THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN, the 3D mocap extravaganza directed by Steven Spielberg opens THIS FRIDAY in Europe, where—due to the widespread love for the characters—it’s got a chance to do boffo box office, even if the movie is problematic, a la TRANSFORMERS. The reviews are rolling in.
Variety’s Leslie Felperin liked it!
Steven Spielberg was apparently turned on to the Belgian comicstrip hero Tintin while making his first Indiana Jones films, so it seems entirely fitting that his motion-capture animation “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” should rep such a rollicking return to action-adventure form, especially after the disappointment of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Clearly rejuvenated by his collaboration with producer Peter Jackson, and blessed with a smart script and the best craftsmanship money can buy, Spielberg has fashioned a whiz-bang thrill ride that’s largely faithful to the wholesome spirit of his source but still appealing to younger, Tintin-challenged auds. Pic should do thundering typhoon biz globally, but will whirl especially fast in Europe.
At one point Felperin spells Hergé as Herve, however, so consider this review as “objective.”
Meanwhile over at the Guardian, Tintin admirer Nicholas Lezardfeels…well, the review is titled How could they do this to Tintin?.
He did not care for the film:
Coming out of the new Tintin film directed by Steven Spielberg, I found myself, for a few seconds, too stunned and sickened to speak; for I had been obliged to watch two hours of literally senseless violence being perpetrated on something I loved dearly. In fact, the sense of violation was so strong that it felt as though I had witnessed a rape. I use this comparison not as a provocation or to cause unnecessary offence: I am using it in honour of a very good joke made by an episode of South Park, in which the cartoon’s children watch the final Indiana Jones film and are so traumatised by what they have seen that they go round to the police station and try to get Spielberg and his colleagues charged with the crime. “What they did to poor Indy. They made him squeal like a pig.” The tragic irony of this is that it was Hergé himself, Tintin’s creator, who, a few weeks before his death in 1983, anointed Spielberg as his preferred director to make a Tintin film; and this after he had seen, and loved, as we all do and did, the first Indiana Jones film.
So yeah aside from becoming physically ill and feeling violated, Lezard also feels it is “cretinous” and “made for morons.” And mind you this is despite seeing in the script by Stephen Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish echoes of the Tom McCarthy biography of Hergé which theorized that the entire Tintin oeuvre was Hergé’s response to possibly being related to the king of Belgium.
TINTIN opens here at Christmas. Can’t wait.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.