We'll just put it out there and say 'The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn' isn't exactly the type of title you'd envision for a movie that involves both Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Then again, perhaps you aren't familiar with the backstory of this project.
For the uninitiated, 'The Adventures of Tintin' is one of the most popular European comics of all time. Created in 1929 by George Remi, better known by his pen name, Hergé, the series follows a young reporter named Tintin and his dog Snowy. In the upcoming movie, after Tintin (Jamie Bell) unearths a hidden clue in a model ship, he searches for a treasure that belonged to the ancestor of Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). With the help of two detectives named Thomson (Simon Pegg) and Thomson (Nick Frost), Tintin and Haddock set out across the globe on a danger-filled adventure with money-grubbing thugs close on their tail.
This movie's been a long time coming, and now that we had the chance to listen to the 'Tintin' panel at Comic-Con, we've somehow managed to narrow the things we're most excited about down to a choice five:
1. It's Steven Spielberg's First Animated Movie
From aliens to Auschwitz, Steven Spielberg has got himself one mighty long career of making live-action movies that, far more often than not, utterly destroy. Being a director of such epic proportions, we're not really sure why he's avoided taking the animated reigns for so long, but whatever the reason, we're all for it. From what we've seen thus far, his vision of 'Tintin' is looking about as grand as they come and that's just fine by us. Then again, even if it looked like crap, we'd see anything that's got Spielberg's name attached to it.
2. Peter Jackson's Involvement
We still don't really know what the hell a producer actually does on a movie set aside from showing up to remind the director how much money they're spending, but by the same token, most producers didn't direct the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. According to a recent Variety article, Spielberg only spent 32 days directing the motion-capture aspects of the film, after which he handed the baton over to Jackson who spent 18 months working on the special effects. Since this movie wouldn't exist without special effects and all the mo-cap technology is being done by Jackson's crew, it sounds to us like he's getting gypped out of a co-director credit. But regardless of the politics, this is Peter Jackson working alongside Steven Spielberg, and that is something worth getting excited about.
3. The Cast and Crew
We'll get to the cast in a minute, 'cause the thing that really excites us -- arguably more so than the director(s) or the visuals -- is the writing team. First: Steven Moffat, who wrote a whole bunch of episodes for the latest 'Doctor Who' reboot. Then there's Joe Cornish, who recently made his most awesome directorial debut with 'Attack the Block.' Lastly is Edgar freaking Wright, who's simply one of the best writer/directors in the world right now -- righteously confirmed by 'Shaun of the Dead,' 'Hot Fuzz' and 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.' We're sure Moffat and Cornish will be additions to the mix, but since everything Wright touches tends to be so good that it makes our heads explode (true story), his involvement single-handedly trumps everything else that makes us want to see this movie.
And better yet, it's his first collaboration with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg since 'Hot Fuzz' in 2007, and if that isn't a recipe for success, we don't know what is. Bonus point for Jamie Bell and Daniel Craig's involvement, and since there's motion capture involved, we're looking forward to seeing Andy Serkis do what he does best.
4. The Crazy-Realistic Motion-Capture Technology
As you can see in the latest international trailer, we think it's safe to say that this thing is looking lifelike to the point where it's kind of scary. We think Spielberg's spokesman, Martin Levy, said it best to Variety: "You have to see it to understand (the technology). It really can't be described."
Robert Zemeckis, eat your heart out.
5. Bowler Hats
We think bowler hats are sweet, and since everyone from the characters to the filmmakers seem to be on the level with us in that regard, we're hoping this movie has what it takes to bring back a fashion statement that never should have gone out of style. Something tells us the hipsters will be on this one in no time. Let's just hope they don't kill it all over again.
What about 'The Adventures of Tintin' has you most excited for that Dec. 23 release date?
Photos courtesy of Getty Images, Paramount Pictures and Empire magazine.