Monday, July 11, 2011

New Tintin trailer

People who are bigger fans of Tintin (the franchise really doesn't "exist" here in the States for the most part, though a cartoon ran on Nickelodeon back in the day) are going to have to tell me if the movie seems to be "getting it" or not; but thus far I'm pretty enthused.

I'm still not convinced that motion-capture animation is "there" yet, but it's not going to get "there" if people don't keep refining it. Also, good filmmaking can overcome limiting techniques, so we'll see.

It'll be interesting to see how, if this is good, it effects the debate in the animation world over the technique. Last year, The Academy Awards made headlines by deciding that films primarily using mo-cap DON'T qualify for animated-film Oscars; which to be honest sounds somewhat illogical to me. I understand that there's a pervading fear/resentment in the animation business that motion-capture devalues (literally and figuratively) the work of full-blown animators; but people have been rotoscoping for decades and I don't see how this is appreciably different - particularly in the case of something like "Happy Feet," which used humans to mo-cap non-human animal character with major animation-additions later.


Avistew said...

Okay, from a fan of the series, my first impressions are:

They're combining several stories. There is The Crab with Golden Claws which is when Tintin meets Haddock, who at the time is a depressed drunkard (he stays a drunkard but stops being depressed afterwards) and The Secret of the Unicorn (and maybe its second part, The Treasure of Rackham-The-Red), in which Tintin buys a boat for his friend Haddock and many people want the boat, which holds the message, etc.
Bits from both stories can be seen in the trailer, and if it's not meant to be a first part, I assume the third one will be in it too.

Obviously, combining stories means they have to change a few things, so we'll have to see how that works. Personally I'm more for it than against it, as fans know the stories by heart and if you're making a big movie you might as well not reproduce the cartoons word for word. It's not like it's the first time giving life to the characters.

Characterisation: the Thom(p)sons (I think. Not used to the English names) seem incompetent enough. Tintin seems brave and curious. Nothing to say here, the characters seem spot-on.
Couldn't see enough of the Captain to be sure, but he looks okay except he's not swearing nearly enough.
And it shouldn't be a rating problems, the Captain's insults were always completely invented because otherwise they would have been censored in the comics at the time. The guy swears enough that there is a whole encyclopedia about it.
This being said, it's a trailer. I think fans would be really disappointed if Haddock didn't have his two mains characteristics: drinking and always swearing, so I can't imagine they removed them altogether. Then again, maybe they will have to tone it down.
I also hope he's not going to turn into too much of a buffoon: that's what Thomson and Thompson are for. Haddock is usually a comic relief due to his bad temper, not his incompetence, and he's got a lot of qualities too. And if he does the things he did while drunk in the story, I hope they don't remove the "he was drunk" part and have him still do it.

The music and atmosphere put me right in the mood. Not too sure about the technique either, and definitely not sure Tintin was the best fit for it, but I'm going to see that movie one way or another.

Aiddon said...

speaking as a non-fan, that looks amazing. The technique they're using for this is indeed incredible and actually makes the characters look real.

jojjo said...

Since I totally agree with the longer comment above, I'll just say the trailer made me jump up and down like a schoolgirl! So: two thumbs up :)

Some Swedish Guy said...

Oh man, this looks great! Can't wait to see this film, I've been a fan of Tintin pretty much ever since I was born!

Rob said...

Hi, eurotrash here. I grew up with Tintin books.

A little background. Tintin is old. Very old. The character was made up in the 1930's. That's the same time as the original Superman/Batman etc.
But then as a civilised, realistic european style book, drawn in comicstyle. And was originally published among 'the funnies'

You cannot possibly take stuff written back then and faithfully reproduce it for today's audience. And they haven't. I'm not a Die Hard fan, but I don't like this. I don't hate this (yet) either though. They seem to have taken more from the source material than say.... Dragonball Evolution or Transformers did, this is definetely a point in it's favor. Also character designs are pretty faithfull. (Thompson and Thompson don't even remotely sound like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost though :( )

So basically, do not compare this to source material anymore than you would do The Smurfs. (also Belgian).
If you wanna see a near-perfect comicbook to movie adaptation: See Asterix, with Gerard Depardieu.

Wanna find out which movie took less from it's sourcematerial than Dragonball? Read the comic for Wanted. (no Fraternity of Assassins, no loom of fate, no bullet curving)

Arturo said...

Never been a fan of Tintin, but I must say I'm very interested in this.
It certainly feels big and adventurous in that Spielbergian way and the cast is pretty damn awesome (Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost).
Fun Fact: Originally Tintin was going to be played by british actor Thomas Sangster, but fell out of the project, resulting in a delay. I hear he's doing pretty good right now.

A. Ivan said...

Never gave a shit about Tintin before, but an animated film that doesn't shy away from real life-or-death violence, looks great and still has a sense of humour?

Hmm. Me likey.

KevinCV said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this. Especially since current "Doctor Who" head writer Steven Moffat contributed to the script. I hope it has his trademark snappy humor in there. He's really brilliant like that. :)

Varya said...

As a fan of the series, it looks good. A great part of what made Tintin great for me was the voices in the cartoon and audiotapes I had, so personally, that's the biggest thing they need to convince on, and form this trailer, I'd say they nailed it, especially Haddock

@Rob, in all internet politeness, I feel like punching you in the face. In terms of faithfulness, to compare it to the recent smurf movies, featuring Gargamel with a bad fake nose an a pajamas, in NYC, is an insult. This seems to have captured the feel of Tintin, as well as keeping the characters true in both characterization and visually. They have the look of the comics, and the comic-y version of the time-period.
The story of the Unicorn is one of my favorites, and as Avistew said, it diverts a few times, but if they wan't to make an origin story introducing Haddock, but kick if of with a killer story, I approve.
They might have cramped up the action a tid-bit but I don't mind, I like action, as long as the movie doesn't suffer for it in other departments.
All in all, seems VERY faithfull, much more than you'd anticipate and not a single change that raises a warning-flag yet.
Oh, and I hated the live action Asterix, could have been cause I only ever saw it dubbed...

Mads said...

Tintin always had an intense feeling of adventure...but the volumes were different. His main personality trait is that he's adventurous..he's the straight guy driving the story forward, whereas nearly everybody else serve to hinder it's progression.

Translating Tintin...well, you can only ever do a remake unless you carbon copy the story. The stories are not unlike jules vernes novels, or the asterix books; they're full of funny little quirks, and even have some great little twists...and even occasional suspense is it looks like this film gets Tintin as much as Tintin can be gotten without, as I said, wholesale copying.

But I'm not sure it's good enough

Also, I loved beowolf. The weird cinematography won't impact what I think.

As for motion capture...well, the thing is, oscars are awarded by actors for actors. Mo-cap is acting. Animating stuff from your comfy chair at your computerdesk is not. The line really has to be drawn somewhere, and I think that, if you're essentially retooling a persons acting by means of motion capture, your impact is about the same as the guy in charge of picking, maintaining and setting up the cameras for mist films. Your creativity isn't channeled directly into the movie; the actors creativity is.

And yes, I have worked with motion capture myself, I know what I'm talking about. I would make the distinction at the point where the mocapper technicians fine tuning and motion design would impact the virtual character more than the source material. Or, if a non-actor could do the motion capture and the results would be the same, I'd say it was more digital wizardry than acting. But otherwise, it doesn't matter that the final product is computerized, it's still acting and if it's common enough in the film, it shouldn't be considered an animated feature by the oscars...because they're actors more so than anything else.

Steini said...

I just can't get over how ugly it looks. And Tintin's voice is just wrong.

KingOfDoma said...

Hmmm... yes... yes, definitely... the feeling I'm feeling is "stoked". Regardless of what stories are being used as the basis here, it looks like it just might be a good adventure. I appreciate our fine European brothers and sisters who are concerned that the movie is not a direct lift of a story, but I seem to recall another comic book character that used different elements from different stories to create a cohesive film narrative that both honoured the characters present and did justice to the themes present in the source material. Little art house film I enjoy called Batman Begins.

I think we're gonna be just fine, folks.

alan_ferrett said...

Seeing this makes me crave an Asterix the Gaul

Scott said...

Looks awesome save for one problem:

Where. Is. Calculus?

Elessar said...

Well I'm not Eurotrash, but I still grew up with the books (my father was a huge fan, and he owned most of them and I, naturally, read the ones I would find lying around). Some impressions:

1, Tintin is not really all that action oriented, and trying to force it to be, alongside the more comedic elements is going to grate. Choose a tone.

2, the animation somewhat. Some characters look exaggerated and cartoonish, whereas others look more realistic. Slightly off.

3, combining The Crab With the Golden Claws and Secret of the Unicorn? Probably a good idea. You need Haddock and you need him set up, but the Crab storyline isn't actually all that interesting, and can be kind of tedious. Incidentally, the main stuff about the ship? From Unicorn. Side stuff like the boat in the water or the plane over the desert? From Crab. Dunno how well they're gonna gel.

4, choose characterizations for everyone and stick with them. Tintin in particular seems to have been forced into a cut-rate Indiana Jones, which is probably not the best idea for him.

I dunno, I'm not entirely sold. I mean, it probably could be worse, but I'm just not feeling it. I actually really liked the first posters, so I'm willing to give it a shot.

Arturo said...

Question: in the original books, did Tintin ever get into fisticuffs/gunfights?
'Cause if he didn't, I think I'm OK with that.

Avistew said...

He did get into fist fights on occasion. I can't remember at the moment if he shot guns himself at other people (he did hunt), but he certainly had guns shot at him, too.
I wouldn't call it a major feature though. Many of the albums don't include much fighting of any kind.

Dev's Media Reviews said...

I barely know anything about 'Tintin' but seeing the comics in the kids' section at Barnes and Noble have made me think that I have some homework to do before seeing the film. I remember very little of the animated series in the '90's where it ran on HBO but might check out the film if the motion capture doesn't freak me out. I'm still against what happened with our lead protagonist. I wouldn't have cast Jamie Bell and have made him look more like the character in face since everything from his flip of his hair to his clothes are fine.

David (The Pants) said...

@Arturo, Tintin has had his fair share of violent encounters.

kevmon1116 said...

I'm personally looking forward to this quite a bit. Unicorn and Rackham were my first Tintin books and I think they're a great way to introduce the characters. I also love the cartoons. I think my favorite story is probably the moon story. The coolness and drama of that story always sticks me.

What I've seen thus far convinces me that they're putting their best foot forward. I hope the effort bears fruit, because if any character deserves it, it's Tintin.

jojjo said...

Calculus is not present in Crab or Unicorn, only in Rackham, witch is probably going to be the sequel.

Pat said...

Rotoscoping isn't often regarded as "proper" animation among animators. Rotoscoping was basically all animators did prior to Disney and it looked pretty hideous at times. Also, it wasn't until animators started working without direct references that animation began to be regarded as something truly artistic and not just a gimmick. Rotoscoping can result in interesting effects, but "A Scanner Darkly" wasn't nominated for Best Animated Feature in 2006 despite the entirety of the film being painstakingly rotoscoped. Interestingly enough, though, "Monster House" was nominated in 2006, so hooray for the Academy being inconsistent again.

Smashmatt202 said...

I don't know... rotoscoping is one thing, but this just makes me feel like they might as well use real actors...

Avistew said...

@Smashmatt202: Yeah, I don't fully get the interest of that technique yet. It seems to me that the advantages of animation rely a lot on being able to exaggerate postures or expressions, which is lost here (look at the animated Tintin running and the one from posters, the one with an actor behind him is much more vertical, because the cartoon posture is impossible to actually do).

So since you lose these advantages of animation, what do you get in return that makes it so worthwhile? I'm not quite sure. I mean, don't the actors need to act in front of green screen with sensors everywhere? Wouldn't that make it much harder for them? And if it's just for the faces being more cartoonish, they could wear make-up or have just that part CGI, and it would reduce the risks of reaching Uncanny Valley (most of the characters here are fine but I'm having a bit of trouble with Haddock).

I'm all for experimenting with stuff and seeing where we go, but I was for it when Toy Story came out and it was a whole new way of doing animation, and then it almost replaced traditional animation, which I prefer by a lot. So I'm supportive but also cautious and worried.

Dr. Horrible said...

I am an American, but I grew up with the Tintin books and I have read all of them (at least, all that have been in english, I don't know if there were others), and I'm pretty excited about this. I'm not expecting a carbon copy or anything quite as good as the books, that would be impossibe, but this has some promising names behind it, and I feel that the mocap actually suits the style this movie seems to be going for.

(as a side note, I feel that mocap work should be counted under acting, as it's basically working directly off of live actors. the animation category should only include true animation.)