A new film is out (in the UK at least) made by two of the most successful directors of all time – Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ is a motion-capture, 3-D film based on the timeless cartoon creation of Belgian comic-book artist Herge. And naturally, for a film that has brought to the silver screen something that has been read and loved by generations of kids (and adults), controversy has been aroused. So…is it any good?
Straight off the bat: I’m a Tintin fan – read all the stories – even the ones that weren’t published. And I’ve seen plenty of films that are based on books, comics and graphic novels. For example there’s the execrable ‘League of Extraordinary Gentleman’, a film based on Alan Moore’s excellent alternative history of Victorian superheroes. And the film version of ‘Watchmen’, another alternative view of superheroes.
Both films failed. The former basically ignored the printed version of the story and completely destroyed the characters. The latter stayed faithful to the original, frame-for-frame almost, until the very end, when it then bottled it and came up with a different climax that was incomprehensible to those who knew what the real ending was.
So how did ‘Tintin’, the film, do? I took the kids to see it. Despite some effort I haven’t been able to get them into the books. Maybe its just too much Playstation. Maybe I’m sadder than even I realised and only dweebs and geeks are into comics. Whatever, I refused to tell them what the film was that we were going to see (and they were more interested in how much pic ‘n’ mix they could get before going into the screen anyway).
This film had it all stacked against it. Trying to film comics as cartoons is hard enough. Comics are basically films anyway – frame-by-frame renditions of the action. So the first question the director has to find an answer to is – do you film it as it was written or change it. The second question is – do you film it as a cartoon or do you try and film it in real life?
As shown above if you get it wrong it can be bad, or really dire. So our two director heroes really went for broke by rendering our paper cartoon heroes as life-like interpretations of cartoons. It should have been weird, but it wasn’t.
Jamie Bell + Tintin = …Tintin!
It was brilliant! In fact its the only film I’ve seen which I can honestly say I’d see again. Obviously I’m bias but the bogeyman of converting a comic to a film has been pulled off here.
Ignore the critics who say Tintin has been desecrated – they don’t get it – Spielberg and Co have accepted the fact that you can’t simply repeat a comic book story on screen and has reinterpreted the characters and stories and give it the bang and wallop cinema audiences need from stuff like this. One guy was writing about character depth and all that – come off it this is an ‘adventure’. Even the guy in the Sunday Times liked it a bit so it cant be that bad!