Forget Lassie… it’s time for Tintin

Every story is better with a dog. Oh, come on—you know it’s true. Some of the most memorable cinematic and literary masterpieces throughout history feature a beloved canine companion.

I can’t say for sure if Tintin’s pal Snowy is the reason the Adventures of Tintin comic books by Georges Remi have been so enduringly popular throughout the years, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt. Just look at that little face.

Apparently I’m not the only one who’s a sucker for the appeal of Tintin and Snowy. It turns out that a few folks you may have heard of are fans as well:

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are teaming to direct and produce three back-to-back features based on Georges Remi’s beloved Belgian comic-strip hero Tintin for DreamWorks. Pics will be produced in full digital 3-D using performance capture technology.

The two filmmakers will each direct at least one of the movies; studio wouldn’t say which director would helm the third. Kathleen Kennedy joins Spielberg and Jackson as a producer on the three films, which might be released through DreamWorks Animation.

Tintin has long been a passion project for Spielberg; he and Kennedy have held various film rights to the comedic adventure book series off and on for more than 25 years. With the rights in place, Spielberg, Jackson and DreamWorks began quietly developing the project. Jackson has also long been a fan of the comic books.

I’m having a really hard time picturing Tintin in 3D, but perhaps this is why I’m not a feature film director and these guys are. (Well, that and a million other reasons.)

Jackson said WETA will stay true to Remi’s original designs in bringing the cast of Tintin to life, but that the characters won’t look cartoonish.

“Instead,” Jackson said, “we’re making them look photorealistic; the fibers of their clothing, the pores of their skin and each individual hair. They look exactly like real people — but real Herge people!”

“Real Herge people” aren’t something I can picture. Not without feeling like I’m having a bit of a nightmare, anyway. But I have faith that the end result will be much less weird than what I’m imagining. These guys are pros, and legions of fans will be on the edge of their seats, ready for this next chapter in Tintin’s adventures.

I cannot promise that I will not lean over to my children and whisper “What’s the matter, girl? Did Timmy fall down the well?” during the movie, though. I’m nothing if not predictable when it comes to movies with dogs.

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