October 23, 2008

Left Hand Clarity

> — Vociferous @ 11:21 pm

Once again, this page should really only be read within context of the script. If you have yet to read the treatment, my recommendation would be to avoid this page until you have.

As a matter of housecleaning and with the knowledge that fellow community members are just as opinionated as myself regarding the direction, characters and events of the Halo story, I’ve provided some potential questions and preemptive explanations for why I’ve done what I have in this treatment…

I think it’s crap. Why, dear god, why?

Originally I was going to have a heavy caveat explaining how I’m not a seasoned scriptwriter, nor do I consider myself anywhere near the caliber of someone who should be professionally writing scripts, but I’m a fan of film and a fan of Halo, so its important to me that when these two worlds combine – whenever that may be – that they stay true to the core fiction of the trilogy.

I can’t speak for the formatting or the style of the script which might be egregiously poor, but I thank the handful of people who read it and gave me notes. I attempted to write in a style which would be understandable to the average fan of Halo – not for a studio or producer.

There’s no mention of the other Spartans or their fate on Reach, an element which is present in both Garland’s and Beattie’s treatments. Why not?

I think Halo 3’s ending answered that question very profoundly when Cortana reaches out for the Chief and he pushes her aside with the line “Wake me when you need me.”

I think for fans, you really have to come to grips with the reality that the Chief is all about business. He’s not there to lament his life or have a pity party; he’s there to do his job. He didn’t stop Cortana’s advances because things just wouldn’t have worked out between them – I’m pretty sure he’s not holding out for “just the right one.” He pushed her away because although he cares about her, at a larger extent, he’s a killing machine. That’s how he was made.

In my personal opinion, the Chief isn’t “angry” at the Covenant or in despair at the loss of his teammates. He was made to kill (just like the other Spartans) and that’s the functional drive for his character in the games, as well as this treatment. For better or worse, the Master Chief is the “monster” of this story and my goal with this treatment was to take the monster and release it into a horde of its enemies. That’s how I felt when I played the game in 2001, that’s how I feel now when I play it – powerful, unstoppable and purpose-driven.

Why were you so heavy with the Covenant’s role in the script?

I really feel it’s important within the context of the trilogy. Having a one-sided story doesn’t work because if you were to pan out across the trilogy, starting with one film which has a specific formula like the first game and then branching to a completely different formula, people would become frustrated and confused.

Apart from that, there are some fissures in the story which needed to be filled in. How does the release of the Flood go down? Why and for what reason? I wanted to make the clear distinction of the ever-forming rift between the Sangheili and the San ‘Shyuum and I wanted to show how this small event caused the fate of an entire religion to eventually be questioned and later destroyed.

I also wanted to provide adequate backstory for the Covenant’s role in Halo 2 and in Halo 3, something the game fails to do from a fiction perspective. What was the Arbiter’s relationship to “Half-Jaw” and how did that play out behind the scenes in the context of the first game’s story? Those are questions I wanted to see answered on one hand, but they were also tools to build bridges over some fault lines the first game had.

That said, I’m glad the first game was linear and single-threaded. The first film, however, shouldn’t be.

With regard to Half-Jaw’s first encounter with the Flood, why did you depart from the story told by Halo Graphic Novel’s “The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor?”

Although it’s different than the story told in the HGN in terms of context, it still hits some of the same notes. In my treatment, I don’t even show the event because I wanted the first real Flood encounter to have a series of suspense-filled leads without an actual reveal until the Chief arrives in the bunker.

Since that is the case, this event is meant to set the stage for the Spec-Ops Commander we know in Halo 2 – someone who respects the Arbiter to some degree, but clearly doesn’t regard him with the level you would expect from an ex-commander. A lot of people don’t know that Half-Jaw was a subordinate part of the Arbiter’s fleet and that he was injured during the battles which took place at that time. There’s a rift between the Arbiter and Half-Jaw in Halo 2 and I wanted to explain why.

Why even include the Supreme Commander (Arbiter) in this treatment?

First and foremost, because I feel that apart from the Chief, he’s the most important character in the trilogy, the first game included. Having the Arbiter this early would future proof the story going into Halo 2 and Halo 3 where his presence and role are somewhat mandatory with regard to the fiction. If you don’t have the Arbiter, there’s a pretty big gap in the fiction which has to be quickly filled early on in any potential second film. Things like that don’t fill in films as well as they do in games.

The second reason is because he’s so damn fascinating. The weight of all of the events of the first game fall squarely on his shoulders and that’s a pretty big deal. I believe, in many ways, he’s the most critical bridge between the first game, of which he is absent, and the ones which follow. I wanted to explore his arrogance, his shortcomings and what led him to the state of heresy for which he is indicted at the beginning of Halo 2.

The Minister of Absolution wasn’t part of Halo: Combat Evolved. What gives?

A common misconception is that Prophets all played background roles from afar, pointing and ordering, but I believe (and there’s ample evidence to support this) that many Prophets had ecclesiastical roles on ships and within fleets. Much like a man of the cloth would bless and provide absolution to the soldiers of ancient times, I thought it would be interesting to see such a character integrated into the story of the first game.

On a crucial level, Absolution shows the first signs of a schism between the two parts which make up the heart of the Covenant: Elite and Prophet. This, much like the Arbiter himself, needs to have precedence when you consider the scope and context of the trilogy.

I also wanted someone to provide the treachery and intrigue which was needed on the Covenant’s side of the story. There needed to be a bad “bad guy,” because despite their own villainy, the Arbiter and Half-Jaw are still “good guys” to a lot of fans. The minister of Absolution is that character, as are the Shipmaster and the Emissary on lower levels.

In the first game, you spend a good portion of your time fighting Flood in the Library and returning through the control room’s adjacent canyons to eliminate the pulse generators. Why was this largely absent from the script?

The acquisition of the Index to me really feels like it should be a lull in the action to help explain the story. Whether or not I liked the level of the Library in the first game did not play a role here. I knew there was a statute of limitations, as it were, on how much fighting I could have with the Chief against the Flood before it became redundant and I wanted to stay within those lines.

Plus, fictionally speaking, what sense does it make that the monitor couldn’t simply transport the Chief right to the Index like he did with the control room?

The pulse generator sequence was a bit different. I really feel like the trilogy showed quite well that Spark can’t activate the ring without the Index, so the idea of having to cut off Halo’s defenses seemed a bit pointless. The notion of trudging through the same canyon we just assaulted only a short while ago is definitely fun in the game’s “Two Betrayals,” but it wouldn’t have made sense in a film. Plus, I think the threat of the Flood is potent enough for the Chief and Cortana to realize that they have to destroy the ring, not necessarily to keep Spark from using it but to stop the Flood from escaping on the local ships.

OMG the “Chief vs. Arbiter” sequence is super cliché. Why, pray tell, did you use it?

Well, to be honest, it could have been considerably more cliché given all of the possibilities. I know there will be some people who will say “Hey! WTF mang, there aren’t boss battles in the first Halo you moran!”

My goal here wasn’t to fabricate the ultimate encounter, but to show a reasonable build-up to the utter hatred the Arbiter has for the Chief in Halo 2, something which is only hinted at in the opening sequences of that game but something which obviously took shape during the first game. After being shamed when the Flood was released, I thought the Arbiter taking to task “the Demon” was not only appropriate but exciting.

If a Halo 2 or Halo 3 film were ever to be made in the wake of such a treatment, the dynamic of their duel during this film would resonate and provide more intrigue to their eventual unlikely kinship, if one were to call it that. I also wanted to give more significance to the “Were it so easy” line which indicates that the Arbiter sees the Chief as somewhat indestructible.

I should also take a second to offer a special thanks to my wife, for reading 35,000 words on something she doesn’t give a damn about, Dirtbag from NeoGAF for giving his time and two cents with some skillfully crafted notes and F. Rose who offered his own hand in helping develop ideas for this project, even though he’s a fan of film and not of Halo.

If you would like to issue an opinion about this treatment, do it below. If you want to submit a comment about the article as a whole, do that here. Thanks for reading and now you can have the rest of your year back.

28 Comments »

  1. I thought it was very good. Well done!

    Comment by Lee — November 1, 2008 @ 8:56 am


  2. Another excellent job Vocif, but you’ve outdone yourself this time. Really, that was quite well done. I’d love to see how it would be pulled off as a movie.

    Comment by Arachnidus — November 1, 2008 @ 4:10 pm


  3. I have read most of the articles you have written and I would say that this is one of the best. The idea of a Halo film interests me greatly, but I share the same aprehensions as many fans scared of a movie version messing with the tried and tested formula. The script that you wrote is great and would be a very watchable and enjoyable movie. The significant time given to the Covenant is crucial as well because a follow up movie would have to focus more closely on the Arbiter due to the plot of Halo 2, and would seem disjointed if we only saw events in the first film from the human perspective. Overall a very good script that I would happily pay money to see as a movie. My only criticism is that I feel having Guilty Spark defeat the elites on the bridge of the Autumn raises questions with the control room scene. Why would Spark leave the sentinels to deal with the chief when he has the power to incapacitate chief himself? In the first game we got a sense that Spark was relatively harmless, relying on allies to assist him in defeating enemies. Apart from that keep up the good work, and I hope a Bungie employee reads the script, their opinion of it would be very interesting.

    Comment by UrbanFox — November 1, 2008 @ 5:09 pm


  4. Even though I had some qualms with the beginning and the ending because they weren’t almost-to-exactly like the game, the script reads like what I would expect the Halo Movies(even though I don’t really want one, but still at the same time do)to be like. Someone should send this to Microsoft(and Bungie) since I doubt anyone will be able to beat this.

    Comment by ZayneHumphrey — November 1, 2008 @ 11:29 pm


  5. Nicely written. Only complaint I have is a small factual one: a fireteam is not a fleet of five Pelicans, but rather about 4 to 6 Marines. Just thought I’d let you know.

    Comment by the silver fox — November 2, 2008 @ 12:38 am


  6. well it was well written and I did like it, I’ve already played the game….and to watch a movie about the same thing would be pointless to me, and to most of the audience of the movie(Halo Players). So yeah, I liked it alot but I wouldnt see the movie because ive played the game. The Halo fans want something new and exciting, something that they havent seen before. As long as it follows the Halo fiction. And I feel sorry for all the people that had to help you with writting it because they could have just played the game………………

    Comment by Ben — November 2, 2008 @ 1:30 am


  7. Hi voci,

    I spent yesterday afternoon on the couch reading this script on me iphone and i thought it was beautifully woven. the power of the chief sufficiently displayed, balanced against the power of the arbiter later in the film. some of the bits i appreciated:
    -chief’s intro – says much about what and who he is, compressing the beginning to its memorable moments, also allowing for massive scope-scenes
    -use of the prophet of absolution
    -setting the tone for arbiter, so this movie stands alone but also allows for the final movie’s uneasy alliance. (small note, the chief falling and sarge’s comment which would lead directly to the opening of halo3 – well done)
    – the use of the covenant, introduction of each facet of the covenant war machine and religious fanatacism, all key elements of the halo story and that which drive my fascination with it. on the one hand is the chief and cortana, on the otehr hand is the simple fact that small mistakes or decisions on their own weigh heavily in the universe and i think this was presented well in your treatment.
    -the descriptions of the way the chief attacks. in the games we dont shoulder ram enemies but from teh novels we know he does. his speed particularly (and also the beating both him and the suit take) is a key part of what makes the chief superhuman so a proper translation of this from your words would be necessary, even just in one of those early canyon scenes where we can see the chief make a run or jump against a backdrop of the others.
    – the way the scenes cut and the story takes place primarily with chief, then covenant, then humans. showing how every bit plays a role as a combination of things to lead up to the destruction of the ring.
    – i particularly think the entire paths to meeting of the arbi and MC was done great. plus it was a multi part boss battle as such but one which happened in the context of a larger threat. so the locked eyes when MC is looking for keyes, the battle and chief bieng knocked on his ass. the lurching of the ship and the MC escape. the continuation of the fight (oh so star wars-y) and the arbi’s determination. etc. great stuff and works well. especially in contrast to how the chief utterly destroys the weaker covenant and even otehr elites, i think its great to see his “match” as it were.

    cant remember much more but also wanna state some small criticisms or notes before i forget those:
    – the carter/williams bit at the end, its fine the way it was handled to end the life but does it play a larger role in moving the story arc forward? maybe not.

    at first i was waiting for the race out of the exploding ship but when i realised that it wasnt going to happen like that i did look back and enjoy the overwhelming feeling presented that there were too many things happenign and no one could catch a break. everytime we are presented a solution via the MC, whether getting the index or setting the self destruct, other forces conspire to oppose us, and chief having to go back to make sure something happened was perfect. the thing about it is, i would hope it could be translated further to see how the chief is so much more focused, lucky, determined than everyone else when he makes them take him back to face spark on the bridge. and how quick and smart he is to distract spark (for all intents and purposes), so maybe a timer or some other “device” should be used to show that the MC sacrificed himself to get spark away from stopping the detonation, put everything on the line and he made it. it needs some bumping up in your treatment to make sure when we see despair on cortana and sarge towards the end when they pick hi up we are really worried for him. so like viewers not familiar with halo can really be worried that to stop this overwhelming force, the last superhuman realised his only option and duty was to sacrifice himself etc. kitch that emotion up a notch or as much as possible without beating us over the head with it – which i can trust you to do from the rest of the writing.
    -more of a question than a critique: was every word written with how it would be translated to the screen in mind? as in how do you expect the enemies to be portrayed? All cgi might cheapen the film, as would using a non 7 footer to be the chief. for some scenens my only frame of reference would be the original underworld. the lycans (elites), the lycan chase scene where the guy ran on a dragged-strip so you could see him run faster than normal humans, etc. cuz i would think that all covenent should be presented as animatronic suited actors. space scenes and weapons fire as cgi and vehicles as a combination of life size and minatures. its gotta be done proper, but what was your intention? what about the flood? and all this emotive aliens? etc

    ps:
    also i think that with the way your treatment was done, a 4th movie would fit beautifully as the prequel story directly from the novel – but only after the first three stories were told.

    ok im cutting myself off. again, beautifully done, you achieved your task of retelling the first story in all its action and plot points, filling the in the gaps with what bungie put in canon thru the second 2 games and the novels (without compromising any of their individual tales). cortana was spot on.

    Comment by matthew scott — November 2, 2008 @ 5:02 am


  8. Absolutely awesome, vociferous. My only (repeat: ONLY) problems with it are the absence of Chips Dubbo (the Aussie private) from Johnson’s squad, and Sergeant Stacker. Other than that, gold.

    Oh, and I’d like to voice my request for Carter and Williams to be included into Halo canon.

    Comment by Jake — November 2, 2008 @ 10:31 am


  9. That was brilliant! I really like how supplementary material was incorporated into the story, providing the narrative link with future events.

    Speaking as a fan who was attracted to Halo more for its fiction than gameplay (it’s still the only FPS I own), I hereby give this the stamp of approval. I also hereby curse your for ruining any chances of a Hollywood movie to match this level of awesomeness.

    Comment by Son Goharotto — November 3, 2008 @ 12:07 am


  10. Kudos.

    As a long time fan(atic?) of the Halo franchise, I can honestly say that this is the best Halo treatment I’ve read thus far. I felt that the alternating UNSC-Covenant arcs was a great method of inserting dialogue into the script while keeping the action going. While not 100% canon, the integration of the existing material was great (including the existing dialogue of Halo: Combat Evolved). Not only does this treatment allow a sequel, but it prefaces said sequel (i.e. the Supreme Commander becoming the Arbiter, and ‘Vadumee becoming our beloved Half-Jaw)

    I do have a few gripes with some parts of the treatment, specifically to do with the lack of dialogue from the UNSC side of things. However as a treatment, I think this fully encapsulates the spirit of H:CE while still remaining a good flick for those not familiar with the Universe.

    Like I said, Kudos. I’m looking forward to reading treatments for movies two and three (you better!)

    Solidus.

    Comment by Solidus117 — November 4, 2008 @ 12:04 am


  11. Great read. Even though it deviated sightly from the original storyline in terms of events such as the Chief getting sucked into space, it still stayed very true to the story. I’m only halfway into it, and it is good. And with my brother playing Halo, the music sets a very good mood for the reading.

    I really hope this gets filmed, it was awesome!

    Kudos.

    Comment by Wildcard1992 — November 4, 2008 @ 3:44 am


  12. The script was over all a very good read. The deviations made in your take are all understanable and still hold true to the intended point of the scenes.

    Comment by Sparten_90 — November 4, 2008 @ 12:04 pm


  13. A great read. Well put together, and a testament to the imagination of a real Halo fan.

    In a cinematic sense I think it was flawless, balance was given to each part of the story that needed telling and each part was satisfying in it’s completeness. As far as editing goes, a friend who is in film school told me that for every one page of script, it’s roughly 1 minute of movie, barring the intro page, you are at 131 pages or a little over 2 hours of film. However, I don’t know how closely your script follows a format, and I don’t pretend to be an expert.

    I loved many things about your script. I was a little thrown at the beginning by the more action packed intro to the chief, but it totally fits in with the chief’s theme and introduces Sgt. Johnson in a personal fashion much more quickly. As you of all people are know Johnson was just another marine in the first game, outside of his little speech and his sniper rifle. But your tie ins do him a lot more justice in line with the rest of the fiction.

    Points of criticism are few and far between. I thought the covenant segments had appropriate balance between classic villain archetypes and a setup for future fiction. They were complex enough to be engaging but handled in a tidy fashion so as to not leave confusion or convoluted plot threads on the table for someone who missed a single line of dialogue (folks do cough or are momentarily distracted by someone’s rude cell phone).

    My biggest point of praise is that with the exception of detailed description of physical traits of some of the characters (which in the case of film speak for themselves visually), almost all elements were clarified to a point that the mass public could walk into this film or read this script and have a very clear idea of what was going on by the end of the story. And yet, it was not watered down to the point of losing the interest of those who love the fiction of Halo and know it back to front. This may sound like a very elementary idea, but films like “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” are proof that striking that balance is not so easy.

    However, this does lead me to my first point of criticism. I’m not saying you did not picture these scenes in your head to this effect, but if you were ever to present this script in a more goal oriented setting, a few treats for the Halo fanatic might be in order. Mostly in the form of icons and easter eggs. By this I mean a bit of extra emphasis on elements that halo fans know and love about the game, but do not interrupt the story’s flow.

    By icons I mean emphasis on things that are extremely recognizable and really define the things that stick in people’s mind about what they loved from Halo. Like the first scene where players were able to drive the warthog, you have that scene, but a little bit of a REALLY sweet shot and close up of the warthog might be in order. That moment is just so, for lack of a better word, iconic. that just a little flare on those moments, a little nod to the audience of “this is what you’ve been waiting for” would really keep the hardcore fans grinning and the first time person will not really notice anything, but they will for sure remember that vehicle after that. I’m sure you can think of a lot of places where this might apply. You did this really well when you introduced the Autumn, and to do it just once or twice more when an item of particular “Halostalgia” is introduced would just, recapture the fans.

    As for easter eggs, of course Bungie would make a point of hiding this or that in there if you worked with them on the film. But if the icons are a “knowing nod” to the audience than these will be the winks to the audience. You have a few, the really quotable “Exposition Cortana” lines like “this cave is not a natural formation” things we have heard just from playing the game over again. But reading your article (before I got the part where I found you had read something) my first picture of something I would do as a wink to the fans was right after Master Chief crosses the bridge, he is attacked by those 2 banshees I’m sure all players remember. To have MC empty a whole clip at one banshee from his AR with no effect, then only to take it down with a few shots from his pistol. Followed by a humorous moment where he looks at his pistol quizzically, before moving on. A nod to all Halo fans who know how ludicrous it was to take down a banshee with a pistol, but we did it every time we played. A reprise of the “magic pistol” could be when dealing with the hunters and it’s one shot kill ability. Not saying we should descend any scene of the film into a spoof or a comedy. But to have a “how in the hell?….” moment that everyone who’s played the game knows how the hell, will really hook fans.

    Back to praise, I love how you removed scenes from the game that were really more “stay alive objective puzzles” (the grenades in the fusion core, the pulse generators) the scenes that no matter how much we love playing them, we know are really just another obstacle course to make the game that much harder and don’t advance the story. Your cutting and maneuvering around of those items was spot on.

    Your reboot of certain parts that were “canonized” in the novel “The Flood” I thought were great. particularly the swift capture of the captain and crew. And other bulky items I recall vaguely from the novel were neatly swept away.

    The tie in to later fiction at both the points of the arbiter and the heretic elites were very well handled and appropriate, I never once thought, “oh he’s injecting a boss battle he wished had been in the game.” as you suggested some might think. Mainly because it was always some desperate scrabble that was interrupted by the larger events of the story.

    UNSC forces were not given as much time as some of the other sections of the story, (the chief being his own of course.) But what you wrote about the marines was very fitting. I think a simple headcount of how many marines are in a scene might have helped clarify a bit. Sometimes it felt like the only marines around were the ones with names, followed by like 6 or 7 “red shirt” marines dying without us knowing there were others there. That or it was your attempt at humor at the fact that the same like 6 marines played with you the whole game. (which would be something that would come across visually but not so much in the script so if I missed that I apologize).

    That brings us to my one major point of disappointment with the story. The ending. The climactic ending of Halo should be hectic, flood pouring over the walls and covenant giving chase was very fitting. But I just felt you took the clean ending of the game, which would have translated nicely to the film script and cluttered it up a bit. The fall of foehammer, great, the collapsing covenant fleet in the distance and the escape of our covenant anti-heroes. LOVED THAT. But the main thing that bothered me was the faux suicidal fight with spark. Personally, him escaping in the longsword and then running into the pelican after the collapse of Halo would have been my first choice, with perhaps a “YOU?! how did you make it out?” from MC to Johnson (one of my favorite moments in First Strike). But even having them escape together, having him go back, just seemed to drag out what seemed so nicely finished at that point. Perhaps a moment where GS approaches the terminal with the countdown timer far too late. Followed by a slightly comical “Oh dear” from GS as the counter hits 00:00. and the resulting explosion.

    We get our little cheer for seeing him lose, even though after the credits we see what we all know, that he survives.

    That was my take on your script, I loved 98% of it, and would be impressed but not surprised if someone at Bungie spotted you or at least talked to you about it. I know Ascendant Justice is on their watch list of quality Halo related sites so, they are watching.

    Any criticism is simply a tweak or two of “how I would have done it.” Subject to your agreement or disgusted dismissal. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and look forward to reading your future writing.

    I know you’re busy, but if you care to comment back on anything I wrote, I’m at charliegallagher@sbcglobal.net it would be great to pitch ideas with you sometime.

    Comment by Charles Gallagher — November 12, 2008 @ 5:09 am


  14. While I concede that it was masterfully crafted and captured the theme of the game, I have to say that given the choice between watching it in a movie or just playing the game, I would take the game. As a lover of the Halo Fiction, I would have loved (and still cling to hope for) a movie representation of The Fall of Reach, which was formally dissed in your previous article. While the script was well done, I want something new, something that hasn’t been seen before.

    Comment by Job — November 17, 2008 @ 8:11 pm


  15. I thought it was very well written and very good.

    But I think some of the marines battles to take Alpha Base would have been great for a movie. Along with when the chief captures the Ascendant Justice and couples it with the Gettysburg.

    Another great moment was Keyes maneuver when he destroyed a covenant destroyer and two frigates with only one ship. That, in my opinion was one of the greatest moments in the books and would have loved to see a video of it.

    Very good job though

    Comment by Niall — November 22, 2008 @ 5:24 pm


  16. Heh. Reading the Chief’s first battle and the elite’s shield makes me think of a possible funny quip for Cortana. Have the Chief not get hit at all in that first battle–then, not too long after, he can get hit, look quick but calmly at the shield effect (before springing back to business), while Cortana says, “Hit your shield…think you’re slipping?”

    Comment by G Suiter — November 26, 2008 @ 12:32 am


  17. The cool thing about video games is that they are interactive movies. So why on earth would some1 want to make a movie about an interactive movie?

    Look, no movie would ever capture the feeling we all got when we first encountered the flood. Do you remember how hard your heart was pounding when you first encountered those little tirds (my nickname for them)? I’m willing to bet every cent i own your palms were sweating as your adrenaline spiked! No movie will ever capture that and thus no movie should be made of the game.

    If a movie was to be made i would watch it, shoot i’d be camping outside the theaters, to hell with who might see me and how my reputation might decline, im seeing that movie first! i just hope they dont make one and break my heart by perpetrating blasphemies such as having the chief trying to be humorous or compassionate. He’s a killing machine with 1 goal: win. He’s barely even human and if they give him cheesy lines, so help me God i will break down in tears and have uncontrollable buggars and snot streaming from my nose.

    Anyways, we already have the Halo movies, they just happen to be interactive. If you need questions answered read the books. And if your like me and always need more then read anything and everything u can find, if you’ve read everything, lobby bungie to make more, if they refuse… well u can join me in the local bar drinking as we drink ourselves into a depression

    Comment by Andre — December 3, 2008 @ 2:44 am


  18. Charles Gallagher – In regards to your final disappointment, I feel, as was stated in the final article, the whole “sacrificing himself to ensure victory” thing was a nod to the unsurpassed courage, heroism and determination which the Chief possesses.

    I call this a “nod” because this theme is consistently repeated in each game. Most memorable perhaps, was the return to High Charity in the Cortana Level. The Chief knew he was walking into certain death but he still trudged on.

    And so, it is important, i feel, to incorporate this same theme into the ending of the film. Even though I do agree with you that the ending in this particular treatment did not feel right. Thus I propose this.

    As the Flood horde is bearing down on the Chief (and by extension, Cortana), Johnson brings the Pelican down to rescue the two, delivering one of his famous one-liners. As the Chief climbs aboard, the Flood begin to take to the Pelican tearing at its armor. As the Pelican struggles to lift off, the Chief realises that his only choice is to fight them off. (This could be done in some time-lapse shots, showing Johnsons struggles with the controls, red lights blaring, close ups on the Chiefs helmet and distorted noise). He turns and charges out (iconic rifle blazing) and we jump cut to an external wide shot of the ring. We see the Pelican flying in our direction, clearly damaged and the ring explodeds just as it passes us. Cue a few emotional shots of the standard “i can’t believe he’s gone variety” and let his pure heroism sink in. Thus we close the credits with an outside shot of the Pelican and a UNSC long-sword fighter closing in.

    Comments?

    Comment by Ivan — December 3, 2008 @ 6:29 am


  19. very well written and highly enjoyable.

    on the plus side; i love the accuracy, everything that i read i could really imagine happening in the halo universe and stuck to the general feel that i love from the games and would like to see on the big screen. i also like the ferocity of the chiefs attacks, he was bred as a cold killer and although heroic in many respects this point needs to be put across.

    however, and i’m aware this is just a fan boy moan, but hell i can be fairly opinionated 😛 i’ve played the games and i know the score, for me i’d find it more interesting if the movies followed other branches of the halo plot to come to the same conclusion. while its obvious the master chief is the main hero of the trilogy i think that following his actions in a more subtle way, through other characters, could be more interesting.

    saying that however its obvious you put much time and effort into this and came out with a very good result, its highly entertaining and i enjoyed reading it. thank you.

    Comment by chris — December 16, 2008 @ 2:35 pm


  20. Vocif; overall much better than anything that it sounds like the screenwriters attached to the project produced, and you and I are on much the same page regarding unifying the events of Halo and later games, and why it has to be Combat Evolved.

    That said, I think that the story could benefit from following the game’s plot even less (in terms of streamlining the story.) While the silent cartographer is an excellent mission, rather than have small vignettes as you have written it might be more coherent to fudge geography and flow straight to the control room. I also think that emphasizing the marine’s roles would be better as well; the Carter-Williams bit doesn’t add much in my opinion; perhaps it would if massaged (I’m treating the entire thing like a rough treatment, and not what would end up being filmed). Viewers aren’t necessarily going to want to go back to the swamp not once but twice and then three times.

    The only other gripe is you have a habit of tacking on dialogue to the end of scenes which doesn’t add much; it’s often better to just cut it cold.

    Comment by David Fuchs — December 18, 2008 @ 5:41 pm


  21. I believe this is an awesome script and not what I had expected from even a core fan. All the extra story elements that you have put into the script is fantastic and should be immediately categorized as canon.

    Comment by Chaz — January 2, 2009 @ 8:15 am


  22. I also have to say that the carter/williams bit at the end reminded me too much of the kind of stuff they’d put in a horror movie. Carter’s distress as a result of the death of Williams is a bit overexaggerated as opposed to Keyes’ feelings toward the death of Eckhart. In truth, that was the only problem I had with the script. I really admire the integration of the Supreme Commander into the story. You were right when you mentioned that a linear storyline is fun in a videogame, but having both sides of the story would provide very significant and essential backstory to any possible sequels. Finally, I blame you for my disappointment because I now believe that this is the real script for a real Halo film and should a Halo film come out that does not follow the this script I would be very disappointed.

    Comment by Chaz — January 3, 2009 @ 12:45 am


  23. Let me start by saying that I love your treatment. I think you have some excellent ideas and your incorporation of them was skillfully done. However, rather than lavish praise, I will do what any true fan and intellectual investor should and offer constructive criticism. There are three things that immediately jump out at me as sub-par with this treatment.

    First, the hunter fight under the Truth and Reconciliation. While I love the way you finished off the second Hunter, you and I both know very well that one sniper shot wouldn’t kill the first one. For one thing, Hunters are not a single organism, but a colony of worm-like creatures, so while a shot might kill several of the individual worms, it would not be enough to kill a Hunter. If nothing else, it would split into two sections, separated at the waist. This would also be an excellent place to place a nod to the Halo community, and use an idea from Monty Oum’s Haloid by having the chief stick a plasma grenade into the Hunter’s armor as it is stunned by the sniper shot. Then, you could have the other Hunter bellow in rage, and while it does so the Chief mounts it, rather than having the Chief climb up on it as it is distracted.

    The second issue I had was with the Library. While I completely understand and support having Spark simply teleport the Chief to the index, There is a reason he did not do so originally. Whether there is fictional support for the way the Library played (say a teleport block on all areas of the Library except the location Spark took him to) or not, the level gives us time to become comfortable with Spark. This relationship development is crucial no-so-later on when we find out he has been deceiving us all along and betrays us. As quirky, annoying, and suspicious as Spark is, we grew to trust him. I’m thinking the simplest solution to this would be to make the Library, rather than 5 circular levels, a single long one. A gauntlet, to prove the Reclaimer’s mettle, if you will. It wouldn’t have to be terribly long, perhaps two to three encounters with the flood (and perhaps an encounter with the “other” Reclaimer as a nod to the novel).

    The final detail I took issue with, was at the end. While I fully understand the Chief’s going back and fighting Spark, the way you have Chief escape Halo is, to put it lightly, really kind of dumb. For example, why would Spark fly out of the Ring’s atmosphere with the Chief hanging on? What’s more, why would he wait until he had exited the atmosphere to fire on the Chief? Let’s consider an alternate way: After Foehammer dies, Cortana makes her line about a longsword fighter still being docked, however the dock is *back* where they had come from, rather than straight forward, but then Johnson cuts in and drops a one-liner (perhaps something pertaining to calling a cab) and picks them up in his pelican. Then you can still have the “Oh no, Spark is stopping the countdown” moment, but rather than having the Chief face Spark, he makes them drop him off at the engines where he fights his way through sentinels and flood to drop a grenade into one of the vents. He can then run for that longsword, while Cortana and Johnson are already escaping. Then, after the explosion, we can see the longsword and pelican approach each other in the debris after the “I can’t believe he’s gone” moment aboard the pelican.

    Obviously, these are just rough ideas of alternate scenes in the fashion that I would use, and are of course in need of major refinement and retouching. They are simply examples of ways to better develop those particular portions of the story. I am in no way a professional in this field, but like you, Voci, I am a fan of film and obsessed with Halo and wish for a marriage of the two to be nothing less than perfect.

    Comment by Sangheilioz — January 4, 2009 @ 8:38 pm


  24. Beutifly done, and take that from a writer. I haven’t read it all, but from what I see so far it is that this is hours well spent. One thing is that you, while showing how the movie can be done like the game, this movie CAN be done. No super CGI animated (but of course some is needed). My favorite parts were…

    The Prophet. He was a great “evil” Covenant character, and it is highly resonable that he would act this way.

    The Supreme Commander. I liked to see him as having a relationship with Vadumee’ and seeing how he was before being an Arbiter. That sure filled up a lot of gaps in the story arc.

    And basiclly all the Covenant. I really love seeing the Covenant’s story being told, because of all the betrayl. Their story will really keep you on your feet.

    Some complaints…

    I think the Prophet should appear right until it is almost the end. He was an evil I think should have lasted longer to build suspension.

    You didn’t really mention the characters name in the diolouge, making you wonder sometimes. Just add a few names in the dialouge occasionaly, and it will seem natural.

    All in all, I think this should be a Halo movie and it has inspired me even. I might just whip up a script. Thank you for showing the fans side of how the film should be.

    Comment by Nathan — January 5, 2009 @ 9:32 pm


  25. Hey!

    Randomly after watching a few cutscenes, the halo superbowl trailer, re reading the first chapters of some of nylunds books on kindle…. I had a thought.

    Instead of a big blockbuster live action movie, would it be a good idea for the guys behind that spot (primarily) and the halo wars cutscenes (secondarily) to make a full on CGI halo movie?

    It could be the fall of reach origin story if that were the case since it didnt have to be so appealing to a wider audience. Or it could be as your script kinda made it here and possibly still be targeted to more people. Kinda weird to think about and there are a bunch of implications. I mean pixar and dreamworks has made it ok to have animated films. But they are still wolves in kid movie disguises, whereas this might not have enough of a disguise. Also clearly pixar has the lock on the talent that can bring a full feature film length cgi to life fully. But then again, TV shows (clone wars) can be made, so I gotta think the grunt work of the CGI can be made efficient so the taste we got in the superbowl spot – with all its integrity, personality, dynamism – intact (I mean i have never seen the facial expressions done so well like what we saw on the kids in the field).

    Anyway, I’m just saying, lots of the big fighting that goes into making it a proper live action film people could get behind might be non-issues or less of a sticking point if it were a CGI thing. It just would not be a blockbuster thing anymore – which i dont mind if we get to see it! this of course means it needs to cost a lot less to make than live action was budgeted to be.

    Comment by Matthew Scott — March 11, 2009 @ 2:04 pm


  26. Pretty good!
    Johnson could’ve used a bit more of his own humor, but given that this was more or less a proof-of-concept piece, justifying using the game’s basic plot, I’d say it was more than adequate. Dialogue between characters seemed a bit stiff, but it could be tweaked with little effort. Other than that, there were just pretty minor errors that didn’t bug me TOO much.
    I would’ve like to see one last glimse of the Flood nearer the end, but it’s not critical. The rest seems to work very well.
    Good job!

    Comment by TheAsterisk! — April 6, 2009 @ 2:37 am


  27. amazing, i enjoyed the beginning of ur script of how you describe the ship so well, and how the camera would pan over the engines make the movie seem no longer out of reach, it was as if i could visualise half of the script, i also enjoyed how there was some dialogue of the elites on board the ship, explaining what their mission is, and how you showed the comparison between the size of the human ship and the covenant ships also it allowed me to realise that how simular the halo series is to the stars wars series, episode 4’s plot of sending r2d2 in an escape pod becuz their ship was under attack to tatooine becuz they held vital information just like how master cheif was sent to halo in a escape pod to with cortana

    Comment by jackson — August 3, 2009 @ 8:17 am


  28. First and foremost I’d like to say your script, while a proof of concept, as my seal of approval and I wish that Hollywood would put YOU as the script writer and producer. Having fully read your script I find it to be exactly what I’d like to see as a Halo movie and I highly suggest you contact Bungie somehow and show them said script.

    Now I’d like to get into some of my gripes, some of which you /do/ see in the games as errors and some that you don’t that’re in here. I’ll start fire and foremost with the military aspect of things. Firstly any enlisted man would know *never* to call a NCO or enlisted person “sir.” So they’d either call Johnson as “Sergeant” or “Sarge.”

    Secondly the term “ten-four” is a part of civilian radio protocols and not necessarily the UNSC’s or any militaries. The term “roger” or “affirmative” would be better suited. Otherwise the radio chatter was spot-on in terms of Halo canon.

    Now onto other things. When Carter rejoins with Williams, not a Flood Combat Form, it didn’t really sit well with me. For one he was simply trying to survive and then seeing his friend and running to him in such fashion without an ounce of caution bugged me. But I could deal with it and I’m sure an audience could.

    However, I do feel when he got dropped that instead of having the typical (and what I would say anticipated) pan to where we see him get totally covered by Infection Forms, I’d say a small revisal to that part should be in order. What I mean is simply that when he is sitting there with the Flood Combat Form on top of him and the Infection Forms racing towards him you should have the camera pan to a birds eye view like before.

    But then it should cut to his hand gripping a grenade from somewhere on his person and him pressing the button to activate it. Now per Halo lore there is a failsafe on the grenade where it has to actually come into contact with the ground in order for it to trigger the three-second countdown ’til the big boom happens. He should slam his fist (with grenade in hand) into the dirt and hold the grenade up where it is visible.

    I think watching him kill himself and take the Flood with him would be far more satisfying and less cliche than him just being overcome by the Flood. It would be something that people who may have liked Carter can look at and respect as well as people who didn’t really care for him. In short, it would just be a smart move on his part and I’m sure people would appreciate it.

    Also I wish that the Marines got a bit more ‘screen time’. I would have definitely loved to have seen a segment about Alpha Base or something that at least hinted at the human forces having a base of operations. It isn’t a big deal but it would have helped.

    As well as a little more dialogue between the Marines. Just stuff like taunts or tactical chatter or stuff to characterize them more. Something that would inherently make the audience feel more for the additional characters like Jenkins or Mendoza and etc. It would just really make things a bit better.

    Now onto the next part (getting away from the criticism here); your departure from moments that occurred in the game (such as what happens directly after the Chief gets out of cryo) in your script was refreshing and I loved it. I really thought it was good.

    I adored the fact you told a two-pronged story here. The Covenant arc was perfect and I have no gripes at all. It was simply what I had hoped would happen. The fight scenes in this were also great, especially when the Chief meets with the Emissary and kicks his ass. Perfect scene. And your dialogue with the Chief, Cortana, Johnson, and Keyes… all spot on. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the attention to detail.

    Overall, I am REALLY impressed and as a sidenote: I think your opening scene would have people clapping and cheering before the movie even actually started. Seeing the Chief out in space and then seeing the ring only for it to fade and show the Halo title with the theme playing in background as the most well-crafted idea out of all of them. I would definitely be clapping and cheering, plus probably saying “Sick!” or “awesome!”

    So bravo, man! And I know you put a lot of work in and all but… can we see a sequel script? I’d LOVE to see what you’d put in the movie version of Halo 2. Thanks for giving a great read! See you!

    Comment by Michael — July 16, 2010 @ 10:13 am


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