Most everyone who knows me will tell you I’m a movie nut. Some of my best memories can be closely tied to films I saw at the time and many a date night has been the tried and true “dinner and a movie”. Movies have educated us and entertained us in many ways. They can run the full gamut of emotions, all the way from laughing until you can’t breathe, to wanting to stand and cheer and of course crying like a little girl. It all proves just how human we really are and how everybody loves a hero. Heroes have been around since humans told stories, be it Greek mythology or the retelling of true events, as in the case of the legendary 300 Spartans.
King Leonidas and his guard were more than mere warriors, they brought new meaning to the terms dedication, bravery, loyalty, endurance and sacrifice. These are themes that movie heroes have emulated since the beginning of film itself and they represent some of our best human traits. Frank Miller gave King Leonidas a miraculous shot in the arm and brought the story of “300” to whole new audience in recent years and I thought it was an incredible piece of film artwork. Which brings me to another genre that has touched my life for many years, even though I have only been a small participant.
My son will turn 26 years old in about another week or so and I have watched video games grow right along with him. Little did I know when he was playing his first Nintendo console that gaming would become such a prominent part of his generation. To me at the time they seemed to be nothing more than a way to bring arcade style games into the home, which is pretty much what they were, but just like film grew from silent to talkies and black and white to color, the gaming world evolved by leaps and bounds. It wasnt very long until the gaming industry began to take advantage of the ever growing special effects arm of the film industry. Computer generated imagery has progressed at an alarming rate and have made possible the incredible visual effects that made Frank Miller’s “300” such a stunning film. I might also mention at this point that Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy would never have been the epic that it became had it not been for the technological advancement of CGI.
The gaming industry however had bitten down on these advancements and run with them like a big fish. Many of us who are not gamers are unaware that they generate more revenue than many of the big film studios combined. The gaming industry is without a doubt here to stay. The very ironic fact out of this loose marriage of technology and audience is that the film studios have yet to produce a viable movie based on a video game. Heaven knows the game companies make so many movie tie-in games that it boggles the mind and from what my son has told me most of them are less than stellar.
Finally there seems to be a point on the horizon where this empass may at last become history. That glimmer of film and gaming world hope is a franchise called “Halo”. With as many as four versions of this game and an equal number of paperback novels on the shelves, this compelling story of a future military super soldier already has a wide audience on board. Even more inspiring is the fact that Peter Jackson is avidly lobbying to bring “Halo” to the big screen. Despite the fact that I am assuredly not a gamer, I could not be more on board to see this potential film. I have read the first paperback novel entitled “The Fall of Reach” which I have also read is the basis of Peter Jackson’s script for his first installment and I cannot applaud this idea loudly enough. Simply trying to picture “The Fall of Reach” in my mind, sitting in a theater, gripping the armrests with verve make me remember such greats as “Aliens”, “The Hunt for Red October”and “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan” all rolled into one.
I realize that to many gamers “The Fall of Reach” commits the cardinal sin of removing the helmet from the central character of “The Master Chief” but the wide movie audience will see that as a plus. This futuristic King Leonidas so to speak is a man so filled with loyalty, courage and duty that he deserves a face. His story is all the more passionate when you consider its origin and his growth as leader of his friends. None of this will take away from his prowess on the battlefield when he dons his signature armor.
It is my understanding from my online reading that the new film “District 9” which premiers the 14th of August is something of lynchpin towards the prospect of a “Halo” film. Peter Jackson produced “District 9” and its box office “success” will weigh heavily on the studios decision to green light the Halo project. Bungie, the creator of Halo, is already prepared to back the project as well as their parent company Microsoft. With such giants ready to put their hats in the ring I fail to understand why a studio would be hesitant, especially in the light of some of the other utter crap that gets plastered across the local cinema screen for our so-called “entertainment”…but then again who has ever been able to explain the actions and decisions of Hollywood?
That being said, I believe “The Fall of Reach” meets one of the toughest requirements of film making. Film maker James Cameron (who has made more than one or two potent blockbusters) once said that a film worth its salt, be it prequel, sequel or first installment should be a stand alone body of work. More to the point, the film should be able to be watched with no prior knowledge of the script source and still be enjoyed by its audience. I believe “The Fall of Reach” has this quality and should be an excellent way to launch this powerful story onto the silver screen.
So all you movie and gaming fans get your $10-20 bucks together for the weekend of the 14th and get out to support “District 9” and put all of us one step closer to bringing “Halo” and the Master Chief to the theaters for all to enjoy and be thrilled by.
T. August Green