Tintin holds a special place in the heart of many Europeans - mine included. And apparently an American and a New Zealander are also pretty fond of the Hergé graphic novel/comic book series. Steven Spielberg (director) and Peter Jackson (producer) have made the first feature film version of the Tintin adventures, taking on 'The Crab With The Golden Claws', 'The Secret Of The Unicorn' and 'Red Rackham's Treasure' all in one go.
'The Adventures Of Tintin' doesn't just have the collective might of messrs Spielberg and Jackson behind it but also was written by a brilliant trio of British writers - Steven Moffat ('Sherlock' and 'Doctor Who'), Joe Cornish ('Attack The Block') and Edgar Wright ('Scott Pilgrim vs The World' and 'Shaun Of The Dead'). With such an array of talent involved, how can it fail?
Well, alarm bells are ringing due to the film's use of motion capture. While it allows the wonderful duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to play the bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson with relative ease, the CGI animation style is a distraction for fans used to the comic or television adaptation. Mo-cap performer extraordinaire Andy Serkis alleviates fears to an extent and perhaps his efforts here as well as in 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes' might secure him some kind of Oscar nod.
Jamie Bell takes on the lead role as the Belgian investigative reporter, replacing Thomas Sangster after the production initially shut down in 2008 when Universal pulled out. Losing one or gaining the other is neither here or there, in this case - the character of Tintin himself has never been a major focus of the stories. Mixing three of Hergé's adventures into one film may yet prove to be the film's downfall.
Despite my apprehensions, I'd certainly love to see the film do well at the box office, almost regardless of its quality. At least one more Tintin film is waiting in the wings should 'The Adventures Of Tintin' succeed, with Anthony Horowitz as its writer - and we may yet get a third film. To deprive a potentially new generation of Tintin fans of more adventures would be a shame. And perhaps even more so for existing fans.
'The Adventures Of Tintin' is out on October 26th in the UK. Worldwide release dates can be found at sonypictures.com.