When Halo was the hottest video game around, fans everywhere were understandably clamoring for a movie adaptation.
When I saw Avatar, it made me think of what could have been done with a Halo film, and how completely insane it would look on the big screen.
But it was sadly not to be. It was just way too expensive to make, even with Peter Jackson attached as a producer, and Guillermo Del Toro and Neil Blomkamp both up to direct. (At one point, Halo was going to be Blomkamp's debut film, and he went on to make the acclaimed District 9 instead).
Screenwriter Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Collateral) also took it upon himself to write a Halo script and try to get it made because he's a big gamer, and that one didn't work out either.
As Del Toro told Collider, D.B. Weiss, who is currently the co-creator of Game of Thrones, developed the Halo screenplay for Del Toro, and as the director recalled, "I thought he did a fantastic job." But as we all know, adapting a video game into a movie is hard to do, and we haven't had the big crossover one yet, although Halo probably could have been the one.
As to why this hasn't happened yet, Del Toro told Collider, "It's very hard to replicate, in a linear narrative, what makes an immersive narrative like a video game work." And that is indeed one of the big reasons is that you have two hours to tell a story in a movie, but you can spend hours and hours going in deep with a game.
Del Toro added, "I think Halo is perfect to be recreated in movie form, but there are not many properties that are that translatable... because the avatar you play with in a video game is a character, and at the same time a character you complete – it's a very strange symbiosis that happens in video games, you become a character."
What's also interesting is today's CGI can replicate the graphics and really bring them to life in an amazing way on the big screen, games are getting more life like than ever, and the writing for games is better than ever as well. However, as noted above, the big game/movie crossover still hasn't happened.
Nevertheless, there is talk of a World of Warcraft film with Sam Raimi at the helm, and he's an excellent choice to bring a game to cinematic life, but again, another big stumbling block is the costs, which, in the example of Halo, was well over a $100 million before a single star was even hired.
So who knows? Perhaps we have to wait for the technology to advance even further and then maybe it can all collide together. At least Halo and World of Warcraft are and were in very good hands, and it's amazing to think what Del Toro, Jackson and Raimi could still do with the above-mentioned franchises.