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Video: Neill Blomkamp's Halo 3: Landfall

Available since last week on Xbox Live Marketplace, Halo 3: Landfall is now on the web for all to see. Lest you're unfamiliar with the video, it's all three of Neill Blomkamp's Halo 3 short films edited into one. We have to admit, seeing them all together makes us pine for the Halo movie that could have been. The film takes place just prior to the events of Halo 3 and tells the story of a pair of orbital drop shock troopers (ODST) on a mission critical to Earth's success in the Human / Covenant war: they have to confirm Master Chief's coordinates as he rockets through the atmosphere (see the ending of Halo 2). Sounds easy enough, right? Watch and see for yourself.

Second Halo short "Combat Part 1" is officially live

The official version of the second Halo short film, entitled "Combat Part 1," is now live and ready for consumption. Microsoft has also announced that it should be ready for download on Xbox Live Marketplace, though we have been unable to find it thus far. MS seems to be having trouble uploading videos this week. The official version is definitely a step up from the leaked version that hit the net last week. No more pink fire and an actual ending are some of the advantages of the new version. Last week, we suggested that dedicated fanboys keep an eye out for needler shards, while our commenters said they were actually spiker rounds. Well, you were right readers, for Spiker rounds they are. Make sure you spot them, as watching the white-hot metal cool as the spikes hit the concrete will make you all tingly. That's how it made us feel at least.

[Via Joystiq]

Leaked: the second live action Halo short film

The second in the series of live action Halo shorts has hit the internetz with a quickness. We received a few very low quality shaky-cam videos, but this one seems to do a better job than the rest. The first thing you'll notice is that there is much more action this time around than was present in the first short, "Arms Race". That is to say, this video actually has action. Honestly, the quality is low enough that it's hard to judge how good the video actually is. Still, Neill Blomkamp's directorial style, which emphasizes documentary-like realism over special effects wizardry, helps make the film grittier and, well, more realistic. Without judging the film before it's released properly, we will point out that there is one thing that is definitely missing: music. With such a rich musical history from which to draw, we're a little befuddled that neither of the Halo shorts have done so. Without Marty O'Donnell's music, it just doesn't quite feel like Halo. Again though, this video may not even be finished for all we know (the bright green plastic looks a little out of place for example). Here's hoping the final product really delivers.

Protip: keep an eye out for errant needler shards. They will give you a nerdgasm.

[Via Joystiq. Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Halo movie officially postponed

Sad news today for Halo fanatics, the movie has been officially postponed. The postponement stems from Fox and Universal recently pulling out of the project. It's worth noting that the production team is still fully behind first time feature director, Neill Blomkamp. Here is the official statement:

"As was previously confirmed, we deeply regret that both Universal and Fox did not choose to move forward with financing the Halo film under the original terms of the agreement. At this time Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, along with their partner, Microsoft, have mutually agreed to postpone making a feature film based on the Halo video game universe until we can fulfill the promise we made to millions of Halo fans throughout the world that we would settle for no less than bringing a first class film to the big screen. We are fully supportive of Director Neill Blomkamp's vision of the film. Neill is a tremendously gifted filmmaker and his preliminary work on Halo is truly awe-inspiring. While it will undoubtedly take a little longer for Halo to reach the big screen, we are confident that the final feature film will be well worth the wait."

Whether or not you believe it when corporations say that they're "doing it for the fans," it's heartening to note that the movie is not canceled (though AICN isn't so sure). Then again, oftentimes, movies that take forever to develop eventually fall flat (D&D, anyone?). At any rate, we'd speculate that you won't see any Halo movie before 2008. But hey, at least they're finally rolling out new info about Halo 3, right?

[Thanks, Paul]

Halo movie denied, Hollywood pulls out

Variety, paragon of gaming news, is reporting that Fox Studios and Universal have pulled funding for the Halo movie. Hearing the nightmare chorus of fanboys screaming, "Why God? Why!?" into the heavens, I can only give you one answer. Money. Amid rumors that the film's budget would reach $200 million -- originally projected at $135 million -- the studios demanded at the last minute that the filmmakers reduce their deals. This demand was also made in light of the fact that Microsoft had already been promised $5 million up front and 10% of the gross.

This turn of events has led some to speculate that Halo's director -- newcomer Neill Blomkamp -- is too inexperienced. This was, however, dismissed by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh's representative, Ken Kamins,

"Everybody is supremely confident in Neal [sic]. Part of what excited Peter and Fran was Neal's [sic] vision. We're very confident this film will move forward with the creative partners intact, who will take the film to production."

We're a little concerned that Variety managed to misspell both Neill's name and Bungie Studios' name (they spelled it Bungee), but hey, that's Hollywood for you. So, with Halo's fate hanging in the balance, how do you feel? Did you even care about it the first place?

[Via Joystiq]

Peter Jackson talks Halo with AICN

There's an interesting Halo movie interview with Peter Jackson on the love it or hate it movie site, Ain't It Cool News. The interview focuses both on Peter's choice of Neill Blomkamp as the director and the importance of the script. Speaking on Blomkamp's nomination, Jackson admits that hiring a "new" director wasn't the plan, but that Blomkamp was simply the best choice.

"It's not deliberate and certainly for
HALO it wasn't deliberate. I don't think even for a show like HALO, which is a big budget production, I don't think there's any problem whatsoever with a so-called first time director directing it. At the end of the day, Neill (Blomkamp) is not a first time director. He's a first time feature film director, but he understands film and grammar as good as anybody. He's done some wonderful short films and commercials. His visual eye is fantastic and his storytelling is great. The fact that it's a feature film just means that he gets to shoot for longer than he did in the short film. There really isn't anything else that's different."

Speaking of his personal involvement with the script (along with Lord of the Rings alumni Fran Walsh and Filippa Boyens), Jackson had some very encouraging words.

"The movie, as far as I'm concerned, as far as my involvement is concerned, is not going to go in front of the cameras until we have a really great script."

God, let's hope so. The interview is full of good stuff, and anyone interested in Halo should definitely check it out.

[Thanks, Doug Kriz]

AICN grills Halo Director

Ain't It Cool News took it upon themselves to interview Neill Blomkamp, the newly announced director of the Halo movie -- which we can only assume will be called Halo. First, the bad news. It turns out that Blomkamp might have to *gasp!* make some changes to Master Chief's armor (no nipples, please). The good news: this guy sounds like a legitimate fan of the game.

"From a purely game playing perspective I am a massive fan of the games, but more importantly, I'm a massive fan of the world and universe of Halo, the science fiction world that the games take place inside of."

So he's actually played, and enjoyed, the game? Far out. Hopeful news indeed. Then again, similar things were said about a certain other game film as well. Only time will tell.

Halo gets a director and another year

Please take a moment to sample the video above. Now, let that sink in. What you have just witnessed is the work of the newly chosen director of (drumroll please) Halo. That's right ladies and germs, the mystery has been put to rest. It's not Guillermo. It's not Peter Jackson himself. It's a relatively unknown South African (did you hear that Ludwig?) director by the name of Neill Blomkamp. Though Blomkamp's resume consists mostly of short films and commercials, his work has garnered him many awards (including 3 Clios and a Visual Effects Society Award). Also, the Halo movie has been pushed back to 2008, ending any speculation that it would launch day and date with Halo 3.

Choosing a little known director whose work has been primarily in commercials and short films is an interesting choice. Then again, Jackson himself started out making campy horror films (so did Sam Raimi of Spider-Man fame) so, who's to say?

Do you think he's up to the job?

[Via Joystiq]

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