This action thriller is one young boys are likely to enjoy.  There are many, many cartoon-like fight scenes where impossible feats occur, and none of the good guys are killed.  In fact, it is interesting to note that neither Tin Tin (JamiBell) nor Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) ever kill anyone (fine sensitivity on the part of the filmmakers).  The plot of the film is a mystery in which Tin Tin, a reporter always looking for a story, attempts to interpret clues that will lead to a treasure for his new friend, Captain Haddock.  It starts with Tin Tin simply buying a model of a ship at an outdoor market because he knows something about its history and wants to learn more.  But as soon as the purchase is finished two more people appear who want to buy it from him.  Moreover, he is warned that his life is now in danger.

 Soon after, he has all kinds of troubles, including having his apartment broken into and ransacked, being shot at, kidnapped and put on a ship, and having to fight for his life, including flying an airplane.  An evil man is willing to murder to get a piece from the model, and since he thinks Tin Tin knows where it is, he plans to force the information out of him.  All the while, Tin Tin’s ever-smart, ever-loyal dog Snowy is at his side helping him.  While on the ship, Tin Tin meets the captain, who has been reduced to a cook’s position.  It turns out that the ship is the one on which the model is based.  Captain Haddock is essential to solving the mystery; the codes indicate that since he is the only surviving son of the ship’s original owner, he is the one to remember the essential information.  The problem is, he has become an alcoholic, and cannot remember what he needs to in order to solve the puzzle.  (A clever part of the story is that the adventures serve as rehabilitation for him.)

 The film, based on a series of comic books by a Belgian artist (Herges), had a number of hurdles that the director Steven Spielberg had to surmount to complete it.  Peter Jackson is a producer whose company is responsible for the animation—which contributes significantly to the film’s entertainment value—and he plans to direct a sequel.  It is beautifully filmed, and warrants the 3D effect.  

 I am doubtful Tin Tin will appeal to all children, but those interested in adventure and seeing the bravery and cunning of a young man will most certainly be pleased.

Grade:  A

By Donna R. Copeland