Cast of Tintin film "Secret of the Unicorn" announced

After all these months (or years, if you’re a slightly older chap/chapette) there are finally some concrete details on the trilogy of Tintin adventures coming to the big screen.

The Times tells us today in a piece on The Times Online that the all-star cast will include Mr Bond himself, Daniel Craig, Middle Earth’s most weird-talking minion Gollum, Andy Serkis, and as the jolly ginger journalist himself…

The boy from Billy Elliot: Jamie Bell.

Also said to appear are Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as bowler hat-wearing detectives Thompson and Thompson, which is interesting when you consider a comment on the story made by Mark from Woking:

“They gave Simon Pegg, the guy who is the spitting image of Tintin, the part of one of the Thomson detectives…?!?! “

Of course, since it’s a CGI animation, you won’t be too confused by Pegg’s ginger-ness (even if it would be concealed below a hat) but he is clearly a man you think of when you think of ginger stereotypes.

Directing duties go to the on-again/off-again film-making wizard Steven Spielberg, who’s teamed up with Lord of The Rings helmsman Peter Jackson to make “up to three films” starring the plucky young Belgian.

Aparently there are even a few new characters, such as Tintin’s (seemingly nameless) Editor, who surely should be played by a ruffled Steven Fry (in a mash of the mild-mannered QI host and spagetti-brained General Melchett), since the poor man received only one story from Tintin throught the entire 24 story series.

The real question though, is: will it work?

We all have some knowledge of Tintin, even if it’s just “Isn’t that the ginger Belgian fellow?”, but can this largely Brit cast directed by Americans do justice to a franchise which is as close to bizarre adventure as Indiana Jones? (which Spielberg also directed let’s not forget)

Being animation, there’s infinitely more possibilities to what can be done, but it’s not that which will be the problem, it’s what can be done ‘convincingly‘.

Either the film will take itself seriously and go for action, suspense with a slice of comic relief (what else are Pegg and Frost going to be for?) or they take things with a pinch of salt, be true to the character but stray from the well-established story and before you know it there’s aliens and flying monkeys everywhere…sound familiar?

That said, it is early days, and despite being a bit of a fan myself (you really don’t have to look far to find me with my branded tshirt and messenger bag…) we should definitely give it some time to take shape for we form too many pre-conceptions, but probably the most important thing for the team to remember is:

It just wouldn’t be Tintin without Snowy.

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So it’s the great noughties depression is it?

With the news that the country is in ‘official’ recession, it’s time to address the issue once and for all.

Rule of thumb states a country must go through two consecutive quarters of consecutive negative growth to be ‘in recession‘. Finally, this has been confirmed in Britain, but does that really matter now?

Some economists claim the country has being going down the tubes since April last year, while many countless thousands have lost their jobs while the country fidgeted uneasily in limbo, unsure whether reality was as horrificly dim as it seemed.

“There is no fear, but fear itself”: an easy thing to say, but much harder to do, personally I prefer my own version: “The only real way to overcome fear, is to face it”.

Currently, people who were once in the most secure of jobs are tugging at their collars nervously, but the foundation of the problem (as far as I can make out) is the general public’s fear of losing everything.

Of course it’s easy for students to remain unaffected; they either had no money in the first place (those un-subsidised by parents or Government) or are striving on blindly regardless (the rest). Businesses themselves are obviously the most affected area, as I reported only a few weeks ago, but individual’s savings up to £50,000 are guaranteed by law, so by rights the long winding queues of Northern Rock’s demise are, or should be, a thing of the past.

Sadly, children’s lives aren’t necessarily so blessed, with house repossessions rising to one per seven (SEVEN!) minutes according to the ONS.

I’ve come up with a simple solution: stop going on about it.

Fair enough, it might take a year or two before things are running smoothly again, but nothing is going to move forward while people are still worrying and paralysed by indecision on whether they should go on that holiday to Tuscany.

To that end, I’m going to do my part for my ‘master plan’ to fight the forces of shock-and-awe journalism and not mention the financial crisis, the credit crunch, the downturn, the recession, the collapse of the high street or sub-prime mortgages anymore.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate there’s a problem, I just attribute a lot of it down to the typical mass hysteria and scaremongering from the venomous tabloids, though in contrast some papers got the right idea.

At the end of day history takes it’s course, insert whatever generic saying you like, but this is something British people can actually affect, perhaps it’s time to be a little more selfish and worry about our own future first before we paw with futility at the next biggest buzz-kill: the environment.

Barack Obama: It’s about life…It’s about change…It’s about Bono at ANOTHER concert…

As America seems to already be settling in to the idea of having a new man in charge of the keys of the White House, plans have been announced to hold a celebratory bash two days before the new President is sworn in on January 20.

The ever-patriotic Bono with the rest of U2 in tow are one of the many big names who have decided to play to usher in this time of change for the American people.

As impressive and feel-good as it may be to have a big party with a host of big stars, there’s no escaping that Obama’s time will be a difficult one, though he should be able to avoid pissing off the entire country so long as he doesn’t invade anywhere…at least not until his second term.

The gathering is said to focus on ‘unification’ and ‘history’, rather than a stream of self-indulgence like the Live 8 or Live Earth events that have taken place in recent years.

Stars have been asked to play songs which reflect the nature of the event, whatever that means, but it seems Obama is already being likened to Abraham Lincoln, the well-known American president who won the election through his vicious debates with opponent Stephen A Douglas about the slave trade. Interestingly, Lincoln was a Republican, not a Democrat like Obama, but already he’s being likened to this strong historical figure, hopefully this does not suggest the direction which his political career will take absolutely…since Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth and killed.

Judgement and criticism should be reserved for a few months time, when the US economy will surely either have rallied or sunk, since there can be no other option, but for now the reality TV nature of this new presidency and its overt celebrity star cannot go ignored.

Everyone knows that thing can change, but few seem to remember that change goes two ways.

The future’s bright, the future’s…green


As if there were no end to the Great Green Revolution, gadgets are now no longer safe from an environmental reform.

Surely the most obvious way to minimise your carbon footprint would be to dispense with the sort of gadgets people didn’t need five years ago, like hair straighteners and satellite navigation systems? No? OK, probably too obvious.

The latest news of change in the way we pick our latest tech is that retailers are going to begin advertising hardware by its ‘Green Index’, essentially displaying on the shelf whether the company that makes it has done so in a ‘green’ way.

According to the BBC
, the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) has uncovered research suggesting this would be favourably adopted by consumers:

“Green is becoming a purchasing factor,” said Steve Koening, director of industry analysts at the CEA, “More than half are willing to pay a little more for ‘green’ and 22% said they were willing to pay up to 15% more for it.” BBC Online

But what does this mean for prices and sales figures? Needless to say people are already tightening their belts and all those other terrible clichés, but if the ‘staying in is the new going out’ mantra catches on, people will increasingly be investing in Blu-Ray and HDTV to get high definition entertainment in their own home.

22% is not even close to a majority, and generally people who are technologically focused aren’t necessarily ‘green’, but that trend is changing as recycling becomes the norm, so much so that it’s almost a social faux pas to throw something in the normal bin which could be recycled.

It’s only a matter of time before we start to see the long term effects of the eco-concious lifestyle, not on the environment itself (that ship sailed decades ago), but on our high streets.

2009: excitement and horror in journalism jobs


A new year, a new start, or so goes the old cliché.

Of course, for many people the new year will bring as much misery and boredom as the previous year did, but generally it’s obvious that due to 2008 being pretty dire, 2009 will be a step up for most people. A chance to prove yourself that ‘things can only get better’.

People are keen to leave horrors like the to oft mentioned credit crunch, wildly fluctuating petrol prices and death of high street main-stays like Woolworths and Zavvi behind, but there’s a real chance that 2009’s economic climate will be even worse, causing more job losses and tightening of pockets.

Economics though, as much as it interests me, is not afront my mind this year, because this is the year I have to get a job, hopefully a good job.

On last count there were around 100 journo jobs on Gorkana, so with all the doom and gloom there are jobs out there, albeit probably not dream jobs, but this isn’t the most fun time of year for that sort of thing.

Magazines are where it’s at, but with BBC Mags on a recruitment freeze (though the Deputy Head himself admitted to being horribly bad at enforcing it), things still seem bleak. Opportunities abroad seem to be becoming more common, with vacancies boasting exotic locations such as Lisbon, Dubai, Frankfurt, Abu Dabi and Cyprus.

The thought of leaving the rainy shores of England for a warmer climate may seem exciting, but there is of course the uncertainty of whether it will pay off, not to mention adapting to a new culture – depending on which destination you choose – may prove difficult.

In the end, this is a time to be bold. Whatever the end result, one thing is certain: luck and determination will mean more than qualifications ever have.