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Halo Movie Scribe Talks Game Faithfulness

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the as-long-as-it's-good dept.


simoniker writes "Author DB Weiss has confirmed that he's currently writing a Halo movie screenplay for producers that include LOTR/King Kong's Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. When asked whether he was concerned about criticism from the long-time fans of any of his movie adaptations, Weiss commented: 'There will be the 5% on the fringe of any hardcore fanbase that get angry about any change you make to the source material. The truth is that novels, games, comics, and what-have-you are not usually ready to be slapped up on screen as-is.' In fact, Weiss suggests of this particular issue: 'If you did do a 100% faithful version, 999 times out of 1000 it would be a mess, and even the 5%-ers would recognize as much.'"

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Could be worst... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15719995)

When the guy who made "Silent Hill" was asked how he made his movie, he replied in a magazine article: "Suck and blow just like Uwe Boll!"

Re:Could be worst... (1)

UberMench (906076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724807)

I think the simple fact that Uwe Boll is nowhere near this movie will increase its quality compared to other videogame movies. Perhaps Halo will end up being more than another steaming Boll of horse crap.

All I care about. (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720061)

Is it going to be a good movie? Really I can forgive a writer for changing the story here and there (Halo after all is not writen anything like a movie) if the end product stands on it's own and is enjoyable to watch. There are two things to avoid: being too much like the game (hard to watch, non-gamers don't get it) and reworking the story so much it has no relation to the game (The game fanboys will pan it and not encorage others to see it). Anyway... that's my opinion... I'm sure there is a German director out there who will chalenge me to a fist fight over it.

Re:All I care about. (1)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720103)

I agree, there are somethings that may just not play well on a movie screen that need to be changed slightly. If it's got the Master Chief and the Covenant and Halo, then I think we're good to go. If some of the details need to be adjusted to make for a good story, then fine.

As long as it's not like a certain D&D movie where the only way you knew it was D&D (vs random fantasy) was because of the random spell reference every 15 minutes.

Re:All I care about. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15720262)

I'd like to think they might follow a little of the 3 books I have read that are about Halo ( I thought they were called "The Flood,First Strike,The Fall of Reach". I know the one that actually delt with "Halo" (I thought it was called "The Flood"?) seemed to follow the game rather well (at least it followed the storyline and the main action sceens). Now of course the book didn't follow exactly becuase the game had alot of just kill everything in sight, but I would say it was one of the better adaptations I have seen. I liked the books mainly because they gave alot more story than the game did (altho I only base this on the PC version of Halo as it was the only one I have played).

Re:All I care about. (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720415)

The Fall of Reach would work well because it has a lot more character development for the Master Chief, Cortana, etc. It would also segue into the game very well for those new to the franchise.

The events of Halo 1 and 2 are much more akin to movie sequels.

Re:All I care about. (2, Interesting)

Drachemorder (549870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720421)

Of course you have to make changes when you adapt a story to the big screen. The problem, though, is that the powers-that-be tend to make fundamental changes to the nature of the story, or to the personalities of the characters, for reasons that most fans would consider unjustified. For example: the changes to Faramir's character in Lord of the Rings didn't really serve any constructive purpose. They're explained away as increasing the dramatic tension of the movie by leaving Faramir's motives ambiguous until near the end of the second movie. Most fans consider that a fundamental change to the way Tolkien originally wrote the character, which is something not to be done frivolously. On the other hand, the decision to remove Tom Bombadil and otherwise streamline the first part of the Fellowship movie has very real justification, in that you have a limited amount of time in which to tell the story. You simply cannot include everything; therefore things that don't contribute directly to the Main Quest are legitimate candidates for deletion. (Tom Bombadil, it's argued, serves an important purpose in the book, but it's not one that contributes very much to the downfall of Sauron).

So, to my way of thinking, if you're adapting a book or a game to the movies, you need to try to preserve the fundamental character of the story as much as possible and not make changes that frivolously undermine it. Nearly all adaptations I've seen have failed in this to one degree or another. Sometimes the end result can overcome these flaws (as in LOTR, which was a very good set of movies in its own right), but sometimes the failure is pretty much absolute (a vast array of movies I could name).

Re:All I care about. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15733705)

No, the problem is that they don't make ENOUGH changes. They end up trying to navigate two polar opposite goals: make a good film and still keep all the characters/plot of the original (even the lame characters, pointless plot points, and stuff that's just designed to set up the next big boss battle). Oh yeah, and do both in 2 hours of screen time!


Different Mediums Require Different Elements (3, Interesting)

conigs (866121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720063)

I still maintain that movies based off anything need to make changes from the original source material, especially when adapted from a video game. Films, books, video games and TV shows are all different mediums and should be treated as such.

A video game is an interactive experience. The audience (player) is involved in what direction and pace the story goes. That doesn't translate well into a passive experience like a movie. Just take the nuts and bolts of the game (characters & scenerios) and place them into a storyline related to, but not a carbon copy of the video game.

Though Halo (and the earlier Marathon series for Mac) does have a pretty good basis for a movie, I don't want to sit down and basically watch filmmakers play the game in real life.

Re:Different Mediums Require Different Elements (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720162)

Exactly. It's like (oh boy, analogy time) taking a vehicle that people really like to drive on the road and trying to make it float on water or fly. It requires a lot of adjustments to get it to work right... though it still needs to stick to the over-all original design (like the car analogy, if people mainly liked it because it was roomy and you go in and make the flying version not roomy... it's gonna piss people off). As long as Ew Blows (yes, intentionally spelled incorrectly) isn't directing the Halo movie, it has promise!

Re:Different Mediums Require Different Elements (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15733654)

The problem is that the Master Chief is a non-character in the game. He has no discernible personality, no history, no gender, no ethnicity, not even a face (literally). The guy has no identity except for that suit (which is going to look completely silly in live-action, BTW). The Aribitor is a much more interesting chracter. Hell, virtually everyone in the game is more interesting than the Master Chief.

In other words, if you truly wanted to make a decent Halo movie, the first thing you should do is cut the Master Chief out of it.

Since the studio would never allow that, it will be virtually impossible to do a decent story for the film. It will be yet another steaming CGI-laden turdfest along the same lines as Doom 3.


Halo/Marathon universe isn't like other games.. (1)

shidarin'ou (762483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720077)

If he says this, I fear for the movie. While many of us see the average Halo player as mindless, the Halo Marathon universe is probably one of the most detailed universes out there- way more detailed than say.. Super Mario Brothers.. or Resident Evil (which is one of the more detailed ones out there).

There's many, many unexplained things that I would hope the movie could elaborate on, rather than confuddle the whole thing some more.

"So, in the movie, Master Chief's really a Spht transexual refugee?"
"Yes, we felt that it enabled the movie to make the adaptation from the game easier"

I don't hope/want/expect just to see Halo 1 BUT IN A MOVIE FORMAT but rather an entirely different story.

Re:Halo/Marathon universe isn't like other games.. (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720840)

I'd say the Metal Gear universe is just as movie worthy if not more for the same reasons you state.

I would like to see a Halo (or MGS) Movie flesh out other themes and parts of the story not explored in the games.

Like the relationship between Zone of the Enders and it's associated Anime and movie.

Well, at least DOOM was faithful and successful! (2, Funny)

Patented (987523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720109)

Just like Mortal Kombat, Houses of the Dead, and Super Mario Brothers...

Oh, wait...

Re:Well, at least DOOM was faithful and successful (1)

cb8100 (682693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720148)

Well, hopefully, the Halo movie won't have flashes of the actual Halo video game (with "Insert Coin to Play") popping up sporadicly, ala House of the Dead.

Re:Well, at least DOOM was faithful and successful (2, Insightful)

Jakhel (808204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720729)

I would argue that Mortal Kombat, the first one in the trilogy, doesn't belong in this list. It was actually well done for a video game to movie adaptation. Well done in the sense that it stayed true to its video game roots, special movies and actors in the movie were pretty much dead on with the video game, and was not a complete suckfest like Mario Brothers or House of the Dead. Also, the storyline was not altered too much.

Re:Well, at least DOOM was faithful and successful (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15724565)

The initial release was delayed because it turned out better than expected, and somebody coughed up some extra money to improve the special effects!

Games and Books are a little different... (2, Interesting)

Andrew Nagy (985144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720176)

Making adaptations to games is a lot different than doing it with books. The reason both usually fail is because they are adaptations. Successful books require a level in depth and detail that is virtually impossible to achieve on screen. Games are targeted toward interaction, which is impossible on the big screen as well.

I read LOTR every year (yes, I'm one of those geeks), and yes, I was sincerely disappointed with the movies. Well, the second two. While I understand that changes need to be made for a book to go to a screen, those changes don't generally include major plot alterations and character distortion as was the case with Faramir, for example, or Theoden.

Now, back on topic. With games, you'd think it'd be a lot easier to transfer the ideas since it's one electronic, viewable media format to another. However, how often have you seen terrible adaptations of games? Wait, shorter answer... how often have you seen good ones? I think the reason there is because the makers are looking too much into how we like games. They think, "games don't offer much plot, depth, or detail (usually), so we shouldn't try to do too much in the movie." IMHO, this is completely backwards. We watch movies for visual plot, depth, and detail. A movie adaptation from a game without those things is like an FPS you can't play, but just watch. Not fun.

So basically, to adapt books, you have to pay way more attention to format than games.

Re:Games and Books are a little different... (2, Insightful)

Okita (853139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720913)

Your first set of statements seem to be a little confusing. You say that "successful books require a level in depth and detail that is virtually impossible to achieve on screen," which I would agree with-- but then also say, "The reason both usually fail is because they are adaptations." In adapting a book to movie, you're taking the core themes and ideas, and playing to the strengths of the movie medium.

I also read LOTR every year, and I found the movies far from disappointing. The book, though I find it to be the finest fantasy novel series written to date, is utterly unfit for screen in its current state. The Battle of the Hornburg in TTT lasts a few pages at most, which would make for an anticlimactic and boring movie. While I was likewise shocked at the movie Faramir, I fully understand that in the books, that entire plot thread is devoid of conflict for a long time, which simply does not create a compelling narrative.

It seems like you're saying that media are different from each other, and therefore we shouldn't even try... But why can't we take the themes and ideas we find really cool about a game and make a great movie about it? Maybe we can, but it won't silence the people who complain character X was changed, or plot events happened in a different order than in the books. Some friends of mine have even complained that the Middle Earth map was different in the movie (when IIRC, the "original" map in the books wasn't even drawn by Tolkien himself, but extracted from his geographical descriptions). The point is, fans need to view these things a little more objectively.

And now, back on topic... If they can keep the great things we like about Halo while still making it Halo, I don't see why the movie won't be spectacular. I think the single greatest danger would be if they decided to leave off the Covenant side of the story, or neglect the criticism of theocracy and zealotry, which is highly relevant to the world we live in today. I do hope they leave out the excruciating and repetitive Library level, though.

like Final Fantasy and not Doom? (1)

cwtrex (912286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720230)

I hope it is created as a realistic looking movie such as Final Fantasy with its great graphics and not real-life with some CGI like Doom. This should allow them much freedom in how they create the film while decreasing the number of cheesy moments. Also, I wonder if they will go into more of how Master Chief was trained/created, etc before he came to the rescue...

Re:like Final Fantasy and not Doom? (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720552)

Doom had rubber monster suits.

I'd rather a quality live-action halo movie be made, with CGI where it is appropriate.

FF: TSW kept bumping into the uncanny valley with it's characters, and that detracted from the movie as a whole. They abstracted the characters enough to avoid this in Advent Children. I don't think the characters of Halo would abstract well to get away with full CG. (At least not the human ones)

Re:like Final Fantasy and not Doom? (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720565)

Oh, and for Master Chief history, read The Fall of Reach. (Decent book)

our preoccupation with crap (4, Interesting)

earache (110979) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720334)

I think the subject says it all.

The rate at which we are recycling our own culture is increasing at a dramatic pace. I often wonder if this has some deeper meaning as it seems that human culture to this point has only really recycled nostalgia, typically recycling an era 20 years prior, but now we're really starting to eat and recycle our own waste in increasingly shorter periods of time.

At some point, we're going to need to inject depth and meaning into our popular culture, because you can only recycle McDonald's so many times. If you catch my meaning.

Re:our preoccupation with crap (3, Insightful)

kthejoker (931838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720655)

Interestingly, Unoriginality in Hollywood *is* something new [] , but you are wrong in your assumption that this is a sign of a lack of depth in the film industry. It was simply poor oversight on their part to not take advantage of likeable characters and existing media before the rise of the Bond film series, the Rocky, Star Wars, and Superman franchises, and so on into our current state.

The simple fact is that we can have our cake and eat it, too. American filmgoers like their sequelized, franchised, overmarketed, easily-hyped crap, but they also like their intelligent, thoughtful works. That's why every major studio has their vanity arthouse studio, too - so you get Fantastic Four and Elektra, but you also get Donnie Darko and Clerks. And, if anything, Hollywood is becoming a bit more enchanted with more budget-conscious movies (witness the frat boy populist comedies of Will Ferrell and the Wilson brothers) and arthouse cinema as an industry itself - to suggest that somehow Hollywood's artistic sensibilities have suffered due to the rise of the sequel and the adaptation is patently false.

If anything, Hollywood is just now starting to stabilize the entire system - the adaptations/blockbusters running on top of the flops, which all help subsidize their "high art" films and other, more mass-marketed (but cheaply made) pop fare (Adam Sandler movies and CGI family films.) The ship is open to all takers; the idea of originality vs. success is a false dilemma.

Re:our preoccupation with crap (1)

mantissa128 (900471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15721379)

Indeed - this was identified as a problem as early as 1997:

U.S. Dept. Of Retro Warns: 'We May Be Running Out Of Past' []

It is satire, but with more than a grain of truth to it - one of The Onion's better articles. I guess we have arrived!


Don't get me started on PJ (0, Flamebait)

rtconner (544309) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720354)

It makes me mad just thinking about those LOTR movies. No no no no no you did NOT have to make Faramir into a freeking idiot!

Ah yes, but movies can make good games (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720357)

Think about this: If Halo the movie kept to the original storyline (Master Chief gets in uniform, debriefing, oh noes attack, etc) and THEN the games came out, we could still have the same basic game we have now as well as a fun thriller / action movie. Nothing needs to change from the plotline in the game to make it a good movie. Dialogue needs to be added as well as some extra "fluff" to make the movie the longer but the basic plot line does not need to be changed.

I have the feeling that they will take this along the lines of Doom though and the aliens won't be aliens, they will action be terrorists and the AI won't be a hologram, she will be an android who constantly needs saving as well as is the main love interest in the movie. On that note, I hope they cast Kate Beckinsale for that role if they do that...

Changes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15720446)

What, no, really? I thought they were just going to film a speedrun or something. /sarcasm

Honestly though, what they should really be thinking is "Will making an action movie set in the Halo universe let us make a better film than one set in a universe we've created?"
I think that failing to consider this point is what has let to a lot of pointlessly bad game tie-in films; particularly since they tend to make the films with the goal of being accesible to someone unfamiliar with the source material, which negates most of the advantage of using it in the first place.

My vision (1)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720463)

I picture something like a starship troopers style script when I think what would make for a good halo movie. Good action, some interesting charachters, but nothing too deep. Keep it simple and fun.

Re:My vision (1)

Fluffy the attack ki (890645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15722164)

<sarcasm>So what you're saying is that they should ditch the powered armor and any halfway cool weapons?</sarcasm>

Please don't hold up Starship Troopers as a positive example for Halo to follow. Having recently played the game should not inhibit one from enjoying the movie.

Bungie wrote a bible already... (2, Informative)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720509)

IIRC when the movie was first being shopped around it was mentioned that Bungie had put together a 'Halo Bible' of sorts to provide clarity and guidance on the storyline. Is he even using this Ultimate Reference? Personally I don't consider myself one of these 5% fringe fans who feel wronged by every edit, but if Bungie has in fact made available a document which provides all of the Halo-world information to make a true-to-form movie then it would be stupid not to at least start with that and then make alterations as needed.

Bungie has already done all the hard work here, they've created the universe, the storyline, the characters, and have sold it to millions of fans who know and love THAT particular version. Working from anything other than the Bungie story source is essentially just throwing all that work out. Stay true to what Bungie created and you're guaranteed almost the entire Halo playing audience without much effort.

Oh, that and shoot Uwe Boll on sight if he wanders near the set. ;)

Re:Bungie wrote a bible already... (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720688)

IIRC when the movie was first being shopped around it was mentioned that Bungie had put together a 'Halo Bible' of sorts to provide clarity and guidance on the storyline. Is he even using this Ultimate Reference?
Also IIRC, this is one of the reasons it took so long for a studio to pick up the project. Microsoft demanded that the movie not violate the 'Halo bible' provided by Bungie.

I think Microsoft realizes just how important the Halo franchise is to them, and won't let the movie damage it. First thing I've seen MS done that I like. They stuck to their guns when dealing with the studios.

Re:Bungie wrote a bible already... (1)

Mr. No Skills (591753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15733412)

IIRC when the movie was first being shopped around it was mentioned that Bungie had put together a 'Halo Bible' of sorts to provide clarity and guidance on the storyline. .....Stay true to what Bungie created and you're guaranteed almost the entire Halo playing audience without much effort.

Thou Shall Have Every Other Scene be an Interior Room of Identical Size and Decor

Thoust Must Spent Several Hours in the same "library", with endless streams of enemies coming from side halls without plot

Remember the Ewoks, and Keep them Holy for Comic Relief

Thy Strongest of Vehicles Must be Kept Contained in Tiny Areas, and Not Used to Explore

Makest thou "Swarm" faster than headcrabs, to remove all comparisons to Half-Life ripoffs

During the Most Interesting Moments, Create an Out of Body Experience to Remove the Enjoyment of the Action by the Player

Makest Sure the Light Saber, the Strongest of All Weapons, Disappears Whence Dropped

I hope it won't end up like Doom (1)

NPN_Transistor (844657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15720863)

I can understand why some things need to be changed when a game gets made into a movie. However, there's no excuse for changing the fundamental aspects of the story. Take a look at the Doom movie for example. The whole point of Doom is GOING TO HELL. The best part of all the Doom games was the part where you GO TO HELL. The whole reason why you play Doom is because you, alone, get to face off against the forces of HELL. Take away hell and replace it with an overused, canned plot about genetic mutation, and you take away the entire point of Doom. Okay, some people may argue that including hell and satan is politcally incorrect. But again, Doom is supposed to be violent, bloody, and politically incorrect. I hope that the makers of the Halo movie at least STICK TO THE POINT!

Re:I hope it won't end up like Doom (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15722978)

Good point. I hope they don't take out all the religious stuff about prophets and heretics.

Knowing Bungie, they probably would try, but Bungie would throw the book at them. As in, the Halo Bible.

Why the hate for Lord of the Rings? (2, Insightful)

Rapter09 (866502) | more than 8 years ago | (#15722537)

Peter and Fran changed some things. Some of them were small. Some of them were so big that they stood in the face of lunacy. But the fact remains that the Lord of the Rings trilogy movies were a near-perfect adaption, and a celebration of the Greatest Book of All Time. If they can channel that into Halo, I think it will be a great movie.

cg (1)

ncrq (989015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15723474)

I'm pretty sure the only thing decent about this movie would be the computer graphics

Does it matter if the movie is actually good? (1)

patternjuggler (738978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726053)

I'd rather have a good movie than a faithful one. Sure, after a certain amount of straying from the source it is probably smarter just to change the name to something new and avoid the criticism and confusion, but if the people that make the movie are any good then they should be trusted to take liberties with the material. If they aren't any good then don't have them make the movie.

sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15729893)

Unfortunately, my favorite characters from the Halo universe are from what can only be referred to as a piece of official apocrypha [] , so it looks like I'll be staying home for this one.

Put Jan and the other 1.1s somewhere in the movie, though, and I am SO there.
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