Hits and misses

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES -

Tintin went home to Bel­gium last Satur­day for the world pre­miere of Steven Spiel­berg’s The Ad­ven­tures of Tintin: Se­cret of the Uni­corn.

if the prover­bial in­trepid reporter was more than a car­toon and movie char­ac­ter, he would have been push­ing and shov­ing amid all the other home­town re­porters lin­ing the red car­pet.

in­stead, Tintin and his cre­ator, the late Herge, were the stars of the show, and Bel­gian princess Astrid gave the oc­ca­sion an oldworld royal touch amid the movie no­bil­ity headed by Spiel­berg.

The movie is rolling out first across europe and else­where be­fore hit­ting the United States by the Christ­mas movie sea­son.

“To hi­jack Tintin and bring it to Amer­ica first, and then re­lease it over­seas sec­ond, would be some­thing that would not have even oc­curred to us,” Spiel­berg said.

“From the out­set, the plan was to give Tintin back to the coun­tries where Tintin was the most beloved.”

The di­rec­tor has been rid­ing a wave of sup­port from lo­cal crit­ics de­spite open­ing in a tra­di­tion­bound na­tion ready to pounce on any des­e­cra­tion of its cul­tural icon by Amer­i­cans.

“Ac­tion ad­ven­ture and slap­stick: Spiel­berg’s Tintin movie has it all,” was the head­line Satur­day in the De Mor­gen pa­per.

Spiel­berg bought the rights to the char­ac­ter in the 1980s – and three decades of wait­ing for the re­sult ended with “what they call in the movies, a happy end­ing,” said car­toon and movie ex­pert Hugues Dayez.

And the Bel­gian govern­ment even made Spiel­berg a Com­man­der in the Or­der of the Crown.

For Spiel­berg, a happy end­ing will mean the movie is such a box of­fice suc­cess that a se­quel be­comes un­avoid­able. To­gether with Lord Of The Rings di­rec­tor peter Jack­son, he will be ready.

“We have cho­sen the next story. We have a screen­play that is be­ing writ­ten right now,” Spiel­berg said, re­fus­ing to say which of Herge’s two-dozen Tintin books he would take.

The books have sold over 220 mil­lion copies around the world.

The first movie tells how Tintin dis­cov­ers a key to a trea­sure by ac­ci­dent, then is sent flee­ing evil crim­i­nals across the world, with the drunken sailor Cap­tain Had­dock in tow.

The tough part might be sell­ing to 21st cen­tury kids a by­gone world where good and evil were so clearly cut and where Jamie Bell’s Tintin, en­hanced in per­for­mance­cap­ture tech­nol­ogy, is vir­tu­ous with­out even a whiff of vice. Some crit­ics have called him bor­ing be­cause of it.

Bell, best known for his Billy El­liot per­for­mances, used his danc­ing skills in chase scenes to give his Tintin as much a car­toonesque flair as pos­si­ble.

Yet flaws, or even a girl­friend, are not for Tintin, Spiel­berg said.

“There is a pu­rity about Tintin,” he said. “Tintin is part of a world, i hope, is in some places still with us, and per­haps will come back some day.”

Stick­ing to Herge’s 80-year-old legacy was more im­por­tant than adapt­ing to modern whims, the di­rec­tor said.

“We weren’t re­ally in­ter­ested in us­ing Tintin as a com­mer­cial tool to get younger peo­ple into a film like this,” he said.

Tintin opened in sev­eral euro­pean na­tions on Wed­nes­day and will open in South Amer­ica and Asia on nov 10 be­fore hit­ting the United States and Canada on Dec 21.

“From Shrek to Toy Story, you can name all the an­i­mated films that have come out in re­cent decades that are wholly orig­i­nal and that is ex­actly how Amer­ica will re­ceive Tintin,” Spiel­berg said.

The di­rec­tor knows one sure way of find­ing out whether fans be­lieve he re­spected the cul­tural legacy of Tintin.

“When this thing opens, i will just have to see which coun­try i am al­lowed back in,” he said. – Ap n Tintin opens in Malaysia on Nov 10.

The Thing

Keep­ing to the spirit of the John Car­pen­ter 1982 hor­ror clas­sic, di­rec­tor Matthijs van Hei­jnin­gen Jr’s de­but fea­ture makes a wor­thy pre­quel.

Make no mis­take – this is not a ver­sion of Car­pen­ter’s film or a re­make of it but rather, it is meant to com­ple­ment it – in fact, this film ends ex­actly where Car­pen­ter’s film be­gins. Other than the ques­tion of where the film’s hero­ine – palaeon­tol­o­gist Kate Lloyd (played by Mary el­iz­a­beth Win­stead) – fits into this uni­verse, every­thing else that hap­pens here is ac­counted for.

A friend who has watched the 1982 film at least 100 times was amazed at just how the Dutch di­rec­tor has aligned ev­ery ref­er­ence in the 1982 film to what hap­pens here. There is even a bril­liant nod to a cer­tain blood test and the spe­cial ef­fects here re­sem­ble Car­pen­ter’s movie, which is cool.

At the same time, those who have not seen the clas­sic can still find en­joy­ment as there are plenty of scares, ac­tion and humour present.

in the end, how­ever, it’s the char­ac­ters that make the film. in the 1982 film, Kurt Rus­sell’s RJ Macready pro­vided that spe­cial qual­ity, and here Win­stead proves she can do the same. She has strong sup­port from Joel edger­ton and a mainly nor­we­gian cast.

i can’t wait for this DVD to come out so i can watch the two films back to back. – Mum­ta­jbe­gum ( HHHHI)

In Time

DI­REC­TOR An­drew nic­col had the smart idea of cre­at­ing a world where time is the currency and hu­mans are ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered to stop age­ing af­ter turn­ing 25.

it’s a theme any of us can re­late to since all of us do ob­sess about get­ting old (go on, ad­mit it). But as the film points out, every­thing that is thrown out of bal­ance comes with a steep price. nic­col also had the smarts to cast Cil­lian Mur­phy as the “time keeper” – an of­fi­cer of the law who en­sures there are no un­just trans­fers of the said currency. Mur­phy grounds the sci-fi flick back to re­al­ity. Then there are the thugs called the Minute Men. Yes, all very clever.

But the film stum­bles with the main story which re­volves around char­ac­ters played by Justin Tim­ber­lake and Amanda Seyfried. it shame­lessly plays on that poor­boy-rich-girl plot, which ul­ti­mately works against the film.

nic­col could’ve made the film a ve­hi­cle to talk about dis­crim­i­na­tion of sta­tus, age, wealth (which he sort of does), but all that gets lost when ro­mance is al­lowed to drive the show.

Tim­ber­lake seems equipped as an ac­tion star but the only thing he is re­quired to do here is to give smoul­der­ing, lost and an­gry looks. With all this bog­ging down the film, the au­di­ence has no choice but to fo­cus on things like cos­tume, props and cin­e­matog­ra­phy – which are, in fact, pretty nice to look at. – Mum­ta­jbe­gum ( HHHII)

Tres­pass

i HAVEN’T seen ni­cole Kid­man in a movie for quite awhile, and this one cer­tainly doesn’t do her any favours.

The other head­liner, ni­co­las Cage, was not too bad, con­sid­er­ing that the last movie i saw him in – Drive An­gry (2011) – was so bad, it was funny.

So, Tres­pass, as its name sug­gests, is a clas­sic hostage-at-home movie.

Cage plays smooth-talk­ing, smarmy-look­ing Kyle Miller, a di­a­mond dealer who is des­per­ately try­ing to bro­ker deals to get him out of enor­mous debt.

As he is on the road a lot, his wife Sarah (Kid­man) is left all alone in their enor­mous house with their typ­i­cally re­bel­lious teenage daugh­ter Avery (Liana Lib­er­ato).

One day, when Kyle re­turns home af­ter try­ing to put to­gether a deal, a bunch of bad guys, who know he is a di­a­mond dealer, break into the house and take the cou­ple hostage.

Kyle, for some rea­son, is ex­tremely re­luc­tant to open up his safe and just give them the di­a­monds, even when they threaten his wife. And so the movie goes.

Tres­pass does try to el­e­vate it­self above other sim­i­lar films by hav­ing sev­eral dif­fer­ent lay­ers of mo­ti­va­tion be­hind the sit­u­a­tion, but in the end, i can’t say it was par­tic­u­larly well ex­e­cuted.

it’s watch­able, but not a must-watch. – Tan­sh­iowchin ( HHIII)

What’s Your Num­ber?

RO­MAN­TIC come­dies can fi­nally be de­clared as dead. What has done it in are crude come­dies, highly ridicu­lous plot lines and that in­sanely pre­pos­ter­ous need to have a sac­cha­rine sweet end­ing.

in this film, woo­ing is thrown out of the pic­ture, in­stead we have a pair of pro­tag­o­nists in­volved in a string of one night stands, which in turn, stands to de­fine them.

Don’t get me wrong, Chris evans is a cute guy and in this film he is just so adorable. His like­abil­ity fac­tor def­i­nitely goes up ev­ery time he ap­pears shirt­less (and, some­times, with­out pants too) and gives a very goofy smile or an aw-shucks laugh.

The same ap­plies to Anna Faris – this ac­tress is fear­less when it comes to mak­ing a fool of her­self, which not many actresses can pull off with­out be­ing thor­oughly ir­ri­tat­ing.

none­the­less, the movie is more an­noy­ing than en­ter­tain­ing. not even the cameo ap­pear­ances by a num­ber of known ac­tors is go­ing to help this rather aw­ful num­ber.

At ev­ery turn, one is more likely to cringe than chuckle at the so­called humour. not the re­ac­tion one ex­pects from a ro­man­tic com­edy but that’s the re­al­ity of this genre now. – Mum­ta­jbe­gum ( HHIII)

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