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Halo. One of the most successful video game franchises of all time that has broken countless records and won numerous awards by developers Bungie and later on 343 Industries, has brought countless hours of entertainment to game enthusiasts.
The fan base is so large that people have created full blown Master Chief costumes and 9 foot Elite costumes.
The canon of the Halo Universe spans several millennia, with different key characters from different alien species, and covers numerous story arcs.
The production for some of the advertising on the games has run into the millions, that it’s become a usual MO to have them all in live-action.
With the success of the games, and its advertising, Microsoft Studios and 343 have created two TV mini-series, Forward Unto Dawn and Halo: Nightfall.
Forward Unto Dawn is set around the character of Thomas Lasky and how a Covenant invasion almost killed him and his entire training squad if it weren’t for the Master Chief.
Halo: Nightfall is set around Agent Locke, of the uber-secret Office of Naval Intelligence, that sets off on a mission to find the deadly bomb makers that have set up camp on a derelict piece of Halo ring.
After watching both mini-series, we have one thing to say to 343 and Microsoft.
To go on a gripe, the latest TV series, Halo: Nightfall, although produced by Ridley Scott, isn’t the greatest of achievements to come from the Halo universe. The poor CGI, the flippant disregard to certain canon, the lack of deep story, it just didn’t do justice to something that could have been so much more.
The story is set around a team of ONI officials and a squad of colonial authorities (one that turns out to be an ex-Spartan) that have determined that a faction of Covenant are creating dirty bombs that only target humans. They find this information out from an alien that has never been introduced to the Halo canon. No formal announcement, no clarification on who they are, what they want and how they came to be, just “oh we’re sick of using the same aliens all the time, let’s throw a curve ball!”
What’s even worse is that these bombs are being produced on a broken part of Halo ring orbiting a sun, and still has a breathable atmosphere…somehow. It’s up for the team to destroy the bomb making materials and get out of dodge.
Oh but there’s a wonderful catch that is great for building suspense.
The aliens that make up the Hunters from the game, are individual worms that form a massive colony to make up the hulking behemoths. In this, they are “attracted” to the squads technology….somehow. Again, something that is never fully explained and a complete disregard to the canon.
The two reasons this was made was to fork money out of Halo fans, and for 343 to shell out an introduction to Agent Locke before his massive debut in Halo 5. But in so doing, they’ve let a “writer” who probably never picked up a copy of Halo, and let him reign loose.
Forward Unto Dawn was a little better, especially in choosing it’s casting, but it did come off a little High School Boot Camp. They probably thought they could save money by getting Daniel Cudmore (Colossus from X2) stand alongside smaller late teen, early twenty year olds to further show off Master Chief’s huge stature (in the canon he’s supposed to be well over 7 foot). Looking back, on this mini-series, it could have been played a little better.
**END OF SPOILERS*
But with both mini-series made for television, you know that there’s going to be a certain level of restriction. Namely their budget. Now this isn’t saying that they tried to cut corners, both films cost around the 12 million US dollar mark to create. But the main problem is setting up the CGI and logistics of creating the Covenant. Namely the Elites.
Each Elite is in excess of 7 feet tall, something that is a little tricky to show in large groups of them considering there aren’t many actors that fit that description to jump in a costume.
Of course, this argument can be countered with James Cameron’s Avatar where the Na’vi are 9 foot tall head to toe blue cat-like aliens…with tails. But the problem is with that one is that the technology that made Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington into the Na’vi is extremely expensive and relatively new. Avatar alone cost over $300 million to film and produce. Something that very few films can boast about. (Ed; large productions don’t make great films, just look at Hook)
Anywho, before we veer off anymore, the point is that 343 Industries need to stop pratting about with TV mini-series. You’ve done it, we’ve seen it and to be honest, the fans really don’t want them. Give the fans the Master Chief battling huge armies of the Covenant, the gargantuan space battles that the books glamorise, and the lore that we’ve come to respect.
But of course, this is all up to the film’s producers. Halo is a behemoth of a challenge to produce. Like we said, the entire universe stretches back several millennia so it would be really difficult on where to begin. Heck, you can say that the first time we ever see the Master Chief is in the middle of the entire Halo canon.
However, if done correctly, it could earn a place in the top ten grossing films of all time. If managed poorly, it could be the biggest flop and a huge financial crush to whomever has the film rights to it.
Truth be told the idea of a Halo film has circled development hell for so long that it might just be in perpetual limbo. 20th Century Fox and Universal were planning on creating a film after they saw the success of the first two Halo games, but disagreements were rife among the two companies on who was going to pay for what.
The idea for a director of the film was circling Peter Jackson for a time. The creator of the Lord of the Rings films has been said that when he was shooting the films, he would unwind with some of the actors by playing Halo. Ideally he would be the choice candidate for a director, he certainly has the technology to create vast armies and epic battles, with the intellect to bring an emotional drama on a near stoic character.
There, I’m done. Now I want to cry cos this is something I really want but not get messed up at the same time.
Let us know if you agree!