Friday, November 11, 2011

AFI FEST 2011: "The Adventures of Tintin"

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011) **** 107 mins. D: Steven Spielberg. Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg.

Intrepid cub reporter Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy stumble upon a new mystery involving a lost ship and a family curse.

Herge's classic comic book series makes the jump to the big screen in the first of a planned series of films about the curious reporter. This is Spielberg's first animated feature and his first feature in 3-D. For those of us still stinging by the debacle that was "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", "Tintin" is everything that that film should have been but wasn't. It was fun, funny, entertaining and will be remembered for being the film that changed the game when it comes to CGI animated features.

I have never seen a more beautifully rendered animated feature. The level of depth that they achieved is impressive. As one watches such films as "Polar Express," "Beowulf" and "A Christmas Carol" you can see the progression that the animators were making with each generation. The animators for "Tintin" have created an environment and characters that are very three dimensional that it looks like they are actually occupying space. There were times where shots looked like they were live action but then you realize that it's still a computer generated environment.

This story could only have been told through animation. There are set pieces that would be impossible to pull off in live action and those sequences are incredibly entertaining, one of which drew a resounding amount of applause from its captive audience. The actors breathe life into these animated characters and the animators gave them depth and dimension. Spielberg staged his scenes as though he were shooting live action and the motion in these shots are so fluid that it looks like it was.

Spielberg's first animated film is a winner that should be experienced in the theatre and should absolutely be seen in 3-D. While it doesn't achieve the level of a "Raiders" or even "How to Train Your Dragon" it is a feast for the eyes and a fun ride. This is the best animated film of 2011 and I looked forward to the next adventure to be directed by Peter Jackson.

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