‘Tintin’ … eh

SPOILER ALERT.  (It pisses me off when no one warns me, so I’m doing you the courtesy.)

The family went to see Tintin. My son, who is in early grade school, loved it. Why wouldn’t he? It’s about an adventurous boy reporter and his dog. It was like it was made for him.

But it wasn’t made for me. Why? Because it’s about an adventurous boy reporter and his dog. That’s what you know about the title character in the first five minutes of the film, and that’s what you know about him in the last five minutes of the film. It’s not like there isn’t character development in the film. Tintin pal Captain Haddock and villain Rackham and the story that binds them works. But Tintin is pretty … blank. He seems to be merely the driver of the story. He leaves no impression other than being in the middle of what goes on around him. It’s disappointing.

It’s really disappointing when you consider director Steven Spielberg has done this before. Tintin has a lot in common with the Indiana Jones franchise, except Indiana is a scruffy, stubborn, charming, brilliant, brave, foolish archaeologist with a string of friends and former lovers around the world. In other words, Indiana Jones is interesting in many ways, many ways that Tintin is not.

Animation may have something to do with it. With Indiana Jones, you could feel his sweat, smell his fear, feel your heart pump as he was about to lose his. With the animation of Tintin, you don’t get that sensory experience. But maybe the problem is, you really don’t know if Tintin would ever break a sweat, or if he would, why, what would push him to feel that deeply.

Or, for those of you who want the five-words-or-less review, wait for the DVD.

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