The Adventures of Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig
Extras: Numerous Featurettes

When I first heard that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson teamed up to create a feature-film version of "Tintin, " one of the favorite comic book characters of my youth, I was both ecstatic and a bit wary. How would such a character transfer to the screen? When the film finally arrived in theaters, I was glad to see it turned out pretty well, and now that it has arrived on Blu-Ray Disc, I was eager to revisit the film once more.

Since the original Tintin comic books were episodic in nature, I was glad to see that "The Adventures of Tintin" combines the entire story arch of a series of the books to create a story that is properly set up and plays out all the way to the end. Combining elements from "The Crab with the Golden Claw," "The Shooting Star," "The Secret of the Unicorn," and "Red Rackham's Treasure," the movie is a fun filled action adventure as Tintin tries to solve the mystery surrounding a note hidden inside a model ship he bought at a flea market. As it turns out, sinister people are at work, trying to do anything to get their hands on his note, as it is rumored to lead its owner to unfathomable treasure.

Rendered entirely in CGI, I was unsure at first, if this would work to the film's advantage. At the same time, I think it would have been impossible to accurately capture the world of Tintin using a live action movie. Not only would the characters have looked very differently than we grew to love them form the comic books, but the world as a whole would, perhaps, have ended up being too real. With that said, I was simply floored when I first saw "The Adventures of Tintin" in theaters. This is by far the most technically advance computer animated movie that has ever been made. No other film comes even remotely close to it. The level of detail found in the image and the incredibly quality of the animation creates countless moments where you actually believe you are watching a live action film, as opposed to an animated movie. This is a first! This has never happened to me before ever. Whether it is a subtle twitch of a finger, the way people move and hold their heads, or something as trivial as a walk, the animation is simply superb and every bit as rich as the visual tapestry the film weaves. I believe in terms of technical achievements, this is as close to perfections was we can get with the current state of technology. The only noticeable problem I noticed is, perhaps, the lack of life in the characters eyes. Particularly in the case of Tintin, it appears as if he is staring out into the void at times, instead of focussing on the person before him. That, however, is as far as any criticism may go. Everything else is just staggering.

"The Adventures of Tintin" has been performance captured, which means that real actors actually played the various parts in the movie and their performances were tracked and recorded by a digital system that then used that information for the animations in the film. While films such as this have been created before � "The Polar Express" and James Cameron's version of Pocahontas in space come to mind � it has never been done with such perfection or level of detail. The animated performances are so incredibly well done that you can truly see the actors shine through, and it is part of what makes "The Adventures of Tintin" so spectacular.

I did find, however, that the film had a bit of a narrative weakness � it never immersed me. In most other films you will forget that you are watching a movie and be completely absorbed in the experience. In the case of "The Adventures of Tintin" I always felt like an observer. While I enjoyed the ride and rooted for the characters, of course, I never fully lost myself in the experience.

"The Adventures of Tintin" is presented in an absolutely breathtaking high definition transfer on this Blu-Ray Disc. The picture is reveling in detail and offers up colors that are so rich and bold that it is a pleasure to watch. There is not a hint of blemish or defect in the transfer, making this one a truly picture-perfect presentation.

The same is true for the audio presentation. An aggressive and highly dynamic mix makes constant use of surround channels and throws the action at you. "The Adventures of Tintin" is, in many ways, like an animated Indiana Jones movie, and the audio fully complements that roller coaster ride with its solid bass extension and clean mix.

The release offers a good number of featurettes that cover a wide array of aspects of the film. Featuring interviews with countless cast and crew members, the featurettes explore how Spielberg discovered "Tintin," how the collaboration with Peter Jackson was born and how the project took on shape form there.
It also gives you a good understanding about how performance capturing works and how it was put to use for this movie. In countless clips you can watch the actors on the "set" as they act their parts, and another featurette explores how the casting of the film came about. A look at the original comic books, the music of the film and numerous other subjects are being covered in these special features, making this a well-rounded release.

"The Adventures of Tintin" is an action-packed and fun-filled mystery adventure. It is last year's greatest animation achievement, no doubt, and it is now available in a spectacular high definition version that will make your eyes pop out of your head. Run, don't walk, to get yourself a copy of this superb release.