There are a number of animated Tintin's, and there is an brisk industry in making live-action big-budget Asterix films (with Gerard Depardieu as Obelix). So why not make Tintin into a grand film live-action film for the theatres?
Instead, we have this strange mix of live people made into animated creatures, which is how The Polar Express was done. Tintin looks like a animated statue from Mme Tussaud's. I'm not sure why they're doing this, but I'll hazard a guess.
Tintin is an immortal, timeless brand. He is a simply and brilliantly drawn character, and that doesn't work with real people. Sure, you could get Shia Labaoef or Justin Bieber to portray Tintin in an instance of celebrity casting to get bums in seats. But could you imagine either of these guys with a cropped head and a little tuft of blonde hair sitting perfectly atop his head? Could you take seriously a real person with that hair, plus-fours (the Tintin pants), a blue sweater, deck shoes, and what is probably a dickey? Does anyone even know what plus-fours and a dickey are? Tintin dresses like this all the time.
Captain Haddock wears an officer's cap and a blue sweater with an anchor stencilled on the front. Always. The Thompsons are two men (not identical twins) who look and dress alike, finish each other's sentences, and sleep in the same room. In some Tintin books, Snowy the Dog can talk. I don't think there is any way this can be done with real people. It wouldn't be taken seriously.
I'm not sure why the Tintin books can portray amazing stories, real emotions, suspense, murder, Moon landings, treasure hunts, Lovecraftian Mayan conspiracies, and brilliant commentary on politics and power, through these buffonish characters. But it works.
Looking back at what I've written, I accept the decision to go the hi-tech animated way. This will go a long way towards suspending the viewers' belief. And if it doesn't, we'll always have the books. They'll never get old.
The movies makes it to North America on December 21st. I'll probably be there with my kids. Here's the trailer.
Edit: From the trailer, this movie appears to mix together several Tintin plots into one convoluted mass. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'll probably see it anyway.