This is my first year at Comic Con, but I could just tell from the pure energy in the room that I was witnessing something special. I lined up at around 8 PM to get into Tintin, and the line for Hall H was already packed. Throughout the three hour wait, all I heard from the various attendees was how excited they were to see Steven Spielberg live and in person. Not once did I hear the word “TinTin” uttered. This panel could have been Spielberg showing up for five minutes to greet the crowd, and it still would have been packed. Thankfully, we saw much more than that.
Spielberg got a standing ovation upon his entrance into Hall H. It was no surprise, after all; Spielberg is one of the best known directors in the world, and his name alone can cause people to go out and see his films. Hell, our first marathon that we’ve ever done is devoted to the man (which you should be reading, by the way). I got a great reminder on why I started doing the Saturdays with Spielberg marathon in the first place with the opening montage of all of Spielberg’s work, which was magical to say the least. Then Spielberg got on stage, and the Hall exploded. Almost literally, in fact (I’m pretty sure a couple attendees had their minds blown from the shear epicness). I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating, but you really have to be there to understand just how wild people became at this event. It was intense, that’s for sure.
But this isn’t “Spielberg Love Fest 2011 Reactions”, this article is about Spielberg’s next film, The Adventures of Tintin. Once the focus shifted to that, you could feel the general mood in the room go down. It’s not that people are dreading Tintin; they just don’t know what to expect. Motion capture films don’t have the best reputation, and the trailers so far have been underwhelming. Spielberg had a lot to prove with this footage. But you know what? Like almost everything else he has done, he totally nailed it. Spielberg began the presentation with a previously unseen screen test of a live action Tintin with a CGI Snowy (the dog). To everyone’s surprise, Peter Jackson was playing the role of Captain Haddock in what was obviously a spoof screen test. It was pretty hilarious, however, and it led to one of the best reveals of the entire Con; Peter Jackson himself was joining Spielberg on stage! Once again, the crowd burst into uproarious applause. The director of The Lord of the Rings and the director of Raiders of the Lost Ark were on stage at the same time! It was pretty wild.
But once again, I find myself drifting from the original point of conversation; the footage. In general, I thought it was a vast improvement over what we’ve seen so far from the film. They screened about 8-10 minutes of spliced together footage, and it all looked very effective. What grabbed me the most is the effects, which are absolutely stunning. I haven’t caught a single trace of “Dead Eyes” on any of the the characters, something that have plagued motion capture films of this type for years now. The lighting is downright gorgeous, and Spielberg’s style is still prevalent even in this fully animated feature. It truly speaks volumes to just how good a director Steven Spielberg is; even in a fully computer generated world, he finds how to use the camera in interesting and completely “Spielbergian” ways.
Of course, I’ve said a lot about the graphics before already, so I feel I should move on to my main worries; the script, the characters, and the acting. All the technical stuff is fine, it’s the narrative stuff I was yet to be convinced about. Emphasis on the “was.” In the screened footage, we really got a sense of the tone of the film, and one that I think Spielberg has become a master of; adventure. He even said himself that he was drawn to the film because of its similarities to Raiders. I definetly got the Raiders vibe here, and I’m happy to say my expectations are to the roof at this point. You sold me Spielberg. Now let’s just hope the product is worth the pre order.
-Even though it sounds EXACTLY the same, it’s nice to hear John Williams music again. It’s like a long forgotten security blanket that I once again have found.
-The voice acting seems to be all around fantastic, with the standouts being Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis as Tintin and Captain Haddock respectively.
-Speaking of Andy Serkis, he made a quick Panel Cameo (I think those are things) when he asked Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson a nervous question. Ridiculous attendee costume and all:
-Didn’t see much of Daniel Craig as villain Red Rackham, but Daniel Craig is a certified badass, so I’m not very worried.
-Spielberg talked a little bit about Jurrasic Park 4 at the panel. I honestly think its time for the franchise to die already, but check out Jordan’s take here.
-And finally, this guy is officially the luckiest guy on Earth. But to be fair, he was asking for it with his shirt: