Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Tintin Film

I had been looking forward to the Tintin film ever since I saw the first teaser. Probably from before that too, but after watching the teaser (or was it a proper trailer – can’t recall that now), I just had this weird exciting feeling in my stomach that this was going to be a really worthwhile experience.

Since that brief introduction to Spielberg’s (and Jackson’s) latest masterpiece, I have read several rants about how unlike Herge's version this Tintin looks, how it's just blasphemous and a sign of crass commercialism to remake the simple, refined 2-D drawings into a 3-D film. And not been able to completely understand what the fuss was about.

After having seen the movie today, I am even more perplexed.

I think Herge made the right choice when he asked Spielberg to make the Tintin movie. Now, this choice might have come across as smoothly as Spielberg generally implies in his interviews, or not so much as some of the critics of this transfer to the big screen might allege, but that it happened to come about is a great thing.

From the moment the film begins, with that wonderful tip of hat to Tintin's creator, this is a well-designed extension of Herge's vision. The credits pay tribute to several of Tintin's books, and the film mixes elements from various editions to come up with a truly enjoyable story.

Ah, the thrill of meeting again the characters you have known for so long. The bumbling Thompson & Thomson. The ever-abusive Captain Haddock. The wonderfully voiced Bianca Castafiore. And good ol' Snowy (with the amount of stunts he does, it's a good thing they didn't use a real dog).

And, of course, the boy wonder. Yes, he looks a bit different from what I would have imagined as a three-dimensional Tintin to look. And the British accent made him sound like Harry Potter a few times. But, those are minor issues really.

The winner, as it should be in general, is the script. It incorporates great elements from multiple books, ties them up together and comes up with an intelligent, respectful, adventurous and utterly funny ride.

And also worth mentioning is the motion-capture technique. It might have worked great in films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy or King Kong, or even Avatar, but in a full length film based on this technique like The Polar Express it had fallen a bit flat. It just works wonders here. The bastardized child of animation and live action truly comes on its own in this film.

Just watch and wonder at the way Sakharine's hair or the camel's fur waves in the wind. Beautiful.

I bloody hope they are making a sequel.


Robert Frust said...

They are. Peter Jackson and SS are reversing their roles.

I was apprehensive about the movie after the trailer - I didn't like the motion-capture too much. But having seen the film - and the crazy, Tin Tin-esque stunts - I know they did the right thing.

My only complaint is not with the movie at all but with 3-D. It makes colours unsatisfyingly dim and doesn't add significant benefit.

Captain Subtext said...

I think everyone knows that they are.

It doesn't occur normally to people, but, well, the best way to get rid of the problems of 3D is to just take off your glasses in a scene particularly spoiled by darkness. That eagle chase scene or the ship in the desert scene were not hurt at all by not watching them through glasses.

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