Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tintin The Movie was great | But I still love Herge

A certain kind of purist would have you believe that to like Stephen Spielberg's new Tintin movie is tantamount to taking a big bucket of blue blistering barnacles and throwing it down on Herge's memory.
It isn't.
Spielberg's films can be frenetic, over sentimental and strangely hollow, but he knows action better than anyone. Tintin, as I keep trying to tell people, is action personified. He has no 'story' except for what he does. He is a Robert McKie tutorial in 2D form. If Tintin isn't running somewhere, driving something, flying, climbing, swimming or escaping, then he isn't.
In that sense, it makes sense that Spielberg would have loved Tintin so much when he belatedly discovered the comic books (according to Time, this was around the time he was in Europe promoting the first Raiders of the Lost Ark movie, apparently).
The Secret of the Unicorn has a lot in common with Raiders. It's a rollercoaster ride which whips you from the Brussells docks to the Atlantic, to the Sahara, to Morocco and back to Europe. It isnt entirely faithful to the books but as a mash up of Unicorn and Crab with the Golden Claws -- the comic book in which Tintin meets Haddock for the first time -- it is a first rate effort. My only disappointment was getting to the end and realising they weren't going to have time to introduce Calculus and head off on a proper treasure hunt with a shark submarine.

The animation was always going to be the thing that offended Tintin fans so familiar with Herge's drawings. I have to say, it didn't take me long at all to forget about it and to immerse myself in its strange technicolor world. Not all the characters are entirely successful: Haddock is scottish, well ok, but he is also weirdly thin and slight. While Tintin looks a bit too bland. But I was very impressed with the voice actors and the way the script wove what is really a new story through Herge's old one.
It's a huge thumbs up. I hope they make the sequel.

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