Steven Spielberg, the directing journeyman, has covered nearly every genre one could want to. His foray into animation was not a necessity, but an inevitability. His work on The Adventures of Tintin was guaranteed a budget, a big cast and a bright future. There are few moments where we should feel sorrow for a lack of a sequel, but with the case of The Adventures of Tintin, there is room to grow the enjoyable notations that this all-star ensemble has to offer. But there is always room for that on a Spielberg project, or at the very least, there certainly should be. There is plenty to engage with here, but the elements we are meant to enjoy are far less interesting than the throwaway moments meant for comic relief.
Its story of Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his faithful dog feels extraordinarily similar to the lovely, readable charms of Sherlock Holmes. A mystery is there to be solved, and a collation of colourful characters aid this quest or aim to put it to a premature end. Spielberg has no trouble hoisting us aboard for this adventure, and much of the film is light, merry and engrossing. Much of that comes from the direction, in what may be the most entertaining Spielberg feature of these late-stage career choices. He aims to cover grounds he has not come across before, and that does indeed feel like the prime reason for adapting his work to animation. No harm in trying, and he does particularly well in the field for a first-timer, but it is not without its issues.
Uncomfortable the animation may be at times, with unfiltered backgrounds and vaguely undefinable iconography; the glossy nature and little details are exceptional. Wind blows through the hair of characters at a car boot sale, but the camera angles make little sense. Their actions and variations feel clunky and uncoordinated. To its credit, The Adventures of Tintin is a solid effort for a director taking on his first animated feature, but there is much left here that employs the strong notations of Spielberg as a creative. Once again, he adapts, rather than creates something of his own accord (he hasn’t done anything unique since the 1970s) but at least he knows what to do with the characters found in the world Hergé first created in his comic strip charms. Thomson (Nick Frost) and Thompson (Simon Pegg) have a tremendous chase scene, buoyed by the white-hot casting Frost and Pegg were at this time. Daniel Craig, Bell and Andy Serkis are all magnificent, dependable, charming and just the right dedication to this mysterious tale.
Charming, light and breezy. Tintin the journalist buys a boat and trouble ensues. It is hard to find anything within to hate, and because of how delightful Spielberg manages to make this feature, it is rather easy to overlook some of its glaring issues. There are moments within that feel one moment away from indicating a button prompt. They are framed as though they are video game ready, and while Spielberg is an avid fan of those, it does not make, really, for the intensity he is aiming for. He manages that with far more natural moments, chase scenes and shootouts, not Tintin throwing a block of wood into a port window. Either way, The Adventures of Tintin has that friendly and welcoming charm to it, one that makes it so thoroughly fun to follow.