Halo has been one of my favorite franchises ever since I played the first game a little less then a decade ago. Now I own every game, and novel, that take place in the Halo universe. Thousands no, millions, of people have been begging for a Halo movie ever since the first game (Halo: Combat Evolved) graced the original Xbox back in 2001, and we almost got one too.
In 2007, when Halo‘s popularity was at its peak, Peter Jackson, the Academy Award winning director of Lord of the Rings and King Kong, was teaming up with his prodigy, Neil Blomkamp director of District 9, to direct a Halo movie. They started pre-production (planning, concept design, story-boarding etc.) and continued to work on the film for several months but in the end they could not get the funding for the movie because of the dumb politics of Universal and Fox. So the movie that could have been the event of the decade fell apart, and since then has not been really getting too much attention from Hollywood producers. At least we got District 9 out of it, which ended up being utterly brilliant, showcasing Blomkamp’s talent, and becoming one of my favorite movies.
The reasons why a Halo movie could be so phenomenal are its epic scope, thrilling story, and great characters. While it might not seem like the stories in the games are really all that interesting, the books greatly expand on the events that take place in the Halo universe and make them much more gripping. The first Halo novel, “The Fall of Reach”, is actually a prequel to the first Halo game and displays the awesome backstory of Master Chief, the hero of the Halo universe. This great book is what I want the first movie to be based on.
Synopsis of the Book (from back cover): “Legends are not simply born… They are willed into existence. Humanity has expanded beyond the Sol System. There are hundreds of planets we now call “home.” The United Nations Space Command now struggles to control this vast empire. After exhausting all strategies to keep insurrections from exploding into interplanetary war, the UNSC has one last hope. At the Office of Naval Intelligence, Dr. Catherine Halsey has been hard at work on a top secret program that could bring an end to all this conflict…and it starts with seventy-five children, among them a six-year old boy named John. Halsey never guessed that this little boy would become humanity’s final hope against a vast, alien force hell-bent on wiping us out. This is the story of John 117… the Master Chief, and of the battles that brought humanity face-to-face with its possible extinction.”
To give a little more detail, the seventy-five children are all kidnapped from their families and then trained and bio-augmented to become super-soldiers called Spartan II’s . The can lift, thousands of pounds, run more than twice as fast as an Olympic sprinter, jump straight over a twenty-foot wall, and can move five times faster than a normal human. They end up wearing highly sophisticated (and frickin’ sweet-looking) armor that projects an over-shield and amplifies their strength, speed and agility, while giving them all sorts of needed intel.
Sounds pretty great right? On screen, with a few diversions from the book, this story would be truly epic. The story also has many themes that I think could really resonate with the audience: Brotherhood and loyalty between the Spartan soldiers who, together, were trained from the age of six to be the greatest warriors earth has ever known; great despair and loss in the face of an enemy so powerful, vicious, and advanced; and the hope that these now legendary warriors give to humanity. I believe the tone should be in line with something like the Lord of the Rings with maybe a little less humor and a good bit more violence. It would end up being rated R though if I had my way.
This part of this movie that has the most potential is the visuals. Enormous space and land battles involving millions of people and thousands of vehicles, taking place on hundreds of different planets. The the fighting ability of the Spartans, and their alien counterparts called “Elites”, could lead to some simply amazing action scenes. When visualizing what the movie could look like just think Avatar meets Star Wars, with some Aliens (1986) and maybe a little bit of The Thing (1982) thrown in. It just a huge, sci-fi, war movie on the largest scale imaginable.
The Halo games all have some of, if not the best soundtracks ever in the gaming business and the main Halo theme could translate to the big screen extremely well. Marty O’Donnell composed those soundtracks and I don’t know if he’s up for a movie of this size, but he should get a chance to try. He’s never really had the resources that people like John Williams or Hans Zimmer have so with a whole orchestra and studio to himself he could probably come up with something awesome. If not there’s always people like the aforementioned Williams and Zimmer along with many other big name composers who could rework the game scores into something amazing. The Halo music is already one of the most recognizable themes out there.
I know this sounds ridiculous, but my dream is to one day become a screenwriter/director and this is honestly my dream movie. I know exactly how I want the film to look, feel and sound and just know it could end up being something that’s extremely awesome. The thing is a good Halo movie would require a very large budget, most likely 200 to 300 million dollars to accurately depict the scope and scale of the Halo story, and it would be a one-in-a-milli0n chance that I would ever be in control of a movie that size.
Just to show you just a small taste of what a Halo movie could look like, here are two great live-action trailers made for the games Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST.
Both of those are pretty awesome right? They’re great and they were made with relatively small budgets when compared to feature length movies. A good Halo movie would no doubt make tons of money and could definitely start a series that is based on the games, but they need to get someone with a lot of talent to be in charge of these productions, and in order to be good, the person must also care about the universe and sincerely know that they have to do it justice. I have no doubt that, if in the right hands, Halo could be the best sci-fi epic ever put on the big screen.