Kris Tapley at In Contention called Steven Spielberg’s Tintin “handily one of the best films of the year”:
Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” closed out AFI Fest this evening, a real coup for the festival and for Paramount Pictures (who are still well over a month away from release stateside). And the film is a dazzling experience, full of Spielberg’s trademark cinematic energy. It’s his best film in nearly a decade (since “Minority Report,” at least).
For me, this film put a smile on my face and kept it there. It’s Spielberg invigorated, the performance-capture and animation process allowing him to do things with the camera that he had only dreamed of, conjuring angles and set-pieces that surely have existed only in his head for decades but now have the freedom to run wild on the screen.
Many who saw it felt likewise, as this piece in Moviefone runs down:
“‘Tintin’ is great!” wrote Movieline’s Jen Yamato. “Feels so much more like ‘Raiders [of the Lost Ark]’ than ‘Captain America’ ever did.”
“Snowy 4ever!!” tweeted an excited Devin Faraci from Badass Digest, referring to Tintin’s trusty dog Snowy.
Thompson on Hollywood proprietor Anne Thompson agreed with both Yamato and Faraci, but noted that the film didn’t hold together for its running time. “‘Tintin’ is great-looking fun, and Snowy is the star. Amazing camera work in the digital environment. But it runs out of narrative steam.”
My own problems with TinTin are irrelevant — it doesn’t matter what I personally think when it comes to Oscar Watching. It matters what everyone else thinks. This is one of the important lessons I’ve learned in the 13 years of doing this. The Oscars would have turned out very differently over the years if it mattered what I thought. At any rate, there is one great scene in TinTin – which is filled with thrilling action sequences like you might see in a great video game. But the only time I felt Spielberg running through it (did he actually direct it or did he direct other people to direct it, is what I wonder – he was doing War Horse and is now off doing Lincoln, so…) was when two bottles bobbed up from the sea the way the two barrels bob up in Jaws. One pops up, the other and then they see-saw into the water. I smiled at that. But then I twisted my bracelets, tried to pay attention, wanted it to end so badly. If I’d had an aisle seat I would have walked out because it was clear to me about a 1/3 of the way in that the story was never going to develop and that nothing was going to happen, particularly, except this set piece and that set piece. I contrast this film with Hugo, which, I think is so carefully done — that even though some people might find fault with its story, there is no denying that you connect with the characters at some point, on some level and that you care what happens to them. Also, the way Scorsese directs 3-D for the first time is nothing short of dazzling.
I understand that many seem to feel that way about TinTin and not that way about Hugo. I guess we’re just different people with different tastes. But I can’t write off TinTin as an animated film contender. Too many people seem to really like it and it will make bank.
However, there are animated films to contend with already — I saw one, Arthur Christmas, which I thought was wonderful. But there is Rango, Cars 2, Happy Feet 2, Puss and Boots — yes, all but Rango are sequels and TinTin is not (but soon to be). Still, Steven Spielberg making an animated film for the first time? Seems kind of crazy it won’t get in.
The best thing about TinTin is watching your typical Spielberg action sequences play out. Some of them are truly dazzling. If you’ve ever taken the Simpson’s ride at Universal Studios you’ll have an idea of what this film is kind of like: non-stop action, non-stop happenings from point A to point z, all over the globe, dizzying effects, no down time. I think for many of today’s audiences, especially those who’ve grown up in an age of video games, it will satisfy that itch for things to move, move, move. Hugo is kind of the opposite of this – it moves slowly, takes its time, and the action scene serve the story. In TinTin, the story seems to only be there to serve the action.