the film's pioneering 'performance capture' technique is still too crude and unrefined,..What emerges is an array of characters that may as well be pinned on to boards and protected by glass,..Viewed from a distance, The Adventures of Tintin stands proud as freewheeling, high-spirited entertainment. But those close-ups are painful, a twist of the knife."
 

TotalFilm:

"Perhaps it’s the distraction of the performance-capture visuals; not only their uncanny-valley-ness (sadly, Tintin himself is the most shark-eyed) but the lack of a greatly compelling reason why this couldn’t have been live action. With one huge exception: an up, down and all-around chase sequence executed in one impossible, continuous shot that brings the excitement to a dizzy peak. And while there’s no strong emotional hook to hang the pile-driving narrative on, Bell at least dilutes some of the prim pedantry of his ink-and-watercolour counterpart."

Variety:

"Aside from a crack about a shepherd said to have shown too much enthusiasm for animal husbandry, the humor throughout is resolutely PG-friendly, lacking in the knowing irony and snarky, anachronistic wisecracks that have become such predictable fixtures of other recent blockbusters and reboots. Spielberg largely honors the innocent, gung-ho tone of the original stories, with their air of boyish derring-do (femme characters barely feature at all here), sensibly shunning the racist and anti-Semitic elements that just won't wash with contempo auds. Result is retro without being stodgy or antiquated,..The worst that could be said of The Secret of the Unicorn is that the action is so relentless, it nearly comes to feel like a videogame as it leaps from one challenge to the next. "

This article is related to: Box Office, Directors, Genres, Headliners, Video, Reviews, Exhibition, Production , Winter, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Animation, Action, Trailers, 3D, VFX, Digital Future


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.