Adventures of TinTin
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Adventures of TinTin




Prior to the release of the film under consideration here if you asked a representative sample of people to name a globetrotting adventurer the answer topping the list would more likely than not would be Indiana Jones. The thing is, although correct it is far from the historically most definitive name would belong to a young man popular throughout most of the world, ‘TinTin’. He is an action hero that has conquered most forms of media starting with old school comic strips and extending to comic book, radio plays, graphic novels and television. One reason why his popularity has somewhat dwindled here in the United States is audiences here have the propensity to prefer our heroes home grown. TinTin is a Belgian by birth and an investigative reporter by profession. His trade mark youthful face and trademark cow lick of blonde hair curling up over his forehead. His constant companion is his faithful terrier, Snowy. The comic strip ran an impressive half a century starting in 1929. It’s been close to 90 years that TinTin, created by Belgian artist Hergé (Georges Remi) has been taking on one exciting case after another with his exploits translated into fifty languages spanning 200 million copies. Any filmmaker attempting to translate this iconic character to the big screen has to pay considerable attention to the very distinctive, trademark style. The one element that propelled this franchise to global acclaim was the clean style of the artwork and the serialized nature of the mysteries that TinTin and Snowy uncover. All things considered it was a bold move to not only engage in this project for film but it was done in a style of animation. Fortunately, the man you accepted this considerable challenge is one of the greatest story tellers of his time, Steven Spielberg. This might be his first time helming an animated feature but the extent of his previous experience and well documented genius made him the perfect candidate for this project. Not one to take the easy road Mr. Spielberg increases the degree of difficulty making this film in the popular new high definition ‘Real 3D process. For such a venerable story it has to be noted that it has stood the test of time in a remarkable fashion.

This adventure begins in the enigmatic fashion that was typical of the comic strip, in a mundane setting. TinTin (voiced by Jamie Bell) and Snowy are idly perusing the wares in a town market place. Occasionally the pair stops to investigate an object that catches the young man’s naturally inquisitive eye. A model of a trimast sailing ship, ‘The Unicorn’, catches his eye and he purchases it. The xebec is inexpensive but there is something about it that draws TinTin to it. The mystery commences when the sinister figure of a man, Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (voiced by Daniel Craig) make an offer to buy the model from our hero. The offer is summarily declined but is obviously not deterred. TinTin returns home with his little ship only to have it broken when Snowy gets into an altercation with the neighbor’s cat. Snowy pulls a piece of parchment from the broken model but before he can bring it to the attention of his human. Elsewhere, the intrepid detective team of Thompson and Thompson (voiced by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg), who are hot on the heels of Aristides Silk (voiced by
Toby Jones). There is an amazing economy to the use of plot points demonstrated here. There is at least one other model of the Unicorn out there each with a clue to the larger mystery. This set up one of the better plot devices, the plot coupon; collect them all and redeem them for as dénouement. For this to work optimally one or more of the coupons must be in play after being tantalizingly at hand. TinTin had one scroll placing it his wallet which in turn is stolen by Silk. In this way a character that initially appears to be an ancillary figure is pulled into a pivotal role. When all three scrolls are united they will reveal the location of the real Unicorn, a sunken treasure vessel. The story provides a fantastic platform for an action packed ride featuring pirates, sword fights and something you don’t often see, a trained hawk.

There is absolutely not debate that Spielberg is one of the greatest cinematic geniuses of all time; a master class story teller. When he weaves a tale through one of his films he is able to completely engage and delight his audience. In order to retain the delightful look and feel of the classic TinTin he decided to utilize the stop action process. The one exception was with Snowy, a creation of CGI magic. Spielberg might be new to animation and 3D movie making but the key to the success of this effort is how Spielberg basically treated this as he would any live action adventure movie. Reportedly, he greatly enjoyed having an exceptionally versatile virtual camera and lighting array at his disposal. You might also notice some of the many influences TinTin had on Spielberg’s most famous adventure icon Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. Spielberg is one of a growing cadre of great filmmakers that are mastering the use of 3D correctly. Instead of the typical thrusting cylindrical objects out of the plane of the screen directly at the audience; with directors like Spielberg are taking this new fad and securing it as a valid stylistic technique.

Journey Inside the World Of Tintin
Snowy: The Full Tail
Go Behind The Scenes Of Tintin

Posted 04/14/12

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