"Tintin" a Gathering of Geek Gods


Because I didn't spend my childhood in this country, there are several American cultural blind spots that I had to adjust to. One of those blind spots is Tintin, which I'd learned long ago to be unknown to most Americans. The character, a hero reporter in a series of adventure comic books by Belgian artist Hergé, is extremely popular in the rest of the world, with a publication history spanning five decades. Growing up, I didn't know any kid who didn't read at least one Tintin book. Selling the CG-animated movie overseas would be a cinch, but how do you translate Tintin's appeal here?

Two one-sheets for the movie were released online today, providing an interesting answer. It doesn't mention any of the cast and the main character himself is obscured in shadow, but look at the credits, which are slightly bigger than standard. What's being boasted are the people behind the project, whose names would—or should—get the geeks rushing. Take a look.

On the left is the first International one-sheet posted by Empire Online and on the right is the US one-sheet posted by AICN.

It's produced by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, two mega-directors who banded together over their love for the source material. It's directed by Steven Spielberg, making this his animated feature debut. It's originally written by Steven Moffat, but when he was promoted to executive producer on Dr. Who and had to leave the project, Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish took over writing duties. Cornish is a well-established British comedian who's not as known here as Wright is, but I suspect that will change a bit once his SXSW sci-fi hit Attack the Block arrives stateside later this year.

The writers and director aren't new information, but it's cool to see those names so prominently displayed on the marketing. "Hey, you. You see these people? Yep. That's right."

What the credits don't say, I suspect because only a certain subset would really appreciate this, is that it's scored by John Williams; and despite being an animated film, Spielberg also hired his trusted cinematographer Janusz Kaminski to be present during the motion-capture shoot and work with WETA Digital as a "lighting consultant," presumably giving the film Kaminski's look.

None of these really guarantee the attention of Americans who still have no idea what Tintin's all about, obviously, but hopefully with that kind of names involved, it'll spark some added interest in people who may have otherwise assume it to be just another weird CG animated movie.

I'm still not entirely convinced that a Tintin movie can do Hergé justice, and I remain wary of animation striving for photorealism in humans, but at least the adaptation is in relatively good hands, and it's not live-action the way Spielberg originally intended it to be.

Arya Ponto • Contributor

As former Editor of JPP, Arya likes to entertain peeps with his thoughts on pop culture, when he's not busy watching Battle Royale for the 200th time. He lives in Brooklyn with a comic book collection that's always the most daunting thing to move with, and writes for Artboiled.com.


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