Watching Tintin

Tintin model and book

I finally saw the Spielberg Tintin film. I have avoided it. It looked a bit of a travesty. I am a fan of Spielberg. I am a fan of Tintin. Spielberg makes a rocking adventure film. Obviously he saw adventure potential in Tintin, too. I had hopes.

But then the news leaked that it was going to be animated rather than live action and I wondered. I was right to wonder. The Tintin books are nothing if not beautiful frame after frame after frame. They are all about detail, line and colour. About characterisation. In just a few lines. And as much about what you don’t see as what you do – like all good comics.

Being Spielberg you wouldn’t expect a lot of subtlety of plot. But most of the story, the twists, turns, the detail, line and colour and even the facial expressions – were out the window here. Lost as Spielberg was unable to resist turning much of the story into chases, to showcase the cleverness of his medium. Yeah, whatever.

Tintin looked nothing like himself in this film. In fact most of the characterisation was flawed from my point of view. If it’s a real person, it is possible to suspend one’s disbelief. Like in the live action Batman films. But why animate and loose your likenesses? The lines of the cartoon character are what make them recognisable.

And I had really wanted Spielberg to make a live action film out of Tintin. The fact that he did – and then 3D motion capture animated it – is just frustrating. It is an OK watch, if you push aside your prior knowledge of the books. But if you were bought up on them, as I was, well, this film just doesn’t make the cut.



simon robinson's house

Told you not to bother! Treat yourself to a full set of the books. I’m still reading mine thirty years or more after I bought them as a student…
Still not sure why Spielberg rates so highly on the Shelfappealometer though. Imdb list him as director on 50 projects; less than ten are worth watching and only one of those was done in the 90s, all the others are from the 80s or before.

shelf appeal

Oh, we’ll never agree on films. But the books, the books. And the toys. And the cups. Just spotted an ‘I (heart) Snowy’ mug with my name on it.


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