Susan Granger’s review of “The Adventures of TinTin” (Paramount Pictures)
After making his first “Indiana Jones” saga, Steven Spielberg heard many comparisons with a Belgian comicstrip hero named TinTin, a plucky young reporter whose relentless pursuit of a good story catapults him into a world of high adventure. So now, in collaboration with Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings”), Spielberg has fashioned a wondrous, breathtaking thrill-ride, utilizing Weta’s state-of-the-art photorealistic, 3-D motion-capture animation.
One day in an outdoor flea market, wide-eyed TinTin (voiced by Jamie Bell), accompanied by his faithful white terrier Snowy, buys a scale model of an old warship ship called the Unicorn. As soon as he pays for his purchase, sinister Ivanovich Sakharine (voiced by Daniel Craig) tries to obtain it from him. But TinTin refuses. Then an American named Barnaby (voiced by Joe Starr) bids for it. By now, TinTin’s intrigued with his mysterious acquisition, curious as to the value it holds, as are two incompetent, identical Interpol officers (voiced by British comedians Nick Frost and Simon Pegg). Then TinTin and his canine sidekick are kidnapped and tossed aboard the Karaboudjan, a steamer supposedly under the command of Capt. Archibald Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis). But the salty, inebriated Captain is also being held hostage because he’s a direct descendant of a 17th century naval commander who lost his ship, the Unicorn, to pirates led by evil Red Rackham (also voiced by Daniel Craig). Eventually, TinTin and Capt. Haddock join forces on a merry chase through the North African desert to the fictional Moroccan city of Bagghar, hoping to discover where a treasure trove is hidden.
Written by Steven Moffat (“Doctor Who”), Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) and Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block”), based on series of graphic books by Georges Remi, using the pseudonym Herge, and skillfully directed by Steven Spielberg, this exhilarating escapade is filled with relentlessly dashing derring-do and dastardly villainy.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Adventures of TinTin” is a terrific, fun-filled 10, laying groundwork for the sequel which will be directed by Peter Jackson.