Subscribe to industry newsletters

Search jobs

The scoop on Tintin

Watching ET changed my life. I was so inspired by the way that movie made me laugh and cry that I actually decided to become a director so that I could inspire other people too. Needless to say, Steven Spielberg has been my hero ever since. The man has such an amazing ability to take you on an adventure, so when I realised that he was directing the new Tintin movie, I couldn't wait to see what adventure he'd take us on this time.
The scoop on Tintin

Tintin (Jamie Bell) is an investigative journalist, always out to find a good story. This time around, the case begins at an outdoor market, where he buys a scale model of an old ship. Soon after making the purchase, a sinister creep (Daniel Craig) tries to buy it from him, but Tintin refuses to sell. Unfortunately, the other guy refuses to budge.

What's so special about this ship? To find out, Tintin will have to journey around the world with his loyal dog Snowy, the bumbling Interpol agents Thomson and Thompson, and the drunken Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), who seems to know more about the mystery than anyone else.

Treasure Island meets the Da Vinci Code

What a great movie! The story plays out like Treasure Island meets the Da Vinci Code. Overall, it's not so simple that you feel insulted, but not so complicated that you get lost. Still, some kids might find it confusing, even though Tintin repeatedly talks to himself to explain what's going on. (Adults might also be confused about how a boy reporter manages to live alone, carry a gun, and never go to the office, but that's another mystery for another day.)

Part of the complexity is because the movie combines the storyline from three Tintin books. (Belgian cartoonist Hergé wrote 24 of them over a period of almost 50 years.) This might have been a mistake. The start of the movie (not the opening credits, which were great) squeezed in way too much information and ended up feeling way too rushed. Perhaps it would have been better to extend the movie's running time so that the story had more room to breathe.

Non-stop action

Despite watching what sometimes feels like a theme park ride in the making, it's hard to get tired of Tintin. The 3D effects are tastefully used to make the story more engaging, while the non-stop action makes you afraid to turn away, or even blink. Especially memorable were a duel on a dock, a sword fight on a ship, and a spectacular chase through Moroccan streets. All this was set to upbeat music by legendary composer John Williams, who's won five Oscars and been nominated for around 40 more.

The animation is most impressive. Spielberg fell in love with Tintin 20 years ago, even though he couldn't understand the French books that his secretary bought. He wisely chose to wait until he felt technology was ready to do justice to his vision for the movie - and it's a good thing that he did! The performance capture (on real actors) and 18 months of computer animation have created characters so real that it's sometimes a little creepy (like The Polar Express). More than once, I couldn't tell if Tintin was a cartoon or Eric from Entourage.

All in all, Tintin is the simple and innocent fun that makes you wish it isn't over when it ends. Fortunately, this is only the first instalment of a planned trilogy. (Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson will swop roles in the second and possibly co-direct the third.) I can't wait to see what adventures are waiting for Tintin next!

Rating: 4 out of 5
Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes
Age Restriction: 10M (V)

About Eugene Yiga

Eugene graduated from the University of Cape Town with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano. He then spent over two-and-half years working in branding and communications at two of South Africa's top market research companies. Eugene also spent over three-and-a-half years at an eLearning start-up, all while building his business as an award-winning writer. Visit, follow @eugeneyiga on Twitter, or email moc.agiyenegue@olleh to say, um, hello.

Let's do Biz