The long-running Halo film project came a step closer to the silver screen yesterday, with the announcement of a director.
Neill Blomkamp was the name on everyone's lips, usually following the words "Who is" and preceding "when he's at home?" If you too are in the dark, you'll be pleased to hear that his work may well have assaulted your senses without you even knowing it, because he has done some adverts. We won't tell you which ones, but you can probably find out fairly easily on the 'internet'.
More intriguingly, a short film directed by Blomkamp, involving aliens and heavy-handed social allegory (our two favourite things), can be watched on Google Video. Don't be put off – it's rather good.
Film adaptations of video games, however, are rarely either critical or commercial dynamite. It will be interesting to see whether the collective talents of Blomkamp, Peter Jackson, Alex Garland and (if reports are to be believed) Denzel Washington are enough to prevent one of the more thoughtful of first-person shooters being turned into a grade-A Hollywood turkey. It seems unlikely, sadly.
Why is this, I wonder? What is it that makes video games so difficult to translate into movie stardust? The answer lies, I think, not in the adolescence of video-game storylines – don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of that around, but it's not universal – but in the disappointing leap from interactive to passive storytelling. Resident Evil simply isn't as scary when you don't feel like it's you that's about to be eaten by a zombie.
It would also help if they chose games that had a bit more plot than Super Mario Brothers, of course. But with Halo that shouldn't be a problem – so maybe this is the one that will make the crossover. If they ever get round to making the thing, that is.