Before he died in 1983, Tintin creator Herge pegged Steven Spielberg as the director worthiest of adapting his work. You can see how the Belgian writer and artist would've pictured it the cliffhanging kicks of Indiana Jones sweetened with the winsome wonder of Close Encounters and E.T. He probably didn't hope for a replay of 1941's knockabout chaos. Although Spielberg's latest isn't down there with his biggest bomb. But there are times when its manic ghost haunts his animated epic. Herge's original comic books tend to alternate wodges of exposition with fits of action. Spielberg's version heavily favours the latter, which sounds promising in theory, who needs another blockbuster that's two thirds characters explaining stuff to one another? But in practice means a movie that doesn't quite know when to ease off the pedal. It's a mash up of three '40s Tintin stories (The Secret Of The Unicorn, The Crab With The Golden Claws, Red Rackham's Treasure) that finds the eponymous man boy reporter (Jamie Bell in breathless boy scout mod.) crossing sand, sea and city in pursuit of treasure linked to the ancestry of sozzled sea dog Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). Chase follows kidnapping follows fist fight follows join the dots chain of incident urged on by John Williams booming brass and trembling violins. It's very busy and very Indy, but somehow short on the thrill of danger Dr Jones always carried in his satchel. Perhaps it's the distraction of the performance capture visuals, not only their uncanny resemblances to the images in the books ( But sadly, Tintin himself is the most shark eyed) but the lack of a greatly compelling reason why this couldn't have been live action. With one huge exception an up, down and all around chase sequence executed in one impossible, continuous shot that brings the excitement to a dizzy peak. And while there's no strong emotional hook to hang the pile driving narrative on, Bell at least dilutes some of the prim pedantry of his ink and watercolour counterpart. As ever, mo cap genius Serkis makes his presence felt through the pixels, and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost sneak a few laughs as moustachioed bumblers Thompson and Thomson. Daniel Craig sneers and snarls as urbane baddie Sakharine, but the character comes across more as a vaguely irate geography teacher than a deadly rogue. Still, if there's an absence of menace there's an abundance of cute, in the form of Tintin's loyal terrier pal Snowy, who's pick up and hug loveable and claims the best background gags. He also bags the final shot of the final scene. Tintin is Indy for Kids and although not perfect shows Speilberg at the top of his game, but also feels like he's also been let loose with his new motion capture toy that also shows slight hints at the master director being over endulgent. There are a few faults, but the film cracks at a unflagging pace and is Frenetic to a fault, with some of the most imaginitive action sequences sen in years the kids will love it, even if they are not aware of the books and the adults should get a buzz out of the action scenes. It's not up there with a prime Indy adventure but it leaves Crystals Skull in the dust and sets things up well for the sequels.
See if you like........
Pirates of the Caribbean.
Sherlock Holmes A game Of Shadows.
Young Sherlock Holmes.