Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Is Risen

Tonight I watched The Adventures of Tintin, Steven Spielberg's performance-capture animation of Herge's comic books. I hadn't seen a Spielberg movie since Jurassic Park 3, and all the rave reviews his serious, grownup work has received since then had made me begin to doubt that Spielberg is the embodiment of Evil, the Antichrist, after all. The only good thing about Tintin is that it dispelled all my doubts.

I've never read any of the original comic books, so I don't object to the movie on purist grounds; I have no stake in the original, and I hear that the movie did very well in Europe, where Tintin is as ubiquitous and beloved as Superman or Charlie Brown. (Also, Alison Bechdel, whose opinions I respect, is a big Tintin fan, so I thought the movie might get me interested enough to start reading the comics.) I gather from the reviews I've looked at that Spielberg treated the material with respect and affection, and that it's a reasonably faithful adaptation. One commenter at IMDB, though, may have put a finger on the problem: he said that in the comics, there are often long stretches where the characters just hang out and nothing much happens, whereas Spielberg's Tintin is one of his usual pell-mell nonstop roller-coaster rides, like the Indiana Jones films. (I forgot, no doubt because I'd repressed the memory, that a friend dragged me to see Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, which is a prime example of what I'm talking about.) I'd half-blanked out the fact that Spielberg directed this movie as I began to watch it, but by the middle I was telling myself that this was like a Spielberg movie -- oh, wait, it was a Spielberg movie! With music by the little Satan, John Williams! No wonder it was like 100 minutes of nails dragged across a blackboard.

So, in tune with the season, I also began to wonder if Spielberg is the Antichrist after all. Maybe he's the Second Coming instead, the real deal. It could be. The return of Jesus on clouds of glory, sitting at the right hand of Power, isn't supposed to be a good thing for those of us who have not faith; it's supposed to be bad news for us. Maybe for his next prestige project, Spielberg could direct a performance-capture version of the biblical Apocalypse of St. John.

P.S. For real tastelessness, go to Christians:

Oh, Mary, it takes a Christian to make something tacky.