Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, dir. Steven Spielberg, scr. Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, based on The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé, st. Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig

Undoubtedly beautifully rendered and largely faithful to the spirit of adventure of Hergé's books, Spielberg and Peter Jackson's mo-capped film comes across more as a satisfyingly spirited Easter-Day-on-ITV children's romp rather than the genre and form-defying film it was built up to be. By his own admission Spielberg thought of Tintin as Indiana Jones for kids, and through John Williams' exuberant but largely derivative score and breathless Dr. Jones-style globe trotting, he makes good on that promise, even if the feeling is generally one of familiarity rather than discovery. I've talked about the relevance of photorealistic CGI before, and admittedly, it does look fantastic here. Wood grain, hair follicles and cleverly reproduced real-world optical effects such as lens-flare are almost indistinguishable from the real thing, resulting in a wholly absorbing and convincing viewing experience, but I was rather left wondering what the point of its use was. The film's urgent and kinetic chase sequence through a Moroccan Port, unmistakably the film's centrepiece, allows the virtual camera to dizzily swoop and career along with the action. Yet for all the digital detailing of bursting dams, exploding cars and crumbling buildings, computers have yet to successfully animate the windows of the soul, and consequently that lack of emotional investment shall continue to cost films like this dearly.