Tintin Titles
November 29, 2011 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Animator James Curran has created an unofficial title sequence for Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, "featuring elements from each of the 24 books." Evidently Spielberg likes the work and has offered Curran a job on a future film.
posted by brundlefly (44 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nicely done. What was the reference in the last image (some kind of goo falling on Tintin's head and coating it)? I can't place which story that refers to.

I'm looking forward to this film (with some trepidation). I do wish, though, that they'd just animated it in Herge's style. Why bother 3D-ifying an already existing and compelling cartoon language?
posted by yoink at 11:56 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love that the world works like this now. We are really seeing the promise of the Internet -- that now anyone can be a creator and have their work seen by the world -- come true. Go and create things people!
posted by Rock Steady at 11:57 AM on November 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


We are really seeing the promise of the Internet -- that now anyone can be a creator and have their work seen by the world

Wait until the overzealous lawyers at the Moulinsart/Hergé Foundation see it.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 12:06 PM on November 29, 2011


Yoink, that last image refers to the unfinished "Tintin and the Alph-art", which deals with an art forgery ring run by Tintin's old foe, Rastapoulous. The book ends on a cliffhanger, with Tintin tied up and about to be encased in clear acrylic, turned into a grisly peice of art himself.
posted by LN at 12:08 PM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was just going through my Tintin archive, and to my surprise there has already been a live action Tintin (Wikipedia states that there have already been at least two, actually!). I've only looked at a few minutes, but "Tintin et Les Oranges Bleues" is downright surreal, and stars a Tintin who isn't prematurely balding and has the craziest haredo outside of Donald Trump's office.
posted by Yowser at 12:08 PM on November 29, 2011


That was kind of cool, but it seemed pretty pedestrian as far as 'art videos on the internet' go.
posted by delmoi at 12:10 PM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah, thanks LN. Despite growing up reading and re-reading (and re-re-re-re-reading) all the canonical Tintins, I've somehow never actually gotten around to reading "Tintin and the Alph-Art"--other than thumbing through a few pages in bookshops. Is it worth it as more than a completist curiosity?
posted by yoink at 12:12 PM on November 29, 2011


I love that the world works like this now.

I don't get it - a world where professional animators get jobs?
posted by AlsoMike at 12:13 PM on November 29, 2011


delmoi: That was kind of cool, but it seemed pretty pedestrian as far as 'art videos on the internet' go.

Pedestrian? Tintin book artwork has always been made with those flat, bold cartoony colors. Or was it the lack of big, swooshy CG effects? I'm not knocking your comment, I'm wondering what would take it above pedestrian for you.


Rock Steady: I love that the world works like this now.

AlsoMike: I don't get it - a world where professional animators get jobs?

Someone was offered a job from an animation they created and shared online for anyone to see, instead of putting together a demo reel and sending it to potential employers.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:18 PM on November 29, 2011


The new movie will be a disappointment to me if Thompson and Thompson aren't accompanied by an element of this song at some point.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:18 PM on November 29, 2011


I've seen Tintin le Les Oranges Bleues" ages ago on the teevee. I didn't think it was as horrible as its reputation suggests.

As for the new movie, I remain unconvinced. I will go, and I will try to keep an open mind, but from everything I've seen so far...

Like changing the toys to look like the movie characters instead of the book characters? NO.

Is it worth it as more than a completist curiosity?

Probably not. The interest is not in the story -- and not even Herge knew where that was going -- but rather in how it reveals the work process of the books.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:18 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


What was the reference in the last image (some kind of goo falling on Tintin's head and coating it)?

I recognize that this question has been answered correctly already, but I watched the video before reading the comments and assumed it was inspired by some sort of Livejournal slash fic bukkake moment.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:21 PM on November 29, 2011


I don't get it - a world where professional animators get jobs?

A world where someone can create something they want to create because they are inspired for whatever reason, and then that specific thing can be seen by the right people, who can then make decisions to hire that person for jobs that don't even really exist yet. Does this really seem like a status quo job application situation to you? Maybe I'm just old.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:21 PM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Tintin book artwork has always been made with those flat, bold cartoony colors.

Flat for sure, but the "bold colors" are totally wrong. Tintin (and ligne claire art in general) always has a subdued, realistic color palette; it's one of the hallmarks of the style. The animation is really nice but it feels like one of those cookie cutter "minimalist movie posters" that's meant to show off the animator's cleverness rather than capture something fundamental about the subject.
posted by theodolite at 12:27 PM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


And speaking of Tintin animation, I'd highly recommend the documentaries (of a sort) Sur les traces de Tintin, if you can find it, or even just watch a few clips on YouTube.

It's astonishing animation, how they use live action to bring forth the atmosphere or setting of the particular panel, but still allow that panel to tell the story. I don't quite know how to explain it. It's a knockout, though. And still totally faithful to the original works.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:32 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It probably says something of me that my reaction to this is more like the following:

"Hang on - Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, and Steven Moffat are all involved in the very same film?"

Seriously, if they threw in David Tennant, Martin Freeman and Gillian Anderson my squee would shatter glass in Tibet.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:36 PM on November 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


Actually yes, that does sound like a status quo job application situation for animators. You have to get your work seen by the right people. The main difference is that it happened over the internet, so it's a bit like using a VOIP phone and saying "Now we can hear each other's voices OVER THE INTERNET!"

I guess there is one difference, which is that Curran is in the UK and before the internet, you'd probably have to be in Hollywood to get your work seen. Now Hollywood has access to a global talent pool that's one or two orders of magnitude larger than before, for roughly the same number of jobs.
posted by AlsoMike at 12:38 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's neatly done and likeable for its own sake (I liked the ship sailing around the sphere and the aircraft was great) but not as a promotion for any real Tintin property. It lacks any sort of Hergé feel and the boinginess was ruinous, especially at the end. It looked and felt like Flash, not Tintin. The comic images are already iconic in themselves, to re-iconify them in a Vector Park style is to wander away from the point.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:48 PM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Should have ended with a reference to Breaking Free.

OCCUPY MARLINSPIKE!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:50 PM on November 29, 2011


"Hang on - Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, and Steven Moffat are all involved in the very same film?"

....and Joe Cornish!
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 12:52 PM on November 29, 2011


Yoink, I have a version of "Tintin et l'Alph-Art", the original french version. It's a bizarre mixture of script, storyboards and very fleshed-out pages. Like Cpt. Renault says, it's more interesting as a testament to Herge's work process than to anything else.

It's interesting to see how Herge was beginning to treat the title character and his main cast. By the time of his death, Herge was known to be thoroughly sick and tired of Tintin, but felt trapped by the character's success. Elements of the story feel forced, like Herge knows the time for the character has come, but is still trying hard to craft a good story. The reader is left with the impression that Herge is looking for a good "out", a way to put the series to bed permanently. He introduces a potential love interest for Tintin, for example, in the form of a young woman working in an art gallery. Then there's the cliffhanger in which Tintin is potentially a dead man. Captain Haddock is going even further down the road to eccentric rich guy holed up in a chateau, cut off from reality. Castafiore is her usual Miss Piggy self, but now on a farewell tour, if I recall correctly. Even Rastapoulous seems to be going through the motions, like it's all old hat; "Tintin again? Eh. Stick him in a cell and I'll deal with him later".

Frankly, Tintin and the Picaros, the final complete book, is a better send-off for the series, with its message at the end that the adventures of the characters don't make a difference in the real world.
posted by LN at 12:57 PM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not that anyone was expecting otherwise, but the insanely racist Congo bullshit seems to have been overlooked. Context.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:58 PM on November 29, 2011


Actually yes, that does sound like a status quo job application situation for animators. You have to get your work seen by the right people.

The difference, to me, is that it wasn't like Curran was applying for a job here, he was just making something cool, and it turned out to be so cool that he got a job from it. He didn't have to have the right agent, or know the right people, or have an in with Spielberg's people, or whatever. It's the flatness of the experience that seems so revolutionary (and appears to be becoming more commonplace lately).
posted by Rock Steady at 1:05 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw Hugo and Tintin back to back last week. Hugo was a damned mess but Tintin was a LOT of fun. It peters out in the end and the "final confrontation" doesn't really work but otherwise it does an amazing job of combining the source material with old-school Spielberg/Frighteners-era Jackson/Frost/Peg/Moffat/Wright/Cornish-all-around-greatness.
posted by unsupervised at 1:12 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not that anyone was expecting otherwise, but the insanely racist Congo bullshit seems to have been overlooked.

"Insanely racist" by today's standards, perhaps, but hardly by the standards of its day. It represents pretty much the standard "black folks are a bit simple and a bit childish" that you'll find in most Hollywood films of the era, most "adventure" stories set in Africa etc. I think there's something rather overblown in the way in gets held up as if it were a cartoon version of Mein Kampf or something.

I'm given to understand by friends who have traveled extensively in francophone Africa that it remains hugely popular there, FWIW.
posted by yoink at 1:26 PM on November 29, 2011


Anyone have any thoughts on the uncanny valley effect I get with just the commercials? Does it fade?
posted by stratastar at 1:41 PM on November 29, 2011


I think there's something rather overblown in the way in gets held up as if it were a cartoon version of Mein Kampf or something.

Indeed. It's a cultural artefact of Europe in the '30s, and is probably best approached as such. It's clearly a product of its time, and just as clearly, that time has passed (not to be an apologist or anything). I figure it's probably better to keep the book around and be aware of this part of history, rather than squirreling it away lest anyone somehow be led astray.

The book is also notable for a scene where Tintin uses a hand drill to drill a blasting hole in a rhino's back, and stuffs it with TNT. The book is racist, sure, but it's ridiculous and offensive on many other levels as well. Why pick just the one?

Besides -- the other, later works show just how much Herge had moved on. That's the important bit, right?
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:55 PM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


If one were to own up to not really having read any Tintin, where would be the best place for that person to start, if they wanted to get it? Is there a really good critical work? Or should I that person just get some books and dive in?

(I think I had maybe one as a kid, which involved a plane crash in the Alps? Or am I hallucinating that memory?)
posted by marginaliana at 1:57 PM on November 29, 2011


If one were to own up to not really having read any Tintin, where would be the best place for that person to start, if they wanted to get it? Is there a really good critical work? Or should I that person just get some books and dive in?

(I think I had maybe one as a kid, which involved a plane crash in the Alps? Or am I hallucinating that memory?)


You had, I assume, "Tintin in Tibet" which many regard as Herge's masterpiece. I'm for the just diving in and reading. Starting with "The Secret of the Unicorn" and "Red Rackham's Treasure" would make some sense, given that those are the source for the Spielberg film. "Destination Moon" and "Explorers On the Moon" are classics. "King Ottakar's Scepter" is great fun as a stand-alone, and gives you some of the Cold War themes that crop up in many of the later Tintins ("The Calculus Affair" would be another example)--of course that's in the two Moon books as well.
posted by yoink at 2:05 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


...where would be the best place for that person to start, if they wanted to get it?

I would suggest not the beginning works and not the end. The early ones can be a bit sparse, and the end ones heavier with character. A middle work would probably be best.

Me, my first one was Black Island, which might be a touch on the early side, but I was snared for life. Tight single volume. The themes of the series are all there.

In any event, Tibet should NOT be the first one. I'm guessing it's what you are remembering. It's probably the heaviest/deepest/best of them all, but it's not a good introduction. Save it for later.
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:07 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


marginaliana, that book was Tintin in Tibet, and the plane crash was in the Himalayas.

If I had to recommend some books for a newbie to read to "get" Tintin, I'd recommend, in order: Tintin and the Blue Lotus (early solo Tintin at his best), The Crab with the Golden Claws (he meets Haddock for the first time), Seven Crystal Balls/Temple of the Sun (virtually the whole cast assembled, everyone is in great form), The Castafiore Emerald (a comedic set piece contained within the walls of Marlinspike Manor), Tintin in Tibet (very operatic, really the best one of all), and finally, The Red Sea Sharks for late Tintin, with a loving look at a lot of the supporting cast with small parts.
posted by LN at 2:11 PM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I honestly don't think you can go wrong with any Tintin. I think the one I've read the most is the Cigars of the Pharaohs, and it remains a personal favorite. I think the first one I ever read was Explorers on the Moon (i.e., the second part of a two-part serial), and even that was a fine introduction, despite not knowing the characters or why they were on the moon. Tintin was one of my favorite things about growing up, and even now that I'm pushing forty, my mom and I have a special date this Christmas to see the movie. I have all of my old, worn books and cherish them deeply--but this is not necessarily a series you need to be overly concerned about reading out of order (in my opinion).

Then, once you've become a Tintin master, I highly recommend Tom McCarthy's Tintin and the Secret of Literature, which is a fascinating critical deconstruction of the books. And then, when you're jazzed up to read everything again, read them in order alongside the insightful Tintin: The Complete Companion by Michael Farr.

I really liked the video in the link.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:22 PM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Admiral Haddock

Epony-um-obvious?
posted by yoink at 2:34 PM on November 29, 2011


Speaking of Tom McCarthy, here's his typically idiosyncratic take on the movie, The Adventures of Tintin is great art crudely redrawn.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 2:34 PM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Re: insanely racist Congo bullshit
See this page from the Blue Lotus, where Tchang and Tintin discuss and mock racial and cultural stereotypes. It shows how Hergé viewed his own prejudices 5 years after writing Tintin in the Congo.
posted by elgilito at 2:35 PM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


That was fun! Even though it's been years since I properly revisited Tintin, there are so many striking visual reminders that tug at my childhood memories of spending endless hours reading those books.

I loved the film. It's quite slight, but there is a breathless enthusiasm and joy to the film and its construction that I haven't witnessed in years. It's visually inventive and the raw energy and motion that is on screen constantly is just a joy to behold. So glad I saw it in the cinema even though the 3D didn't really add much. In lots of ways the whole film reminded me of Catch Me If You Can's credit sequence's visual inventiveness and fun. Tintin has a similar credit sequence so the inspiration is pretty clear.

Tintin is basically the slightly child-friendlier film that Indy IV should have been (including the John Williams score which at times out-Indies Indy.)

Can't wait to see it again and I hope it does well enough to warrant more adaptations.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:38 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually yes, that does sound like a status quo job application situation for animators. You have to get your work seen by the right people. The main difference is that it happened over the internet, so it's a bit like using a VOIP phone and saying "Now we can hear each other's voices OVER THE INTERNET!"

Case in point: the Southpark guys.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:00 PM on November 29, 2011


I'm actually really curious about the uncanny valley effect with the movie, too. It just looks like it will hurt me.
posted by OmieWise at 4:05 PM on November 29, 2011


The animated series did not in any way live up to the books, but the theme song (used here) is a great little tune.
posted by Rora at 4:13 PM on November 29, 2011


The trailers for the film hit the uncanny valley super hard for me. It's like seeing Herge's characters with real human eyes. I can't stand it. I'm hoping I can get over it when I see the film, but I wish they would have gone with something a little more cartoony.
posted by Gordafarin at 10:11 PM on November 29, 2011


Oh god that "great art crudely redrawn" article lost me in the SECOND PARAGRAPH.

"We could argue until the cows come home about what type of art they represent (narrative? Visual? Sub-cinematic?), but their greatness brooks no querying."

COMICS. They're GREAT COMICS. Duh? Comics is a unique art born of the marriage of pictures and narrative. Usually with words involved. Comics are not illustrated stories. Comics are not frozen cinema. Comics are COMICS.
posted by egypturnash at 10:15 PM on November 29, 2011


That was pretty bad, but I made it as far as "When all you're looking at is pixels being shunted around a screen by some nerd in post-production, none of it counts." No further.
posted by brundlefly at 10:59 PM on November 29, 2011


The movie is quite charming, actually. Maybe hits the uncanny valley in the first five minutes, but after that it didn't really bother me since the characters act cartoonishly, and the action is very cartoonish as well. Ultimately, way way less uncanny valley than that Final Fantasy movie.

Definitely worth seeing if you're a Tintin (or Spielberg!) fan, or like charming movies in general.
posted by 6550 at 1:00 AM on December 1, 2011


Saw the movie, it's fun. Nothing especially uncanny about it. But I'm prejudiced, having married Tintin (well, a Flemmish version, anyway). Tried to see the film opening weekend, because we were in Brussels. But they run movie houses like complete idiots (Belgium, you know), so it wasn't worth the trouble. Got nice photos of the cinema with the Atomium reflected in the windows, however, with Tintin posters.
posted by Goofyy at 5:04 AM on December 1, 2011


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