Bungie, District 9 And Dealing With The Movie Industry

Bungie, District 9 And Dealing With The Movie Industry

Before Neil Blomkamp was given the chance to develop District 9, he was attached the Halo movie, a movie that eventually fizzled and died over budgetary concerns. As gamers, watching District 9 was a strange experience. We were given the chance to watch this new, dazzlingly original thing, but in the back of our minds there was always that niggling question how good would a Neil Blomkamp directed Halo movie have been?

Turns out that many people at Bungie felt that same tension.

“Yeah, there was a little bit of that,” admitted Bungie’s Head of Art, Dave Dunn when we spoke to him earlier this month. “But the people here at Bungie are huge sci-fi fans and how often does an original voice pop up? So less than being disappointed it wasn’t Halo, we were more excited someone let him do something and gave him the chance to create something. It was such a good movie.

“And if he wants to come and talk about doing a Destiny thing? Well…”

But despite the above hint, Dave Dunn explained that Bungie tends to be very strict about what can and can’t be done with its intellectual properties. The rule is: if it doesn’t expand upon the gaming experience in a meaningful way don’t do it.

“We like to do things that we think will add meaningful context to our fans experience of the game,” he explained. “So if it makes sense it makes sense, but it’s not something we’re actively pursuing. Me, personally, when I look at a lot of video game movies not many of them have added to the canon of the game’s universe.”

Dunn mentioned that the Halo movie wasn’t something the team were that enthused about to begin with, but once the ball started rolling keeping some semblance of control was paramount.

“Originally with the Halo movie we weren’t particularly interested about that,” says Dave, “but then it started happening and we thought we would have a decent amount of influence on how it would all turn out. Maybe we were kidding ourselves!

“We certainly are extremely protective and that’s a good thing.”


    • But remember the issues were “budgetry” which should really read as; Movie execs refuse to pay unless they get to turn it into complete shit. Neither Blomkamp or Bungie would allow that.

      Blomkamp now has enough clout that he can make his own choices but I think it’s really too late for a Halo movie.

      • To hear the story, the budget concerns were over how big a cut of the profits everyone got.
        MS wanted approval over everything, with most of the profits going to them… though they wanted to front the least amount of money.

    • I did enjoy District 9, but was disappointed with Elysium. His visual effects are definitely some of the best in the business but needs work in the story department I think. Would love to see him adapt Mass Effect for the big screen.

        • Yeh not meaning to say he created all those effects himself but I assume he would have had most creative control over it.

    • Are you kidding? Or have you not seen Elysium? That was a turd burger that shat over the face of anyone who had to watch it.

  • The only game movie worth watching is Street Fighter. That shit was quality! I remember Nintendo Magazine System had a huge fluff piece written several months before release. Speaking of which, I really miss that magazine…..

    And it levitates………meeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • Elysium was just far too short at only 97 minutes (though some sites claim 109, have to check the Blu-Ray in Dec) which made the film feel more like a montage to me. I never expected that it would turn out shorter than District 9.

    People say it was too action heavy, but that’s only because it was so short. It didn’t need less action, but rather more detail to all of the ideas and concepts, more extrapolation on the world, more plotting. Apparently the original US test screenings back in 2012 were around 2.5 to 3 hours long. If you google “elysium “2.5 hours”” or “elysium “3 hours”” you’ll find quite a few results.

    On topic, Halo’s time has come and gone for me. Back in 2007, Halo 3 felt fresh and was still “cool” because It had that “futuristic military defending Earth” theme, which always appeals to sci-fi fans. The marketing campaign with the veteran flashbacks and Blomkamp’s Halo: Landfall was brilliant and his gritty vision of Halo was so immediately arresting and engaging. I loved the overhead Pelican providing intel and the multiple viewpoints. It gave the impression of military authenticity which the Halo games have lacked.

    Fast forward to now, and with Halo 4 the series has just become this safe, generic space fantasy with no grit or intensity to it. The campaign felt dull and phoned in, except for the graphics/audio. This new Forerunner trilogy seems forced, like a TV show that has gone on for too long and the writers are trying to justify it’s continued existence.

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