Director Steven Spielberg really is a director that understands how much of an art form animation is. Since the 1980s, he has been involved in animation in some way which included producing animated films like "An American Tail" and "The Land Before Time" and founding the famed DreamWorks Animation Studios though, despite his huge achievements, he had yet to actually direct an animated movie. Then in 2011, he went and directed the animated adventure "The Adventures of Tintin", based on the famed Belgium comics by artist Hergé and boy was it an exciting ride. With great source material like this, you'd have to either go big or go home. Spielberg went big as he brought on some big talent to work on the movie and it sure did pay off.
After young journalist Tintin (Jamie Bell) buys an antique model pirate ship called the Unicorn at a market in Brussels, he and his dog Snowy discover that there is a huge secret behind the ship that the model is based on. Then one night, he discovers his model ship has been stolen and goes off to discover that the model ships have a mysterious past when the owner of another model named Ivan Sakharine (Daniel Craig) has also had his eyes on the same ship that contains a tiny scroll which will lead to an ultimate treasure. He has gotten one of the ships himself which contain the scroll. All that's missing is a scroll to a third model of the Unicorn. During a scuffle, Tintin finds himself captured and finds himself partnered with a drunk captain of the ship named Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). Hoping to uncover the actual secret of the Unicorn, the two escape the ship and plan on finding the hidden treasure before Sakharine does.
While watching "The Adventures of Tintin", I began to see that Spielberg really dug down into his routes from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and the other Indiana Jones movies to make this film and he was the perfect director to helm it. Not just because of his experiences with Indiana Jones, but also because the author of the comics, Hergé, was actually a fan of his work and believed that he could be the only one to do his work justice as he was very unpleased with prior attempts to bring the Belgium reporter to life. Spielberg also brought on some great talent to work on the movie which included Peter Jackson producing it and Edgar Wright as one of the co-writers and they really make a fun and exciting ride for this film. There is lots of fun adventure in the story and it really does have a fantastic combination of the great action from "Raiders" and the fun tone of "Tintin" and it also didn't lack in the humor as well. I was surprised at how funny this film was, but then again when you have the director of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" working on your movie, you know the comedy is gonna be great. I was initially worried about the animation considering it was motion capture and I still remember the dreaded "Mars Needs Moms" which was released the same year. Though luckily, my worries quickly passed over when I saw how great it was in the end. Considering that the animation was provided by Weta Digital, the same company that brought to life Middle Earth in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, they really hit it out of the park. It doesn't go into the uncanny valley and it really does look beautiful. The characters also were great and you couldn't have picked better actors to play these characters. Jamie Bell as the adventurous and brave Tintin, Andy Serkis as the drunken Haddock, Daniel Craig as the evil Sakharine, and Nick Frost and Simon Pegg as the bumbling detectives Thompson and Thompson couldn't have been more perfect. They also don't ham up their roles either and give it all one hundred percent and I'm really happy they did. If I did have to criticize something about the movie, it's that some of the action scenes do go on a little too long. I love good action, but sometimes they can get boring after a while and after so much action, I really needed to catch my breath.
Still though, "The Adventures of Tintin" is yet another fantastic action/adventure from Steven Spielberg. With a fun story, great motion capture animation, and characters that live up to the source material really make it a fun ride that's on par with the "Indiana Jones" pictures. It's certainly something to check out, even if you're unfamiliar with the original comics.