Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Tintin, Dragon Tattoo Are Certified Fresh

Plus, We Bought a Zoo and War Horse are sweet and warm, and The Darkest Hour wasn't screened.

by | December 22, 2011 | Comments

Happy Holidays! This week at the movies, we’ve got a junior adventurer (The Adventures of Tintin, starring Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis); a punk hacker (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara); an animal house (We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson); a trusted steed (War Horse, starring Jeremy Irvine and Emily Watson); and an alien invasion (The Darkest Hour, starring Emile Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby). What do critics have to say?

The Adventures of Tintin

Belgian comic book hero Tintin has a lot in common with Indiana Jones, so it’s no surprise that Steven Spielberg has brought the young reporter/adventurer to the big screen. And critics say The Adventures of Tintin is an action-packed, technically resplendent escapade that’s light on plot and character development but heavy on fun. This motion-captured adaptation of Herge’s red-headed hero finds Tintin (Jamie Bell), his faithful dog Snowy, and the slovenly Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) on a globe-trotting mission to find ancient treasure, all the while tailed by the evil Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig). The pundits say the Certified Fresh Adventures of Tintin is a beautifully crafted, gleefully escapist affair that should please the whole family.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

After being adapted in its native Swedish, Stieg Larsson’s international bestseller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo gets a Hollywood reboot courtesy of David Fincher, and critics say it’s thrilling and stylishly sleek, with a star-making performance from Rooney Mara. Daniel Craig stars as Mikael Blomkvis, a disgraced journalist who’s asked by a wealthy industrialist to investigate an unsolved murder. With the help of the brilliant but troubled computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Mara), Mikael soon finds that this cold case is full of dangerous secrets. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is riveting — it’s briskly paced and darkly atmospheric, and Mara nails Lisbeth, one of recent fiction’s most memorable characters.

We Bought a Zoo

Cameron Crowe makes movies about nice people, and critics say his latest, We Bought a Zoo, radiates good-natured charm. Based on a true story, it’s the tale of Benjamin (Matt Damon), a widower who moves his two children to a dilapidated zoological park. There, Benjamin works to restore the zoo to its former glory, and finds the cure for his soul sickness in the process. The pundits say that while We Bought a Zoo is clichéd and sappy, it’s also a lot of fun, with a warmhearted spirit that’s tough to resist. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Scarlett Johansson’s best-reviewed movies.

War Horse

Spielberg’s busy this holiday season; critics say his other new movie, War Horse, is an old-fashioned movie, with all the good and bad that comes with such a characterization; in other words, it’s heartfelt and rousing, but also sometimes sentimental and schmaltzy. Jeremy Irvine stars as Albert, who trains and bonds with a horse named Joey; when World War I breaks out, Joey is taken off to battle, and as he moves across the war zone, he touches lives on both sides of the conflict. The pundits say War Horse is sometimes corny and melodramatic, but it’s also sweet, stirring, and beautifully photographed.

The Darkest Hour

It looks like the folks behind The Darkest Hour have taken a cue from Ebenezer Scrooge — they’ve been miserly with critics’ screenings of The Darkest Hour. The movie follows a group of youngsters stranded in Moscow who must fight off an alien invasion. Kids, take time out from last minute shopping and guess the Tomatometer! (Also, check out star Emile Hirsch’s Five Favorite Films here).

Also opening this week in limited release:

And don’t forget — the Certified Fresh Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol expands into wide release this weekend.

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