November 11, 2011 1:11am PT by Scott Feinberg
Steven Spielberg's 'The Adventures of Tintin' Gets North American Premiere as 25th AFI Fest Closes
The 25th annual AFI Fest came to a close Thursday night with the North American premiere of The Adventures of Tintin, director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson's adaptation of Herge's 1929-1938 comic book series. The 3-D film, which blends motion-capture technology and animation in unprecedented ways, seemed to go over very well with the crowd at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which included a number of the world's most celebrated animation and visual effects artists. The film opens nationwide on Dec. 21, and its distributor, Paramount Pictures, hopes that the Academy's animation branch will embrace its new approach to animation and nominate it in the best animated feature Oscar category.
Tintin is good, innocent, escapist entertainment -- sort of the cinematic equivalent of The Hardy Boys, with a healthy dose of comedy thrown in for good measure -- and should do big business during the holiday season. It seems to me that kids and their accompanying parents will account for the vast majority of ticket sales, as is always the case with animated films, but Paramount insists that it will have crossover appeal and draw a substantial number of adults on their own, particularly in light of the fact that the source material should be familiar to people of a certain age. I'll have to see it to fully believe it, but they may be right.
What is beyond any shadow of a doubt, though, is that Spielberg is not only among the most revered filmmakers of his era, but also among the most creatively curious and ambitious. Why else would he take on the immense challenge of making a film of a sort that he had never before attempted (animated) using technology with which he had never before experimented (motion-capture) and releasing it in a format he had never before employed (3-D) except out of a love for learning about and practicing the craft of filmmaking?
Regardless of the extent to which one enjoys Spielberg's Tintin, or Martin Scorsese's animated 3-D pic Hugo (another forthcoming Paramount release), or Francis Ford Coppola's live-action 3-D outing Twixt (which is reportedly releasing in Dec.), one has to acknowledge that it is pretty cool to see these old masters trying new tricks rather than just fading away.