The eyes have it
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.