Yeah, thing is, writing that ‘About’ part of the Blog took some time. More than I expected, actually. There has been a time when I could type up 300 words in a flash. Those were the good ol’ days filled with smoke, Tom Waits albums and some kind of liquor. Being a recent addition to the non-smoking clan (what? I haven’t lit a cigarette in a day) I find it difficult to concentrate on simple tasks like this. Typing up a sentence…well, coffee helps… the fact that it’s 1:31 AM doesn’t. Anyhow, The Adventures of Tintin. I should be able to say something fairly smart or perceptive about it though what precisely that would be I have no clue. ‘Twas something about the nature of representation (something about how Hergé’s Tintin more than anything else functioned as a generator of adventure-staples which have been used and re-used in Europe throughout the 20th century but where was I going with it, meh… I’ll remember it for some other occasion.), I’m sure that there was even some kind of rant included (as far as I can remember it was about how US, epitomized in Spielberg, had to reinvent Tintin for no reason whatsoever but to test the motion-capture technology and to appease the general audience. Funny thing is that this movie actually failed to generate enough income in US – which was expected, Tintin not being tights-wearing-do-gooder – but managed to do extremely well in Europe, in ‘the country’ where Tintin is the part of cultural legacy but high-tech shenanigans of US-cinema are usually sneered upon), and I could’ve sweared that there was something else, even more insignificant than the rest. I tend to forget things. Especially when much of the processor power has been used for battling the nicotine craving.
Joking aside, I think I can’t honestly say that The Adventures of Tintin has been a bad experience. During the years I’ve seen far worse usage of computer animation and non-sensical products too many to count. Even Spielberg himself, in the same year that he made this movie, managed to direct unwatchable crap like War horse, so as far as quality of experiences actually go, it has been an ok ride. Far from the best but far from the worst as well. I’m saying that as a Tintin-original fan, a guy that actually read the comics this thing was based upon, liked them immensely and managed to enjoy them over and over again. Hergé’s work is timeless. This movie won’t be. That kind of comparison doesn’t mean a thing in a long run though somehow I feel obligated to point that out. Weird how the mind works, huh? Focus man…. fuck the gas station 200 meters away that is opened 24/7 and sells cigarettes… think of the Terminator. Well, it’s as good an advice as any that I’ve heard in the last day.
I can only regret that Spielberg didn’t spend much time on capturing the spirit of Hergé’s Europe (though some would rightly say that the spirit of Hergé’s days isn’t really that nice a thing to be having around… concerning the rise of the conservative right-wing groups all over Europe one could almost see Hergé’s Europe returning in a way that will surprise some people). Instead he focused on big guns – the stuff that dreams (and adventures) are made off. Big ships, pirates, cannons, mass sword fights, sea storms and airplanes shooting on shipwrecked dudes. He focused on motion to a degree that one could say that Spielberg thought that the original Tintin was without dynamics of any sort. One has to applaud the fluidity of it all. Motion-capture or not, every single character feels lifelike and real, Hergé-real as someone already noticed. Though everything that I have said so far is more or less inconsequential. One should notice just this one thing, whether it was intentional or not I have no way of knowing. Have you noticed how the plot of The Adventures revolves around people who are so obsessed with their ancestors, babbling about legacies, bloodlines, curses and vengeances that span centuries? Have you noticed the state of the Haddock-estate (during the rein of The Usurper and the subsequent return of true blooded one)? The house was crumbling down as long as Captain Haddock was trying to lead a normal life, ignoring his “destiny”. As soon as he avenged his ancestor, peace and prosperity came back to the crumbling mansion. This kind of relation towards History and one’s own family characterized many Europeans during the 20th century, and there was a war or two, or a genocide or two, that was rationalized using the aforementioned model. It’s a prevalent thought even today and it seems that it’ll be around for quite some time. Now, one can expect to find something derivative like that in works of Hergé, finding it in Spielberg alarms me somewhat. Don’t get me wrong, I found many derivative things in Spielberg’s movies – I do find much of his aesthetics and poetics abhorring – so the alarm that I mentioned didn’t come out of not being prepared. It’s a different type of alarm. It’s the alarm you start to feel when you notice the return of neo-nazi political parties in Europe (think Greece, Hungary) at the same time remembering the success this silly little movie, which glorifies the Ancestors and Bloodlines, made in the Old Continent. If you manage to remember that the source material for this movie came from the works published from 1941. to 1944. alarm disappears and becomes more similar to fear. Or dread. Whichever euphemism you like the best.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Daniel Mays, Mackenzie Crook Toby Jones, Gad Elmaleh
Music: John Williams
Cinematography: Janusz Kamiński
Studio: Nickelodeon Movies, Amblin Entertainment, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Wing Nut Films, Hemisphere Media