I wish that the last Indiana Jones film had been this much fun! By switching increasingly out-of-touch producer George Lucas with landmark filmmaker Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings, King Kong), director Steven Spielberg has given us something truly extraordinary. Jackson, as producer, contributes the motion-capture wizardry that he utilized to bring Gollum and Kong to life (as well as the same actor, Andy Serkis), but the film's brawny, two-fisted spirit of adventure is vintage Spielberg. An adaptation of a hugely popular European comic strip from the 1920's to the 1950's, the film follows the a young reporter who specializes in solving mysteries and getting into adventures. If that only sounds moderately interesting, don't worry: you're in the hands of master storytellers.
This is the type of yarn that will delight parents and children alike, with the best action scenes of its kind since The Incredibles (a single-shot chase sequence, lasting six minutes, is absolutely mind-boggling). The animation is incredible, from the design of the characters to the intricately detailed locations, from the use of light to the creative cinematography. The vocal work by Serkis, Jaime Bell, Daniel Craig (007), Nick Frost and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) is uniformly excellent and expressive. That the story lacks much emotional draw and its protagonist is a tad bland are the film's only flaws, but they're minor when there's this much fun to be had. This is a tale that runs on humor, camaraderie, and excitement. It's the type of old-fashioned adventure we don't see enough of anymore.
CONTENT OVERVIEW:The Adventures of Tintin is rated PG. A supporting character's alcoholism is a consistent plot point, so parents may want to address the topic of drinking with their children. There are a couple of mild profanities (hell, damn). A character is shot offscreen and bleeds slightly (spoiler: it is stated later on that he survives). There's plenty of punching, kicking, shootouts, and swordplay, though only in a pirate-themed flashback does anybody die.
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: “Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic. It is not idly, passively waiting and hoping for some good thing to happen. It gives us hope by helping us realize that the [we] suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying” – Joseph Wirthlin.
Licensed marriage and family therapist. Husband. Father. Film critic.