Empire Magazine teased a first look at The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn all weekend. The film, directed by Steven Spielberg with Peter Jackson overseeing WETA’s CGI mocap animation over the live-action footage, hasn’t been seen in CGI form, until now. That’s a look at Tintin, played by Jamie Bell, above. Hit the break for some more info and a couple more shots, including one of Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock.

As we thought, the key image from Empire is indeed a version of a classic image of Tintin running while being hit with a spotlight. Check the magazine cover in full below. And the first still image there is Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock, with a third image of him and Tintin stranded asea.

Peter Jackson says of the idea of using mocap,

With live action you’re going to have actors pretending to be Captain Haddock and Tintin… You’d be casting people to look like them. It’s not really going to feel like the Tintin Hergé drew. It’s going to be somewhat different. With CGI we can bring Hergé’s world to life, keep the stylised caricatured faces, keep everything looking like Hergé’s artwork, but make it photo-real.

The photo-real detail is certainly there, as you could see in the close-ups that Empire ran over the weekend. Looking at the character’s faces I’m still afraid the story might take place way down at the bottom of the uncanny valley. But given that this is Peter Jackson and WETA — the team that made believable characters out of Gollum and King Kong — I have faith that they’ll be able to take the next step and make human characters both stylized and believable.

Steven Spielberg described the first film like so:

The first part of the film, which is the most mysterious part, certainly owes much to not only film noir but the whole German Brechtian theatre — some of our night scenes and our action scenes are very contrasty. But at the same time the movie is a hell of an adventure.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn opens in the UK on October 26, 2011 and in the US on December 23, 2011.

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