The Adventures of Tintin opens today, and while you could be forgiven for trying to compare it to motion-capture brethren like Avatar or Polar Express, those aren't really the film's closest relatives. Tintin might as well be claiming some precious artifact that belongs in a museum and grouchily avoiding snakes, because according to the critics, he's Indiana Jones. Cue up the John Williams.
How does it compare to Raiders of the Lost Ark?
"In Raiders, when the flying-wing airplane, grounded and moored to the spot, kept circling, Indy, fighting some lout, ducked every time the whirling propellers swung around. In the new movie, Tintin and Haddock crash-land in the desert, and the propeller of their little seaplane keeps turning, wreaking havoc before it finally dies. Spielberg prizes his echoes." [NYer]
"In gearing up to make The Adventures of Tintin, I suspect Steven Spielberg reached down into that place inside that fueled his Raiders of the Lost Ark." [Roger Ebert]
"It’s easy to see why Mr. Spielberg took on Tintin, which he has described as 'Indiana Jones for kids' (a redundant notion). The most involved chase sequence in the movie finds Tintin and company creatively racing through, and laying waste to, Bagghar, much as Indy does to a stretch of Cairo in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In contrast to Raiders, which sees Indy shooting a sword-wielding opponent in a jokey illustration of Western imperialist might, Tintin’s adventures here feel willfully guileless: colonialism may haunt Tintin’s world as imagined by Hergé, but it doesn’t trouble this one." [NYT]
"Spielberg has made his biggest, boomingest adventure since Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Indiana Jones." [Philadelphia Inquirer]
"The Adventures of Tintin is never quite as resonant as Spielberg’s earliest Indiana Jones films, in which, for all the clamor, it often feels like something real and vital and human is at stake." [Oregon Live]
Remember how bad Crystal Skull was?
"It seems entirely fitting that his motion-capture animation The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn should rep such a rollicking return to the action-adventure form, especially after the disappointment of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." [Variety]
"Similar action earned a PG-13 for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Spielberg movie this most closely resembles. Be encouraged – or forewarned – by that." [Charlotte Observer]
"If you were expecting a bracing, thrilling Raiders of the Lost Ark, what we get here is more like a muddled, busy Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." [Wrap]
"After a so-so run culminating in the regrettable Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the most successful filmmaker of the modern era proves he's still got the goods." [Star Tribune]
What about swashbuckling?
"Some marketing whizzes are calling Tintin a cross between Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones, but Tintin was Indy before Indy was Indy." [San Francisco Gate]
"I kept wondering what the film would have felt like if, shot for shot, Spielberg had simply made it with live action. The answer, I'm afraid, is that it might have begun to look a lot like a National Treasure sequel, or a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, or maybe Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." [EW]
"Had The Adventures of Tintin been a live motion picture rather than a motion capture-driven animated endeavor, it would have been compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Pirates of the Caribbean." [Reelviews]
Alas, Dr. Jones is getting on in years.
"... a sort of Young Indiana Jones: Brussels Edition." [Boston Globe]
"There's a young British Indiana Jones feel to Tintin." [Richard Roeper (video auto-plays]
"... The film largely jettisons the character's quasi-Gallic charm (such as it is) and makes him into something of an energetic cipher who runs through a series of elaborate action set pieces like a young and rather vanilla Euro Indiana Jones with a cute dog ..." [MSN]
In what other ways can we compare Tintin himself to the world's toughest archaeologist?
"He might look like Prince Harry, but he handles himself like Indiana Jones. In fact, The Adventures of Tintin — based on Hergé's two-part adventure The Secret of the Unicorn — feels like the closest we've come to a real Indiana Jones adventure since 1989's Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade." [Times-Picayune]
"It is the jutting crest of hair that cuts a shadow as iconic as the brim of Indiana Jones' fedora." [Empire]
"... if this starts to sound any more like Indiana Jones you're going to wonder whether Tintin sports a fedora and carries a whip." [Arizona Republic]
"If anything, his erudite approach to solving mysteries, along with a taste for escapades in the Middle East, Asia and Africa throughout the mid-20th century, make him a less brawny, more European counterpart to Indiana Jones." [THR]
Is this Spielberg's jam or what?
"Spielberg is truly in his element here, incorporating the old-fashioned thrills of his Indiana Jones franchise with cutting-edge motion-capture animation." [Toronto Star]
"Spielberg, working in harness with producer Peter Jackson (who's slated to direct the next "Tintin" installment) harks back to his Indiana Jones days. [WP]
"In many cases, he seems to be revising and one-upping set pieces from his Indiana Jones movies, which globe-hopping Adventures most closely approaches in spirit." [VV]
"Perhaps understandably, Spielberg has sought to translate the naïve, idealistic and distinctively European colonial-era worldview of Hergé’s hero into a more familiar idiom — pretty much that of Indiana Jones." [Salon]
"In a perhaps apocryphal story, Hergé reportedly said that only the helmer of the globe-hopping Indiana Jones movies could do justice to his work." [TONY]