The Adventures of Tintin nearly has it all – Spectacular action sequences, brisk pacing, great goofball humor, impressive visuals and a
rousing adventure score.  The only thing this film doesn’t have is interesting or developed characters.  This ultimately holds back Tintin
from being a much better and more satisfying film.

Consistently entertaining and occasionally thrilling, Steven Spielberg’s performance capture adaptation of Hergé’s beloved comic book
series is about as close as you can get to making a good movie without making a good movie.

All of the characters feel like afterthoughts in The Adventures of Tintin; simple tools used to move the plot forward and connect the various
action sequences.

This is Spielberg’s first animated film and perhaps he got a bit caught up in the technology.  It’s rare that one of his films featured such
generic personalities.

Tintin himself is particularly underdeveloped.  Other than being a journalist with a dog, we know virtually nothing about him.  Perhaps there
is an assumed familiarity with the source material, but for the uninitiated it is severely lacking.  Tintin is a likable character, but not one we
ever care about.

The plot about a hidden message inside a model ship kicks into gear so quickly that it’s almost jarring; as if they simply forgot about the
scenes where we are introduced to these characters.  You would think the first film in a series would at least make an attempt at
introducing us to its title character.

The rest of the characters (With the minor exception of Andy Serkis’ perpetually inebriated Captain Haddock) are completely two-
dimensional caricatures.  At least Haddock is provided with a motivation for his involvement.

There is a scene later in the film that finds Haddock trying to encourage Tintin not to give up.  It falls flat because we simply do not care all
that much about these characters.

It’s hard to be overly harsh on this film, however.  It does so many things very well.

Spielberg and editor Michael Kahn keep the story constantly moving and the action sequences are as impressive as you would expect.

The cast is also quite good and the film’s goofball sense of humor is one of its best attributes.  Serkis’ boozehound Haddock and Simon
Pegg and Nick Frost’s bumbling police investigators Thompson and Thomson get the bulk of the laughs.

There are more than a few similarities between The Adventures of Tintin and Spielberg’s own Indiana Jones series, and at its best Tintin
certainly captures some of that great globe-trotting adventure spirit.

As always, John Williams provides the score for Spielberg.  His music is absolutely phenomenal, blending memorable themes and rousing
action cues in a way that only the master maestro can.

The animation by producer Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital is quite good; finding a nice balance between realistic textures and stylized
character design.

Although The Adventures of Tintin is a well made and entertaining film for the most part, it falls flat in terms of its character.  The whole
endeavor is hollow because as flashy and energetic as it may be, there is no life in its lifeless creations.

It’s a nice diversion for the time it lasts, but The Adventures of Tintin could have been so much more.

* * ½
(out of four)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Written by: Steven Moffat and Edgar Wright & Joe

Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick
Frost, Simon Pegg, Daniel Mays, Gad Elmaleh

Music by: John Williams

Released: December 21, 2011; 107 Minutes