To be, or not to be, that is the question.

Perhaps Shakespeare isn't the most likely person to quote when talking about the popular video game series 'Halo', but the sentiment sure fits here. For years, the billion-dollar video game phenomenon has flirted with the idea of a big-budgeted Hollywood movie. 'District 9' helmer Neil Blomkamp was supposed to direct at one point, with Peter Jackson producing, but that incarnation was halted. No matter how hard they tried, studios like Fox and Universal (with help and guidance from Microsoft) just couldn't piece together the right product. And while the games continue to thrive -- with the latest pulling in $200 million on its first day of sales -- the possible big-screen adaptation has become a big money-suck.

Now the long-struggling feature adaptation might be finding new life, but it's not with Fox and Universal. Instead, as previously rumored, DreamWorks is eager to grab the rights and shine a green light on a project that's been years in the making.
According to Vulture, DreamWorks is looking to use the novelizations of the game -- what Vulture calls "the literary equivalent of Purina PuppyChow" -- to get started, thereby avoiding some legal issues surrounding the game's previous adaptation efforts. It's been a long road of potential thorns.

Five years ago, the idea first came to life with Alex Garland getting a million dollars to pen a script when no studio was signed to the film. The script was shopped to studios, and most studios -- including DreamWorks -- passed. But then Fox and Universal decided to partner up on the project -- a plan that was doomed from the start. The pricey Peter Jackson came on as producer, Neil Blomkamp was tapped to direct (before 'District 9' hit), and then money became too much of a problem to ignore, with Microsoft and Jackson already grabbing big percentages of the film's gross before it was even made. No one wanted to back down and ease the price tag, lawsuits descended and the project was dead.

If dead, why is DreamWorks being tricky with its source material? Well, Universal lost millions in the end, and the thought is: If DW doesn't use the books, the other studio might seek some sort of reparations for their lost costs. But this is where something else comes into play: No names are yet attached to the plan, and the studio also has to tread carefully with Microsoft, who is quite protective of their game -- they don't want a crappy movie hurting the franchise's future. And this is where Steven Spielberg comes in.

Could the icon possibly direct the film? Having the man behind 'Indiana Jonest and 'Jaws'' should certainly ease any worries Microsoft might have. While it might seem like a stretch when you think about the many crappy video game adaptations out there, the bones of the project should at least put it on par with 'Hook,' 'Jurassic Park' or 'War of the Worlds.' Plus, from what we've been hearing, after he's done with War Horse, Spielberg will be looking to take on a big sci-fi project. And if it's his name as director that will get this thing moving, there's a chance we'll see a Spielberg-helmed Halo movie hitting theaters by 2013.

Would you get behind that, or is Spielberg the wrong man for this type of material?
categories Movies, Cinematical