Steven Spielberg hasn’t done much directing in the last several years but he’s sure picked up the slack this Christmas, with nimble War Horse and the delightful The Adventures of Tintin. Based on the popular Belgian comic strip from the 1930s and ‘40s, the hero is a boy with an innocent face and an upthrust quiff of hair accenting his crewcut like a shark fin (look for the Jaws visual joke in the middle of the movie). Despite his youth, Tintin is an unflappable and intrepid reporter who, yappy dog in tow, literally travels the world while having remarkable adventures on many continents.
This story is a wild seafaring yarn involving pirates, golden treasure at the bottom of the sea, sinister villains, a matched pair of bumbling English bobbies, and a drunken sea captain who holds the key to unraveling a mystery reaching back generations. Shot in “motion capture” animation that allows for a nifty mix of realism and stylization, Tintin combines the quaintness of the original comic strip with visual pyrotechnics and a rip-roaring plot evocative of Indiana Jones at its most pulse-pounding. Often laugh-out-loud funny, this movie has a unique sensibility and tons of charm. Doubtless some will find its razzle-dazzle visuals and febrile inventiveness too much of a good thing. But when Spielberg is having this much fun, why not go along for the ride? M
The Adventures of Tintin ★★★½
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig
PG-13 – 107 minutes
Continues at the Odeon, SilverCity, & Westshore
As we close in on New Year’s Eve, it’s time to talk about real champagne. You can spend ridiculous amounts on the stuff, but I’m too Scottish for that. Instead, here are two good-value bottles that will bring French panache to whatever you’re doing at midnight. Pol Roger cuvee de reserve brut ($39) is crisp, elegant, and classy. Pricier, but worth it, is Bollinger special cuvee($75). Happy New Year!