As a complete stranger to the world-famous works of Hergé, I went into The Adventure of Tintin with no expectations, but a lot of curiosity. I’ve been hearing about this huge undertaking for years because of the top-notch talent involved. Directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Peter Jackson and written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, I would have been shocked had the film not turned out to be amazing.

Any fears I had over the film vanished within a few minutes, although I was surprised by the playful tone of the opening credits which were an homage to the original cartoons and a basic, silent introduction to the main character. Tintin, as we quickly learn, is a young reporter who is intelligent, resourceful and successful. The audience receives no real backstory on this character and somehow, I didn’t really mind.

I was mildly curious as to how this young man come to live alone in such a grand house, but I figured that this knowledge was a gift to loyal readers of the comic. The film was a roller coaster from beginning to end. There was very little downtime to dwell on character development, but the exquisite animation of Tintin made me feel an instant connection to the characters. This was the first time I have seen a motion capture animated film where a human character felt so real that I didn’t stop and think, there’s something not quite right here. You could see the soul behind his eyes and I wanted to go on an exciting journey with him.

While I could imagine the story being filmed with real actors, the animation allowed them to honor the original comic style and to produce some truly spectacular set pieces. I can’t imagine the mind-blowing scene with the two pirate ships done with CG. I found my mouth gaping at the action sequences many a time during the short 107 minute runtime. There was humor, adventure, mystery, action galore and even some low-brow jokes for the kids in the audience.

At a time when most of the movies out in theatres are dark Oscar bait or adult action flicks, I think The Adventures of Tintin is the perfect movie to see with the whole family this holiday season. Kids will love the visuals and the belching humor and adults will crack up at hilarious cameos and gawk at the fight sequences. I sincerely hope that American audiences will support this European phenomena so that we can all receive the second two parts of this planned trilogy.

One final word on what format to see the film in. I went all out and viewed it in spectacular 3D IMAX. The 3D is subtle, but the animation stayed crisp and beautiful and it added a lot to my viewing pleasure. There was a mild distortion from the glasses if I didn’t look head-on the whole time, but it was some of the better 3D that I’ve seen out there and I would definitely recommend it if it’s available to you. Enjoy everyone!