halo, film

[Non-Awesomed Version] Halo: FortressCraft Evolved Teaser

Halo FortressCraft Evolved Teaser

I think this has had four names now, but we finally settled on Halo: FortressCraft Evolved. Halo: FortressCraft Evolved Teaser was created under Microsoft’s “Game Content Usage Rules” using assets from Halo Wars, © Microsoft Corporation.

http://www.xbox.com/en-us/community/developer/rules

Based off the beloved game Halo: Combat Evolved and set in 2552, this feature length film takes the story of Halo and puts it in a world more alien than Halo it's self. FortressCraft.

Master Chief Just Another Victim

First I'll say this: I liked District 9.

However, I never really thought Neill Blomkamp was really the best choice to do the Halo film, and reading this quote in his interview with Rotten Tomatoes only confirmed it for me:

But the flip side is that the reason I wanted to do Halo in the first place, and the reason I was so energised to do Halo, is that creatively I love it. I totally love the universe of Halo on every level. Not only is it this epic space saga but Master Chief is such an awesome character. This guy - whether he knows it or not - is a victim of this military-industrial complex. It's a totally compelling world to be involved in.

I can easily see where Blomkamp gets that interpretation.

At the same time, that's not Halo. That's not the story we saw in the Halo games, and it's not the story we saw in the novels.

It's actually closer to the story in Marathon, although the source of the victimization there isn't the amorphous "military industrial complex" but their avatars, the three AIs aboard the colony ship Marathon, and the alien species that Durandal puts humanity into contact with, and later foments revolution among (the slaver Phfor and their slaves, the S'pht).

If the subtext of a Halo film by Blomkamp would have been that, when all is said and done, Cortana was "honored to serve" with the Master Chief because she was programmed to, and that the Master Chief saved Earth and humanity from the Flood, from the Halo array, and from the Covenant because he was a victim, then I think it's just as well that film never got made. Not everything needs to be made ironic.

A film based on a theme like that would be interesting to watch, and I'd like to see it, whether directed by Blomkamp or someone else.

A film based on the Halo games might also be interesting, and if it looked good I'd also consider going to see it.

I just don't think these two things have much in common with each other. Blomkamp's admittedly accurate, but undeniably cynical interpretation of the Chief's motives is a bitter baker's chocolate I want nowhere near my chunky peanut butter Halo.

PS: Another podcast episode due out very very shortly, although it does look like I might miss the deadline of getting the last episodes out before ODST drops by a few hours. The last two episodes are mercifully short (at least compared to the two-plus hour endurance test that was The Covenant.

Writer: Halo Film Still Dead; Fall Of Reach Film On Track

GameDaily has an interview with writer Stuart Beattie, who is taking Eric Nylund's Halo novel The Fall Of Reach and adapting it into a film script.

Beattie was the writer on Pirates of the Carribbean and G.I. Joe, and wrote a Gears of War script last year.

Spartan's Stupid Helmet

Hello all,

On You-Tube i was looking around for Halo Funnies, but i found a H1 movie instead, what happend was at the end of the game he took his helmet of but you dont get to see it. Then there was another ending that when he took his Helmet off, he had a similar, smaller helmet underneath. This movie is really funny but i dont know if its real. All you have to search is "Spartans Face".

Skull-Seeker 4 life!!

Spartans Paperazzi

Staten: MC Would Have Had Supporting Role In Halo Film

Newsweek columnist N'Gai Croal interviewed Bungie's Joe Staten about the Halo 3, Halo 2, and the Halo movie back in August of 2007. The first part is online now. Croal picked out one blockbuster revelation by Staten to highlight in a second post prior to the publication of part two, however: that the faceless Master Chief wasn't really going to be the film's protagonist.

In the film, the other characters begin to comment on Master Chief's anonymity, like "Who is he?" and "What's his story?" He becomes a really wonderful source of mystery, a sort of anonymous problem solver. So we definitely worked on that. In the final version of the script the Master Chief was certainly absolutely critical to the film, but there were other characters around him which carried most of it, that did most of the emotional heavy lifting. The Master Chief was there in support of their story.

Staten also does confirm something that many fans have long suspected, and that even some people "in the know" have expressed doubt at: that Halo 2 was supposed to be the end of the story. Staten says, "we didn't think we were necessarily going to make Halo 3. I mean, we made Halo 1 not knowing we were going to make Halo 2. So we started out designing Halo 2 not thinking that we were going to make a Halo 3." Halo 2's third act, even though it was different from what we got in Halo 3, could have ended the story. Halo 2's cliffhanger simply made it impossible to stop there.

All those who think there must be a Halo 4 should take heed of that.

Halo Movie

halomovie-wetaWarthog01USE.jpg

Real Halo Warthog

Not sure if this has already been posted (and if it has been sorry) but I just found this today. It's a test drive of a real warthog. I'm not really sure what they did but it's awesome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3RnSCS4bh4&mode=related&search=

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

Frankie does a good impression of Officer Barbrady while talking to Game Informer about the Microsoft-Bungie split:

GI: Are you at all surprised by the response to this?

O'Connor: Not really. It's Microsoft, and that's the big story, right? The Wall Street Journal doesn't care about Bungie Studios, but it cares about Microsoft business, and that's how they see it. So I'm not that surprised. I think the problem for some of those guys is when they actually talk to us and see what the real story is, it's just not terribly controversial for either the platform or the business. It's a nice, happy story where everyone makes out like a bandit.

If you're looking for controversy, though, he does manage to refute Shane Kim's spartan comments about the financial impact of the deal, as well as Neill Blomkamp's statement that the Halo movie project is dead:

Fiscally speaking, we get a better share of profits because we own Bungie now, so our future IPs--or at least the things that we create in the future--we'll do better from.

Another situation where some well-applied zero sum analysis shows that someone's not telling the whole truth. Asked how much Microsoft would lose from publishing future third party Bungie projects, as opposed to first party, Kim said "none". Now Frankie's saying Bungie will get to keep more of their own revenue, which is entirely reasonable as an independent studio. They also get to cover their own costs, of course, which Microsoft no longer has to do.

There are only two ways to look at these opposing viewpoints. Either Bungie cost Microsoft as much as they made (very unlikely) or Kim is not being entirely factual when he says this deal has no financial impact on Microsoft.

Oh, and that Halo movie? Perhaps not as dead as was thought:

O'Connor: I haven't seen that, but being declared dead is probably one studio's viewpoint, and we still own the intellectual property, as far as Microsoft is concerned. Nobody can declare it dead except the owner of the IP.

Which, in this case, is Microsoft, and not Bungie.

Did Bungie seek independence because it wanted to work on non-Halo projects, projects Microsoft did not support? Not so, says Frankie:

O'Connor: You know, the funny thing about that is that Microsoft has always been supportive of us making new IPs--our timeline and the size of our studio has prevented any really serious branching, but we've always had people working on other ideas. It's scheduling. We made Halo--a huge success--decided to make a Halo 2, and that pretty much guaranteed that we would be making a trilogy at that point, because we had a lot of story to tell.

Honestly, if we'd said to Microsoft after Halo 1, "We want to go make something different, would you support us?" they would have said, "Yes, of course. Just tell us what you need." They've never stymied our creative endeavors. They've simply held us to the promises that we'd made to them--and those promises were Halo 1, Halo 2 and Halo 3. If we'd said we want to go off and make a puzzle game, they'd have supported us whole-heartedly, with the assumption that we'd make a good puzzle game.

One final thing: perhaps this will finally put to rest the Marathon-Halo connections people keep making:

O'Connor: There was no legal reason for that, but Bungie will continue to be coy about the relationship between Marathon and Halo. They do exist in separate universes and timelines, but I wouldn't rule out any possible linkages.

That ought to do it.

Halo Movie Is Deader Than Dead

Creativity Online interviews film director Neill Blomkamp about the promotional shorts he did for Halo 3, and in the process, finds out that the Halo movie project is a lot more dead than most fans think, and that the shorts were entirely separate, and not part of an attempt to lure Hollywood back into the project:

There's such a massive misconception about what those are. In essence, those pieces have zero to do with the film. Like less than zero. I worked on the film for a few months and we developed a lot of things during that time, and none of that has anything to do with the shorts. Long, long long after the film died, Bungie and Microsoft asked me if I wanted to be involved in the Halo 3 promotional stuff, just because I knew all of the guys at Bungie, and I was like Yeah, sure, that sounds like fun. I went about starting to make those three pieces back with a lot of the guys from Weta who had made the original film. All of the design and everything that we'd made for the film is just locked up in some locker somewhere, so all of the stuff for the shorts is specifically for the short films, from scratch.

Thanks for the heads-up on this story to Louis Wu at HBO.

Halo Film Script By Garland Resurfaces

Is Cortana Insubordinate?

1Up is running a story to the effect that the alleged Halo film script by Alex Garland, famously referred to at Latino Review, and that I also wrote a few pieces on back in 2005, has been "recovered".

As if it had been lost.

1Up's just running a few pages of it at a time, of course.

Want the whole thing? Download it here. As usual, registration and login are required.

WARNING! If you haven't played Halo, this might contain... well, you know.. spoilers.

Login or register to download the attached file.

Microsoft Will Not Go It Alone On Halo Film

Buried near the bottom of an interview by Dean Takahashi over at the Mercury News interview with Microsoft's president of Entertainment and Devices Robbie Bach, comes the news that Microsoft will look for other studios to make the Halo film with, or give up the project.

Does it make sense for Microsoft to be in the movie business? It’s not what we do, nor would I anticipate us ever doing it. So it’s a different business with a different business model. We happen to have great intellectual property with Halo that could be made into a great movie. The No. 1 criteria for us is we have to be confident a great movie is going to be made. It doesn’t matter if Universal and Fox do it or somebody else does it. Frankly, if we didn’t think a good movie would be produced, we would rather have no movie.

Given the mix of nervousness and enthusiasm for the Halo film, is this good news-- that Microsoft will do it right, or not at all? Or bad news?

Halo Film Indefinitely Delayed?

Coming Soon has up what it claims is an official press release from Wingnut Films, detailing a joint decision by Microsoft and Wingnut to delay production of the Halo feature film until such time as they can guarantee they'll be bringing a "first class film" version of the game to screens.

Cinema Blend linked to the story with some additional commentary along the lines of go big, or stay home. Looks like the Chief is staying home... for now.

Until there's confirmation from Bungie or Microsoft we're labelling this one an unfortunate rumor.

Fox, Universal Pull Funding For Halo Movie

Cinema Blend and CanMag have two completely different takes on the same event. Apparently, just before making an initial payment, Universal and Fox asked Microsoft and the producers to lower their profit-sharing on the Halo movie. Microsoft refused, and now Fox and Universal are out of the picture.

Cinema Blend says this means the Halo film is "almost dead" while CanMag assures us it means Microsoft knows the worth of the project and will easily find new studio backing.

The proposed budget for the project is reportedly $145 million (with a reduction to $128 million achieved by filming in New Zealand).

UPDATE: Related stories on Variety, Joystiq, Voodoo Extreme.

'We Wanted Somebody Who Was A Real Halo Fan'

Quint at Ain't It Cool News has put up part three of five in his interview with Halo movie producer Peter "Freakin" Jackson. Unlike just about everybody at Bungie, Jackson actually likes to talk and talk about Halo, so there's loads of content in here. It is probably too far out from the film's expected release to hold him to anything concrete in here, but what comes across loud and clear is his enthusiasm for first-time feature director Neill Blomkamp.

Despite a complete lack of confirmation from Microsoft or Bungie Studios, Jackson appears to have no compunction whatsoever about mentioning Blomkamp as the film's direcvtor, and addressing the reasons for choosing him:

We certainly didn't set out with HALO to find a first time filmmaker to do HALO. We wanted somebody on HALO that would have 3 qualities. One, a very important one, is that they wanted to do it really badly. They had to be absolute HALO fans. That was important because there are a lot of people who would be happy to do HALO for the paycheck, there's a lot of people who would be happy to do it for the publicity they're going to get from it and the kick it'll give to their career and all that and all of that sort of stuff. There's lots of reasons to do HALO that would be attractive if you're not a HALO fan, but we didn't want any of those people, we wanted somebody who was a real HALO fan.

Most fans, I think, will be happy if Blomkamp is really as big a Halo fan as it seems, and if Jackson says it's not a big deal that he hasn't already done a feature-length film before, then who am I to argue?

For those keen on details, there are a lot of other things mentioned in the interview:

  • The film may have a PG-13 theatrical release and possibly an R rated DVD release, but this has not been discussed yet.
  • Flood design is apparently being done with CG.
  • Jackson and his wife, Fran Walsh, are not actually writing the script but functioning as "script police" and nothing will go in without their approval.

There's also plenty of talk about what's going on now. The script is apparently in its third iteration now, Alex Garland's being the first, and presumably D. B. Weiss' being the most current, although Jackson doesn't mention him in the interview.

While that's being done, Blomkamp is working with WETA on the designs, since regardless of how the script turns out, you can be fairly sure about who the major players are, and the games already tell you pretty much what they look like. For the record, Jackson says that in the film we're going to get:

  • Covenant
  • Warthogs
  • Ghosts
  • Scorpions
  • Pillar of Autumn

Of course, no doubt Jackson does not intend this to be a complete list, so the fact that Wraiths, Shadows, Spectres, Phantoms, Pelicans are not mentioned doesn't mean they won't be in the film. Nor, as unlikely as it seems, does the inclusion of any of the aforementioned items constitute a guarantee that they'll be in the film, although that would be a pretty good bet to make.

What Jackson does promise is that Blomkamp's vision for the film will be unique:

We're still developing a script and we've still got work to go on the script and that's underway, but while that's happening Neill is just producing his vision of this world. It is original and new and has not been seen before on the screen. It's not Ridley Scott, it's not James Cameron, it's not what we've seen before, but it's something new and fresh and it's cool. That was important to us. Someone who was going to not go the cliched way, but go in the direction that they had an original vision for and Neill has got that in spades. We're feeling really, really good.

Think about it, in a couple of years, we all might be able to feel as good about the Halo film as Jackson does right now.

Is Blomkamp A Good Choice Or Not?

Narcogen on XBL

Since an announcement at Xbox.com appeared and was just as quickly removed, the Halo community has been awash in discussion about the apparent appointment of Neill Blomkamp as director of the silver screen adaptation of Halo. Neither Microsoft Game Studios nor Bungie Studios have chosen to comment on the announcement, although Blomkamp himself has granted two interviews on the subject: one to Ain't It Cool News, and the other a gracious response to two questions submitted by the Red vs Blue fan community, which was keen to know whether the movie would draw from the games or the novels (and from which of each) and also if there could possibly be any easter eggs in the movie for RvB fans.

Official Secrets And Common Knowledge
The withdrawal of the official notice as well as refusal to comment by Microsoft and Bungie would seem to smack of a premature announcement, rather than an erroneous one. If the later, Blomkamp would seem to be just going along with the joke, and having us on until such time as an official announcement is made. If the former, one wonders why Microsoft simply doesn't ask Peter Jackson and Blomkamp from refraining from giving interviews until there is an official announcement.

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