This winter's The Adventures of Tintin is rather like the upcoming Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy adaptation - going off the creative talent involved, it seems near impossible that the movie will turn out badly.
A previously-released international trailer for Tintin teased it as being an energetic and imaginative old-fashioned adventure that properly realizes its beloved comic book source material, created by writer/illustrator Georges Prosper Remi (a.k.a. Hergé). What many found less impressive, however, was the film's use of motion-capture technology to bring its (literally) animated characters to life.
Several new images from The Adventures of Tintin have been released online, offering a better look at the film's human characters (and Snowy the dog). What really matters is how they look in motion, not in still frames - nonetheless, these stills offer a nice preview of the final product.
For those not familiar with the project: The Adventures of Tintin is the brainchild of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, who assembled a trio of talented writers - namely, Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Steven Moffat (Doctor Who), and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) - to script the feature.
Spielberg and Jackson also pulled together a great lead cast that includes Jamie Bell as Tintin, Daniel Craig as the villainous Red Rackham, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thompson and Thomson - and the master of mo-cap performance, Andy Serkis, as Captain Haddock. The supporting cast also includes actors like Cary Elwes (Saw), Toby Jones (The Hunger Games), Mackenzie Crook (the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy), and Tony Curran (The Pillars of the Earth). 'Nuff said, right?
Check out some of the still frames from The Adventures of Tintin (for more, visit Omelete) in the gallery below:
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While the scenery in Adventures of Tintin looks quite organic and richly-detailed - a proper realization of Hergé's illustration style - the human characters arguably leave something to be desired. That's less true of their general anatomical structure (ex. the spidery veins in Captain Haddock's hands or texture of his hair is quite astonishingly realistic) and more their faces.
Basically, the human characters' features seem distractingly waxen in some of these images, creating the illusion that we're not looking at three-dimensional animated representations of hand-drawn people - but, rather, CGI individuals who are wearing rubber masks. It doesn't help that their eyes (even Snowy's) are a bit on the inexpressive side, creating the impression that almost everyone in the film is in a constant daze.
On the other hand: there will probably be less emphasis on the expressiveness of the Tintin characters' faces (don't expect a lot of lingering closeups) and more on their actions. Considering that early trailers for the film suggests that the often cartoony physics of Hergé's comic book world will be creatively realized in Spielberg and Jackson's project, it may be all the easier to ignore the shortcomings of the mo-cap animation.
In fact- according to those who caught the footage screened at the 2011 Comic Con Tintin panel - this very much appears to be the case. So that's definitely a good sign.
The Adventures of Tintin sails into 2D and 3D theaters around the U.S. on December 23rd, 2011.