Boy-faced boffin Tintin (Jamie Bell) buys a model boat at a flea market which leads him to drunken sailor Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) and the promise of buried treasure.
Like much of the Jaws director’s recent output there’s something rather toothless about Tintin. Tintin himself is not an interesting character, and his reason for his being on the quest is never clear. He’s ostensibly a journalist (although he never writes anything down), so in spite of the action-packed treasure hunt he feels more like Owen Jones than Indiana.
The performance-capture based animation from Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital is technically brilliant with environments which look practically real, while the human characters linger firmly in the uncanny valley. And the best animation in the world can’t make your film fun or exciting when it suffers from a script lacking humour and purpose.
The closest it gets to comedy is the twin cops Thompson and Thompson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) who are like Tweedledum and Tweedledee drawn by. But their bumbling antics fail to tickle sufficient ribs. There are some excellent sequences, especially a chase through a bustling Middle Eastern town which is high energy and looks fantastic. But it all feels quite video-gamey, which is one reason why action is more exciting in live-action films.
It’s unfortunate that the incredible list of talent attached, including a star-packed cast, director Steven Speilberg, producer Peter Jackson, score by John Williams and writing by Stephen Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish doesn’t amount to more. It shows that no amount of talent or money can make a guaranteed hit. The Adventures of Tintin is clearly made with love for the comic books, but a departure may have made the film more entertaining. Instead it feels like Indiana Jones made for people who did their homework on the day it was set.