‘The Adventures of Tintin’ and ‘Where The Sea Used To Be’

I could not have chosen two more diametrically opposed film to watch this week in ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ and’ Where the sea used to be’.

One was the $130 million budgeted, ground-breaking, never-before-seen-style animated adventure of Hergés famous investigative reporter Tintin and the other was the result of a conversation over a pint by two frustrated Dubliners who grew tired of trying to sell their work  and decided to shoot their own film on a frayed and broken shoestring.

The Adventures of Tintin; The Secret of the Unicorn

Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis,  Daniel Craig, Simon Frost and Nick Pegg (they may as well be!) and many others have all clubbed together and brought Tintin to life. This is not just another animated digitally composed movie like Shrek or the various Toy Stories, this is for the want of a better phrase ‘real animation’.

I still cannot fully describe what it I was looking at but opposed to those other movies and even Avatar, Tintin has an unearthly quality about how they have brought the characters to life, they are as you may remember them from the comic books, but they are somehow more real and still not human. So it took a couple of minutes to adjust to what I was seeing in the screen in front of me.

After that the rest of the film just walks out of the style and tone of the comic books and unsurprisingly it has a splash of Indiana Jones. They have added a big element of Film Noir which suits the Tintin stories. There are laughs and cliff hangers and a proper amount of slapstick (mainly provided by Captain Haddock who is habitually drunk for most of the first third of the film). Of course I could not finish without mentioning the faithful and more-intelligent-than-a-dog-should-be companion who opens up the movie by chasing a pickpocket.

So between the thrills and the laughs it is an enjoyable and faithful adaptation.

where the sea used to be

As I said in contrast to the above Paul Farren and Stephen Walsh direct, write and act in this sleepy tale of two brothers with very little in common who are forced to spend Christmas Eve together. The slow pace of the film reminded me a little of David Lynch’s The Straight Story, as the two Brothers make their way across Dublin encountering odd characters along the way.

Neither of the leads had acted before but both had written and directed independently of each other. After that pint (in Brogans on Dame street I believe) they put pen to paper and set a shooting schedule which seemed to consist of grabbing hours here and days there over a three year period to fit their story together.

Their lack of acting experience did not stop me from losing myself in their perfectly balanced and understated performances. They ARE two brothers will nothing in common but a few shared memories dipped in the same blood.

They do not answer any universal questions in fact quite the opposite many spoken questions in the film are left unanswered and not in an annoying pretentious way but in a natural I-don’t -want-to-answer-that-so-i’ll-just-pretend-you-didn’t-ask-me sort of a way.

Sadly this film is not on general release but fingers crossed it will be in a festival near you soon.


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