When I first moved to Los Angeles in 1990, there were already rumors that Steven Spielberg was interested in making a live-action version of "Tintin."  Evidently, he was a huge fan from childhood, and he considered it one of those great untapped properties.  In the 20 years since then, there have been any number of near-misses for the character as Spielberg has continually tried to figure out how to bring him to life on the bigscreen.

So it's a little strange to finally see a trailer for "Tintin," which no longer appears to be using the "Secret of the Unicorn" subtitle.  There were two different posters for the film that appeared online yesterday, one on Empire, one on Ain't It Cool, and it appears there are some slight differences in the domestic and the international versions of the trailer as well.

For those of us in the US, Apple.com is hosting the trailer, [update: it's embedded below now too] and I took the time to download the full 1080p version because I wanted to be able to really look at the work and see it in motion and, most importantly, check out the eyes.  Sure enough, WETA once again proves that they are the best company out there for this sort of thing.  They give life to these characters that has eluded many people who have worked in motion-capture (coughRobertZemeckiscough), and it really does seem to hinge on how well the eyes work.

Beyond that, though… holy cow.  This looks like Spielberg working in "Raiders" mode again, a giant international adventure, and it looks like they've brought Herge's world to life in spectacular fashion.  One of the things I think is most important here is the screenplay credit.  Stephen Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish are the writers on the film, and that alone should get your pulse up.  What a tremendous team.

I know that Americans are less familiar with Tintin as a character than international audiences, but it's not an unknown property here, and in the end, what will matter is the film itself.  This trailer is a lovely tease, and I would assume that they'll spend some real time and energy later introducing Tintin himself and really emphasizing what it is that makes him special.  So far, we're not really seeing any of the iconic supporting cast, either, although we get glimpses of Captain Haddock and the Thomson Twins.  I like that this is really just about showing us what things will look like, the way a good teaser should be.

I hope that this turns out to be the film that Spielberg's been carrying around in his head for the last 20 years, and that it satisfies fans both old and new around the world.  There will be all sorts of expectations heaped on this when it comes out, but if any team can meet or even exceed those expectations, it's this one.

"The Adventures Of Tintin" will be in theaters December 23, 2011.