Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin is Surprisingly Fantastic

I absconded from work this afternoon to catch Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, which finally arrived in North America today after a $239.1 million international box office run.

Since I wasn't able to attend an advance screening (no rapport with Paramount yet, this was The Pixar Blog, you know) I'll just share some quick thoughts on the film.

I walked into the theatre expecting to be disgusted by the monstrosities of the motion capture animation. This is a technique that has heretofore failed miserably at producing realistic human characters.

Instead, it was a pleasure to find that Tintin overcomes some significant hurdles.

Most of the Uncanny Valley creepiness is limited to minor characters (the Sultan was the worst) and a few of the extras. If you can get past the moments where your brain screams "You're not HUMAN!" at the main characters, the movie is fantastic.

Tintin is action-packed, grown-up, and genuinely funny. At times you really forget that it's animated. With all the gunplay, sword slashes, and Captain Haddock's comic alcoholism, that it got away with a PG rating is almost surprising.

After the movie, I had to run to the bookstore to pick up The Art of The Adventures of Tintin. Stay tuned for more on that in the next day or two.

13 comments:

Peter T Chattaway said...

Actually, the film arrived in North America twelve days ago, when it opened in Quebec.

Mike Bastoli said...

Technically true, but Quebec is practically another planet!

Dapoon said...

Aah I've always been a TinTin fan since my childhood. I watched the movie in IMAX3D and I'm so glad they did justice (and much more) to the story and the characters! Great work! Looking forward to the sequel already!

Marc Levy said...

Hey Mike, it's too bad you couldn't attend the advanced screening in Toronto when Jamie Bell did a Q&A afterward. But if you ever need help getting into those screenings, I can try to help you out.

- Marc Levy
@ScreenersTO

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Monster House a mo-cap film? That was a pretty fantastic film

Mike Bastoli said...

Thanks, Marc. Following on Twitter.

Nate said...

Big Tintin fan and glad to hear it's really good, which is expected from such a brilliant mix of cast and crew (no kidding, look at the credits!)

Anonymous said...

I read an interesting article on Cartonbrew saying this isn't the future of animation. this motion capture thing is nice but this movie isn't really an animated movie. just causes its computer generated doesn't mean its in the same vein as a Wall-E or TOy story. they couldn't be more different

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike, great to hear you liked the movie! I was wondering though, have you ever read the books?

Just curious, I've read them since I was a child and am really looking forward to seeing this soon.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, the motion capture in Tintin was handled by WETA, right? I found that Avatar was the first film with motion capture that didn't have that uncanny valley creepiness. Looking forward to seeing this too.

Mike Bastoli said...

Anonymous 2: I read that too and I'll be addressing it in a post tomorrow.

Anonymous 3: I'd honestly never heard of the books before the movie was announced.

Anonymous said...

All this motion capture films that blow you away not seeming motion capture is because after capturing there is a bunch of 200 animators redoing the whole animation and using only the 10% of the data captured. Don't let james cameron or spielberg convince you that there's a new technology for 'mocap' that does the job instead of the animators...not true!! It's the same bad technology as before, but with lots of animators In the shadow getting it right afterwards. Humans don't move like animated characters (even humanoids)...

Jordan said...

It was a mix of hand-animation and performance capture. All the characters with speaking lines were mo-cap, with fine-tuning/tweaking by hand; and everything else (Snowy, background characters, airplanes) was traditionally animated.

How right am I?