Okay, so I’m not only biased, but I have my right arm dedicated to the comic book.
So, I have been waiting with baited breath on the forthcoming movie version of the famous world explorer. After years of anticipation, the first images have surfaced.
The first images from multiple Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg‘s (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List) upcoming 3D animated movie adaptation of the classic Tintin comic book series by Belgian author and illustrator Hergé, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, have just been released on EmpireOnline, previewing the December cover story of Empire magazine that features the movie. The cover image was created exclusively for the magazine by digital effects company Weta and features Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) and his dog, Snowy, in a recreation of a classic Tintin image. The preview article also includes two still images from the movie, one offering a close-up look at Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), and another showing Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock adrift at sea atop a capsized boat. The article also features commentary from Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson.
Spielberg told Empire that the movie will have mystery and adventure and that its look pays tribute to film noir and the epic theater of German playwright and theater director Bertolt Brecht.
The first part of the film, which is the most mysterious part, certainly owes much to not only film noir but the whole German Brechtian theatre—some of our night scenes and our action scenes are very contrasty. But at the same time the movie is a hell of an adventure.
Jackson said that the decision to adapt Tintin as an animated feature rather than a live-action feature was informed by the desire to remain true to Hergé’s artwork.
With live action you’re going to have actors pretending to be Captain Haddock and Tintin. You’d be casting people to look like them. It’s not really going to feel like the Tintin Hergé drew. It’s going to be somewhat different. With CGI we can bring Hergé’s world to life, keep the stylised caricatured faces, keep everything looking like Hergé’s artwork, but make it photo-real.
Jackson said that the focus is on the first movie right now, but that there are enough great Tintin stories to make multiple sequels.
One of my favourites is The Seven Crystal Balls, so that’s the one I’ve always been thinking of. I also really like the Eastern European ones, the Balkan ones like King Ottokar’s Sceptre and The Calculus Affair. I think it’s a terrific setting for a thriller, the weird Balkan politics and the mysterious secret service agents. I think the Moon ones are terrific, but they’d be good for the third or fourth Tintin film, if we get that far. We want to keep his feet on the ground just a little bit longer.
So, yes, it’s motion capture. The same technique that Robert Zemeckis has used to terrible effect. Lets hope to god that the Speilberg/Jackson duo don’t insult the original stories. I have a sliver of hope, and while these are just stills, the bottom image of the men on the boat shows real promise, and the visuals look pretty astounding.
If this doesn’t turn into one of those “Polar Express” disasters it could be amazing. The Tintin stories are so perfect for dramatization, and clearly every story has the benefit of cool sets (Amazonian jungle, Tibetan monastary.) Let’s just hope we don’t end up with “Tintin and Snowy in the Uncanny Valley.”