Adventures of Tin-Tin Panel
Steven Spielberg is perhaps the greatest director of all time, and he's expected to be live, at Comic-Con, as part of Paramount's The Adventures of Tintin panel. With a cast that includes Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Toby Jones, as well as help from Peter Jackson, Tintin is looking like a blockbuster.
The auteur's upcoming motion-capture epic based on Herge's iconic character, and we expect an early look at Tintin's innovative mo-cap film technique, as well as appearances by the films stars and the creative team behind the film.
The Adventures of TinTin: Spielberg, Hobbits & Jurassic Park!
The Adventures of TinTin is finally hitting the big screen in a new motion capture 3D film later this year. For attendees of San Diego Comic-Con 2011, this also meant a special visit by director Steven Spielberg and for Steven Spielberg, this meant being awarded the Inkpot Award for Achievement in Film. After a touching montage of the his best known films like Jaws, E.T., Minority Report, Spielberg graciously accepted the award with a standing ovation. He thanked the fans, stressing the fact that he wouldn't be here today as a filmmaker if it wasn't for our support. Hey, is Spielberg thanking me for his fruitful career? I'll take it.
This brought us to The Adventures of TinTin, which for Spielberg was a foray into performance capture. The director first came across Herge's classic comic book when he read a French review of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. The reviewer kept comparing Indy's adventure to that of TinTin. Spielberg was inspired to pick up a book and fell in love with George Remi's work.
With the magic of performance capture, The Adventures of TinTin meant that the director was able to bring Herge's to life while also putting together the ideal cast, regardless of how they looked (or didn't look) like the well known characters. So where does one go for the best performance capture work? New Zealand, of course.
Fans were then treated to a surprise appearance by Peter Jackson for Weta Digital, his computer animation company responsible for the stunning work in James Cameron's Avatar. Jackson first appeared on the screen as Captain Haddock talking to a digital Snowy (TinTin's dog), which Spielberg claimed was a screen test to see how the performance capture worked with live action. In case you're wondering, yes. The audience gave Jackson the same standing ovation that was given to Spielberg. Could anyone resist with these two men in the same room?
Both Jackson and Spielberg gave us insight on this collaboration, from when Spielberg first bought the rights to The Adventures of TinTIn in 1983 to their first meeting at the Academy Awards to the first call when Spielberg brought Weta on board to work on the film.
The biggest challenge of TinTin was translating the classic story to the big screen. A live action version would force Spielberg to cast actors who looked most similar to the characters, while he wanted to incorporate Herge's style directly into the film. That's when TinTin became a hybrid of live action and animation, where the latter would allow them to pay homage to Herge's art. While Jamie Bell, best known for Billy Elliot, was TinTin "full and through," Spielberg had fun casting actors in roles he would otherwise not be able to, like Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock and Simon Pegg playing twin brothers with Nick Frost.
Jackson also mentioned that this hybrid would allow them to add a level of detail of live action that you wouldn't normally find in animation. Weta Digital spent almost three years creating a virtual world of characters and locations before shooting began. Spielberg then filmed with a "virtual camera" that looked like a game controller with a 6" screen. Sitting on the closed set, he was able to interact directly with the actors and watch the animated characters on his screen in real time.
For Peter Jackson, The Adventures of TinTin books held special memories, as he used to look at the pictures to understand the story before learning how to read. "TinTin was like an older brother I never had," he explained. As he grew older, he realized the layers of social commentary that Herge included throughout the decades of TinTin, which were written before, during, and after World War II.
He also credits Spielberg for inspiring him into a career of special effects. "Fate is an incredible thing," he said about his story of first watching Jurassic Park. The dinosaurs made him realize that in order to continue making the films he loved, he also would have to learn about computer effects. He then bought his first computer, used the money from Heavenly Creatures to buy more computers and so forth. Weta Digital now has over 2,000 computers to develop the technology used in The Adventures of TinTin.
The 3D clips of The Adventures of TinTin were just as fun as Spielberg promised. I'm not a big fan of 3D, but it was clear that the director took full advantage of the medium. The world of TinTin was a seamless blend of live action detail and animated style, full of realistic texture and movement that made the world as believable as real life. Whether TinTin was dodging cars or sneaking through a rocking boat, the film felt like the world of Herge truly existed. There was little over the top stunts or comedic effects to remind us that this story was animated. To illustrate, the first scene we watched was with TinTin meeting a man who is then tragically shot to death. Parents, I'm warning you now that isn't a going to be a kid oriented cartoon.
With Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg in the house, you can't keep people from asking the obvious. What's going on with The Hobbit? How about Jurassic Park? Here's what we learned.
The Hobbit production is going great! (Well, it's not like he would have said otherwise.) Jackson admitted that he's enjoying the filming more than he expected, especially with Martin Freeman as Bilbo. He's currently on break due to Freeman's shooting schedule for his UK series, Sherlock, so he's taking the time to re-energize for the next round--and he's got 200 more shooting days to go!
As for Jurassic Park 4, Spielberg announced that they do have a story, which means there's a writer working on the treatment, which means the new film will be arriving in the next two or three years, which means we should prepare ourselves to see more T-Rexes hitting the big screen very soon. Awww yeah! But for now, we'll get excited for TinTin's debut in theaters.
The Adventures of TinTin: Secret of the Unicorn opens in theaters at the end of 2011.
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