The eyes have it

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies -

STEVEN Spiel­berg’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Sir Peter Jack­son to put car­toon clas­sic Tintin on the big screen has re­ceived mostly glow­ing re­views.

The Ad­ven­tures of Tintin: The Se­cret of the Uni­corn, most of which was com­put­er­gen­er­ated by Weta Dig­i­tal in Welling­ton, New Zealand, has pre­miered in Brus­sels, with Bel­gium the home coun­try of its cre­ator Herge. Re­views have been en­thu­si­as­tic. ‘‘ Bull’s eye,’’ was the head­line in the Dutch-lan­guage De Stan­daard news­pa­per, while the French lan­guage Le Soir called it ‘‘ a pure jewel’’.

Film mag­a­zine Em­pire gave it four out of five stars, say­ing it was ‘‘ ac­tion- packed, gor­geous and faith­fully whim­si­cal’’.

Em­pire said co- pro­ducer Jack­son had ‘‘ ca­joled a joie de cinema’’ from Spiel­berg, not­ing that whereas Jack­son had been a ‘‘ Tintin geek’’ since boy­hood, Spiel­berg was a late con­vert.

‘‘ In ef­fect, Spiel­berg landed the goof­ball side­kick with whom to tra­verse the globe with­out leav­ing the stu­dio,’’ the mag­a­zine said.

Spiel­berg di­rected the cast, which in­cludes Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig, in a Los An­ge­les stu­dio.

They wore body­suits cov­ered in spots and, ex­ploit­ing mo­tion- cap­ture tech­nol­ogy, Weta Dig­i­tal con­verted their move­ments and ex­pres­sions into an­i­mated film.

But two Bri­tish pa­pers have found fault in the an­i­ma­tion. The Guardian gave it only two stars, say­ing the film’s hu­man de­tails are sorely want­ing.

‘‘ How cu­ri­ous that Herge achieved more ex­pres­sion with his use of ink- spot eyes and hum­ble line draw­ings than a bank of com­put­ers and an army of an­i­ma­tors were able to achieve,’’ it said.

The Daily Tele­graph gave it three stars and also panned the com­puter graph­ics for elic­it­ing less ex­pres­sion than two dots from the Bel­gian car­toon­ist’s pen.

‘‘ The dif­fer­ence, you see, is in the eyes. And in this first of three planned Tintin films by Steven Spiel­berg and Peter Jack­son, the eyes do not have it – it be­ing that vi­tal, twin­kling dif­fer­ence that sep­a­rates a char­ac­ter worth car­ing about from a dummy in a Deben­hams shop win­dow.’’

How­ever, Amer­i­can en­ter­tain­ment mag­a­zine Va­ri­ety dif­fered.

‘‘ With im­mense sen­si­tiv­ity, the an­i­ma­tors have trans­lated Herge’s spare, el­e­gant draw­ings into a multi- di­men­sional world that seems re­al­is­tic,’’ it said. The Ad­ven­tures Of Tintin: The Se­cret Of The Uni­corn is due for re­lease on De­cem­ber 22.

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