A lengthy trailer for The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn has finally been released that actually shows faces and things.

As you may recall, this film is a collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson and has been fashioned using mocap technology — and will be presented in 3D. It stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and so on.

PLUSSES: Obviously a very smart lietrate script by Steve Moffat (Doctor Who), Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim) and Joe Cornish (many smart British things.) It’s not too often you watch a trailer for an action movie and think “Wow, that is a well written script!”

MINUSES: Jeepers did they shoot this in some kind of overcranked mode? It is so ssslllloooowwww. Everyone moves in poetic Malick-cam motion.

This Zemeckis-driven mocap tech has yet to find a single fan who says “Yeah! THat’s how I want my movies to look!” Yes, it worked for VIDEO GAMES where you CONTROL the action and your psychological interaction is very different. But for passive viewing, it still strikes me with a weird Uncanny Valley unease. If Spielberg and Jackson were going for some kind of remove from the material — an approach not entirely alien to the sometimes brittle work of Hergé — they may have succeeded.

What do YOU think? Are you going to book your Christmas vacation in the land of Mocap?



  1. Aside from the HBO cartoon from 18 years ago, there is almost no knowledge in the U.S. of “Tintin.”

    This is going to bomb horribly.

  2. Maybe a portion of my Christmas break, if this keeps looking to be a ripping yarn. I really hated the look of The Polar Express film. This trailer does not have me convinced they’ve made “it” yet. Am hoping storytelling overcomes art (cake vs. icing); if so, I’ll be there.

  3. Honestly don’t think this looks bad at all. Surely the best looking mo-cap since Monster House. Looking forward to it!

  4. This is going to bomb horribly.

    I’m not expecting this to do well in the United States (as the US would never be its primary market given the total unfamiliarity of the source material), but internationally it’s likely to do gangbusters.

    I wasn’t sure about this from the teaser trailer — I saw too much of the uncanny valley — but this longer trailer seemed to revel more in the unreality of the CG world, which I think might be the point that Spielberg and Jackson wanted to make with this film.

  5. I cringed through that whole trailer, it looks awful. The only good side I can see here is that this movie might make some American kids track down the original Tintin comics.

    Now if they could only find copies that weren’t shrunk down to the size of a manga paperback, so they could actually enjoy the art and read the lettering without a magnifying glass!

  6. I agree with Josh — it looks fine to me.

    I certainly don’t think it looks even remotely as weird as “The Polar Express” did — which makes sense since in seven years since “The Polar Express” was released, animators are dealing with terrabytes of memory rather than gigabytes.

    As a video games fan, I’d also argue that, overall, the Tin Tin trailer graphics and character/prop motions are superior to any video game I’ve seen that’s been released to date — even brand-new standouts like “L.A. Noire” and “Dead Space 2” (although, graphics-wise, the new Star Wars video game teaser I saw at E3 last month might have been even more impressive than the Tin Tin trailer).

    I’m just glad I’ve been around long enough to see this quantum leap in special effects. It truly is amazing to me that there is now no past fictitious concept that can’t be digitally brought to life.

  7. I would rather Pixar had produced this… movie.

    Mo-cap creeps me out as it straddles the fence between animation and live action giving neither side a chance to really shine. It struggles trying to be ‘real’ when that’s not what’s called for…

    Animation is artistry – not a recreation of life, but an editor/painter/choreographer/designer’s view of it. It’s real life with all the boring bits cut out.

  8. By the way, my exposure to Tintin over the years has been limited to the animated cartoon series, which I watched quite a bit as a kid, circa 1968. Since then, I have flipped through a number of Tintin reprints to look at the art, but I never felt compelled to read them.

  9. I’ll join the list of those who thinks this looks okay. It very well might work.

    As for any comparisons to the film, Polar Express, lest we forget that film did ultimately gross over $300 million and had 3 academy award nominations. Personally, I didn’t care for it much, but if any comparisons are made there are other targets to take aim at.

  10. Yeah, Tin Tin looks way too creepy for me. I wish they had gone and given him an cartoon-like face rather than this uncanny valley motion capture face, on a cartoon-like body.

  11. Studios should have given up on motion capture after Beowulf – it’s creepy, boring, and doesn’t work. Cameron used it well with Avatar, but he developed his own technology for it, and mixed it in with both cgi and live action.

  12. I don’t think it’s as creepy looking as Beowulf, but danged if it hasn’t gotten me interested to see it.

    Not sure about Tintin’s nationality, but was he British in the original books?

  13. I’d like to urge Americans to be less insular and realize that there’s a bigger, larger world out there that actually contains stuff that isn’t well… American. And that it’s actually worth something.

    The fact that they don’t know what it is, I hope people consider that an invitation to get to know it, rather than close their mind to it.

    That said, I have loved the Tintin comic books all my life. I’m neither British, Belgian, or even remotely European. And yet I was able to connect to the material quite well.

    The trailer however… I’m exited that Speilberg and Jackson are involved. I’m a lot more excited that Steven Moffat is involved. But I’m not sure about the animation. I’ve never liked CGI that mimics realistic human expression. And I don’t think it fully succeeds in shots I’ve seen in the trailer. Haddock’s face is somewhat expressive, but Tintin’s face is kind of dead and expressionless. Like someone who had too many botox injections.

  14. Like, eek. Motion capture is so creepy – and pointless – it doesn’t look like life, it’s more like the reanimated dead. And it doesn’t look like the books either. If they don’t want to just do a lovely cartoon, then go real! This is a horrible halfway house.

    And 3D? I’m so not the audience for this film.

    What’s more, I’d argue against ‘a very smart literate script’ when the phrase ‘very unique’ appears. I don’t believe that’s one of Moffat’s!

  15. Thought it looked good myself. Kids are so used to much worse CGI on television that I’m pretty sure it won’t bother them. Adults might have trouble adjusting. The pacing, dialogue and structure of the trailer was solid.

  16. This insular American likes “The Broons” quite a bit.

    The reason I never got into Tintin is because by the time I knew the comic strip existed, I was already about 19 or 20, and a strip about a teenage kid and his dog just didn’t tweak my interest. To the uninitiated like me, Tintin was simply Johnny Quest with a cowlick.

    However, like I said, I did watch the Tintin cartoons circa 1968, when I was in my early teens. But I guess I outgrew the character before I knew its history.

  17. I did appreciate seeing key Herge moments come to life, in a next-gen Gerry Anderson sort of way. I think (hope) the 3-D will help get past the weirdness.

  18. Am I seriously the only person here who discovered and loved the Tintin books as a child? I never thought growing up reading Herge in America was a unique experience until I read these comments.

    Long story short, I thought X Factor and X Men issues 1 sucked at the ripe old age of 9 and decided to track down better comics. I guess I sort of figured a lot of kids did the same.

  19. And I think the trailer looks great. They got the colors mostly right, and if you had read the comics, you’d know that the action (and everything else) takes place about 20 feet in front of the viewer.

  20. One thing that’ll help differentiate this film from Beowulf is the hair. The hair was so wrong-looking in Beowulf that it was more of a distraction than anything. The short-cropped hair ought to be a help bridging the gap.

    Those faces still look a tad expressionless though. It’s a problem I noticed in some scenes of Megamind recently. Pixar and Disney’s cartoony look and facial expressions really help their characters seem livelier. Disney’s Tangled was an excellent example of this…

    Still, this American is looking forward to an honest translation of Tintin to the big screen! My exposure came from our excellent library system. Free comics y’all!!

  21. Being (a) European, (b) a reader of Tintin books in my youth, and (c) not having played a computer game since about 1985, I think this looks terrific, much much better than I was anticipating. I didn’t like the mocap of Polar Express, Beowulf or even Monster House, but surely the reason for using it in this film is to make the characters actually resemble Herge’s original designs.
    I’m not sure if a big hit in Europe will recoup its costs, but I do fear for its viability in the US after reading the comments above.

  22. Looks very good to me. It’s the got the characters have the dead-face problem typical of CGI but still, this looks like it could be a lot of fun.

  23. I am going to come down on the looks-fine-to-me side of the debate. Personally I am a huge Tintin fan and will admit to a lot of reservations, but the trailer made a positive impression for me.

  24. It doesn’t look that bad, it’s come a long way from Postal Express (which I refused to watch because the trailer was SO creepy). But I’d still rather see this as a live action or cell shaded animation, mixed with CGI.

    I also grew up with the comics, my dad collected every single one. I’ve read them 5 times each, easily, and this is not how I expected it to be on the big screen.

  25. Something looks off, it definitely falls into the uncanny valley. When Thom(p)son falls down the stairs it just looks strangely slow. Maybe that’s how it looks in real life but it looks more dynamic in movies & animation uses squash/stretch/timing to great effect. Like Bill, I wish this had been a Pixar movie too. Regardless, I will see the movie and take my kids (with whom I read the original-size comics).

    I also did not know Monster House was mo-cap but it seemed ok there.

  26. This movie is going to bomb so hard in the US it’s going to crack the Earth’s crust in India. I pity any child who dares to wear a Tintin mask come Halloween. Just ask for someone to beat you up – it will be faster and less humiliating while accomplishing the same thing.