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August 14, 2007

The 10 Best Movies That Weren't

I've got a night off before I've got to go back to the salt mines, so I thought I'd toss this out there. Seems like the kind of thing this crowd would be into.

David Wong's The 10 Most Awesome Movies Hollywood Ever Killed.

Fans of the popular video game wept tears of joy when a Halo film was announced in 2005. Other bodily fluids escaped when it was announced that the Lord of the Rings guy (Peter Jackson) was on board to produce and Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) was in talks to direct. But suddenly, in the fall of 2006, both of the studios financing the film bailed out.

Why it didn't get made: The rumored budget offered about 200 million reasons, with a dollar sign in front. To break even, every single person who bought the last Halo game would have to go see the film version seven times. Also, Microsoft's deal included demands that Gates & Co. have creative control over the project. If you don't see why that would be a problem, then you've apparently never heard of Microsoft.

Anyone who's ever played the game knows why this is so disappointing. Those panoramic views of the Halo, the super-hot AI chick, the holy-shit-what-the-hell-is-going-on vibe when they discover the's criminally retarded not to make this movie. I'd be willing to bet the domestic box office would have easily earned back the original budget, and that's before you even factor in overseas screenings, DVD sales, and merchandising.

In the right hands, this could have been the next Star Wars. If it had turned out to be even half as cool as I imagine it, I'd have seen it three times in the theater, and bought the DVD and Master Chief feminine napkins. And I'm not the only one. Loose shit, guys.

Anyway, I don't follow Hollywood scuttlebutt enough to have my own nomination for this hall of shame, but here's my one idea I'm pretty sure they'd never get right:

Do Terry Pratchett. It's time, studio guys; the audience is there, the CGI technology is there, Peter Jackson apparently can't hold down a job anymore-all we need is for you to pony up a couple hundred million or so and then let him go nuts.

Don't try to adapt any of the books, either; the fanboys will be at your throats because Foul Ol Ron's lines don't appear in the right order, or something silly like that. Instead, hire Pratchett himself to write an original screenplay. Same discworld, same people, but new story. I'd center it around the two coolest characters: Granny Weatherwax and Sam Vimes. Make them both try to solve the same crime while out-badassing the other. Avoid the "Ewok Trap" by making it intense enough that you just barely get the PG-13 rating. Give us a super-real CGI Ankh-Morpork, and then show us every damn inch of it. Make Alan Rickman useful again by casting him as Lord Vetinari.

I'd punch my mother in the face to see that movie, and so would millions of other people. And when we were done Hollywood would have enough money to fund ten sequels if they wanted to turn it into a franchise.

But I'm not holding my breath.

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posted by AndrewR at 07:45 PM

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