Two of modern cinema’s greatest filmmakers team up to take intrepid reporter Tintin to another dimension, writes
LMOST a century has passed since the character Tintin made his first appearance in a comic strip. The brainchild of Belgian writer Georges Remi – working under the pseudonym Herge – the young reporter and his faithful dog, Snowy, have experienced various reincarnations in their 82-year history with live-action films, animated series and published adventures. But never has Tintin been seen like this. Utilising the motion-capture technology (mocap) developed by Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital in New Zealand, Tintin and his universe arrive in jaw-dropping 3D on the big screen on Boxing Day.
is the passion project of Oscar-winners Steven Spielberg ( and Jackson ( The Lord Of The
trilogy) who produced the film together, with Spielberg also directing and Jackson as first assistant director. The duo have spent years tirelessly working to bring Tintin to life on the big screen again.
‘‘Tintin is an intrepid and tenacious reporter,’’ Spielberg says.
‘‘What I always identified with with Tintin is he doesn’t take no for an answer, which is the story of my life.’’ The film features the same technology used on Avatar, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and to craft the character Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings. Clad in motion sensors, the performers act out the story, with their movements and expressions translated into a digital model.
For someone who ‘‘can’t even send emails’’, Jackson says mocap is an invaluable filmmaking technique.
‘‘Motion capture is not a genre. It’s a tool and a technique. We can’t use computers, either of us, but we wanted to walk into this digital world where Tintin was created and be able to literally pick up a digital camera,’’ he says.
The result is action scenes usually too incredible to film in real-d – and a bromance between Spielberg and Jackson.
‘‘There was no ego, no competition; we were both on the same page,’’ Spielberg says of working with Jackson.
‘‘We were just two Tintin fan boys trying to bring those books to life.
‘‘He’s a problem-solver and likes to look at things from all angles. I get anxious on sets and have a thousand ideas at once, but Pete has a very good sense of seeing the big picture and realising the way to get there. We were like two code-breakers working on the Enigma code together.’’
Jackson says Spielberg ‘‘brings a childish enthusiasm, which is exciting’’.
‘‘The first time he walks on set, it’s like he’s stepping on a movie set for the first time ever,’’ he says.
The Adventures Of Tintin opens on Boxing Day.
Right: Director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson deliver the goods with The Adventures of Tintin (top)