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HT comics column .2

If you’re interested in comics at all, you’re probably aware that
Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are both going to make movies based
on the adventures of Tintin, India’s favourite comicbook detective.
And if not, well, I just told you, so now you know.
What’s most intriguing about these films is the new technology they’re
planning to use, an upgrade on the digital effects we saw in the Lord
of the Rings movies, where Andy Serkis played a chillingly real
Gollum. They plan to make Georges Remi’s images real – the final
product will be animation, but so detailed that it will look like a
live-action film, completely photorealistic, exactly what Tintin would
have looked like in real life. Which would have pleased Herge greatly
if he’d been alive – a fitting 100th birthday present. And imagine the
possibilities – if this works, we might finally get a good Asterix
All this is great, but I hope Spielberg manages to stay true to the
spirit of the books, and doesn’t make it another American Dream movie.
And that Jackson, far more trustworthy as far as faithfulness to
original material is concerned, doesn’t introduce deeply sentimental
moments between Tintin and Haddock in the closing scenes of his film.
This is just my inner cynic talking, though: My best friend, the
Internet, tells me that the prince of cerebral actors, Jean-Claude Van
Damme, is desperate to play Tintin, but Spielberg has, bafflingly,
said no to this. So there’s hope yet.
If they’re planning to base the final look of the movie on the comics,
it’ll be interesting to see what they do with the many native
characters in all the exotic lands Tintin journeys true in his pursuit
of truth and criminals – because right from Tintin’s initial forays
into the Congo, every non-white culture in Herge’s comics has been
portrayed in an unabashedly racist manner, which will obviously annoy
audiences all around the world if translated into photorealistic 3D
animated versions.
Another comicbook-to-film interpretation that should be hugely
exciting is Robert Rodriguez’s forthcoming version of Barbarella Queen
of the Galaxy; while it’s primarily a remake of the cult 1968 Jane
Fonda film that gave Duran Duran its name, it will be based, like that
film, on the popular French comics by Jean Claude Forest. Considering
Rodriguez’s work on the adaptation of Frank Miller’s Sin City, this is
definitely something to look forward to. But who are they going to
cast as the strong, sexy space siren? Who can outdo Jane Fonda’s
classic zero gravity spacesuit-to-birthday-suit opening credits
sequence? These are no doubt questions that will cause you to lose
sleep until 2008, when the film comes out. If, for some inexplicable
reason, you couldn’t care less, consider this:2008 is also the year
when another old-time comics favourite, Iron Man, gets his major
Hollywood movie release, and my source at Marvel tells me this is
going to be better than the Spiderman films. Besides this, of course,
you have Edward Norton playing the Hulk in the next Hulk movie, with
Tim Roth playing his nemesis, Abomination, in what will be a
back-to-basics hero movie that will make us forget Ang Lee’s horrible,
sniveling, split-screen turkey of a superhero movie a few years ago.
And Neil Gaiman’s Stardust movie is about to hit screens soon.
It’s a great time for comics and film fans, in other words, and time
to jump on if you’re still not on the bus. It’s clearly time for a
Bollywood version of Sarnath Banerjee’s Corridor, with Mallika
Sherawat in an item number as the Spirit of CP.


About Samit Basu

Novelist. Best known for fantasy and science fiction work. Most recently, The City Inside (Tordotcom)/Chosen Spirits (Simon and Schuster)


3 thoughts on “HT comics column .2

  1. I kinda liked Ang Lee’s HULK… but may be I am in the minority 😦

    Posted by Saurav Mohapatra | June 19, 2007, 7:10 pm
  2. All the comic book characters that have been filmed (which I’ve seen) have either masks or props to ‘look’ like the real character. But who will be Tintin? Tintin is different. He is kiddish and short with cow-lick hair style. I cant even imagine Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the role. I think Spielberg will have to go for a rigorous screen tests session to find a real ‘Tintin’.

    Posted by Doell | June 29, 2007, 4:18 pm
  3. Let’s see how far Spielberg’s mind has opened since Indy & The Temple of Doom then, huh?

    Posted by Sharanya | July 2, 2007, 5:10 pm

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Copyright (c) Samit Basu. Images copyright respective holders.
June 2007


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