Quint visits Weta Digital and Workshop for a Tintin tour led by Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Some days it really hits home just how lucky I am to be doing this job. When you wake up in Wellington, New Zealand and your itinerary includes things like “satellite conference with Steven Spielberg” and “Weta Workshop presentation with Richard Taylor” and “MoCap stage run-through with Peter Jackson” it really hits me that I’m living the geek dream.
When it comes to Tintin I’m a complete ignoramus. I know some of the iconography of the world, but being a stupid Yank I never read the books and know very little of the actual stories. The first pictures and teaser didn’t do much for me, but I quite liked the adventurous tone of the last trailer, loved the pieces I saw at Comic-Con (Read that coverage here) and flipped for the new footage show to me and a dozen other lucky souls this afternoon.
Happily enough, this visit was essentially a day-long course on how film is made. Slashfilm’s Dave Chen commented that it felt like he was living in an in-depth behind the scenes documentary and that’s apt. With Richard Taylor showing us the pre-production art process, Peter Jackson showing us how Spielberg shot it, Joe Letteri running us through the step-by-step of what the animators do and Spielberg and Jackson doing a Q&A about the overall project it was like a crash course in how to make a film.
Our day began in Park Road Post’s grand theater with Peter Jackson in person and Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy on satellite. We were shown some new footage as well as the Comic-Con reel and Jackson’s Snowy test (read my Comic-Con piece if you feel lost right now). I was the only one in the audience that had seen the Comic-Con pieces and Peter’s Snowy test started off the conversation.
It was that piece of video, with Peter Jackson dressed up in full Captain Haddock attire, that clued Spielberg in on Peter’s massive love for Tintin and it was after seeing Peter goof off as Haddock that The Beard thought he’d be an ideal partner to help bring Tintin to the big screen and so he scrapped everything involved with the project and started from scratch with Jackson.
The first bit of footage featured Tintin and Snowy walking home. Tintin is agitated… he has a clue, a word “Karaboudjan,” but has lost any sort of lead he had in solving the big mystery. He arrives to his door and there’s a man there. He asks, “Mr. Tin? Tin?” He responds in the affirmative. “Delivery for ya’,” and two men come up behind him with a giant crate. “But I didn’t order anything,” the boy says as he turns around to look at it, scratching his head. “That’s because it’s you being delivered!” the man says as he puts a rag over the boys mouth, Snowy yapping crazily.
Tintin passes out and is shoved into the crate, which is marked with the word “Karaboudjan.” The bad guys seal it up and pack it in a car as Snowy jumps up to bite the one who chloroformed Tintin and receives a boot into the house for his troubles. The baddy slams the door shut and we get a low angle single shot chasing Snowy as he races up the stairs, nudges open a door and enters into a second story room. Knocking junk off tables, the little white dog jumps up and races towards an open window, seeing the car speed off. A fire truck approaches and loyal dog takes a leap onto the top of it, barely making it, and dislodging the ladder, and sending it spilling off the front of the truck taking Snowy with it.
The pup hangs on for dear life as the ladder sticks out over the top of the bad guy’s car, Snowy’s hind legs kicking in the air in front of the windshield. Snowy drops to the hood, the bad guys swerve, throwing the dog off the car, where he’s barely missed by oncoming traffic. Not one to give up the chase, Snowy races after and sees a short cut through a tract of land filled to the brim with cows.
Snowy jumps on top of the cows, gets yet another boot by the unimpressed bovine and flies to the ground, skidding to a stop below an udder. He lifts his head into the udder and we cut to the cow’s surprised, mooing face. We don’t see Snowy, but we see a line of surprised mooing faces as he passes underneath, coming out at the other side where they’re at the shipyard, the Karaboudjan being a boat. Tintin fans already know the significance of the Karaboudjan, but the rest of us are just discovering this as we go along, okay?
That was one sequence, the next was what was described as the Sea Plane scene and it was my favorite thing I’ve seen from the movie so far. In it, Tintin, Snowy and Haddock have commandeered a sea plane, with the two pilots tied up in the back. Tintin says he’s interviewed a pilot before so he knows how to fly the plane… more or less. Naturally Haddock isn’t too fond of this statement as the boy barely gets airbound after crashing into a few waves.
What was so great about this sequence is you really do get a feeling of the chemistry between Haddock and Tintin. Tintin is fearless and determined, Haddock is a bit of comedic relief, but also shows quite a bit of bravery and all within a fairly exaggerated action scene as the poor little bi-winged sea plane is battered about by a giant and menacing storm (described by Haddock as “a wall of death!”).
It is cartoony, but the adventure spirit is so high that I was pulled into it. There’s a glee to this footage that I can’t help but imagine was fueled by Jackson and Spielberg geeking out together over this mutually beloved property. And it didn’t feel like an in-joke, something I, a non-Tintin fan, felt excluded from, which was honestly my biggest fear with this movie.
Inside the bucking plane Haddock spots a bottle of medicinal alcohol and slowly reaches for it before Tintin slaps his hand away. “No, Captain! Those are surgical spirits for medicinal purposes only!” That got a laugh from the room full of critics and journalists, but the truly ridiculous and funny part was still to come.
As the plane is being jostled, Haddock gets his hands on the bottle of alcohol and manages to open it just as the plane takes a huge dive, creating a bit of a zero G environment. The booze seeps out of the bottle and, in slow motion, Haddock’s eyes half-close as he moves to slurp up the floating glob of liquor, but Snowy beats him to it, much to his dismay. Another glob seeps out of the bottle and Snowy’s tongue laps out only to be grabbed mid-air by Haddock who drinks the rest of the floaty booze. Soon the plane rights itself and the zero G slow-motion moment is past.
Just as Haddock’s smile reaches its zenith we hear the sound of the engine struggling. The gas gauge is hovering on empty and our heroes look doomed… until Tintin has a bright idea! If Haddock can get the bottle of alcohol into the fuel tank they might burn enough to get them a few more miles. Of course the ginger detective doesn’t know that Haddock has already ingested said booze and Haddock is half-pushed out onto the plane’s exterior empty handed.
Tintin screams over the wind for Haddock to hurry up, that they’re running on fumes. A light goes on in Haddock’s eyes. “FUMES!” he screams to the heavens and straddles the nose of the plane, unscrews the cap and belches into the engine, causing it to shoot flame and stutter.
Sure, that’s incredibly ridiculous, but the tone of the action and the established reality of the world made it work. Weta’s amazing animation also gave it a weight that helps you buy into the world.
Know what else helps you buy the insanity that’s happening on the screen? John. Mother. Forking. Williams. His score, only two days old according to Spielberg and Jackson, was put over the scene and man… there’s nothing like John Williams and Steven Spielberg collaborating on a high adventure score.
So, all that combined with the design decision to undercut the uncanny valley by stylizing the world and the characters within it, not making them look like any of the established actors in their roles (Jackson even said that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are essentially twins in real life, but could never be cast as identical twins, which is one of the beauties of doing Tintin performance capture), seems to be adding up to a rather successful foray into a new filmic medium for Spielberg and Jackson.
Of course, two scenes do not make a movie, and it’s impossible to judge if the entire film is successful, but I have to say the more I see of the movie the more I’m on board. It really does feel like Spielberg is reaching back to his pulpy adventure style storytelling days here.
The footage was followed by a Q&A with Jackson and Spielberg. I’ll highlight some of interesting nuggets in bullet-point form below.
-While there was a giant learning curve for Spielberg, he found he was still just telling a story. No matter what surprises the technical side of things bring to the table, at the end of the day it’s the story, plot, narrative and characters that were his focus.
-It was Jackson’s idea to bring in Steven Moffat because he’s such a massive Dr. Who fan. Moffat delivered the first draft and worked very close to Peter and Steven, but had to go back to Who. Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish came onboard to square it away. Jackson said the main reason, besides the great talent of the writers, was that they would be able to bring a European sense to the script since it is, afterall, a European piece of pop culture. It was also important to find real Tintin fans as well (it was crucial not to have to explain the DNA of Tintin to the writer. The writer already needed that knowledge to put out the best script possible) and both Edgar and Joe Cornish fit that bill.
-Computer technology has advanced so far that if Spielberg wanted to, he could conceive, shoot, render and edit a shot today and still make the October international release date.
-Tone hasn’t ever been discussed between Spielberg and Jackson. They discovered they have a very similar sense of humor, for one, and two, Herge’s tone has driven the feeling of the movie since day one.
-Steven Spielberg, on the photoreal look of Tintin himself: “We certainly, with the photorealism in mind from the very beginning, did not want Tintin to be a balloon with two pinholes for eyes. We wanted Tintin to be able to express himself as a fully rendered character, but not with such impressionism, leaving the guesswork on how Tintin is feeling up to the audience 100%.” Spielberg credits Jamie Bell for capturing everything Herge put into the comic character and says it took them a long, long time to settle on the right look for the character in this iteration.
-Jackson says working with Spielberg on Tintin is akin to doing a crossword puzzle with a friend. “It’s not who comes up with the answers first. It’s not competitive. There’s no competition at all and no ego. There’s just a problem and that problem is ‘How do we adapt Tintin and how do we make a good movie?’ It’s creative, it’s constructive.”
-The idea of a franchise is exciting to Jackson because of all the different genres and different types of places the story goes in the books. Oh, and because he really wants to direct the next one.
-There’s very little of the Red Rackham’s Treasure represented in the first Tintin movie, but Jackson hinted at Red Rackham’s Treasure playing more than a small part of the sequel that he would direct.
-Spielberg has never once stepped foot in Wellington. He shot the performance capture in LA and has only ever directed the animators, given notes, etc, via Polycom (the satellite link-up he was using to speak with us at that moment). He said he does spend about 2 hours a day on it talking to the animators and production heads, though.
-Not only has he never been to New Zealand, he’s never even been close to it. “The only thing I did in that hemisphere before this was I sent Ron and Valerie Taylor and a little person in a cage to the Great Barrier Reef to try to make a 16 foot Great White Shark look like a 26 foot Great White Shark. And like this medium, I just sat back in Los Angeles and waited for the dailies!”
After about 40 minutes of nerd questions, Spielberg finally had enough and logged off (or we ran out of time and had to move one, but saying it that way will garner less hits in this tabloid day and age) and we moved on to Jackson’s MoCap stage (where some of Gollum and much of Kong was captured) and given a quick run-through on how production works on this kind of flick by Peter himself and visual effect maestro Joe Letteri.
This was the moment that felt the most like living in a DVD/Blu-Ray feature, not because we had an up close look at the technical side of filmmaking, but because it was Peter Jackson walking us through it.
Longtime readers of the site might remember when I ventured into the production offices of Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf. If you don’t have any earthly idea what I’m talking about, fear not. The internet has a long, long memory and you can access that memory here. Much of what I saw there was seen on the stage in Wellington, with a few notable advances.
Still the same is the virtual camera. In both cases there was a DV camera outfitted with dots that represented the actual camera in the movie universe. It could have just been a coffee cup with these dots, but having it be a camera seems to make the jump into the virtual realm easier to make for the filmmakers.
The biggest difference seemed to be that Zemeckis recorded all the performance capture as one big play over the period of about a week and then had a small virtual zone built into the editing room where he could take the camera and explore the performances as if he were the invisible man up on the live stage, yet here Spielberg shot it like a regular movie. The only difference is his blocking was much more intricate.
Using a thumb control on the top of the camera as a dolly in and out and the unused focus ring (remember this camera isn’t recording anything, it’s just a place-holder to tell the sensors that’s where the camera is pointed in the digital world) as a crane up or down, Spielberg would direct Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock and Jamie Bell as Tintin as usual and just figure out the best way to shoot the scene. He shot it very traditionally in that he didn’t just reframe and move in during a take to coverage as many motion capture filmmakers do. He shot masters and coverage just as you do with a film camera.
In other words Zemeckis was, to a degree, locked into a certain world. He could have total freedom within that world, but once the performance was captured he then figured out his shots, so he was bound by the way the actors performed. Since Spielberg was shooting this like a real movie, he wasn’t finding his shots later, but on the “set.”
The sets, by the way, were wireframe walls, doors and props (they have to be wire so the sensors can see through them at all times and know where the performers are). Lots of thought went into these props, including Haddock’s rum bottle which had a swinging weight in the center to help the actors mime drinking. It mimicked the fluid in the bottle, gave it the appropriate slosh and even acted as a reference for the animators. Not only is the roof of the giant room lined with sensor cameras tracking the dots, but on any given take there were a dozen people with digital cameras rolling on the action for further reference for the animators.
When we entered the room there were two guys in MoCap outfits. In person they had the ridiculous wetsuits covered with dots on, but on the many flat screens up around the perimeter they were Tintin and one of the Thompson twins. And not just rough previs characters… they were full approximations, about the level of a Nickelodeon animated show for toddlers.
What was most fascinating to me was just how realized the atmosphere was. For instance, the first area was Tintin’s house. If they opened the front door to the outside, the morning light flooded into the house. There was a ship set they demonstrated later that as the same thing… dark hallway, but if the door opened the warm golden light from the cabin room spilled out into the hallway.
This is what the filmmakers saw as they were working, something very close in tone and atmosphere to what would be there in the final product, not a bunch of blocky shapes just showing where chairs and doorways were.
There were technical tricks, like being able to program the virtual camera to take 5 steps for every one human step that enabled fast chase scenes, but really the impressive part was the director had the full control of about 4 departments at his fingertips allowing for a fluidity to the storytelling that wouldn’t be there if he or she had to instruct each department about the move they wanted and get them to sync up.
Next step was a stop by Weta Digital to get a walkthough of Maya, the software they use to build their digital creations, and some examples of their day to day on the digital side. This included looks at shots from pre-viz to animation captured on the day to half-rendered shots with hair and fur effects and then the finished shot.
My favorite part of this presentation was seeing an old buddy, Gino Acevedo, who is a legendary make-up man in his own right and has now taken his hands-on expertise over to the digital side. He has a process he developed for Avatar that he used again for Tintin, a way of giving those realistic skin textures. Instead of building it digitally, Gino developed a process of molding real facial textures and washing them in a special chemical bath that gives you a very thin layer of real skin. He’d attach these to transparencies (they passed a few samples around and boy did they look creepy, like Ed Gein trophies) and then scan them. From there they laid these transparent skin samples onto the surface of the digital people and voila, you have a real skin texture on a digital person.
From here we were led to one of the happiest places on Earth: Weta Workshop. Richard Taylor and Chris Guise greeted us in the Weta conference room where we were surrounded on all sides by Weta Collectibles, awards, plaques and various other coolness including a whole wall of production art done for Tintin.
Taylor’s enthusiasm is just as rich in person as it appears on the LOTR DVDs and they gleefully showed off many art pieces and illustrated how they adapted Herge’s universe for film, starting with direct panel and cover conversions and ending with what you’ll see in the finished film. Again, both Guise and Taylor were huge Tintin geeks and made it a point to bring in background character that Herge drew only once in a crowd and realize them realistically for the movie so that Tintin fans might have an added layer of enjoyment while watching the film.
Tintin is starting to come into focus for me as a brand. It seems to be a Jonny Quest, James Bond, Indiana Jones hybrid with a dash of Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Rice Burroughs thrown in for good measure. All those spices are appealing to me and the overall fun tone of the footage I’ve seen really has me excited to see what the final product looks like.
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July 29, 2011, 3:40 p.m. CST
by Cameron Harrison
You lucky bastard!
July 29, 2011, 3:41 p.m. CST
Very excited for this film. Seems like a labour of love for everyone concerned.
July 29, 2011, 3:46 p.m. CST
...and neither of us have a single complaint about what these icons are doing with the franchise. Can't wait to see this.
July 29, 2011, 3:47 p.m. CST
It's so less stuffy and actually still suitable for this era.
July 29, 2011, 3:51 p.m. CST
Go fuck yourself. ...lucky bastard
July 29, 2011, 3:58 p.m. CST
by Cameron Harrison
Did anyone to sneak in any Hobbit questions, or did you manage to peek under any sheets in the workshop?
July 29, 2011, 4:28 p.m. CST
The flight to NZ is about 12 hours. In that time you could easily read the entire Tintin library. "The Secret of the Unicorn" is available at virtually any bookstore. Why not actually read it, instead of staying ignorant?
July 29, 2011, 4:30 p.m. CST
by Shaner Jedi
is truly full of magical elves. Great piece Quint. Still have no interest in the movie itself at this point so I might be pleasantly surprised by it.
July 29, 2011, 4:30 p.m. CST
Looking forward to Tintin also.
July 29, 2011, 4:35 p.m. CST
With these classics of comic art from beyond our shores being prepped for the acclaim they've long been due and now finally seem destined to receive, there must have been some inkling as to what's next. Any thoughts? Great report, by the way. My hankering to return to Aeotearoa has been much stimulated, thanks and cheers.
July 29, 2011, 5:16 p.m. CST
Quint, I have a favor to ask you - next time you speak with Steven can you ask him about Interstellar? Please?
Nothing too specific, just a quick status check. I am sure a lot of people would appreciate to hear about it.
July 29, 2011, 5:22 p.m. CST
I hope it finds an Audience coz TinTin is fucking awsome if you have not read it or seen the caqrtoon adaptations then shame on you seek em out now coz The Beard and Jackson sound like an awsome partnership on this and with Edgar Write and Joe Cornish on script duties this will live up to the material, I mean FFS FROST AND PEGG as THOMPSON AND THOMPSON is FUCKING GENIUS!!!! would of loved to have the guy that Voiced TinTin from the old Cartoons as thats the Voice I grew up with but mind you Jamie Bell looks to off done a good job in the Trailers! I`m hoping this does well coz its different and has that old school feel, I love the way it looks like the comic and hope that Jackson get to do one after The Hobbit!
July 29, 2011, 5:43 p.m. CST
The PR on these motion capture films is beyond frustrating. The technology of TinTin, and to a large degree Weta, is no different from the technology used at IMD on Zemeckis films like A Christmas Carol and Mars Needs Moms, except of course that the tech has evolved over the last couple years. Many of the same people even worked at both facilities. This was true for Avatar as well, but it doesnt fit with the agreed upon rewriting of history that Cameron, and now Spielberg are geniuses while Zemeckis is a sell out hack. Zemeckis is the Tesla to Cameron's, and to a lesser extent Spielberg's, Edison. Its maddening to those who know the real story form the inside.
July 29, 2011, 5:52 p.m. CST
by Son of a Butch
That's all there is to it.
July 29, 2011, 6:01 p.m. CST
Cameron has been pionerring mo-cap work since the mid-90's with Digital Domain (which he used to be co-owner of) when he tried to get Avatar going the first time around pre-Titanic. He even designed a two-camera rig to be attached to an actor's face that would film from the front and at an angle, and there were many reports at the time of what DD was doing with mo-cap work. Cameron is the Nikiolai Tesla in this instance. Zemeckis just picked up the ball and ran with Cameron's pioneering work before JC could get back to it post Titanic and his documentaries.
July 29, 2011, 6:05 p.m. CST
It got zero positive response in any of the theaters I've seen the trailer in. I don't know who the audience is supposed to be.
July 29, 2011, 6:45 p.m. CST
As a ridiculous Tintin fan, my fears of a average film are starting to allay. Oh, and damn you Quint. Lucky bastard.
July 29, 2011, 7:21 p.m. CST
I'm there. And so should you be! I'm glad Williams never returned to Harry Potter because his Prisoner of Azkaban score was definitive (as was the movie as a whole, they never got HP right after that), one of his greatest scores. I have a strong feeling Spielberg is gonna deliver a real adventure movie to make up for the lacklustre Indy 4.
July 29, 2011, 7:27 p.m. CST
by John Maddening
The two books together are one story! So...setup but no payoff? A sequel that has not yet been greenlit? How long do we have to wait for a sequel that is necessary to finish the story? You could have both THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN and RED RACKHAM'S TREASURE, preceded by enough of THE CRAB WITH THE GOLDEN CLAWS to introduce Captain Haddock in less than two hours. This is the first thing I have read about this film that makes me a little worried.
He even designed a two-camera rig to be attached to an actor's face that would film from the front and at an angle, and there were many reports at the time of what DD was doing with mo-cap work. --- That is interesting. Not to take anything away from the great work DD has done over the years, but tell me one movie where DD used mocap significantly before Ben Button, and that wasn't even DD, it was farmed out. If you want to see DD's implementation of performance capture, look at the young Jeff Bridges in Tron 2. The fact is Cameron hadn't used performance capture in a movie before Avatar, not counting some digital stunt doubles on the Titanic deck, and Zemeckis didn't use any DD developed tech on Polar express or Beo at Sony, let alone the movies developed 10 years later at IMD. Cameron is a visionary no doubt, but Zemeckis put his money where the tech was and actually made movies with the tech for 10 years, allowing it to develop and funding it, while Cameron was playing under the ocean and finding other wives to marry. All this so Cameron could jump into the game after the tech was funded and perfected by Bob Z and reap all the credit for developing it.
July 30, 2011, 1:02 a.m. CST
...for hyping audiences into seeing something old told anew, perhaps not that modern or interesting without the required sheen, polish and glitter. This coming from a 100% certified VFX nerd. The other thing about the TinTin adaptation footage and screen shots are that they seem HEAVY on shadows and, when I think about Hergé's illustration style, I certainly don't see noir. Is that really being faithful, artistically? "...yet here Spielberg shot it like a regular movie." No he was never in Wellington, was he? “FUMES! he screams to the heavens and straddles the nose of the plane, unscrews the cap and belches into the engine, causing it to shoot flame and stutter." That, and directing by remote control. Uh oh.
July 30, 2011, 1:25 a.m. CST
You know, I'd say that someone like James Cameron could read VFX articles and twiddle his toes for a decade and come out on the other end with greater understanding of mo-cap than most other directors working at it for years. He has traditional artistic sensibility and ability and understands when VFX techniques are not ready. He then pushef them to what is he deemed as viable. All the incremental mo-cap tech advances from Zemeckis (duly appreciated) never help out in these, more critical, areas. Oh, and Cameron was doing VFX tests (BROTHER TERMITE) while, you know, exploring the ocean. So, the more relevant question to ask is: what did Cameron learn while involved with real-world engineers and scientists which pushed his filmmaking talents even further?
July 30, 2011, 1:32 a.m. CST
... I still have no passion for the source material. Its actually kind of bugging me that I can't get as excited for this as I think I should be.
July 30, 2011, 2:12 a.m. CST
Quint Couple questions for you. Did you pick up on a major theme for the John Williams music? Or was it just a regular action cue?
I'm hoping we get another big theme from John Williams and this has the potetinial to be another great adventure score. I know Williams is getting older and im thankful for the 2 scores that we are getting this year with War Horse and TinTin. We just never know what score could be his last so I'm hoping TinTin has a great theme that we dont seem to get much from composer. So did you pick up any hints at a major theme Quint? I find it interesting Spielberg said the score is only 2 days old because I read that John Williams had completed both of his scores already which is why he couldn't do the latest Harry Potter. Maybe Spielberg meant the mix you heard was only 2 days old. Quit one last question did Spielberg know you were there or mention your interview at all? I wonder if he knows about the amazing response it got
July 30, 2011, 2:21 a.m. CST
He (Cameron) then pushes VFX to what he deems as viable.
July 30, 2011, 2:54 a.m. CST
July 30, 2011, 7:52 a.m. CST
Most of us are rooting for a return to form for SS and PJ. It has been nearly 10 years since either one of them made a great movie. Granted, their average flicks are still pretty good. It seems like all the pieces are in place for a blockbuster franchise, but why does it feel so ho hum average? TT reminds me of a great production with a great director making an awesome looking film of a well known, worldly property that turned into a zzzzzzzzz fest.... Beowulf. I hope it turns out better than the way it feels. Cool work Quint regardless.
July 30, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST
If you're not interested by a Spielberg adventure movie scored by John Williams and produced by Peter Jackson, there's nothing we can do for you. You must hate movies. Your loss.
July 30, 2011, 12:36 p.m. CST
seem more like lab experiments in the pursuit of the absolute verisimilutude of CGI rather than great films... this is first Spielberg film I'm not even remotely interested in seeing...I know nothing about TinTin the story, but it's not the subject matter that keeps me at bay, it's the awkward, dead-eyed, tentative nature of the CGI, begging to be redone in live action... I'm all for experimentation...Cameron used Avatar to spearhead the now widely accepted use of 3D in narrative filmmaking, which I am a strong proponent of (as a CHOICE, not the ONLY OPTION for filmmaking, just like one can still shoot sequences in super8 if it adds to the story)... typical Hollywood, they take something that makes billions for them and like a retarded child bludgeons everything they touch with it in the hopes they will make billions more, not realizing the subtleties of the art of filmmaking and the passion behind the CHOICES a filmmaker utilizes is what makes huge blockbusters...most studio generated pap, makes a few dents here and there, but the all time king box office champs are films that came from personal visions... (adjusted for inflation) 1 Gone with the Wind $1,610,295,700 2 Star Wars $1,419,613,200 3 The Sound of Music $1,135,050,500 4 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial $1,130,579,000 5 The Ten Commandments $1,044,070,000 6 Titanic $1,022,916,700 7 Jaws $1,020,788,200 8 Doctor Zhivago $989,359,600 9 The Exorcist $881,232,300 10 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs $868,730,000 ...not some studio execs desire to keep his or her job. This is why the experimentation worries me, though it's a moot point. Hollywood is what it is, and anything made inside it is subject to its rules. As a film lover/maker I have to accept that. It's a terrible problem. In order to make these advances viable options for Hollywood filmmakers, the pioneering filmmakers have to risk the advances being swallowed up by the corporate behemoth and assimilated into their bag of tricks in the unsubtle art of crafting their "products" which are usually without artistic merit. I suppose there will always been the 80%/20% split between low art and high art.
July 30, 2011, 2:42 p.m. CST
I miss the old Tintin cartoon. I wish it was streaming.
July 30, 2011, 2:49 p.m. CST
Huh? That sounds exactly like the regular coverage regular filmmakers shoot. That's a tad confusing to the reader.
July 30, 2011, 3:30 p.m. CST
the size of the talkback is telling about the interest in this movie, and not everyone who visits this site is in the US.
July 30, 2011, 11:10 p.m. CST
I want Temerarie from PJ, not Tin Tin. I don't even know what I want from SS anymore... something that fills me with the magic that even his LESSER films used to have (like say, Hook). But I don't think Tin Tin is it. Maybe it will be, but I'm just not sold.
July 31, 2011, 10:54 a.m. CST
July 31, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST
Ignore the mediocre series that was brought back in 2005 by Russell T Davies and do his own thing. Make it more like the first 4 Doctors stories (the best ones) but with better special effects. I'm sure it would be much better than half the rubbish we've had from the BBC since the show came back in 2005.
July 31, 2011, 4:23 p.m. CST
firstly new who is not mediocre.... secondly I would not let peter jackson anywhere near dr who for fear that the american's will get there hands on it.. If you want to see an example of what can happen when a british sci fi gets swallowed up the americans then go watch torchwood miracle day. that is a total and utter disaster. that show has been utterly ruined. I just about got through episode one torchwood miracle day without throwing stuff at the tv. hopefully i thought episode 2 would be better but I was wrong. Episode three i was wondering is this a sci fi show, a religious drama? or is it a big govt/pharma conspiracy thriller. and of course this being a russell t davies show, he had to throw in a gay joke. and unlike the uk version b in this one jack falls in love, has gay sex and there is one scene where while on the phone to gwen cooper he is attached to his boyfriend and the rest you can only guess. jack's excuse is that he is becoming mortal. In miracle day nobody dies. how the above scene was not edited down is a mystery. and it was broadcast uncut in the uk. I was shocked. The viewers in the uk have more weeks of atrocity ahead. and what drew bill paxton to this rubbish is another mystery. and after this rubbish Meki phifer will be lucky if he ever gets work in hollywood again, though judging by this rubbish his career must not have been all that hot to begin. oh and by the way the scene on the plane where they are struggling to save jack harkness was so bad i just wanted torchwood miracle day to be over.
July 31, 2011, 5:13 p.m. CST
Seriously, no offence, but it is kind of great that IF US audiences don't go in their droves, that the rest of the world are guaranteed to. Recognition of this character outside America makes further adventures a certainty. Clever move, delaying the release domestically until December. By the time it arrives the buzz will be the big sum it will have already made internationally. What it needs. During a weekend where The Smurfs has seemingly grabbed the top spot in America, thank the gods that the same audience that will inevitably flock to the new Alvin movie ahead of Tintin this Xmas won't be able to halt the franchise.
July 31, 2011, 6:18 p.m. CST
by slappy jones
Some film is coming out about some guy called Indiana Jones? Anyone heard of him? It's called Raiders of the lost Arc or Ark or something?? I won't see it because I don't know who this guy is. My point here is not that it will be as good as Raiders or anything but that people do to go and see films that were not based on something that already exists. So why does it matter if people don't know who TinTin is? No one knew who Buzz Lightyear was or Mr Incredible. Shrek was hardly Harry Potter. If they sell it well does it matter that people don't know the source material.
July 31, 2011, 11:51 p.m. CST
Most mo-cap directors shoot a scene in just one set-up, and take all their coverage from the one set-up - reframing the shots in the digital world, but using the same take. Spielberg, on the other hand, shot different takes for the masters, close-ups etc, as you would if shooting live-action coverage.
Aug. 1, 2011, 2:48 a.m. CST
Aug. 1, 2011, 2:49 a.m. CST
Aug. 1, 2011, 4 a.m. CST
...when I couldn't find anything better to borrow from the library on wet Saturday mornings. I'll never forget the dreary feeling on those car rides home as I examined my library stash with the realisation sinking that it was going to be a miserable weekend. With shitty Tintin comics.
Aug. 1, 2011, 10:17 a.m. CST
Look it up, people, the author was a collaborator during WWII. FACT T.'.
Aug. 1, 2011, 12:31 p.m. CST
Don't blame the Yanks for ruining that as it was Rubbish T. Davies who brought us Torchwank in the first place. Which seems to me just an excuse for more gay stuff from him. Also, why do you think the Americans will get their hands on and ruin Dr Who if Jackson got his hands on it? Jackson didn't let Hollywood ruin LOTR and I doubt he'd let that happen with Dr Who. And anyway.....the Americans are ALREADY involved with Dr Who aren't they? Look at the first episode from this latest series.
Aug. 1, 2011, 12:57 p.m. CST
The organization that has a death ray powerful enough to destroy an invading alien ship as it leaves planet after being told to go home like a little boy by Dr. Who? The one with the gay alien who has to get his innuendo in in every episode? That torchwood? Yeah well fuck that bullshit. Where is my Startrek VS Doctor Who movie. I want to see Who take out the enterprise with the sonic screwdriver
Aug. 1, 2011, 1:38 p.m. CST
Wasn't Fred Dekker kicking that idea around in the 90's? I don't know if you could stay true to the original though. Throughout it's run, both Jonny and Hadji actually KILLED people. I'm sure some suits would have a big problem with that.
Aug. 1, 2011, 3:42 p.m. CST
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
Come on, Quint. We in the United States show a lack of interest in a phenomenon from another part of the world, and suddenly it warrants such self-loathing? So we never caught on to TinTin. So what? Most Americans have no idea what Eurovision is either, and I'm certainly not ashamed of that.
Aug. 1, 2011, 7:09 p.m. CST
by Orbots Commander
It's ever present, even in the clips you see of the characters in the teaser trailer. Hell, it's evident in the stills, shown in Quint's post. Not sure if it's a positive or not, but the stills actually remind me of something right out of the ViewMaster days, when you could buy these little packets of slide wheel stories and view them in the blue binocular-things. As a kid, I remember Disney adapted Viewmasters, done with puppets, that resembled these Tintin stills.
Aug. 1, 2011, 7:44 p.m. CST
Tintin looks like a mannequin in those shots.
Aug. 1, 2011, 7:49 p.m. CST
by Boba Fat
Jackson for Who is a fuckin genius idea!
Aug. 2, 2011, 5:24 a.m. CST
you are course correct on all counts. but jackson would want to relocate the whole thing down to newzealand. I as a long time dr who viewer, I would would have my concerns that the americans if they got their hands on dr who would, get rid of indiosyncratic streak. dr who at comic con was a huge success. i liked the early series of torchwood.
Aug. 2, 2011, 2:08 p.m. CST
You guys really hit it on the head. Since you mentioned the Viewmaster look, I noticed heavy rim lighting on every foreground character, even in lighting conditions that would never naturally cause that effect. That rim of light effectively pops the characters out of the scene and puts them on the Viewmaster-like forward plane. The pic of TinTin and the Captain is a perfect example of this.
Aug. 2, 2011, 3:51 p.m. CST
Tintin was never that heavily promoted in the US. I don't know why because it does look very cool and I can see how Indiana Jones might have been influenced by it. It doesn't make someone stupid because they don't know a regional specialty that was badly promoted in their own part of the world.
Aug. 2, 2011, 8:27 p.m. CST
We certainly, with the photorealism in mind from the very beginning, did not want Tintin to be a balloon with two pinholes for eyes. We wanted Tintin to be able to express himself as a fully rendered character, but not with such impressionism, leaving the guesswork on how Tintin is feeling up to the audience 100%.
Aug. 2, 2011, 8:42 p.m. CST
Traditionally animated toilet paper commercials show more human emotion and expression than those cgi marionettes he and Jackson are getting ready to foist on us. Tintin's design is simplistic perfection, and if Spielberg had bothered to actually study Hergé's work rather than simply mine it for story ideas, he would have noticed that Hergé's "balloon with two pinholes for eyes" is perfectly expressive, as millions upon millions of Tintin fans already knew.
Aug. 3, 2011, 7:10 a.m. CST
...is not something to be proud of.
Aug. 3, 2011, 11 a.m. CST
Thanks Quint I keep getting HOOK vibe from this thing. Cant shake it. And dam did that SUCK! Goo fights?
Aug. 3, 2011, 8:10 p.m. CST
HAHAHAHAHAHA... *sighs* OH God, HAHAHAHAHAHAA!!
Aug. 4, 2011, 9:21 a.m. CST
i dunno...most people have no idea who tintin is...most people will think this is just another polar express type movie.
Aug. 5, 2011, 7 a.m. CST
Hope this will make it to the DVD / Blu-ray
Aug. 10, 2011, 4:49 a.m. CST
...as if the population of the United States was "most people." Was it "most people" who paid three-quarters of a billion dollars to watch the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, considered a flop in the U.S.? Was it "most people" who paid 1.9 billion dollars to watch Avatar? Why is it, that, even as your kingdom is collapsing around you, so many of you still think that the sun rises and sets on your asses? I like to think that the rest of the world outside the U.S. does not begrudge you the fact that you do not know who Tintin is; it is not your fault if the handlers of the property didn't promote it properly over there. What is profoundly irritating is how you love to describe yourselves as "most people," even to the extent that you would predict doom and gloom for a film by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, who, even by your tunnel-visioned standards, have managed to impress "most people" time and time again.
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:29 p.m. CST
It's going to do huge worldwide box office before it even opens in the US and Spielberg and Jackson will bring in the curious here in the States. The overall box office is going to be massive enough for a series of films. Pirates 4 only did $250 million (which is still big) in the US but made the billion dollar club thanks to international box office so we will surely see Pirates 5. Tintin doesn't need the US to succeed.
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