Sunday, November 13, 2011
#236: The Adventures of Tintin (3D)
I don't know what forms a wishlist for an average 15-18 year old celebrating his birthday today but I can tell you for my generation, getting a Tintin as a gift used to be a big one. Herge's adventures spread from Tibet to imaginary countries like Borduria to the more conventional cities of Rome and London and these stories would captivate our impressionable minds. There was something intelligent about reading a Tintin compared to a MAD or a Phantom and that intelligence, that world-view that Tintin brought into our lives was much sought after. Now that Tintin comes alive on-screen, we can now compare notes with friends and family who have read Tintin in those days and have our answers ready to that inevitable question- What's better - the movie or the book ? We will come to that soon but first things first.
There are certain elements that one shouldn't tampered with when adapting such an epic series and Spielberg and Peter Jackson have nailed that part alright. The characters are uncannily similar to their on-screen versions to begin with- Snomy most of all- and that's a great relief. The characters sit easy on the eyes and with a delightful set of opening credits take charge of a rollercoaster of a storyline. Screenwriters Cornish, Moffat and Edgar Wright put together three stories- the core of which is The Secret of The Unicorn book and weave them seamlessly to serve an edge-of-the-seat thriller. If anything, it made me wish I didn't know what was to come because I suspect the fulfilment might've been higher. And in that sense Spielberg had a difficult task on his hands- does he put in a new spin like Guy Ritchie did for Sherlock or does he stay faithful to the original ? For most parts, Spielberg goes with the former and pulls it off with elan. The additional spin comes in the form of some nail-biting action in the second half that leaves you gasping in your seats. So much so, that you almost feel let down by a denouement that could only be described as tame or rather the only lacunae in the movie.
The tehnology of live motion capture works wonders in bringing the characters to life and there are parts that seem to leap straight out of the pages of the original comic books. The Red Rackham sequence, for example, is delectable stuff and nearly every frame is dynamically shot by longtime Spielberg collaborator DOP Janusz Kaminski.(I tried counting this bit for a sequence of 10 minutes and could point out one still shot). Some of the shot transitions swim with one another thanks to a highly skilful hand like Michael Kahn (most nominated editor ever)who seemed to be having most fun. The action stunts are choreographed with the minutest of detail and overall the movie is nothing short of a cinematic achievement.
So is it better than the comic books? A no from my side. But could anyone have made it any better on film? I seriously doubt that. So go ahead, folks, dive in and soak yourselves in this breathaking piece of film. This is as good as movies can get. With or without live action.