With all the hubbub around The Hobbit it's easy to forget that Peter Jackson is involved in another gigantic movie thats coming even sooner-- the first effort in his and Steven Spielberg's collaboration, The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, hits theaters next December 23, directed by Spielberg and produced by Jackson (they'll swap roles for the second one if it happens). The adaptation of the long-running Belgian comic strip is a little harder to get excited about in the United States, where Tintin has never been as popular as he was in Europe, but you'd better believe DreamWorks will be pulling out all the stops to make sure we know what to expect by this time next year.

Fittingly enough, the campaign begins over in Europe with Empire Magazine, where Tintin and his loyal dog Snowy grace the cover of an issue that also features our first look at Captain Haddock, the character played by Andy Serkis in motion-capture. Spielberg also dropped some details about what to expect from the film, including that the first part of the film "owes much to not only film noir but the whole German Brechtian theater" and Jackson even speculates about which Tintin adventure he'd like to tackle for his own installment.

What you all want to see, though, is the images; click on any of the ones below to see Empire's full-size versions. Done in the same photo-real CGI style that turned Serkis into Gollum and King Kong, the images are-- I must say-- a little unnerving. It's hard to gauge exactly how stylized the animation will be, and how much they may be trying to fool you into thinking you're seeing an actual human. There's a big difference between turning a man into a waifish ghoul and turning a man into another man, just burlier and with a beard. Is Spielberg the guy to pull off what Robert Zemeckis couldn't quite accomplish with The Polar Express? Are we falling into the uncanny valley yet again? Take a look a the images and begin what will inevitably be a year's worth of speculation.

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