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Book Review: The Art of The Adventures of Tintin by Chris Guise

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First appearing as a comic strip in a children’s newspaper supplement in 1929, Hegre’s The Adventures of Tintin are 23 stories featuring the intrepid young reporter/detective and an assorted cast of characters as they travel all over the globe and to the moon. Hegre’s work made such a connection with people it has become a worldwide multimedia sensation, having been adapted into movies, television, radio, and theatre over the years.

The latest appearance on the silver screen is the motion capture 3D blockbuster The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, winner of the Best Animated Feature from the Golden Globes. Director Steven Spielberg has held the movie rights for roughly 30 years and previously planned on a live-action film. After The Lord of the Rings films, he contacted Peter Jackson to see if Weta Workshop could create a computer-generated Snowy, Tintin’s dog. During the pre-production tests, they decided to shoot the film with motion capture.

This book contains “many images for things that never made it to the final film” from the Weta Workshop and Weta Digital. That’s because author Chris Guise, as he explains in his introduction, wanted to create a different “Art of” book that shows the “wide variety of imagery from all steps of the process” rather than “approved designs which closely resemble the final design.” He had great access to this preliminary work as the film’s senior conceptual designer.

Guise fills the book with impressive behind-the-scenes photos from design progression of characters and settings in pre-production artwork to the crew and actors shooting on the mo-cap stage. The images are very colorful and reveal great detail, no matter if a photo, a drawing, or computer generated. Fans of the Tintin books will get a real treat seeing Herge’s panels and book covers rendered as if occurring in the real world. To better showcase the artwork, Guise keeps the text to a minimum and defers to those whose work is being shown. I appreciated reading their thoughts.

The Art of The Adventures of Tintin is a wonderful book because even if not a fan of the completed movie, the collected artwork won’t disappoint.

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS