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A Look at Short Films Made by Neill Blomkamp, Director of the Upcoming Halo Feature Film
posted by: Aaron Stanton
date posted: 04:24 PM Sat Aug 12th, 2006
last revision: 04:40 PM Sat Aug 12th, 2006

Click to read.Microsoft recently surprised the gaming community by announcing that Neill Blomkamp will be directing the upcoming Halo movie. While the 26-year-old director (born in 1979, according to IMDB) has an interesting string of award nods, including an Emmy nomination for his visual effects work in Dark Angel, he\'s never directed a full-length feature film. According to the Internet Movie Database, most of his movie credits are from his visual effects work in television shows like Dark Angel and Smallvile. In other words, the Halo movie has been placed in the hands of a promising, but largely untested director.

Yet before you start worrying too much, it\'s interesting to note exactly how much Blomkamp has accomplished in such a short time. The fact that he\'s young means he has a lot to be admired for. He was only around 17-years-old when he worked on StarGate SG1, and only 20 when he did the work that earned him an Emmy nod in 2000\'s Dark Angel. Picking him is a surprising move for a film that\'s sure to have both a large budget and to generate a substantial amount of public interest, but it\'s also an extremely exciting one, from our perspective. How many people get the chance to make that substantial of an impact at such a young age? And knowing the crew that picked him, I\'m sure it\'s an earned position.

While there\'s no feature film history to look at in an attempt to familiarize ourselves with Blomkamp\'s work, there are a series of short films available for viewing on the Internet.

GameVideos.com has tracked down three of Blomkamp\'s works, short films called Yellow, Tetra Vaal, and Alive in Joburg.

Yellow is a short clip about a humanoid robot that\'s escaped into human society. It plays like a preview for an upcoming film, and uses a combination of quick camera changes and slow panning shots.

The second piece, Alive in Joburg, is a short, documentary style piece that features alien visitors in the role of immigrants, trapped on Earth and living in poverty.

The third features a robotic soldier, presented in a style similar to Alive in Joburg.

The first film is interesting, and feels very much like iRobot in its visual presentation. The second, Alive in Joburg, is by far the most unique of the three, presenting the arrival of aliens in a very gritty, down-to-earth way that lends a sense of reality to the story. The images combine free-hand camera shots, like you would expect to see in Cops and Saving Private Ryan, with a speculative fiction theme. The combination of low-tech, eye-level perspective with an unbelievable storyline makes for an effective mix. A similar style is used to present Tetra Vaal, as well.

If Alive in Joburg and Tetra Vaal are any indication, the Halo movie might present the Flood and Covenant invasions in much the same gritty, realistic manner that made Saving Private Ryan such an effective movie. Blomkamp has already stated that he believes a sense of realism is essential to telling the Halo story, and that it\'ll be one of his primary focuses in making the movie, expected for release in the summer of 2008.

Choosing an unknown to direct such a substantial project is both risky and in the style of how Peter Jackson, Halo\'s Executive Producer, became famous for directing The Lord of the Rings movies. Prior to his handling of that project, Jackson\'s most notable movie was The Frighteners in 1996. Turning a project as substantial as The Lord of the Rings to him was extremely risky for the financiers, and a move that ultimately paid off.

At the very least, Halo is looking to defy the video-game-to-movie mold, which a good thing as far as we here at GamesFirst are concerned.

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