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I was lucky enough to see Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin tonight, at its first Melbourne screening. However, they did ask for reviews to be held until 1 December. I’m so ridiculously, insanely grateful to have gotten into that screening that I will of course honour that request. I’ll be overseas then, but will endeavour to have my review ready and log in to press “post” on, or close to, the fateful day. So for anyone interested in my thoughts, check back around then. (Edit, 17/11: I have now twigged that WordPress lets me schedule the post. So it should appear first thing in the morning on 1 December.)
I can understand their reasoning on this to a point: they don’t want the buzz peaking too early (but why, then, hold our release so far back after everyone else’s?) It will be interesting to see how well the dam holds, though, especially since the movie is already out in Europe, and they were actively encouraging tweeting about the film (and tweets from tonight’s screening are already flying about).
Call it a hunch though: I don’t think Paramount will be blacklisting me for saying it’s fabulous.
Until then, here’s the trailer.
And now, further to my post earlier today, here’s the Tintin teaser trailer, giving us (a little) more sense of what the animation will look like. There are some nice shots here, but it’s still hard to tell. The overall look is beautiful from what we can see, but they’re holding back on character animation, which will be the big test.
I’ve written about my misgivings about a CG Tintin before, but my fandom keeps overtaking my rational reservations. The thought of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson collaborating on this material, working from a script by Steven Moffat (writer of some seriously good TV) and Edgar Wright, is pretty exciting. And now we have this pair of handsome posters. If only the last movie that had me this excited at poster stage wasn’t Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
If you’ve been anywhere near the film geek webpages during the week you’ll have seen this news: Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg are making movies of Herge’s comic book series The Adventures of Tintin. Spielberg in particular has been mentioned in relation to this property before, but it really seems to be moving forward now. Courtesy of Variety:
Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are teaming to direct and produce three back-to-back features based on Georges Remi’s beloved Belgian comic-strip hero Tintin for DreamWorks. Pics will be produced in full digital 3-D using performance capture technology.
The two filmmakers will each direct at least one of the movies; studio wouldn’t say which director would helm the third… The Spielberg-Jackson project isn’t likely to languish in development for long. Spielberg could become available this fall after wrapping “Indiana Jones 4.” Jackson will wrap “Bones” by the end of the year.
I have mixed feelings about this whole thing, but I’m certainly very interested. Tintin was a staple of my childhood; as I got a bit older, I cast them aside, deciding that the other big comic book series, Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s Asterix was a bit hipper. Yet I came full circle when I revisited the Tintin books as an adult. They might superficially be pitched a little younger than the jokey Asterix books, but Herge was clearly the superior artist. His beautifully simple graphical style and grasp of the comic book form really sets the Tintin books apart. He also showed remarkable facility at different genres: the Tintin books range from the full-blown adventure of sending Tintin to the moon (in Explorers on the Moon) to the minimalist house-bound mystery of The Castafiore Emerald, a comic drama where the ultimate joke is that Herge generates a whole book around nothing of consequence.
The animation directors on Peter Jackson’s King Kong were Christian Rivers and Eric Leighton.
I mention this because from all the media coverage, you might assume that Andy Serkis was the single-handed creator of the character of Kong, just as many sources suggest that he was the single-handed creator of Gollum in Lord of the Rings. It has been suggested, for example, that Serkis’ work on both characters was worthy of Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (and, indeed, Serkis did win several acting awards for Gollum, as listed on his website). Yet, as should be obvious, Serkis is not the sole creator of either performance: both Gollum and Kong represent a blend of the performances by Serkis and the various animators at Weta Digital. Even an article as informative as this one at ComingSoon.Net – which does discuss the split between Serkis’ work and the animators in some detail – is based only on Serkis’ account and runs under the headline “Andy Serkis IS King Kong.” And of course the credits of the movie include a credit reading simply “Andy Serkis as Kong.”
Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong has certain quarters of the internet abuzz with anticipation. Which is only natural: Jackson is coming off an epic project that won both critical and audience acclaim, and moving on to a reworking of a much-loved classic. Sources such as Ain’t It Cool have been at their most openly slavering. (Here’s an Ain’t It Cool quote for the poster: “I am bonerized.“) This is the kind of “this is going to be huge” internet buzz that most other productions can only dream of. The producers of the remade Poseidon Adventure, for example, have engaged in an elaborate process of set visits for the biggest on-line movie sites that has resulted in series of dutifully impressed articles, but little of the genuine excitement that some of the fan community show for Kong.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Peter Jackson, 2003)
Peter Jackson brings his epic Tolkien adaptation to a triumphant close with Return of the King. It doesn’t quite pick up directly where The Two Towers left off, instead starting with a brief but effective prologue showing the fateful moment in which the ring first fell into the hands of Smeagol / Gollum. Structurally, this prologue is all wrong (it was apparently intended for The Two Towers, and that is where it would have sat more logically), but it’s an added treat: it feels like you’ve received a bonus before the movie itself has truly started. Then we’re back into the action where The Two Towers left off, once again cutting between two main threads to the story. Frodo and Sam are still trying to reach Mordor to destroy the ring, while Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin play various roles in the defence of Gondor from Sauron’s armies.