The Adventures of Tintin

singing ringing tree

After all the thrill and adventure of The Desolation of Smaug, you’re going to wish there was more to watch. Well, there is, only it’s not necessarily more of The Desolation of Smaug (not until the extended editions on video, anyway). Instead, it’s other movies that I’ve selected as necessary viewing for those who’ve seen the new Hobbit movie. It doesn’t matter if you liked Smaug or not, because many of these titles are preferred predecessors and alternatives, anyway. Others consist of early movies starring prominent members of the cast or just movies that I was personally reminded of and have now made the excuse to share. From the very well known to the very obscure, the long and the short, there’s bound to be at least one title here for you to enjoy in however much time you have leftover following another lengthy trip to Middle-earth with Peter Jackson. This weekend’s list includes 13 titles, one for each of the 13 dwarves in the movie — though not every selection is necessarily tied to a dwarf. That was just my idea of being clever, plus the fact that such a long movie with a lot going on naturally got me thinking of more movies than usual. Check out my recommendations below and share any others you believe are relevant to mention. There are plot SPOILERS for Smaug after the jump, of course, since many of these picks are relevant to various parts of the movie.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Belated Week in DVD! Last year SXSW caused me to post a lesser incarnation of this column as I had no time to check out most of the week’s releases. That didn’t go over so well, so this year I decided to simply delay the column so that I’d have time to cover the titles in my usual (ie more thorough) manner. So let’s get to it! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Young Adult 2011 was a good year for divisive film reactions as very few releases garnered anything resembling near-universal acclaim. (Even the year’s Best Picture winner experienced as much hatred as it did love.) Jason Reitman’s latest film had viewers split as well with its story of a selfish and often mean-spirited writer who returns to her home town to woo an ex-fling who’s now happily married. Charlize Theron gives a stellar performance as an unlikeable and possibly irredeemable protagonist, and Diablo Cody’s script is her most mature and intelligent effort yet. It’s funny, sad and one of the most honest films of last year.

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Original Score

As I note each week in Aural Fixation, music is one of the most important components in a film, providing the underlying emotion in certain scenes as well as the overall tone of a film. Creating this musical landscape is no easy task and the five scores nominated this year were brought to the screen by four talented composers (yes, someone got nominated twice.) While last year gave us slightly more innovative music with scores from first time composer Trent Reznor and the more electrified Hans Zimmer, the past year in film seemed to hearken back to the more classical era of filmmaking and the scores followed suit. From tales of adventure, spy thrillers, a different perspective on war to a look back at the early days of filmmaking, the nominated scores kept pace with their respective films and came from composers that ranged from Academy veterans to first time nominees. While I was admittedly more excited (and felt slightly more invested) in the nominees last year, the composers selected for the potential honor this year are well-deserved and created scores that undeniably elevated each their films. Who will take home the golden statue this year? Stay tuned to see if my prediction of who will win proves true. Read on for the nominations and my predicted winner in red…

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Hundreds of movies are released each year in theaters or straight to DVD, and a large percentage of them suck. A much smaller group though are fantastic slices of cinema that thrill, excite, invigorate and entertain, and while some of them are recognized at the box office many more are left to die a quick and undeserved death. And it’s essentially your fault. Of course I don’t mean you specifically, but instead I’m referring to the average American movie-goer who chose not to see these movies in the theater. They ignored the critical acclaim, reviews and recommendations from sites like ours and instead bought multiple tickets for the latest Twilight or Transformers movie. So while it’s too late to affect their box office returns (most of them anyway), Jack Giroux and Rob Hunter have put together a list of eleven movies that deserved far better treatment in 2011.

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There were some supposed protagonists I loathed this year — everyone in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, that asshole narcissist Hal Jordan, the annoying Jack Sparrow — but there were plenty who showed honorable and, yes, badass traits. 2011 brought a few real American heroes (and from parts elsewhere), both in personality and actions. One doesn’t need superpowers or a gun to be a hero, but, as shown by a few choices I made, those simple good traits. And, even if one’s not the greatest of people, you can still be a great hero, as shown by the a*hole category that kicks off the list…

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr pulls out his screening schedule, which looks like a gambling addict’s racing form. He bounces from huge, mainstream releases to minor indie award contenders. Facing motion-capture CGI, tattooed bisexual investigators, cross-dressing waiters, silent film actors, and a lead star who is literally hung like a horse, Kevin tries to make sense of the seemingly countless releases this holiday week. Exhaustion from this process makes it impossible to buy a zoo or face the 3D end of the world, but his movie stocking is full, nonetheless.

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The Adventures of Tintin had always been a bit of a sure thing. With Steven Spielberg behind a camera he can put wherever the hell he wants, which he does indeed do, while adapting adventurous source material that couldn’t be more up in his wheelhouse, what could go wrong? Plus, he’s got a script from a dream team of writers — Joe Cornish, Edgar Wright, and Steven Moffat – and with Peter Jackson producing. I say it again, what could go wrong? As expected, not much. This is the high flying, energetic, and playful action film that we all hope and expect from Spielberg. As nearly everyone will unanimously point out, this is what we all wanted from Indy 4. This is Spielberg at his most indulgent, and it’s fantastic seeing him working at such a level. Spielberg embraces motion-capture in a wondrous way, and he pushes every gizmo and tool he’s got to its fullest extent. If anyone oddly questioned why Tintin was done in mo-cap — besides how silly Tintin’s hair would look live-action and the logistics of having Snowy doing crazy stunts — you’ll shut up after seeing the magic on display here.

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It’s been understood for a while now that there was already a sequel to Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin in the works, one in which Spielberg was meant to trade producing and directing duties with Peter Jackson; and that’s all still a go. Before the original had opened anywhere, work was already being done on the sequel, and now that it’s become a financial success in several overseas markets, a second Tintin adventure is all but guaranteed. What has changed, however, is Spielberg and Jackson’s original plans of where the story for the sequel will actually go. We reported a while back that the sequel was tentatively titled The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun, and that the story they were planning to tell would be an amalgamation of two classic Tintin stories “Prisoners of the Sun” and “The Seven Crystal Balls.” Well, that’s no longer the case, because while doing an interview with The Playlist, producer Kathleen Kennedy has confirmed that they have a different plan. “‘Prisoners of the Sun’ was a very, very early discussion, and it isn’t under discussion anymore,” she said. “We’ve still got Anthony Horowitz working on the second movie, and we don’t know what we’re doing with the third movie yet.” Despite no current plans for the third, there does seem to be an idea of where Horowitz is currently going with the second. Kennedy said of the first film, “We knew that we needed to introduce Tintin, we needed to introduce […]

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Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi in New Year

See? It wasn’t us this time. No, instead the Garry Marshall/Katherine Fugate team went from the stunningly high $56.2m (Valentine’s Day opening weekend) to the surprisingly mediocre $13.7m for New Year’s Eve. Hey, maybe American audiences are starting to shape and choose the better films with their dollars. Or maybe it just didn’t appeal to the right demographic. There’s only so much Ashton Kutcher the chick flick crowd can even endure. Now that he’s on Two and a Half Men on a weekly basis, they don’t need to go to the cineplexes to get their Kutcher fix. So, there you have it. Blame Two and a Half Men for New Year’s Eve disappointing.

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This year has brought us back to classic filmmaking from the silent film era with The Artist to the fantasy adventure Hugo, which recalled classic film moments (as The Film Stage rounded up here). The New York Times has even gotten in on the classical score action, drawing on booming horns and frenetic strings to help create horror and unease in their portraits of various actors’ impressions of classic film villains. It is an almost surprising turn in a year that awarded Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s electronic influenced score for The Social Network the Oscar for Original Score and saw electronic duos The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx creating the scores for Hanna and Attack the Block, respectively. Film scoring seemed to be going the way of the electric guitar, swapping out full orchestrations for synthesizers, but as 2011 comes to a close, it seems classic orchestration is not on its way out just yet. Full orchestrations of horns, drums, strings, and wind instruments filled theaters in films like The Artist and Hugo, taking us back to a time when live orchestras would play along with films. Their electronic counterparts tend to turn up the volume (who wasn’t rattled when Reznor and Karen O’s booming “Immigrant Song” in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s teaser trailer came on screen?) while classical scores are able to gain that same power from the sheer number of instruments called upon and layered together. Both work to draw an emotional reaction out of […]

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This is it: the final month of the year, a.k.a. the month to shell out as much cash as you got at the theaters. December is always the best and worst movie-going time. There’s so many damn pictures hitting the screens, and it’s the time where everyone’s running around, trying to get things done before the New Year. It’s wonderful, annoying chaos. This December is different, though. In fact, it’s going to be about 100 times more chaotic. Folks, if you plan on seeing all of the good to the “this will be up for Oscars, kid!” movies this month, plan on forking out a lot of dough. This is unquestionably the strongest month for films this year. Without further ado, here are the ones to end the year on a great note with:

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This Week in DVD

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and welcome to a mostly turkey-free edition of This Week In DVD. Two big releases hit shelves this week that on the surface couldn’t be further apart, but in actuality share at least two things in common… both Conan the Barbarian and Super 8 are fun but incredibly flawed. Also out this week are a couple forgettable horror movies from Asia, a mediocre film with a fantastic lead performance (or two), a must own Criterion title and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Adventures of Tintin: Season One Young Tintin is an intrepid reporter constantly on the trail of bad deeds and bad guys as he sets out to solve mysteries along with his dog Snowy and a group of oddball friends and acquaintances. This short-lived series from the early nineties is loosely based on the classic French creation (and shares some specific story elements with the upcoming movie). The adventures are entertaining and filled with action, and they feature elements that never talk down to kids including murder, drug smuggling, alcoholism and more. So yeah, it’s my kind of cartoon.

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Based on the comics by Belgian artist Hergé, The Adventures of Tintin follows a young reporter as he (along with his trusty dog Snowy) end up on a series of adventures in pursuit of his next story. Brought to the screen by director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson, this may be the first time many audiences in America will be seeing and experiencing the world of Tintin (as the comic was first made famous overseas), but the series should have little trouble finding new fans this holiday season. Jackson’s skill with motion capture technology (as seen in his films like The Lord of the Rings and King Kong) is well-translated in Spielberg’s first animated project, creating an immersive world you can easily escape into, while the director’s love of telling an adventure story (and the series itself) bursts through each frame. The film begins with a series of animated scenes which work as a nice recall to the comics from which the story originated – even including a slight reference to newspapers as a nod to Tintin’s (Jamie Bell) job as a journalist and the format through which the comic first ran. The transition from to this the more standard style of animation into the full scope of the film’s 3D motion capture sublty helps audience realize just how impressive and vibrant this new technology truly is. Tintin may not look exactly as he does in the comics, but a clever wink at that iconic image is given early on, making it […]

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The Reject Report

And it’s likely to fetch a whole lot more than a pail of water. In fact, regardless of whether your or I like it, the new Adam Sandler movie, awful as it may look, is primed to make another mint for the comedian. In fact, other than Puss in Boots, the lock Jack and Jill has in taking the top spot at this weekend’s box office seems pretty evident. Like the battle for #1 last weekend between Puss in Boots and Tower Heist, we’re looking at a round 2 of sorts here. Regardless who comes out on top, my money is on the movie featuring characters named Jack and Jill. In fact, you can take that one to the bank.

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Whereas Pixar has dominated the category in recent years, the sense that Cars 2 isn’t a shoe-in for awards season is offering a spotlight to a wider field. In fact, it’s also a wider field that will beget more nominees – if there are 16 eligible in the given year, 5 nominees will make the short list. If the numbers stay steady, this would mark the third time since the Best Animated Feature‘s inception in 2001 that there are more than 3 films up for the big prize. According to The Wrap, the list of films that have been submitted for consideration include: The Adventures of Tintin, Alois Nebel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Arthur Christmas, Cars 2, A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Gnomeo & Juliet, Happy Feet Two, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Kung Fu Panda 2, Mars Needs Moms, Puss in Boots, Rango, Rio, The Smurfs, Winnie the Pooh, and Wrinkles. Just because they’ve been submitted doesn’t meant they’re all eligible. Several haven’t done qualifying runs in Los Angeles theaters, and many are questionable because of their use of motion capture or live-action blend. In the mo-cap cases of Tintin, Happy Feet Two and Mars Needs Moms, filmmakers have been asked to discuss their methods and intentions with the process in order to prove eligible. The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks are also animation/live-action hybrids, so their fate is unclear at this time. Without them, and without, say, the Czech Republic’s rotoscoped Alois Nebel, the […]

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The Reject Report

What? Tintin? I know what you’re thinking. “I know we had Daylight Saving Time this morning, Jeremy, but you’re taking this “time travel” business a little too far, aren’t you?” You’ve probably notice we’re still at the beginning of November and haven’t been transported magically to December 21st when The Adventures of Tintin gets its US release, and you’d be both observant and right. However, Tintin, world figure that he is, got his release in several foreign markets on October 26th-28th. The ignorant American that I am didn’t bother to address this until now. Well, here you go, foreign markets. It’s your day to shine. The Adventures of Tintin has already pulled in $125.3m in foreign territories, pretty much guaranteeing its worldwide success well before its North American release. The film is already generated income from over 5000 locations in 21 foreign markets, but most of its dollars have come from the United Kingdom and France so far. It made $21 million from France last weekend and $10.9m from the UK. Spain and Germany were also big markets for the film, pulling over $10m from the locations combined.

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Steven Spielberg’s upcoming motion capture adventure film, The Adventures of Tintin, hasn’t yet opened yet in theaters, but the people behind the picture are already hoping that it can become a franchise. Early positive buzz and the attachment of Spielberg’s name leads me to believe that their hopes are probably not unfounded. So what’s the plan that’s been put together for a second Tintin movie? Will Spielberg come back to direct? Well, no, but the news of his replacement is pretty exciting. The Playlist has reported that The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has confirmed in the most recent issue of The Hollywood Reporter that he is on board to direct a Tintin sequel, as long as the first makes enough money to warrant one. This plan isn’t all just hypothetical either, pre-planning has already been done on the film so that they can get things started as soon as possible after the box office reports come in for this first. Spielberg explains, “[Sony and Paramount] were willing to do one movie with us and then give us the financial werewithal (sic) to develop a script, do all the visual storyboards and get it really in launch position. So we can launch pretty quickly on a second movie. The script is already written.”

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s not messing about. Just doin’ the news. We begin tonight with one of many new images from The Adventures of Tintin. For one of those motion capture, lost in the shadow of the uncanny valley movies, this looks pretty slick. Finally we get to see Andy Serkis act in a movie. Or not.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column just trying to keep it real, man. We begin this evening with a few new shots from The Muppets, my now most anticipated remaining 2011 film. Quite a title to bestow, I know. Anyway, the folks at Rope of Silicon have updated their gallery. This includes a few movie stills, some behind the scenes stuff and that fresh poster I showed you last night.

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Yesterday we got to see some poster goodness from The Adventures of Tintin, and, as promised, the teaser trailer has followed suit. It’s quick, but it spends its precious few seconds creating some suspense and teasing the action. A young man chasing a car into the street with a gun, a bi-plane crashing in the desert, a ship pounding its way through the seas. See it for yourself:

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