I donít know why I was ever worried. With Spielberg at the helm, THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN is simply a flat out fantastic adventure movie. Itís not a terribly original or complex story (and it lags a bit in the second acts as it goes in to exposition dump mode), but Spielberg executes on a grand, exciting level that only a master filmmaker could. Thereís thrilling action, a surprising amount of comedy and enough silliness to keep children entertained. I know Haddock belching in to the plane engine wouldíve delighted six year old me.
Surprisingly the most impressive element ended up being the animation, which is stunning. My thought on motion capture has always been if youíre going to make it look as real as possible, why not just shoot it in live action? In TINTIN, Spielberg uses the format to heighten the action and flow of the film. Thereís lots of long takes during action sequences, the best example of which is the jaw-dropping single-take chase sequence through Bagghar. Spielberg has always done cool things with the camera (the minivan sequence in WAR OF THE WORLDS), but this is the director completely unhinged creatively, free to do whatever he wants and the result is a magical thing.
The real magicians though are the folks at WETA Digital, who struck a balance with expressive photo-real characters that still maintain the cartoony look of Hergeís original counterparts. On the flip side are the talented actors that brought them to life. Jamie Bell feels very natural as TINTIN, even when he is essentially talking to himself for a good chunk of the movie. Mo-cap king Andy Serkis is of course experienced at the format, but through his voice and physicality, really brings a soul to the character of Captain Haddock. Even Daniel Craig seems to disappear in to the role of the villain; I didnít even know it was him until the credits. However, nothing is as ingenious than Snowy, Tintinís faithful canine companion and at times TIntin is a sidekick to his own dog. Heís so lovable and animated with such spirit and emotion simply through his behavior that heís probably the VIP of the entire film.
Toasting Tintin: Part 1 (1:24): Cast and crew gather on the first day of production waaaaay back in January of 2009, with Spielberg reading a letter from Hergeís widow.
The Journey to Tintin (8:55): Spielberg talks about discovering Tintin back during his RAIDERS days in 1981, Jackson shares his lifelong love for the character, and both discuss in detail the long and tricky road that led to the final film.
The World of Tintin (10:45): This is kind of a catch-all featurette that touches on the history of Tintin, everyoneís love for the character and the process of adapting the comics in to a story.
The Who's Who of Tintin (14:18): Meet the characters and the actors who portrayed them, with a glimpse at the performance capture process that made it possible.
Tintin: Conceptual Design (8:40): Like a live action movie, everything had to be built from the ground up in the computer and some of the crew discusses that challenge here.
Tintin: In the Volume (17:55): The Volume was a 3D box where the actorís performances were captured and in this in-depth feature you get to see the technology and process that brought it to life, as well as Spielberg in action.
Snowy: From Beginning to End (10:05): Cast and crew discuss Tintinís trusted dog and how they animated him for the film, from a guy humorously carrying a fake dog around set to their attempts to performance capture a dog.
Animating Tintin (10:58): The performance capture studio is really like a stage play and here you get to see some of the actors in the element, as well as animation in various rough stages and all the details that go in to it from costumes to lighting.
Tintin: The Score (7:00): John Williams talks about scoring a movie that was essentially only partially finished until weeks before its release.
Collecting Tintin (3:58): Take a look at some Tintin figures.
Toasting Tintin: Part 2 (3:12): A similar toast to mark the completion of the final film in September 2011.
The package also comes with copies of the movie on DVD and UltraViolet Digital.
Extra Tidbit: TINTIN 2 should be ready by Christmas 2014 or summer 2015. Better read the comics in the meantime!