April 27, 2007

Nail in the coffin for Halo Movie?

As reported in Variety and Deadline Hollywood Daily, Larry Shapiro has left his position at CAA. What's the big deal? Remember when Bungie would mention how they were meeting with CAA and shopping the Halo script around to movie production houses? Larry apparently was a big part of making those kind of meetings happen.

In 2003 Seamus Blackley, with obvious Microsoft pedigree, joined him, and the Halo Movie rumors didn't start until 2005, but it's not hard to imagine that it was Larry, not Seamus, that had the pull to get outfits like Universal and 20th Century Fox to sit down together with Microsoft and try to get the movie off the ground. Of course, even before Larry left CAA this whole thing has turned into a fiasco (don't believe me? Take a look), but who knows how much worse it is without the all-important 'broker' that can smooth talk folks into shaking hands and committing millions of dollars in getting something as audacious as a military-vs-alien sci-fi shoot-em-up based on a video game as seen through the eyes of I-never-knew-a-budget-I-couldn't-break Peter Jackson?

Could the movie still happen? What do I know? I guess it could, but with Halo 3 right around the corner, and what I would imagine severe-brain-fatigue at Bungie after so many years of Halo Halo Halo... I have to be honest and express my desire that someone at Bungie (Jason Jones is the usual suspect) has been visiting the local library and reading some new and interesting tales that will inspire the group to create something fresh. For us Halo fans, the movie would never have matched all our wishes and dreams for something so visually and emotionally visceral: your Rosebud moment is my Jump The Shark. A parallel opinion is the cynical take on music-hero worship: Is it better that Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin died so early in their lives, at the peak of their careers, then to see them age into out-of-touch entertainers desperately trying to connect with the masses through guest-shots on American Idol?

That doesn't mean Microsoft themselves won't pursue it if possible, and damn Bungie's input if any is forthcoming. But ugh, can you imagine? I don't want to.

Posted by bs at 2:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 2, 2007

Halo at Video Games Live concert

The evening of March 31, 2007, Louis Wu and I (and my son, Rafi) met at Yale's Woosley Hall in New Haven, CT for the phenomenon that is Video Games Live. The premise is video game music played by a symphony/choir. We had a great time! It definitely ran the gamut of games - starting with Pong and moving onwards. Did we get to hear Halo theme music in all it's symphonic glory? Does a grunt crap in its hermetically-sealed, methane-filled pants?

Below the fold there be more commentary, and actual VIDEO!

There was audience participation (in random picked audience members playing a game on the large screen with a chance to win prizes) and Jack Wall, the conductor and veteran composer of video game music was not acting like a stereotypical conductor. He was jumping, bopping, etc., to the music. Tommy Tallarico, another video game music veteran, is the host and he also brought his inner video-game geek to the event. My 11 year old son, though unfamiliar with some of the older video game music, still enjoyed himself. I would recommend anyone that hasn't had a chance to catch this tour to do so if it passes by. Check out their schedule here.

Below is the youtube link of the entire Halo portion of the concert I filmed off my digital camera. I'm actually impressed I got as good a vid as I did. They played the full Halo theme, and as a cool bonus they ended it with the Halo 3 trailer music: "Finish The Fight" If I had to criticize, the video in the background was basically just a pastiche of cutscenes, with not terribly strong links to the music as it played. Don't get me wrong... where there was a flourish - or any kind of emotional tug, the video followed suit, but in general, if you were an avid Halo player, the scenes did not really match the music. Too bad they couldn't have generated some custom vid that did a better job. I would have even preferred a medley of different Halo tunes with scenes of the levels the music was used in. Still, it's a minor quibble, and when they got to Halo 3, since the music was meant to follow the trailer, there was no issue there. Well, except for Tommy himself showing up with a Steinberger guitar strapped on. It would've been nice if we actually heard the guitar, but it really didn't sound all that good. Whoever was running the board didn't get a clean enough sound. Anyway, near the end you can hear me laugh when "Bungie" flashes across the screen, mainly because it was at that moment that I realize that in a twisted fashion, the concert is one giant 'attract' event for the forthcoming Halo 3. No other video/music composition in the concert ended with the developer logo and upcoming release date teaser. It was quite funny.

I don't mean to speak ill of Tommy and actually wish to give him major props for specifically giving all attendees permission to take pics and video and spread the wealth! He's eager for everyone to get a taste of the concert. Thanks Tommy for understanding the power of internet pic/video sharing. Many other symphonic pieces were played - Warcraft, Medal of Honor (with a very visceral *real life* montage of the horror that was WWII), Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts, Advent Rising (a game that came and went, but the music, composed by Tommy himself, easily surpassed the game's own failings), and we were even treated to the incredible Martin Leung, the Video Game Pianist that's all over youtube. His skill is unmatched, and to think he did it all with no sheet music!

My thanks to Mr. Louis Wu for his assistance in navigating around Yale and letting us bum some nice seats up on the balcony! And of course he's offering the video over at HBO at the best resolution possible.

Posted by bs at 5:25 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack