The Adventures of Tintin

Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Daniel Craig

Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg turned 65 this past Sunday, and crossing that feared milestone of becoming a senior citizen hasn't stopped him from doing what he loves best — making movies.  This holiday season, he's releasing The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse (for which a review is forthcoming later this week).  In fact, he's doing something he's never done before, directing an animated film.  In The Adventures of Tintin, he's joining forces with acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson to make an animated adaptation of the Belgian comic book series first brought to life by Hergé.

Young reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his dog Snowy are shopping in a market in a European town when they find a model of a ship known as The Unicorn.  Tintin buys it but soon finds out that it's a hot commodity.  A man by the name of Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) wants to get his hands on that ship by any means necessary.  When Tintin refuses, Ivanovitch takes the ship by force and kidnaps Tintin.  While in captivity, Tintin meets Captain Archibald Haddock (Andy Serkis) and learns why Sakharine was so determined to get his hands on that ship — treasure.  Tintin and Captain Haddock vow to stop Sakharine, but first they have to escape from their captors.

For his first time around with an animated flick, Steven Spielberg doesn't disappoint moviegoers. The Adventures of Tintin is a well-written film with some great animation that's almost lifelike.   The movie has some creative storytelling, particularly Captain Haddock's remembrance of his ancestor Sir Francis Haddock.  This storytelling gives Tintin a rather unique, comic book feel.  Also, the animation is technically perfect.  Spielberg and his crew don't miss a beat in portraying Tintin's life in a grand, vibrant way, nor do they forget about that lovable dog Snowy.

It's refreshing to see Daniel Craig's portrayal of the villain Sakharine.  He almost always plays the protagonist.  Whether James Bond or Jake Lonergan, he's generally a badass hero but a hero nonetheless.  Just watch any of the other three films he's made this year, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

As enjoyable as The Adventures of Tintin is, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention some of the film's flaws.  Having not read the original comic books, I'm no expert on the series.  I shouldn't be able to call the plot from a mile away.  I understand that the film targets a younger audience, but there's no need to spoon feed the story to them.  Also, you can tell this animated flick came right out of the Spielberg filmmaking playbook.  There are plenty of overly sentimental moments.  In fact, I got a little thirsty and needed a drink or two to ease my pain.

Throughout The Adventures of Tintin, Captain Haddock seems to favor the spirits.  It's an encouraging sign that affirms the 0.06% rating I'm giving Spielberg's latest film.  Have a few rounds of beer with this animated flick, and you'll definitely have a good time.