The Adventures of Tintin (Rated PG)  3 Stars01-25-12-movie.jpg

Much like Pavlov’s dog, I have been conditioned to respond to the sounds of Celine Dion’s “The Heart Will Go On” with tears. Weirdly, the fact that the song makes me cry always inspires hysterical laughter. So, sorry, people in the theater trying to enjoy the Titanic 3D trailer, I might have gotten a bit loud.

Maybe I’m a bit burnt out on kids movies, but The Adventures of Tintin (107 minutes) left me a bit cold. The spectacle was there, the sense of adventure and wonder, the nostalgia … it just seemed to lack heart somehow. Obviously, di-rector Spielberg put a lot of time and effort into the project, demonstrating a good deal of loyalty to the source material in the pro-cess. But just like the source material, this is a story by boys, about boys and for boys. The narrative connection to the Indiana Jones movies is clear, but did we really need another kid’s movie where boys get to do all the cool stuff?

The film opens on some arty credits, which lead into a shot of Tintin, boy re-porter (Jamie Bell) having a caricature drawn by a street artist with Snowy the dog by his side. In a clever bit of tribute, the caricature resembles the original art in the children’s series by Herge. Actual Tintin, however, resembles Neil Patrick Harris.

While Tintin schmoozes with the artist, Snowy runs off down the street in pursuit of a pickpocket (Toby Jones) who turns out to be important later. While tracking down his dog, Tintin spots a nice model ship and buys it just ahead of two competitors, Sakharine (Daniel Craig) and Barnaby (Joe Starr).

Tintin skips off home to display his new toy, only to have an evil little kitty sneak into his apartment and mess with his stuff. After he leaves to investigate the his-tory of his find, somebody breaks in to steal it. I wonder if it was one of the guys who were trying to get it earlier? Eventually, one of them shows up, only to be shot up on Tintin’s doorstep. He must have been wearing a bullet vest or some-thing, because despite being shot badly enough to pass out in the entryway, there isn’t any blood.

Interpol agents Thompson and Thompson (Nick Frost and Simon Pegg) helpfully explain that the possibly dead guy was also an agent, and that he was on the track of something huge. Naturally, he didn’t tell anyone what he was doing, and because he is possibly dead or maybe just shot and in a coma, they can’t ask him.

This story is going nowhere quick. Maybe some villain will appear to advance the plot? Yes indeed! The new villains kidnap Tintin, and are very mean to Snowy, who manages to follow them all the way to the docks because he is smarter than the average dog. The bad guys put their captive in a locked cage below decks, and the head bad guy stops by to offer some helpful and menacing exposition without actually accomplishing anything that will further his presumably evil plot. Luckily, Snowy the wonder-dog frees Tintin, and they hook up with Captain Drunky (Andy Serkis). After some ship chases, followed by airplane chases, followed by motorcycle chases and then some more ship chases, the heroes triumph, mostly because the vil-lain has a stupid backstory.

All in all, the movie was cute. I am sure kids will enjoy it more than I did. But just to make sure that kids don’t take the wrong message away, tell the kids that girls can become heroic reporters chasing down pirates, too.

Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

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