The initial reviews for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” are trickling in. Tintin, a sleuthing boy reporter with a trusted dog named Snowy, is a cherished Belgian comic book character, and conventional wisdom heading into the film's release has been that the movie would be an easy sell in Europe (where Tintin’s built-in fan base is strongest) but perhaps tougher in the United States, where many people aren't familiar with the character.
Yet so far, it seems like critics for U.S. trade magazines are slightly more enamored of the 3-D motion-capture animated movie than are critics for British newspapers.
The film will roll out in Europe at the end of October before hitting American theaters just before Christmas. Tintin is voiced by Jamie Bell, who buys a model of an old ship called the Unicorn at a market. Two men immediately try to buy the model from him, an American named Barnaby (Joe Starr) and the sinister Sakharine (Daniel Craig). Tintin spurns the offers and realizes the ship contains a clue about a missing treasure. Eventually, he runs into trouble with Capt. Archibald Haddock (Andy Serkis).
Writing for Variety, Leslie Felperin raves that "Tintin" is “a rollicking return to action-adventure form” for Spielberg, “especially after the disappointment of ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.’ Clearly rejuvenated by his collaboration with producer Peter Jackson, and blessed with a smart script and the best craftsmanship money can buy, Spielberg has fashioned a whiz-bang thrill ride that's largely faithful to the wholesome spirit of his source but still appealing to younger, Tintin-challenged” audiences.
Likewise, the Hollywood Reporter’s Jordan Mintzer says “Tintin” is “a good ol’ fashioned adventure flick that harkens back to the filmmaker’s action-packed, tongue-in-cheek swashbucklers of the 1980s,” adding that the saga is “filled with captivating CGI action and clever sight gags, while maintaining a compact narrative that never takes itself too seriously."
But Xan Brooks, of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, was less enthralled. He opines: