Alright, I’m going to have to make this a quick one since I have to get up early tomorrow. There’s precious little solid news to discuss anyway, so it works out okay. Let’s start with some speculation…
Half-Life or Portal movies a possibility
The 2013 DICE Summit is going on this week, and filmmaker J.J. Abrams and Gabe Newell (you probably know him, but if not, he’s the co-founder of Valve Software, the company that makes the Half-Life and Portal games) were onstage together today to lead a discussion about storytelling. At some point, the conversation got to the possibility of Bad Robot (Abrams’s production company) and Valve joining forces.
The gist was like this:
Newell: What we are actually doing here, we are recapitulating a series of conversations going on. We reached the point that we decided to do more than talk.
Abrams: There’s an idea we have for a game that we’d like to work with Valve on.
Newell: We’re super excited about that and we’re going to figure out if we can make a Portal or Half-Life movie together.
So clearly there’s a big “if” in that last quote. But it seems to me that if they’re talking about it onstage in public, there’s a good chance something is going to happen with this idea eventually. Personally, I’d rather see the stories for these worlds continue to play out in future games. I’ve loved all the Half-Life and Portal games to date, and I’m dying to play through the next installments. But this is all so speculative right now. We don’t know if these movies (assuming they happen) would just take place in the same universes as the games, or tie-in directly and feature the same characters and such.
It’s interesting that there’s all this talk about video game movies of late, but I’m feeling a bit reticent. I guess I was more upbeat about the Warcraft movie idea just because it’s not a series that’s close to my heart. If that movie sucks, it’ll be a disappointment, but I won’t be that bugged. If they make a crappy Half-Life or Portal movie, that’ll be harder to swallow. But then again, both Blizzard and Valve are known for putting out top quality games that don’t come out until they’re good and ready. Hopefully the same will hold true for any movie adaptations their franchises end up spawning.
Star Wars standalone film rumours
Really briefly here… There’s been a ton of speculation about what characters might be featured in upcoming “standalone” Star Wars films. So far, most of said speculation has focused on Yoda, as reported by Ain’t It Cool News. Now we’ve got Entertainment Weekly saying this:
“The Han Solo story would take place in the time period between Revenge of the Sith and the first Star Wars (now known as A New Hope), so although it’s possible Harrison Ford could appear as a framing device, the movie would require a new actor for the lead — one presumably much younger than even the 35-year-old Ford when he appeared in the 1977 original.
The Boba Fett film would take place either between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, or between Empire and Jedi, where the bounty hunter was last seen plunging unceremoniously into a sarlacc pit. Exactly who would play him isn’t much of a complication — in the original trilogy, he never took off his helmet. And in the prequels, we learned he was the son of the original stormtrooper clone, played by Temuera Morrison, who’s still the right age for the part if his services were required.”
So, Yoda, young Han Solo, or Boba Fett. Possibly. Like I said, slow news day.
Godzilla reboot news
Oh look, actual news! Well, kinda. As you might know, a Godzilla reboot is in the works. It’s being helmed by Gareth Edwards (probably on the strength of his 2010 film Monsters, which featured, yep, a bunch of giant monsters). On the writing side, Frank Darabont is working on the final draft, which is based on the work of several others, including David S. Goyer, who was previously brought in to punch things up. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass) is set to star in the film.
The new news is it looks like Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) are joining up too.
There are a lot of great names in the preceding paragraphs, but I’m not really clamoring to see the next Godzilla movie. There’s a bizarre tendency on the part of movie studios to work and rework these things before shooting begins. And I understand it. It’s going to cost hundreds of millions. You’d like to think you’re going in with something solid. But at a certain point, are you really making your script that much better, bringing in one writer after another? Don’t get me wrong, because I think both Goyer and Darabont are great at what they do, and they’ve brought amazing stuff to the big screen in the past. But this is a Godzilla movie we’re talking about here. All you need is a lot of buildings getting knocked over and a half-assed love story thrown into the mix for the ladies and you’ve got about the best you’re going to get.
To his credit, Darabont is doing his best to sell cynics (i.e. me) on the merits of the story: “What was really cool, for me, is there was a very compelling human drama that I got to weave into it. It’s not that cliched, thinly disguised romance or bromance, or whatever. It’s different, it’s a different set of circumstances than you’re used to seeing. And that’s tremendously exciting as a writer when you’re asked to do something else.” Okay, Frank. I’ll believe it when I see it, I guess.
Storyboard from The Grey
One quick cool thing to take us home. Remember The Grey? It was the Liam Neeson movie that promised to be a wolf-punchin’ good time but ended up being a lot more weighty and philosophical (not that I’m complaining, it’s a fantastic movie everyone should see). Well, as you might remember, The Grey ended in somewhat of an anticlimax as Liam Neeson prepared to “live and die on this day”. But the movie’s director, Joe Carnahan, took to Twitter today to offer a peek at what might have been:
Pretty cool, no? Carnahan only posted this one image, but said he’d release a few at a time. He often has good stuff to say anyway, so if you’re at all interested in movies, you should follow him.