Steven Spielberg and Paramount have been parceling out glimpses at their big Christmas release The Adventures Of Tintin so stealthily, you could probably chalk it up to marketing acumen—an old-fashioned strategy of building suspense in a climate where the relentless digging of the Internet makes that all but impossible. But as the first trailer suggests, there could well be another reason: As soon as anyone gets a good look at Spielberg’s motion-captured version of the Belgian comic hero in action, his gamble could take a tumble right down into the Uncanny Valley, hitting every branch on the Robert Zemeckis ugly tree along the way.
So that’s exactly what you don’t get in this brief preview, which is all quick cuts, action sequences, and atmosphere created by ominous alleyways and sweeping landscapes, and just the barest hints of the characters who will be filling them in. Most importantly—beyond the voiceover—no one says a word, thereby avoiding ruining all the magic with a bit of dead-eyed doll emoting. Granted, chances are there are also technical reasons for withholding, and that Peter Jackson’s WETA workshop is still fine-tuning all of these elements. And obviously soon enough we’ll have a better idea of what’s really in store. But judging from this, at least, it seems like even the filmmakers know that their entire fate hinges on the second Tintin finally opens his mouth.