A movie adaptation of the massively popular Microsoft video game franchise, Halo, has been talked about for a good five or so years now. At one point it was rolling forward steadily with Neil Blomkamp (before anyone had a clue who he was) attached to direct and Peter Jackson set to produce. At the time, things weren’t quite what they are now and a rising budget forced backers Universal and Fox to pull out and everything to fall apart around the project.
Little did they know at the time, that soon it would be much easier to do big budget effects with less cost. And in a cruel twist of ironic fate, it was Jackson and Blomkamp who left Halo and went on to make a little movie called District 9 on a minor $30 million budget, which received critical praise, over $210 million at the box office, and even a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. Knowing this knowledge, we probably would already have at least one Halo movie, and judging by how popular the games are, more would be on the way.
Unfortunately, that’s not how things work. Halo has remained in purgatory, coming up for air once in a great while. Last we really heard about a possible movie was last August before District 9 was even released, when it sounded like Steven Spielberg would be stepping in to help produce it (Read: A Beacon Of Hope Emerges For The D.O.A. “˜Halo’ Movie & Its Name Is Steven Spielberg), but nothing since.
But that doesn’t mean that the Halo movie is dead. Or at least, that’s not what Microsoft wants you to think. Frank O’Connor, who oversees the entire Halo franchise for Microsoft, recently reaffirmed that they still hold all rights to future movies, and that scripts by Stuart Beattie, Alex Garland, D.B. Weiss, and Josh Olson are still in play as well.
Here’s what O’Connor had to say:
We’re still interested in making an excellent ‘Halo’ movie. We’ve created an awful lot of documentation and materials to support a feature film. We have a good idea of what kind of story we want to tell, but won’t move on it until there’s a great reason to do it. We’re in no particular hurry.
And therein lies the problem. No particular hurry? As a major video game fan, I remember playing Halo all the time. It was one of the best games ever made at that time, and the thought of a huge movie based on it was the ultimate excitement. But games have come an awful long way since then, and the movie isn’t as important as it was when Halo 3 came out. If you made this movie then, it probably could have sucked and still made a ridiculous amount of money. Now, however, it has to be something special in order to get people to the box office, and that will be no easy accomplishment. Especially with the fact that it, much like BioShock, doesn’t have a vocal main character, meaning they have to create a personality, voice, and face under the helmet for someone everyone had their own visualization of. Even with Halo: Reach — the supposed last game in the series…by Bungie — set to come out soon, this movie isn’t moving yet and that game will not do nearly as well as others have (by my estimation, anyway).
For me, the longer they wait to make a Halo movie, the worse off it will be. People out there still want to see what it looks like, but you can’t just keep writing scripts and assume it’ll work out whenever you decide to greenlight. It has to be big, insanely entertaining, and have the talent behind it to assure quality is at a maximum. Wait too long, and you’re looking at a no-name director (who most likely will not go on to become another Neil Blomkamp), and a mountain that gets increasingly harder to climb with each passing day.
So that brings us to the ultimate question: are you still excited about the thought of a Halo movie, or do you just not care anymore?