The Adventures of Tintin



Whirlwind animated adventure is a visual treat for tweens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: December 21, 2011
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Tintin proves that one person -- a young one at that -- can make a huge difference.

Positive role models

Tintin is courageous, industrious, and incredibly smart. Though young, he lives independently, with only Snowy to keep him company. He single-handedly figures out a mystery and is intrepid about discovering the truth. And even in the face of danger, he helps others, like Captain Haddock.


Quite a bit of action violence, particularly the sequences featuring the pirates. Characters use guns, and there are also explosions, swords, razors, and fires that Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock must try to evade. People are shot, chased, and threatened several times throughout the adventure. Much of the action is portrayed as humorous, especially the scenes with the bumbling inspectors. One secondary character dies by gunshot, and there's a bit of blood.

Not applicable

One "damned," plus mild exclamations and insults like "dolt," "great snakes," "blooming barnacles," and "poofed up ginger."


The movie is based on the popular Tintin comic books and has spawned many tie-ins, such as a video game and figurines.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Captain Haddock is drunk or drinking through most of the movie; his drink of choice is whisky, and he often slurs his words and acts tipsy. Other characters disapprove, and he eventually reforms. There are also drinks at a fancy reception.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of Herge's classic Tintin comic books is sure to delight adventure-loving tweens. The action is virtually nonstop and includes swashbuckling pirate violence, explosions, kidnapping, and gun shots. Some of the scenes might be too peril-filled for younger elementary-aged viewers, but kids who like Indiana Jones-style fun will be entertained. Of more concern to some parents may be the fact that one of the main characters is perpetually drunk or looking for his next shot of whisky throughout much of the movie; others disapprove of his behavior, but it's a big part of the film. That aside, with its teen hero and a suspenseful plot full of high-seas intrigue, The Adventures of Tintin is an ideal animated adventure for middle-graders and up.

What's the story?

Despite his youth, Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) is a renowned investigative reporter whose best friend is his intrepid dog, Snowy. After he buys a replica of a legendary pirate ship called the Unicorn at an outdoor market, Tintin is immediately approached by an aggressive interested buyer named Mr. Sakharine (Daniel Craig). The sinister Sakharine kidnaps Tintin (and stowaway Snowy) and places them aboard a cargo ship, but the duo escapes and frees the captive (and usually drunk) Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) from his mutinous crew. Tintin realizes that Sakharine and his goons are after hidden scrolls that will lead to a sunken treasure buried by Haddock's ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock. It's a race between Tintin and Haddock and their nemesis to see who can find the final scroll -- and the treasure -- first.

Is it any good?


Director Steven Spielberg's name evokes a level of cinematic genius that in this case might work against the legendary filmmaker. Audiences expecting an epic on the scale of Raiders of the Lost Ark might be slightly disappointed, but such is the problem of combining three Tintin tales into one two-hour movie. There isn't enough time to truly get to know Tintin (although a quick sweep of his European flat explains that he's solved many a mystery that winds up on the cover of international publications). The breakneck speed of the action is dizzying -- and, while not confusing, it's still a lot to take in for moviegoers who don't have the back story of Tintin's fame or reputation.

Visually, the animation far surpasses that of previous motion-capture films and is an excellent example of top-notch animated cinematography and artistry. The action sequences -- particularly those on the Unicorn -- are impressively rendered, with bodies swinging and shooting and jumping all over the screen. With his young, peppy voice, Bell hits the right note of optimism and self-confidence as the nervy Tintin. English comedians Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are perfectly cast as the bumbling look-alike Inspectors Thompson and Thomson, and Craig is appropriately evil-sounding as Sakharine and Red Rackham. And Serkis, who wowed critics as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, continues his streak as the world's most renowned motion-capture actor. Adventure-loving tweens and Tintin fans will likely adore this globe-trotting adventure, but the rest might prefer their child heroes a little more thoroughly fleshed out.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about The Adventures of Tintin's action violence. Is all of it necessary to the story? Is it OK for movies aimed at kids to have violence? Parents should remember that even the most family-friendly movies can contain surprisingly scary elements.

  • How does the movie portray drinking? Are there consequences for it? Are they realistic? Is it appropriate for a character in a kids' movie to drink as often as the Captain does?

  • For those familiar with the comic books -- how does the movie compare? Are the characters depicted as you expected from following Tintin's adventures in print?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 21, 2011
DVD release date:March 13, 2012
Cast:Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell, Simon Pegg
Director:Steven Spielberg
Studio:Columbia Pictures
Topics:Adventures, Book characters, Pirates
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking

This review of The Adventures of Tintin was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 6 years old December 26, 2011

Terrific movie, and was fine for our younger kids

We run a pretty conservative household, and I took my 4-year old daughter and 6-year old son. Bear in mind we have almost no computer time yet for them and very little our bar for acceptable media is pretty high. I was a little concerned some of the content could be scary for my daughter, so we discussed in advance. Both kids just loved the movie - it was not scary to either of them, and the "violence" was completely antiseptic in my view and not inappropriate at all. Believe me, there's nothing appealing about Capt. Haddock's drinking - it's a lot more likely to push kids away from a drink than towards it. Simply wonderful movie.
Parent Written bygrinned December 22, 2011

Awesome adventure movie, hands down.

My 8 y/o daughter has been a huge Tintin fan for a long time. She has read all the books, seen all the cartoons, and dressed up as Tintin for Halloween. We have been looking forward to the movie since the announcement that it was being made almost two years ago. We watched all the trailers, and I became a little bit anxious about the animation style. I'm not really a big fan of the motion capture animation style. My fears about the animation were settled in the first few minutes of the movie, and I thought it was immensely satisfying to see that the very first character with a full frontal shot is none other than Hergé (he used to draw a cameo of himself in a crowd shot in every book). The movie itself blew all of my expectations out of the water. It was fun, exciting, and a wonderful adventure story. Though it was not a word for word reproduction of the books, it stayed true to the feeling of the stories. It was a lot like watching an Indiana Jones movie, with the style of action involved and the pace, and the fight scenes are well choreographed, and there was nothing overly bloody about any of them. There is one scene where someone gets shot, and there is a small amount of blood on his hand (it's pretty integral to the plot), but it's a cartoon, and it has about the same effect as red paint. This movie is not gory in any sense of the word. That being said, this is a Tintin movie. Yes, Captain Haddock is drunk most of the time. He loves his Whiskey, just as he did in the books. It is, however, constantly getting him in trouble. My personal opinion is that most kids have seen an adult drink on occasion. I think they get a really positive message from watching Haddock. Although he acts really silly and bumbles around, even kids can tell that he really has a problem. The movie does not glamorize his drinking, and in fact it almost gets them both killed. Personally, I think it's great because it shows them that although drunk people can seem really silly (and let's face it we all knew and laughed at the drunk mice in Looney Toons), his drinking has very serious consequences, because he doesn't make the best decisions. Everyone around him treats him with a mixture of exasperation and pity, which is very real, because although he drinks, he is also a very good person at the core, and it really shines through. Tintin never once drinks a drop, and he helps Haddock through to sobriety. Sounds heavy, but it's a very well handled sub-plot in a fantastic kids movie. Haddock even comes back at the end to deliver a speech to Tintin about not giving up. To sum up, my daughter is 8 and she LOVED it, my son is 10 and he did as well. They both laughed their booties off, and are very excited to go see it again in IMAX!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 8 and 9 year old Written byCMmom December 22, 2011

This movie should be rated pg-13

This movie should be rated PG-13. It is violent including the main character being shot at with a machine gun. The other main character is a drunk. Toward the end of the movie my son asked me, "Mom, are you sure this movie isn't PG-13?" He was spot on.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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