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Bad IdeasCGI

First Stills from Tintin


The limitations of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s approach to Tintin is evident from the very first still they’ve released (above). The most glaring flaw–besides the fact that Tintin and Snowy look like zombies and they’ve lost all the appealing shapes in the original designs and everything is drowning in an obscured mess of shadows and excess detail–is the tilt (or lack thereof) in Tintin’s pose.

Performance capture can only capture what it records, and the animators are clearly hindered in this image because no human can comfortably run at Tintin’s angle as drawn by Hergé. The ability to achieve the impossible is one of the strengths of cartooning (and art in general), and so remains the paradox of why anybody would be foolish enough to spend a hundred million dollars to create a more inept and less appealing version of something that could be better drawn by artists.

This quote by Peter Jackson is particularly hilarious in light of the images that WETA is cranking out:

“With live action you’re going to have actors pretending to be Captain Haddock and Tintin. You’d be casting people to look like them. It’s not really going to feel like the Tintin Hergé drew. It’s going to be somewhat different. With CGI we can bring Hergé’s world to life, keep the stylized caricatured faces, keep everything looking like Hergé’s artwork, but make it photo-real.”

A couple more stills follow the jump:


(Thanks, Michel Van)

  • Nice quote from Peter Jackson. Looks like drank the Kool-Aid and actually believes what he is saying. These stills show that they have made little to no attempt to make this looks like the original comic or any comic for that matter. Why even call it “Tin Tin.”

  • I hate to break it to these guys, but people in the US aren’t aware of Tintin as they might be hoping. I think there are going to be a lot of people wondering what the hell this is.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      But isn’t that obvious at all (and did we even say that about Astro Boy last year?). ^_^

      • NC

        Which is why it’ll probably do just as well.

      • Hal

        Except everyone involved in TinTin are big enough names to lift this out of the abyss of its obscurity, unlike ASTRO BOY which banked on nostalgia alone. “From the Directors of Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” has a lot more appeal to mainstream audiences than “The studio that brought you TMNT” when dealing with unknown properties.

    • Cyber Fox

      Tintin came to the US…once!
      It was on Nickelodeon, The Nelvana produced “The Adventures of Tintin” it was a great series

      Sadly in terms of american awareness, Tintin went the way of The Wombles.. forgotten and mostly obscure

      • Chris Sobieniak

        That show also aired on HBO previous to the Nickelodeon airings, so it has had exposure here.

      • Jay Sabicer

        I do recall the 1960’s Belgian cartoons, with an English soundtrack coming to American TV, back in the 1970’s. It was my first exposure to Tintin et al. I remember it being ‘different’ in it’s storytelling and its look. I’ll have to agree, the general US audience probably will associate more with the newer HBO/Nick episodes. I won’t a few still photos sway me either way. I wait until its release to cast judgment.

  • Rezz

    I gota say, boy I can get lost in those lifeless eyes..

  • Michael

    Ye Gods, Haddock looks like a zombie. I had hoped they’d be trying something more stylized. Depressing to see these “photoreal” (read “completely unreal-looking”) “humans” inhabiting these roles. The limitations of mocap notwithstanding, couldn’t hey have made these characters look more, I dunno, cartoony? Blech.

  • It may not be authentic but I think making Tintin look less like a puffy middle-aged man with a receding hairline is a good move.

    90% of the CG zombie look is from poses that have the eyes pointed straight forward out of the face. But that’s what they will get with performance capture because that’s what real people do 90% of the time.

    • HEY! What’s wrong with puffy middle-aged men with receding hairlines?

      I resemble that remark!

      • I guess Mickey Rooney made it work for him!

  • limaj

    Gross …. So they ran out of American based stories/heroes to ruin with their Mocap, now it’s time to ruin all European creations. How about we leave it to a French director? It might just work!!

    • Joel

      Tintin and Hergé are actually Belgian ;)

    • doozer

      And they’ve already live-action versions.

  • Not that I don’t share the same concerns about the poses failing to emulate the dynamism of a Hergé illustration, but I don’t think the limitations of motion-capture will truly reveal themselves until we’ve seen the footage in motion.

    Until then, I’m willing to reserve judgment; Spielberg and Jackson have good eyes for colour and composition as well as unimpeachable aptitudes for story, and if they are going to fall in all the same traps that Robert Zemeckis did, I trust they will at least do it with a modicum of polish. It’s worth remembering that Jackson’s previous work with mo-cap is the reason there is any Kool-Aid to drink at all. I can live with an aesthetic that only loosely suggests Hergé’s designs so long as the movement is smooth (and we’re right to be sceptical that it will be).

    And if they fix the eyes. Maybe whoever whipped up the cover for Empire got a little fancy with the contrast knob? One can hope, no?

    • GhaleonQ

      Ditto. Except for the last bit. At least they aren’t ruining Fred or Yves Chaland.

    • Tanuki

      “Spielberg and Jackson have…unimpeachable aptitudes for story”. You obviously haven’t seen Hook, Indy 4, King Kong etc. These guys are not infallible.

      • Hal

        Get real. Those aren’t bad movies by any stretch and all have good qualities. They’re simply movies existing in the shadows of previous CLASSICS. Nobody knocks em out of the park every time at bat, but they’ve both got awesome track records as filmmakers. Edgar Wright and Stephen Moffat both DO have great aptitude for scripts and they adapted the screenplay. Watch SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, SCOTT PILGRIM, any Moffat DOCTOR WHOs or the BBC SHERLOCK and know the script will be in fine shape.

      • Edgar Wright? Now, I’m interested. I’m sort of on the fence about this project. It’s curious that they released these stills without a clear view of Tin Tin’s face. I smell an “uncanny valley.”

  • Dammit! The animated series was brilliant because it captured the graphical style and spirit of the original BD, why can´t they use that as a reference on how to do things the right way?
    Also, i hate the tendency to kiddy up the main characters in animated adaptations, what´s wrong with using their original more adult likeness?

    • Nelvana’s animated adaptations were brilliant because they didn’t deviate from Herge’s originals. I’d really hoped that The Spielberg/Jackson Tintins were going to follow that model – but in CG.

  • great blistering barnacles!!!!
    Hollywood needs to swim to the bottom of the sea and take some deep breaths

    • Mr. Obvious

      …But their lungs would fill up with water and they might accidentally swallow a fish. What do you have against fish?

  • Tobias Lind

    I guess that they now want to “own” the new character designs and not depend on the actors at all. Thus crank out new movies over the years with no-name motion performers.

    Also: Asterix did a pretty good transition to live-action with proper make-up supported by decent CGI which is the proper way to do it. They still do classic 2D animations as well.

    I shudder when I think about the Smurfs treatment…

    • Mark

      I doubt it. They’ve repeatedly spoken about how the models are just models, but the character comes from the soul of the actor. Why would they go with the rent-a-soul approach when they can cast the same actors for twenty years worth of films and not have them age a day on screen.

      • Next Asterix go to 3d

      • w

        Teodor – for real? I’m curious because I worked on the last animated one…off to Google it.

        I think Asterix in 3D *could* work if it looked like the comic…but retained it exactly. I know Uderzo like to retain control of the look down to the line…

      • Jmatte

        3D version of Asterix- french news about it here in case you were still looking for it:

  • Was my face red

    I just can’t understand how an able film maker like Jackson can look at the Haddock image and not go, Yikes, there’s something seriously wrong here!

    Photorealist versions of comic book stylings always look grotesque (remember those Homer and Popeye pix?) because it mixes up different ways of depciting at the world. In a Herge designed universe Haddock looks normal, but when he reality jumps into our world.. well, that’s NOT what people look like!

  • Dear Spielberg and Jackson,

    Please stop hanging out with Zemeckis and his evil mo-cap zombies. It’s not funny or cool. Stop it. Thank you.

  • adam

    looks terrible, why didnt they just use some benjamin button style age reversing techniques on Simon Pegg?

  • diego

    Wes Anderson must be suffering.

  • Isaac

    Toned down to death.

  • Mark Nelson

    Oh, come on! That just looks like they exported some Poser models!

  • Gobo

    Yes, let’s reject this entire project before seeing even a few seconds of moving footage, because the angle of Tintin’s back is a few degrees northward.

    • The Gee

      Herge’s work has a certain sensibility to it. The clean line approach and the designs relay that clearly.
      The chances are really good that that no matter how well-done and how entertaining this is it still may lack some charm and or sensibility or something which makes the originals work.

      Still, I do agree that seeing the finished product is the way to go before flipping out.
      There’s a good chance it could be engaging as all get-out and a pulse-pounding adventure of epic proportions. Or it could be crap.

    • The point wasn’t the angling of the foot, but the limitations of Mo-Cap CGI. Why do we even need animators for this? Why not just go the full mile and use live action. I mean, no one wants real animation anymore.

  • Bob

    Actually … knowing both Spielberg and Jackson, I’m excited. I can’t wait to see it.

  • Aaron

    Haha! Love the Brew- didn’t expect anything less than passing judgement based on a handful of stills. Keep on brewing!!!

  • Giovanni Jones

    I’ll bet Justin Timberlake nails the voice of Snowy.

  • sadtintin

    This looks horrible. I’m so sad about it.

  • Cyle

    You know, for some reason I had hope that Spielberg and Jackson would be smart enough to do things differently and get motion capture right. Apparently I was very wrong. More and more these days, I’m losing faith in filmmakers (even ones who’ve seriously delivered in the past) and their visual taste/artistic sensibilities. So many people seem to be getting caught up in motion capture, higher frame rates, and other technologies that can look great when used in the right context but are rarely used correctly. I’m starting to wonder if some of them even realize what made their films look good in the first place? Did those films only look great because they didn’t have the technology to screw everything up?

    If these guys were making some of their old classic films today, would they all be shot at distractingly high frame rates with all of the charming animation/puppetry replaced with lifeless motion capture and with so many special effects that nothing actually stands out as special? Everyone gives Lucas a hard time for the Star Wars prequels and the “improvements” he made to the originals, but I’m starting to wonder if some of these other directors are just as clueless. I mean that first still looks like two mannequins in a store window…

  • I think I’m kind of get what Jackson tries to say, though the way he says it, it sounds like a perfect contradiction.

    What he probably mean is that they can keep the hairstyles and clothes of the characters in a way they don’t look extremely ridiculous.

    And as much as I dislike Zemeckis attempts, I don’t think they did a extremely bad job at that.

    Haddock looks a little scary cause a realistic person with that nose is pretty weird, but I was expecting Tintin to look worse. I think he looks as fine as he could look in this technique.

    Besides, Herge used to draw very realistic backgrounds, but they were stylized cause of the line of his drawings. In CGI there is no lines, so photorealism could be a good choice to make something look pretty real, but not totally. I think it could suceed in terms of reflecting the different countries the characters visit and the objects.

    That doesn’t mean I find it extremely appealing or anything, but:

    1-Tintin doesn’t look as comic as Asterix or Looney Tunes and his adventures are not extremely surreal so I don’t find this change as heretic or pointless as I find it in those other examples.

    2-I’ve never been a fan of Tintin and its graphic style. I’m aware the comic has very good drawings, I just find Herge’s style kind of boring. I guess I prefer more caricaturized characters.

    We’ll see. If the movements are convincing and the script is good it may be a decent film.

  • Jim Engel

    When I heard Jackson & Spielberg were doing a CG TINTIN, I wasn’t sure… I’ve loved Herge’s work since childhood… then I heard a lot about what faithful fans they were, and I started looking forward to seeing Herge’s lovely, appealing DRAWING STYLE adapted to 3-D animation. HIS STYLE. Herge’s style. 3D cartoons. CARTOONS! Not “TINTIN ON THE POLAR EXPRESS”.

  • Aw man, THIS is motion capture too? I just lost any interest I may have had in it.

  • Murray Bain

    gosh, imagine if the illusionist crew moved right over on to this, hand drawn.

    If they did “black island” first, they can still get the Scottish tax incentives…

  • A dude

    “Performance capture can only capture what it records, and the animators are clearly hindered in this image because no human can comfortably run at Tintin’s angle as drawn by Hergé.”

    Amid, you speak as if you know the process… but you don’t.

    1 Publicity stills for magazine covers AREN’T motion captured, they’re posed.

    2. Pretty sure Weta knows how to work with mocap data enough to be able to push a pose. They’re kinda the best in the world at it at this point.

    3. Kong was mocap too, even though no human has the long arms of a gorilla, and no human can comfortably wrestle 20 dinosaurs, nor fall from a skyscraper.

    There’s plenty that one may argue with the choices here. However, don’t assume that the choices made (and they are choices) are hopeless failings of technology.

    • Steve Cooper

      King Kong was crap too, dude. Bad example.

      • Bruce

        Steve — obviously your a fanboy or a noob to the industry otherwise you wouldn’t have made such a greenhorn comment. So let me hold your hand through this one. The point ‘A dude’ is making has to do with the animation and technology side of Kong (not whether the movie was good or not). Prefect example of anim/tech vs mocap. And yes, both were amazing!

      • Steve Cooper

        I don’t care in what context he used King Kong as a reference- He calls himself ‘Dude’ and King Kong is still a crap film.

        Overacting gorilla, crud lighting, bad art direction and terrible continuity- oh- and the fact that his leading lady shoulda been dead 28 times over.

        And you’re right- I am a ‘noob’…. or at least I was in 1990…

    • Josh

      Just thought I’d chime in on the Kong Mo-cap comment.

      96% of Kong was hand animated, by animators. The other 4% was mo-cap that was heavily reworked by animators.
      Andy’s mo-capped performances of Kong were used as a way to get a better understanding for the character of Kong but that’s about it.

  • Chuz


  • Honestly I see no reason to go with animation in the first place. The Tintin stories I have read could well have been life action films.

    • Yeah, that’s what I thought they were doing in the first place.

  • Mrs Hogarth

    Well, Tintin doesn’t look that bad on the first picture, but Milou and Haddock…

  • MichaelDair

    Peter Jackson’s quote is a classic example of an outside influence, crafted and intended to persuade the audience to believing it is something, that it is not.

  • Lib

    I don’t see the point of defending this, even if we haven’t seen moving footage. Judging by what we have right now, it’s much more reasonable to assume that this film won’t be that great.

    This assumption may be wrong, but the fact here is that the very first glimpse of the project they offered us already confirms that they went for a very questionable art design choice. This, besides not being so true to Herge’s original art, looks stiff and creepy as hell. And I think many of us saw it coming when they announced that Tintin would be one of those dreadful motion capture movies, which seem to invariably end up becoming weird hybrids between oudated videogame cutscenes and Mr. Clean commercials.

    And please don’t get me wrong, Spielberg films and Tintin comics played a pivotal role as cultural influences on my life. I really want this film to succeed. But after the embarrassment of the fourth Indiana Jones, the lack of updates about two promising projects like Lincoln and Interstellar, his incomprehensible partnership with Michael Bay, and the recent announcement of Robopocalypse, I’m really starting to lose my blind faith on Spielberg, a man that may have been the best blockbuster director of all time. And these pictures are not helping me think otherwise.

  • Jmatte

    Hmmm, I will make no judgement on stills. CG can look very dead and stiff in one image, but you can have better results when it all moves. Will wait to see more.

    Anyone remembers the old live action TinTin movies?

    • Peter H

      But that live-action still looks far more realistic AND far more like the characters than these stills from Spielberg’s film!

  • doozer

    Wasn’t Gollum done with mo-cap? That was done effectively. I’m going to wait for the trailer before I judge.

    • Steve Cooper

      Yeah- MO-CAP on a realistic style, non-human, character for a world with realistic gravity and speed of movement. Gollum doesn’t approach the uncanny valley problems that face the dead eyed ‘human’ cgi charcters they are trying to reproduce here. He was a well designed and constructed complete caricature creature- not a poorly conceptualised bastardisation of a classic comic character.

      While I recognise that the world created in the Tin Tin comics holds a fair deal of realism in design and content- the characters themselves are complete ‘cartoons’ with cartoon posing, attitudes, reactions, takes and movement in general. MO-CAP or even a variation on that method will kill it deader than Elvis.

      • Mark

        Tintin. Not Tin Tin or Tin-tin.

      • Steve Cooper


      • John A

        Not to be confused with Rin Tin Tin, or even Rin Tin Can, for you Clampett fans.

      • Steve Cooper

        Or Tim Finn, for you ‘Split Enz’ fans.

    • Cyle

      He was, but his skeleton and poses were exaggerated beyond what Serkis could do, and his face was key-framed (based on Serkis’s performance of course). Also, the fact that he wasn’t a realistic looking human design helped them avoid the zombie look. His giant eyes are exaggerated and expressive much like a cartoon. http://www.faithandgeekery.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/gollum.jpg

      Even though he’s realistically rendered in a live action film, his face is more stylized than the ones shown here. I agree that mo-cap has worked great in live action films, but it has always required caricatured/non-human designs and a hybrid key-frame/motion capture approach. It may be too soon to judge the overall look without seeing this in motion, but based on these images I’d say they need more caricature and better key-frame tweaking.

  • Steve Cooper

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop wrecking the cool stuff I grew up reading and loving you stupid assholes!!! ………
    I can’t wait till they do the Lucky Luke- Asterix team up in MO-CAP… THEN I BUY THE GLOCK!!

    Jackson and Spielberg are victims of their own egos and press. It seems that they have lost any idea of what looks aesthetically pleasing. Tin Tin is not Jurassic Park or King Kong or LOTR or The Color Purple. IT’S A COMIC/CARTOON!!!!!

    Don’t screw with what aint broken.


  • Toonio

    What has happened to Spielberg? Years come and go and no close resemblance to what he once was. He should stay as a producer though, the stuff he produces is not that bad. It seems the best he can do know is writing the checks.

    And Jackson has gotten way over his head. He should start mingling with those who give him a challenge not those who kiss his butt.

    • BT

      So you’re saying less MUNICH, more TRANSFORMERS? I would have to strongly disagree with that.

  • When gifted directors earn a lot of money their brains turn into Jello.

    It would appear an empty, growling stomach keeps you focused. Once the fat paychecks begin to roll in, you’re done creatively.

  • John

    Floyd, which explains the Star Wars Prequels!

  • The problem is that these directors have no background in animation. So the motion capture, especially when tried to be made stylized, often just looks like bad stop motion animation. As creative as the directors are they have very little insight on how to go about directing animation. The idea that they can literally do anything often turns out to be a bad thing because they don’t feel the need to ground the stuff in reality.

    Even though I find some of Robert Zemeckis’ motion capture movies interesting, he hardly pays attention to the rules of animation. Why would Robert care about the rules in animation, that is not what he majored in. I think more then ever, live action directors need to be required to study animation in school. Movie making has changed and animation is a big part of film in general, even though the majority of movies that have animation in them are called “live action”.

    • Mark

      Peter Jackson is a self-taught animator from a young age, so don’t give up hope completely. Though things look pretty bleak, huh?

      • Who knows. I have confidence that Peter and Steven will make a good story. I just do not see much appeal in those stills. I think the comparison between the drawing and the motion capture, tells you a lot. The drawing looks so much better, more color, more appeal, and more Character. The stills for the motion capture look too stiff.

        The truth is that we only have a idea with the stills though. We will need to wait and see. But at the moment I just don’t feel the characters have nearly the appeal that they potentially could have.

      • Mark

        Yeah, totally agree. Not excited by what I’m seeing, but it could still end up being good. And I really want it to be good.

    • timmyelliot

      Peter Jackson has a background in animation. He was doing stop-motion as early as nine years-old.

      • Yes I know as a kid he was inspired by the movie King Kong and began to experiment with stop-motion himself. I was not aware that he really extensively studied the art of animation however and when he started his filming career, it seems he dropped animation all together.

        Also, Peter is not the one directing this film, Steven is. As much of a fan as Steven is of animation, he has had no extensive training.

    • Tanuki

      The Roger Rabbit experience was probably enough to turn Zemeckis off keyframe animation for life!

  • Jay

    The “logo” still was likely modeled completely by hand as any other CG movie. Mo-cap saves time when it comes to animating long, low quality shots, but when it comes to stills it is still cost effective and quicker just to pose the rig than have an actor try to recreate a single action pose (in mid-air no less).

    I find it hard to believe an artist was told to recreate a specific pose from reference and did not even add the proper exaggeration. If anything, an art director (maybe with a live action background) saw the extreme tilt of the CG pose and told the animator to “tone it down”.

  • Just to play devil’s advocate a little more (somebody has to do it), I think Herge’s style doesn’t translate especially well to motion. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some nice traditional animated series and movies. I used to watch one of those Tintin 2D movies as a kid and it looked pretty faithful to Herge’s comic.

    But it’s a very graphic style based on lines, I don’t think it will work extremely well in CGI.

    Asterix or Lucky Luke, there is absolutely no reason to make them look realistic. The style can be easily translated to traditional animation or CGI. Here it’s a great example of an animated Lucky Luke:


    When they make Asterix or Lucky Luke in life action they look as ridiculous comedies in the vein of american CGI-life action mixtures like Scooby Doo or Garfield.

    With this Tintin thing I think they are trying to do an adventure movie and I don’t see the original drawing style working in a big production/ epic adventure type of movie. Like I said this photorealism may not be beautiful to look at when compared to the comic style, but it could work on making the adventure “realistic”.

    It could easily be crap, too. I still have some faith in Spielberg, but most of what Jackson has produced after the LOTR movies-which were a little overrated to begin with- has been pretty flawed. Both King Kong and The Lovely Bones were insufferably pretentious (though the second one had a few good moments).

    • Mark

      That clip… was awesome. I want to see Lucky Luke.

    • Jenny

      What was wrong with LOTR?

      • I’m not an expert in LOTR books, but I think the movies are quite good, but not masterpieces. Apart from Ian McKellen and a few others I consider most of the acting pretty poor. I’ve liked Elijah Wood in other movies, but I don’t find him very charismatic or even expressive here.

        I also found the second and third movies a little boring and weirdly structured at some points.

        They’re not bad but I wouldn’t consider them as good as the original Star Wars trilogy for example, and I certainly find other Peter Jackson’s movies like Heavinly Creatures a lot more interesting.

    • w

      “When they make Asterix or Lucky Luke in life action they look as ridiculous comedies in the vein of american CGI-life action mixtures like Scooby Doo or Garfield.”

      I don’t know, I thought they were actually pretty decent. I liked ‘Asterix & Cleopatra’. We had to watch all of them (live-action & animated) in Denmark when working on ‘Asterix & the Vikings’.

      But I agree – I think Herge’s aesthetic might have been better served with a live-action, almost ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ type adaptation, rather than this odd hybrid. Stick to the spirit if you can’t truly nail the visuals to match.

  • I can’t believe creators with such accumulated credits, awards, and pedigrees think this is a worthwhile usage of their time and skills, but here we are and boy oh boy. Terrible.

  • ZiggyStardust

    I seem to recall a little principle of animation called appeal. has it simply been forgotten?

    3d animation is a fantastic medium and you can do tons of stuff with it no doubt about that. and with zbrush and the likes 3d models can be detailed to an almost microscopic level but that doesn’t mean that you should. just because you can give characters a million wrinkles and model in every individual pore on his skin doesn’t mean it looks good. and when you do, do it the uncanny valley rears its ugly head again.

    maybe if animation keeps going down this road we will see hyper real pocoyo on the big screen some day………..

  • This is the worst goddamn idea possible. Who can look at that picture of Captain H. and think that it’s right?

  • Julian

    gee you guys are a bunch of whingers.
    “Oh I can tell from 2 stills it’s going to be rubbish…”
    What a load of tosh, you people really need to get out more and get over it…
    D you have *any* joy in your lives or would you all just prefer to be negative about everything? What *could* Jackson/Speilburg have done that you craven coven would have approved of – raised Herge from the dead and got him to draw the thing with his withered boney hands? Cripes…

    • Gobo

      Exactly. Thank you. I’m baffled at the idea of condemning this project as “the worst goddam idea possible” etc by seeing one half-lit posed shot of the main character and the info that it’s being done as motion capture. I have to assume that the people here haven’t seen the Lord of the Rings films or any mo-cap done by Weta.

      Look, I love me some Tintin. I’ve been a fan for most of my life. I’ve seen animated versions of the books, and they were fine. This is a new take on them from two obsessive Tintin fans — Spielberg’s been trying to get a Tintin film made for, what, 15 years? I’ll wait to see what this looks like. So should everyone else.

  • Why do they think there’s even a demand for a photo-realistic version of Tintin? I’ve never heard anyone clamoring for it. Just makes me glad Spirou is so unknown in the States.

    And yeah, that shot of Haddock is horrifying.

  • Olo

    It’s like the middle ages around here! Anything new and unknown is bad. Oh yes we still live in the center of the universe and the world is still flat… go ahead reject any new idea or approach. It’s a small wonder how this industry even progressed midst such close minded ‘artists’ like you lot.

    • Cyle

      Motion capture may be relatively new, but it isn’t unknown. This isn’t about newness. It’s about what looks good. Avatar and even Peter Jackson’s own LOTR movies proved that you can do motion capture well. The problem is that the character designs and poses here look cold and unappealing.

  • Lala_Marin

    No. No.NO.No.No.No.

  • Gerard de Souza

    I’ll give it a wait and see. I like Peter Jackson and thought the CG of Gollum and that in King Kong were some of the best “realistic” animation.
    While James Cameron is not my favorite director and Avatar left me with a shrug, the advancements in its motion capture took us out of uncanny valley.

    I do think most other past examples of mocap are horrid but I acknowledge that sometimes when one looks at a technology we should not only acknowledge what it is but that it could be getting better.

  • If Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson directed a CG SIMPSONS movie, it would look like this:


    • Steve Cooper

      Nah- way too much emotion conveyed by that character. I’d watch something as disturbing as that, fer sure.

  • Jeff Haynes

    Follow the leader. Give it a chance.

  • Karen

    Lovely Bones and King Kong were awfu moviesl. And this looks about as appealing as those misguided travesties Christmas Carol, Polar Express, and Beowulf.

    The image on the cover looks lifeless and dull. The shadow side of the character is black, and the color chalky and ugly. Let’s hope some poor marketing person loses their job for this. And let’s hope the film looks nothing like it.

  • Pablo

    When I saw the first image I thought it was bad. Really bad. Horrible.
    After looking at the third image, I though: “It’s worst than I thought!”

  • I am also very disappointed. I love the Tintin comics and this looks like The Polar Express. really awful.

  • Yep, Haddock looks shocking.
    But bear in mind- the man’s an old tar sea dog alcoholic with symptoms of bi-polar disorder who hangs around a boy reporter!!

    –Just how good IS he meant to look?!

    I’m reserving my judgement until I see the end credits rolling.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I’m rather iffy about this movie. I loved the Tintin books and the original animated tv series (‘Herge’s Adventures of Tintin) and I remember that Spielberg originally wanted Christopher Lambert to play Tintin (although he was a little to old for the role)when the movie was first announced back in the 80s. Still,I can’t wait to see stills of Professor Calcalus and Thompson & Thomson/Dupond & Dupont.

  • Don

    Yikes, black socks???

    • Mark

      Yep. Check the books. Tintin has black socks in both The Crab with Golden Claws and The Secret of the Unicorn.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Well, not nearly as bad as when he wore normal slacks in “Tintin and the Picaros”.

  • Billy Batz

    The studios are always afraid to use the real designs.Look at every cartoon or comic book adaptation, they screw up the designs. Tin Tin and company have black dots for eyes, like Charlie Brown, ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that!It means they’re mocking people who care, by half-giving people what they want.

  • WakaWaka

    I think it looks pretty cool, and I’m a Tintin-Fan since childhood, and I hated Polar Express and Beowuld, because of MoCap.

    I also love CartoonBrew, but it was just clear that you judge about a whole Movie based on two pictures. Two Pictures from a movie, which is in the middle of production and not even close to be finished.

    And to be honest: Steven Spielberg directing a Tintin-Movie (What he wanted to do since 28 Years) with Peter Jackson producing, Steven Moffat, Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright writing the Script, this Cast and Weta’s doing the Aimation – This film is made of pure Epic Win.

  • I read an article which said that The Herge Foundation (which owns the rights to Herge’s original Tintin designs) won’t share royalties with any other company. Spielberg and Jackson’s version would have to be substantially different from the originals so that they would own the merchandising rights to their production. (Merchandising being a huge source of revenue, of course.)

    Its not a matter of ego or lack of skill – they simply aren’t allowed to replicate Herge’s designs so they had to start from scratch. Then they’re left with the problem, how do you redesign a cultural icon?

    • Uli Meyer

      I don’t think the Hergé Foundation would waive any rights to royalties based on design. It is a Tintin film, marketed as Tintin and therefor still their property and brand. I’m sure they must have made a some kind of deal with the producers. The reason for making these design choices are, in my opinion, is the fact that when Live-Action directors get into animated films, most are uncomfortable with visuals that are too stylized and will always try and push thing towards a more realistic look. Not all of them but most.It’s what they know and are able to get their heads around.

    • Cyle

      Well that sucks. I wish they had just gone the live action route then instead of this strange compromise between realism and caricature.

  • Richard Kish

    There were (2) Tin Tin series that made it to US television…and the first one I remember from my childhood:

    Two animated television series have been made, both adaptations of the comic strips rather than original stories. The first was Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin, produced by Belvision. The series aired from 1958 to 1962, with 104 five-minute episodes produced. It was adapted by Charles Shows and then translated into French by Greg (Michel Regnier), then editor-in-chief of Tintin magazine. This series has been criticised for differing too greatly from the original books and for its poor animation.[45] The second series was The Adventures of Tintin, featuring twenty-one of the stories. It ran for three seasons (from 1991 to 1992), was co-directed by Stéphane Bernasconi and Peter Hudecki, and was produced by Ellipse (France), and Nelvana (Canada), on behalf of La Fondation Hergé. Traditional animation techniques were used on the series, adhering closely to the books to such an extent that some frames from the original albums were transposed directly to screen. The series was successful and it has aired in over fifty countries and was released on DVD.[46]

  • With live action you’re going to have actors pretending to be Captain Haddock and Tintin. With Mocap you’re going to have stiff characters pretending to be actors pretending to be Captain Haddock and Tintin.

  • If they’re gonna make it look that realistic, why don’t they just film it in live action?

    I was never a fan of Tintin but I hate to see them make yet another ugly movie. Maybe this one will be different.

  • I tried to leave a comment on this yesterday but it didn’t seem to work. Something to do with the vomit all over my kepyboard. Clean now but, now that I can have a good look at the images… oh… not feeling so good… here I go again….

  • Michel Van

    to Jackson/Spielberg please call this movie
    “Tintin and the Uncanny valley”

    about Nelvana
    with assignments, they mess things very badly up
    see there”Blake and Mortimer” TV cartoon series.
    was a ghastlier rip -off from
    Work of Edgar P. Jacobs. (Herge co worker )
    with Tintin they try same think:
    “oh we can change script here, put new caracter here”
    only got surrounded by more and more lawyer
    from Hergé Foundation.

    and Herge and Belgium Tintin movies ?
    oh they make wonderfull work
    try the titel on youtube and enjoy

  • Random Guy

    Yikes, Captain haddock in the last looks like a psychotic killer with no soul.

    First pic looks like some cheap dolls.

    Oh boy! But aren’t these guys (artists and directors) suppose to be the BEST in business?

  • VinceP

    It looks alright, but I’m getting a serious uncanny valley thing going on.

  • Guz

    Wow, nice! I love the Captain’s look! He’s just like the drunked nervous guy in the cartoon.

  • I am very glad to see this.
    Who looks of Bob et Bobette in movie called ‘European trash’? Amid or Jerry?

  • “Tom the Dancing Bug” did a Tintin take-off recently:


    • Chris Sobieniak

      God that was a perfect spoof!

  • Right. Motion capture. Dare I ask why something called MOTION capture so often leaves a result that is to say the least stiff? Is this just the troubles of a new technology (remember the limitations of sound in the early days of talkies), or is it a deeper visual/strange valley problem? I don’t know, I do know that 90% of what I see done with it at the moment does not excite me, does not fill me with joy.

    Tin tin filled me with excitement, and joy.

    The disconnect is there and obvious.

  • Everyone just chill out! They got the hair-cut SPOT ON.

  • AJ

    Could someone please tell me how hollywood companies make money. This film is clearly not going to earn anywhere near the money it would cost to produce it. A Tin-Tin film it’s like they have finnished scraping the barrel and now started licking it for any diluted flavour.

  • Spencer


    Oh! I have an idea! Let’s strike in front of these assholes’ studio and get the let out. MOCAP SUCKS! MOCAP SUCKS!

  • Carl

    To quote AMID : “Performance capture can only capture what it records, and the animators are clearly hindered in this image because no human can comfortably run at Tintin’s angle as drawn by Hergé. ”

    It’s funny, because this shot was done by animators at WETA and not captured by the motion capture’s cameras.

    And they’re making the movie with motion capture to precisely do what you think they won’t ; they’ll be able to make the character do things a normal human being wouldn’t be able to do.

    To quote George Washington : “Haters gonna hate. “

  • Chris J.

    Usually I join the “I’ll pass judgement when I really see it” crowd. But in this case, I’m sorry, they TOTALLY missed what makes Hergé’s character designs so appealing.

    What a dissapointment.

    We identify with Tintin because we can so easily imprint our own face onto his. His head is simply an oval, with two simple ovals for eyes, a few minimal strokes to indicate hair, and even his expressions are made with minimal linework to indicate his eyebrows. His character is the ultimate everyman, cemented by the fact that he can, in fact, look like just about every man. If you tear away the abstraction and give him a specific face – you destroy that.

    Look at the character design in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – THAT’S a much closer representation of what the Tintin characters should look like in 3-D. Basic shapes, clear silhouettes, and strong posing. I’m sure many of the folks at WETA would agree, but they don’t get the final word, do they?

    Tintin needed to be done in 2-D, with talented animators who understand better than anyone what makes Hergé’s art so great. What was the point otherwise? Ugh.

  • pheslaki

    I have to say, I don’t think this is a terrible thing at all. The original artwork heavily stylized, but they essentially depicted people – not talking bears, or singing chipmunks, or other such things that are going to look weird when rendered in lifelike detail rather than with cartoon simplicity. I don’t understand why depicting the characters with CGI is a travesty, but portraying them with flesh & blood humans is not. Tintin has something a lot of these other CGI remakes don’t, a interesting story that can survive being translated into movie format. It’s not just a bunch of short gags.

    For the record, while I don’t like some of the mocap stuff, I did think the near-human characters like Grendel and Gollum looked particularly awesome. They’re monsters, but with relatable human elements, so the uncanny valley actually worked in their favor. Like anything, how well the mo cap is going to succeed also has a lot to do with how skilled the actors giving the performance are, and in those cases Crispin Glover and Andy Serkis were selling it, so in the end it doesn’t matter whether their prosthetics are latex or digital. Cast a boring actor, and you’re going to get dull mo cap data.

    • Cyle

      I think you’re missing the point. It’s not about the characters being CG. It’s about the design being neither caricature nor realism. It’s stuck somewhere in an unappealing middle ground: semi-realistic but missing enough detail to look creepy.

      Live actors would look good because they’re actually real. All the little nuances of the human face that are hard to recreate are all there. Caricatured CG characters or hand drawn cartoons look good because they’re stylized. You don’t have to worry about recreating every muscle twitch because the structure is simplified and exaggerated. Either way, you have to commit to a look. Gollum looked good because he has big cartoon-like eyes and exaggerated expressions. The textures were detailed, the rendering was realistic, but the design was very stylized.

      I disagree that it all comes down to how talented the performer is. I’d say Tom Hanks has more talent than Sam Worthington, but Avatar looked better than Polar Express. Talented actors are a must, but mo-cap is pretty limited when it comes to capturing facial performances. That’s why key-frame animators were needed to translate Serkis’s facial expressions into Gollum’s animation. Serkis made the acting decisions, but without the animators, Gollum’s face would never have worked. The technology just isn’t there.

      • pheslaki

        I understand the point, but people are, from what I understand, basing their opinions on two still pictures. How can anyone possibly know if they move well or not, and how good the facial expressions are?

        I swear, the knee jerk nerd rage here is really offputting.

      • Christina S.

        You can easily judge a design from stills, though. You don’t need to see it in motion to know that a model sucks.

  • Rooniman

    I now believe Speliberg and Jackson have gone off the deep end.

  • Adam

    Did you not read the part of Empire’s article where they say that WETA had just composed that image for EMPIRE’s cover?

    Its not a shot from the film at all and isn’t based on the actor’s performance capture – thus exuding the unrealistic nature that you described. The problem is that you seem to think of it as an image from the film.

    One benefit is that they’re creating characters based off of cartoon designs, as opposed to trying to mimic human characters.

    A lot of negativity that I can’t help but feel stems from your love of animation and the potential of a new filming technology that might go further toward replacing a lot of animated features in mainstream productions.

  • tonma

    After tweaking the image a bit to get a better look of tintin’s face: http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/ff16/Steeviewoo/webstuff/tintinadj.jpg I feel it has much more of Norman Rockwell than Hergé. Or is it just me?

  • This Snowy is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker!
    ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies!
    ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig!
    ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!!

    • Tanuki

      Thing is, how will Snowy be realised? Also mocap?! Is it a case of “Only one animal was harmed in the making of this motion picture”??

  • I have zero cultural resonance with TINTIN.
    I’ll give it a shot. It might be entertaining.
    But, it looks like EVERYTHING ELSE.
    Really. No design at all. Photo-realism is a prison.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I wonder who will be playing Bianca Castrofiore? I always thought Bette Midler would have been a good choice. I hope we hear her sing the Jewel Song from ‘Faust’.

  • I think Tintin-fans (like myself) agree: this does not look very promising. Sure, judging a movie on stills and specially made magazinecovers is a little too early… but do we care about the moving pictures if the character designs look like this?

    It definitely is an odd choice in art direction… No matter how you move, animate or mo-cap it: a bad design is a bad design.

    Live action attempts with actors were made in the sixties, resulting in two succesful French movies. They’re dated, but lovely to see and nothing to be ashamed of.

    The 2D-animation attempts in 1969 and 1972 (2 movies) and the Nelvana televisionseries from 1991 were a little flat/cheap looking, but nevertheless convincing and exciting.

    I wonder if WETA even TRIED to do realistic 2D/handdrawn attempts or something similar (and if we’ll ever see it). Probably shelved immediately for being ‘too risky or new’. I’m sure it would capture the spirit of the original comics more than the ‘Zemeckis’-look used here…

    Another thing: I think Tintin looks too young, around 13-15 years old. Hergé stated Tintin was around 16-18, capable of driving cars, shooting criminals, doing heroic ‘man-stuff’. This poor little boy looks like he has to be home before dark!

  • Ryoku

    So do they want to keep the original style or make it photo-real?

    Either way the idea already sounds like a disaster, but whether if they make this film or not doesn’t matter to me since I won’t be watching it.

  • philippe

    “a film that is not open to interpretation is a dead film” (Arne Sucksdorff).

    Hergé’s Tintin (the comic strip) is a (almost) blank space that the reader occupies. A little like the german Playmobil toyline. If you add hair texture, wrinkles, time, you transforme this imaginatif tool into something else (very passive). These still images of Spielberg/Jackson’s Tintin are almost opposite from Hergé’s work. It’s like the difference between the action figures “He-Man” (early 80’s) and the german “Playmobil” toyline (early 70’s). This project shows a complete misunderstanding of the work of Hergé and how it works with his readers. The (lousy) idea of putting Tintin on film is always an economical one (specially now when Tintin has a certain popularity in mainland China).

  • JoshS

    As a huge Tintin fan growing up, I can’t say these images fill me with confidence. I’ll reserve judgment until I actually see things moving, though.

    I will say that I strongly agree with Pieter above – Tintin looks WAY too young – like 13. In the books he’s depicted shooting guns. Maybe he’ll just be carrying a walkie-talkie instead. ;)

  • I agree completely about how the original Tintin is appealing because of his wonderfully basic design. Steven Spielberg has repeatedly stated that he wanted to capture the style and quality of Herge’s lines – his artwork – and given that as the reason for doing Tintin in mo-cap, not regular live-action. (Still, the question has to be asked — why not hand-drawn, if that is truly what he wanted?)

    After reading Spielberg’s words, I had imagined and hoped for a CGI look that would really be as simplified and charming as the comic book… I had even expected them to use dots for Tintin’s eyes! (His eyes in this poster look horrible.) Overall, these images are beginning to make me doubtful towards the entire project… as well as curious about whether Spielberg/Jackson themselves suddenly decided to go for the photorealistic look, or if someone else found that their stylized ‘comic mo-cap’ experiment wouldn’t be commercially viable. It certainly doesn’t make sense compared to what they have promised in interviews.

  • Hal

    Edgar Wright and Stephen Moffat (the last 5 seasons of DOCTOR WHO and the exceptional SHERLOCK BBC series) co-wrote these and it has Nick Frost and Simon Pegg as Thompson and Thompson – that engenders a lot of good will from me regardless of the stills (though the shot at sea FEELS very TinTin). The casting across the board on this is so damn good it makes me wish they just did makeup “Dick Tracy” style, since every actor is exceptionally cast (Jamie Bell will be an excellent TinTin) and using cg to create an exaggerated graphic novel world worked SO well in SCOTT PILGRIM it almost single-handedly justified the abandonement of “performance capture” in these kind of things. A shame since I too was hoping for the kind of charming stylized CG Herge’s character designs could lend themselves to… but Jamie Bell as TinTin is just fantastic.

    • Andrew Kieswetter

      Who’s playing Calcalus? Is Bianca Castrofiore in it?

    • Mark

      Everything I know about this film makes me want to see it. The only thing that doesn’t inspire confidence is these stills. Although, as you said, that third one with Tintin and Haddock at sea feels very Tintin.

      So, yeah, I’m a little concerned, but still very much looking forward to the film.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I wonder what foreign comic strip character Hollywood will MoCap next; Lucky Luke? Dr.Slump? Personally, a Mocapped Dr.Slump movie would be fun.

  • Stephan

    Complaining about a film you haven’t seen yet is pathetic. I’m pretty sure the lot of you and the rest of the world complained about Avatar before it came out, and look how well it did.

  • Stephan

    Considering you haven’t seen Tintin’s face yet, I’m not sure its fair to say he looks like a zombie.

    • philippe

      I thought this was a place to exchange views, what would be to point to wait passively that the (damn) thing is animated and distributed through out the planet before expressing ourselves about the images presented? And there are people who loafed Avatar…mind you. How much money a film makes (or is put into it) is not the sole referent on the quality of a film…or is it nowdays?

  • zoltan

    are you effing kidding me? compare the profiles in tintin’s shadow. the cg version is A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FACIAL STRUCTURE. why? what an unfortunate waste of money.

  • oh god

    This film used Avatar’s performance capture, not the stiff zemeckis. These stills look great

    Bunch of crying babies up in here.

  • dave

    looks like I expected. people who are good at photo real usually don’t understand cartoon principals. Oh well. I’m sure there are a lot of really talented people struggling to make a clueless boss happy. I believe that Real and cartoon don’t mix. Maybe CGI should try a different look besides loads of photo real textures

  • Deyan Mavrov

    One thing I can say about the first image is that they could have done a less “photorealistic” nose for Tintin. Besides that, the captain looks fine enough for me.

  • Paul Mason

    Something tells me if Brad Bird had been put in charge of this it could have been exceedingly charming. Now it seems like a longshot.