When Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hit in 2008, it dissapointed many fans of the beloved franchise. Some found the film so bad that they found a context sensitive idiom to replace ‘jump the shark’: ‘Nuke the fridge.’
Has Spielberg once again misplaced his sense of wonder and adventure in his latest film?
You can bust out the fedoras and crack those bullwhips, the true succesor to Spileberg’s Indiana Jones Trilogy has arrived, in glorious 3-D.
Adapted from Herge’s beloved comic book series, The Adventures of Tintin chronicles the first meeting of the titular reporter (Jaime Bell) and Captain Archibald Haddock (Andy Serkis) as the struggle to uncover the Secret of the Unicorn-an ancient ship tied to the Haddock family. Trying to thwart their progress is Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) who has his own sinister reasons for wanting to solve the secret.
Herge himself said the only man who could do justice to is work was Steven Spielberg. Purists can argue about the liberties and design choices made to the characters, but Spielberg manages to capture the sense of infectious child-like wonder and fun the books gave you when you first read them. Is it the greatest adaptation known to man? Nope. What it is though, is a master’s return to form; silencing the outcry raised during Crystal Skull.
Thanks to the absoloutely gorgeous setpieces in this film, Spielberg will make you believe that there is still adventure in the world. Each setpiece is a Rube Goldberg-esque dance of cause and effect, and Spielberg plans his shots and movements masterfully. It’s refereshing to see measured, deliberate cuts and framing in lieu of the ADD riddled action we mostly see nowadays. It has its place, to be sure, but when you see a master of form at work you’ll wonder why anyone else bothers to try.
I’m certainly not going to spoil anything for you here, but I will say that Spielberg manages to make old school swashbuclking swordplay brand new again. Especially if you’re sick of katanas.
In every scene, there’s always something happening in frame, apart from the setpieces. Snowy will find some mischief to get into, background and support chracters enact sight gags and actions pay off- there’s an energy from the opening credits to the end of the film that doesn’t let up.
Spectacle is one thing, but Spielberg always manages to inject heart even in that. Tintin is no different. While it’s not in possesion of the biggest heart around, it does bring to screen another unforgettable Serkis performance. His Captain Haddock absolutely steals the show and makes you wish all drunk uncles were as endearing as Haddock. Jaime Bell does an adequate job as Tintin, though admittedly, the lead character Herge’s series is pretty one note. Craig turns out an okay performance as Sakharine; it’s just cool to hear James Bond play a villain.
If anything can be quibbled, it’s that Tintin’s story is paper thin. There’s really not much time for any sort of chracter development, though the Tintin/Haddock moments are pretty good. The film’s pace, which moves by rather briskly, prevents the film from exploring charcters apart from rote exposition.
When the overall mod and flavor of the film is so pitch-perfect, and when you see a master of the craft turning out new tricks, you forgive a lot of things. Welcome back Adventure Spielberg. We’ve missed you.
PARA SA MGA TAMAD MAGBASA:
A classic action-adventure from one of the greats, Christmas comes early for fans of the genre. It’s not deep or anything, but man is it fun.