(this applies to both video games and acting, so I'm posting it in both blogs.)
Microsoft and Universal have picked an unknown director for the now officially 2008 Halo film (which is fine, because it likely means we'll get the Halo 3 game in 2007).
Short film and commercial director Neill Blomkamp will direct the film, which has the uninitiated scratching their heads.
Blomkamp is previously known for his 2005 short film, Alive in Joburg, and for receiving Clio Awards and a Visual Effects Society Award for his television commercial -- about a car.
Sure, Microsoft, Universal, and Executive Producer Peter Jackson are arguably taking a bit of risk in going with an unknown, but the reason and payoff is huge.
First, Blomkamp is relatively unknown. When launching a franchise into a new medium, there's tremendous value in having it helmed by someone who doesn't have baggage or expectations getting in the way of the effort (look at the grief the fan boys are giving Michael Bay for Transformers). Blomkamp is probably a good blance for Jackson.
Blomkamp has also been tagged as "One of the Top Five Directors to Watch" (First Boards Awards in 2004).
And the guys is the whole package. Not just a story teller and director, Blomkamp is an amazing visual effects guy. He's done 3D and effects work on Smallville, Stargate SG-1, and Dark Angel (and was nominated for an Emmy), among others.
None of that really matters, though.
Watch his stuff. In hindsight, picking him is a no brainer.
That car commercial? It's for Citreon, and so Transformers-esque that Michael Bay's going to get a run for his money. If Bay's Autobots and Decepticons are that fluid and natural, the film is going to rock.
And that Alive in Joburg short film? It's about extraterrestrials being marginalized in slums in Africa. Africa. The film looks like it was lifted from the New Mombasa scenes in Halo 2. And watch the opening scenes, where soldiers get out of the chopper. They look like the Halo Orbital Shock Troops (OSTs). And listen to the marriage of music to visuals, and tell me this didn't get Marty O'Donnell all hot and bothered.
So what if this is Blomkamp's first feature film? Jackson's got experience to share.
Links to Blomkamp's stuff (I love the Internet and YouTube):