Tintin Trailer Arrives

Is it here yet? Will it suck?

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s epic rendition of the Belgian classic is hitting theaters around Christmas, and they’ve kept us movie nerds waiting for a long time to catch a glimpse.

This morning the teaser trailer arrived, and it has movie and Tintin fans buzzing. It’s not all positive buzz, either.  Their use of high end motion capture (alá Avatar) elicits groans and gasps from movie-goers, who are familiar with the disgusting Robert Zemeckis films such as Polar Express and A Christmas Carol. Both fell deeply into the Uncanny Valley, a space of nausea and visual distrust, where animated characters are almost real looking, but just off enough to look very, very creepy.  The last film to use this method of filmmaking was 2011’s Mars Needs Moms, a movie that tanked so badly that it is already being chocked up as one of Hollywood’s most expensive disasters ever, not to mention that it got poor reviews.

Tintin, a classic comic and one of Europe’s most prized fictional heroes, deserves much better. To their credit, Spielberg and Jackson are putting considerable heft into the script, the actors and the tech behind the film. Weta Digital, the Kiwi masters behind Lord of the Rings are in charge of the motion capture animation. I believe in them. Many people view the admittedly brief teaser as vindication that facial animation of this caliber is not up to snuff, judging from the dark, shadowy trailer that shows little of the characters talking faces. But I remain hopeful, and was excited to share the very first look at Tintin on the big screen.