Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recommendations of the Week: The Adventures of Tintin, Hugo, Titanic 3D

(Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, wrote, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [4/1-4/7]:

The Adventures of Tintin (on DVD)
Hugo (on DVD)
Titanic 3D (in theaters Wed., April 4)

In last week's recommendations, I was going to include a mention of Tintin and Hugo, but I decided to hold off since my Hunger Games review took up a big chunk of space. So here it is! The Adventures of Tintin is by far one of the best animated films I have ever seen. And that says a lot coming from someone like me, because most animated movies I have seen aren't worthy of going to see in theaters or even buying on DVD. And now that I've seen this one, I have put it on my list of movies I want to own. To me, some of the best animated films include Finding Nemo, Happy Feet, Wall-E, Toy Story, Toy Story 3, Shrek and Shrek 2. Do you see a pattern there? Most are Pixar. This past year's Pixar outing was Cars 2, a poor excuse for a sequel.

Whether animated or not, it seems like most of the movies I own are either sequels or based on a book series or something else I was already a fan of (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, some Pixar films, etc.). So it came as quite a surprise that I was blown away by The Adventures of Tintin. The biggest stand-out we see right off the bat is the animation. They used motion-capture animation, so the movements of all those characters are actually done by real people with motion capture suits on and acting out everything we end up seeing on film. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised since Peter Jackson's WETA Digital is involved (just look at what they did with Gollum). There are times in this film when you could swear the characters are real-life people -- that's how brilliant the animation is. I can't imagine how difficult it might have been to create the CGI for it all.

There is a ton of action throughout the film. And sometimes when you're watching a film, if there's a ton of action, sometimes that means they're doing it to overcompensate for the fact that there's not a lot of substance in the film's plot. But that's not the case there. Tintin has action that accompanies the plot extremely well. The title character of Tintin and his dog get caught up in a whirlwind experience that takes them aboard a ship to try to figure out a secret that all started when he bought a model of a ship that secretly houses a message.

There's a part of me that wishes I had seen this film in theaters because I can see now how awesome the 3D probably was on the big screen. Tintin didn't do as well in America at the box office as it did overseas. But then again, it is Europeans who mostly know the Tintin stories. I am in America and am not too familiar with the stories, but for some reason, I feel like I'm at least a little familiar. I'm not sure if I had experienced any of the stories as a kid or what, but I was looking forward to seeing this, nonetheless.

The plan for this franchise is to have three movies total (and I'm sure they would do more if the success continues). Steven Spielberg directed the first with Peter Jackson producing. The roles will be switched on the second film, with Peter Jackson (once he's done filming The Hobbit) directing. And the last I heard, the two of them would co-direct the third. I think that's a cool idea. And I'm really looking forward to whenever the sequel comes out.

Next, I want to give an honorable mention to Hugo. This film is based on the children's book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. I've mentioned this here before, but I'll quickly say it again. I first read the book in college when I took a Children's Literature course. I instantly fell in love with the book and the very unique method that Selznick used to tell the story, and couldn't wait for the movie. When it comes down to it, even though it's a huge book, there really isn't a whole lot to the story; it's very simple. And so when making it into a film, they obviously had to expand and add in little subplots (which I didn't mind at all; I loved those parts, in fact). But overall, what's in the book is in the movie, and is very well adapted. This is another one that I wish I could've gone to see in theaters so I could see it in 3D. But nonetheless, Martin Scorsese created a very enjoyable and beautiful film that I hope more people go and see, and will hopefully get people to experience the book if they haven't yet. Since the use of illustrations are a big part of the book, I loved in the film whenever there was a shot of something that looked identical to one of the illustrations. Just beautiful!

Finally, James Cameron is re-releasing Titanic into theaters for a limited time, and this time we'll be able to see it in 3D. I can't wait! This is definitely one I'll be going to see again. I don't know why, but I'm very fascinated by the whole event of the sinking of the Titanic and by Alcatraz prison, one dealing with a boat sinking and one dealing with some of the worst criminals in prison. A little morbid? I don't know, but I'm fascinated by them. And I remember going to see Titanic when it was first in theaters with my family. We have the movie on VHS (remember those?); I do eventually want to buy the DVD so we can have an updated format.

Most films that you see in 3D in theaters are not that good -- the 3D part, I mean. Usually, they convert the film into 3D in post-production, and the quality isn't always that good. But it's different when it's been filmed in 3D (Avatar, Hugo, the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man). Titanic director James Cameron is the same director of Avatar. So he knows a thing or two about 3D. And he knew that with converting Titanic into 3D, he had to get it right. I read a while ago a screening report where members of the press got to see a little portion of the film in 3D, and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, so I have high hopes for this.

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Jeff Dodge Blog:
Recommendations of the Week: The Hunger Games (Read My Review Here)

BuddyTV Articles (Articles I've Written):
'Glee' News Round-Up: Matt Bomer, Casting a Grand Dame and a 'Tommy' Tribute?
'Glee' Casts Whoopi Goldberg as NYADA Professor, Lindsay Lohan to Play Herself

The BizzNiz Recaps/Articles (Recaps I've Written):
'American Idol' 11 Recap: Top 9 Perform
'American Idol' 11 Recap: Top 9 Results

#1 Recommendation: The Adventures of Tintin

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