Bam said the lady, though, it would cost her.
So, here we are again in another post in another time of the concurrent year. Possibly a quick follow-up as well having released the last one not less than possibly a week ago? Well, as promised here I am to deliver.
Today, we’re going to be looking at how Halo can learn from the Alien franchise, in the cinematic spectrum. And as such, I am going to be tackling those attempts which have been made on the small screen and a bit of a bigger screen with Forward Unto Dawn and Nightfall, Certainly two controversial topics in the eyes of many, though, they were not failed endeavours, they just didn’t deliver nothing new, outside of a compelling story that most were uninterested by.
One may expect the hate for these to be . . . a little more fleshed out and composed, but in reality, the most opinionated would say something along the lines of “Why should I care about these Marines?” or “Why should I care about Locke or anyone in this team?” While failing to recognise and appreciate the valiant efforts of creating a good plot with fleshed out topics and story arcs. Even if the movies did not provide anything new to the universe.
Forward Unto Dawn with the concurrent theme of what it takes to be a Soldier, “I see a soldier in you, Lasky, you need to see it.” while still tackling the themes of the UNSC in a much more fleshed out manner, Duty, Sacrifice, Courage. UNSC Today, Tomorrow, Forever.
Or the most spoken line, ‘AXIOS’, the word that Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, acclaimed before he fell to his own sword committing suicide in the name of Emperor Nero after he ordered him to; the words translating to take the meaning of “I am worthy.”
Nightfall would take a turn with the themes of Sacrifice, Honour and Duty, “We are simple things, soldiers. We are taught honour, honour means sacrifice, sacrifice means death; either our own or our enemies’.” While running away with the means of giving this fallen Spartan a fitting sacrifice for his life that would, in his eyes, redeem himself for his actions, and for not being able to take care of his daughter. “See, I already died. That’s the difference between you and me. Gave my life away when I was signed up to be a soldier.”
And later referenced yet again in the atmosphere of its official score, with the song “How will you die?”
But I am definitely running on a tangent here, and I apologise, though, I do think these are things that needed to be said at some point or another, but thus brings the topic at hand.
How can we learn from Alien?
Well, the answer is rather easy, practicality. By that I mean, we need to look at the efforts of practical effects that have been ventured to create movies such as Alien, Aliens, Star Wars: A New Hope, and beyond.
Why did Sci-Fi movies work so well, back then? Because of the practical effects, the habit of actually building and creating where you are gonna stand and act, this what kept them alive, this is what has kept them ageless, beyond many aspects. And Halo is no stranger to practicality, though, the way our universe is created certainly poses difficulties on creating practical things, costumes, locations, etc.
It is no wonder that the two movies we’ve gotten, are done entirely with a mixture of CGI and practical effects, it’s cheap. Cheaper than creating the entire thing from scratch, certainly.
We have things such as the Sangheili, the Unggoy, the Jiralhanae, Kig-Yar, etc, etc
These are the difficult ones to produce, especially with practical effects, though, we’ve seen one or two costumes created for mostly low budget Trailers, Deliver Hope is one such case creating the costume for the Sangheili and The Life for Halo 3: ODST
So, what does this mean? We’re left with separate options such as CGI.
So, what I am thinking, as such is the case of Halo 4 Scanned and Recommissioning trailers they used a healthy dose of CGI and Practical Effects. As well as using an entire set built from scratch for the UNSC Infinity’s bridge while using CGI for things that seemed realistic enough with CGI. Offering good looking scenes that could almost look convincingly real. Almost.
But the one thing we must retain here is practicality. As such that if we must do something, we must do it right. Of course, Alien has retained its essence because most of its sets are real, props, locations, species, etc.
And as such, Halo hasn’t stayed behind at all in this regard, the thing is, we must continue to do this and of course, take it to the next level if any such promising projects may rise from asunder. . . Looking at you, Halo TV Series.
But we must continue to create proper props, sets, etc. That’s the main way for Halo to be successful on the big screen and smaller screens. The only issue is, of course, it is real bloody expensive to do, and this among many other reasons is possibly why we haven’t gotten anything yet in regards to movies, series, etc. Only smaller scale expeditions into the other genres that are too afraid to try anything new while still being grounded in good storytelling.
So, that of course, brings me to one of the most debated subjects in the Halo Community; storytelling.
So, what makes a good movie and/or series? Story wise.
Well, for starters, a good story in a movie is made by the endeavours of Point A to Point B, beginning and end, explained cohesively throughout the movie without leaving loose ends and tying up every event together in the span of how long the series or movie to end.
And of course, a series is treated differently to how movies work, you gotta plan in advance your episodes, you gotta tie in their respective plot lines and arcs, bring them to a close, lay the seeds for the future episode, etc.
But I am running on a tangent, and I’d rather not continue to run my mouth before this turns into Rogue One vs The Force Awakens which is entirely beside the point.
My point with this is, a good movie or series is denoted by a cohesive, intelligent story that dares to challenge itself and make it through the other side alive. This isn’t exactly an easy task either, though, but with the track record of 343 and the things I previously discussed the last two endeavours of the live-action genre.
I am not worried that we could see something awful to the lines of Halo 5, especially with the genuinely good track record in their stories, novels or otherwise (With, of course, Halo 5 as the exception, not the rule.)
So, to run all of this down into a few words, from the quite possibly heavily convoluted line of thoughts I have just dropped on this page. What is it, that we gotta learn from Alien and retain it into our own endeavours? The essence.
The genuine feeling of it all, everything is real and it is on your screen right now. Practicality should lay valiant over CGI, and they should use as little CGI as possible in scenes that do not need it. And then, Halo can truly be alive in the live action genre.
Like it certainly deserves to be, amongst all of the giants of the Sci-Fi genre as it deserving of the place amongst giants. With the only difference that it’d be the only one that feels as genuine and as alive as our splendid universe does.
Genuine enough for any given number of us to feel close and attached to certain aspects or characters if the universe, cultures, and more.
Only then, Halo will truly be alive.
And bam will say the lady. But at a higher cost.
And as a final topic, I’d like to bring attention to these fallen projects, yet so promising fan made films that never saw the light of day – With the exception of The Fallen, which you can watch here – but I’d like to bring the awareness as to why some of these fail.
And it all has to do with ambition, sometimes one can get so ambitious and life slaps you in the face with a hammer. Halo: Faith never seeing the light of days and only rumours surfacing from the midst of shadows, of course, it probably had to do with how they wanted to go wide on release and with how they were using major visual effect companies to aid them, though, nothing will ever be for certain.
Though, then comes the cancellation of Operation: Chastity. And no reasons were ever disclosed. It was destined to die, as the husk of what could’ve been. And it is quite the shame, as it looked extremely promising, though, one can only speculate from what they had worked upon with their concept arts.
And, of course, The Fallen, as much as it released, I can’t help but think that it never lived to its full potential. As the contrast between its Prologue Teaser and the full release is extremely noticeable as the prologue has nothing to do with the final story.
And thus, in a twist of irony, The Fallen became, what to me is a fallen project.
And with that, I can bring this one to a close. Though, before I go I would like to post a few unused pictures that I believe would really serve their purpose further imagining what could be for the Halo Universe in the live-action genre, at least in my opinion, and of course, some final notes.
So, this is a new thing I thought of on the fly, since in the last one I did something similar, why not establish something to do, even if sporadically.
So, of course, this probably was a very convoluted post, at least in my opinion, I still hope it managed to get the point across, though, I am rather proud of it. I tried a couple new things in this post, as you saw I did picture tiles, as well as using the embed for Soundcloud. I hope to be more dynamic like this in the future. And with that, I bring this to a close properly.
And one last thing, before we bring this to a close, I shall plug a rather small exclusive rough preview of City of Fire and Anomalies right here, for the reader’s delight.
It’s still rough around the edges, and the finished product will not look as such. But that being said, I extend my goodbyes for now, and I shall continue to work on future projects. Remember to check out the Lorecast as soon as it is out! With Drizzy_Dan, Adv Jones, Toa_Freak, VincentGat and I!
And as always, live a good life, be careful, and play a whole lot of Halo (Also read the bloody books.)
-Joseph of the .jpeg, ‘HaruspexOfHell’.