Spielberg's Tintin


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Last night was the world premiere of The Adventures of Tintin in 3D in Brussels (Tintin's hometown). The film will be released in many European countries on 26 October, but only on 21 December in the US (a marketing strategy, Xmas being so important on the other side of the Atlantic).

The film was made using motion capture, the technology used for Avatar. The main characters are played by Jamie Bell (Tintin), best known for his role as Billy Eliot, Andy Serkis (Haddock), who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, and Daniel Craig (Red Rackham). It is produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, King Kong) and directed by Steven Spielberg.

There had already been two Tintin films in the 1960's (both unique stories not published in comics) and two animated television series (the last one in 1991-92).

Spielberg, who discovered the Tintin comic books in 1981, had intended to bring the Belgian hero to the big screen for the last 30 years. In 1983 he called up Hergé, the creator of Tintin, to discuss the possibility of making a Tintin film. Hergé was enthusiastic about it, but he died a few weeks later. Spielberg bought the rights from his widow, though he didn't get the opportunity to get the project going. He did well to wait since it's hard to imagine a good film adaptation without the performance capture and 3D computer animation. It took five years of preparation to make this film.

This first Spielberg version features a unique new story based on the original stories of The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure. Spielberg said that there will be sequels based on other stories.

What few people know is that Tintin inspired Spielberg for his Indiana Jones series. For example, in The Temple of Doom (1984), Indy is assisted by an eleven-year old Chinese boy reminiscent of Chang in the Blue Lotus.

The Time has a good article on the topic: It's Tintin Time !
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Just an abstract from the Time article in link above :

Time said:
It's not hard to see why: the Tintin books are some of the most dependably satisfying popular entertainment ever created. He's the eternally dogged underdog — undersized, underestimated and always outgunned, but undaunted. "Tintin can't be dissuaded from his quests," Spielberg says. "He's relentless in his pursuit of the solution to these exotic mysteries." Like Lewis Carroll's Alice, Tintin is the one sane mind in a world of schemers, dipsomaniacs, eccentric geniuses and blithering idiots. You could look at Tintin as the dream of a small country squashed between the broad shoulders of France and Germany, eternally relying on its gumption and ingenuity to work its way out of scrapes. (In this respect, Tintin is distantly related to James Bond, who arose as the avatar of a virile, indefatigable England as if to compensate for the waning power of the British Empire.)
Tintin.com is an invaluable resource for Tintin aficionados. The site has trailers (and even full versions for members) of all the Tintin cartoons and TV documentaries and reportages, as well as audio interviews with Hergé, archives, topical articles, free online games, etc. The Tintinologist's Corner has a discussion forum, competitions, an online library of Tintin-related books (not the comics, but studies about how the comics were made, including travel diaries and all of Hergé's research), and of course collectables.
Tintin has also the great advantage to be a very insightful cliché collection, done in a time when travelling was not widespread at all, and conveyed a lot of clichés over to kids and adults who could not have discovered the world another way. It will hopefully bring a positive light onto Belgium and one of its brightest artist, sadly always connected to his rexist connections in his own land.
It will hopefully bring a positive light onto Belgium and one of its brightest artist, sadly always connected to his rexist connections in his own land.

Who cares ? It didn't transpire into his work. Then WWII ended 67 years ago. The question is rather whether Hergé could have produced some of his best Tintin stories during WWII (The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Shooting Star, The Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham's Treasure, The Seven Crystal Balls) had he preferred to join the Résistance ? Under the German occupation, Le Petit Vingtième, the weekly youth supplement of Le XXe Siècle newspaper in which Tintin made its début, was shut down, and Hergé was offered to publish Tintin in Le Soir, Brussels' biggest newspaper, which had been taken over by collaborators. Despite its link with Nazi Germany, this newspaper gave Hergé a threefold opportunity :

1) he was able to continue to write Tintin during the war, without which there would be five episodes less in the series.

2) he was forced to change the style of his stories, as Tintin was now published in daily quarter pages instead of weekly full pages. This gave more rhythm and drama to the stories, undoubtedly a reasons why all three stories chosen for the first film were written during that period.

3) Tintin gained a wider audience with Le Soir than it ever could with Le Petit Vingtième, which certainly played a role in achieving the success it got.
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I think I will go and see this. My brother has the collected works of Tintin, including Tintin in the USSR. I remember "reading" them when I was young. I say "read" because they were in french because I had a much older cousin who was studing french at college> She also had the Smurfs, Lucky Luke and Asterix. I have never seen Lucky Luke in english.

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