J.J. Abrams Confirms Half-Life Movie, Teases Official Portal Film Announcement

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J.J. Abrams Confirms Half-Life Movie, Teases Official Portal Film Announcement

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Director J.J. Abrams says that both the Half-Life and Portal movies are in development now.

We've been hearing about movie adaptations of Half-Life and Portal for years now, and this week, director J.J. Abrams confirmed to IGN that both it and a movie adaptation of Portal are "still very much in development."

Abrams said that we might hear more, including an official announcement of the Portal film, in the near future. "We have a meeting coming up next week with Valve, we're very active, I'm hoping that there will be a Portal announcement fairly soon."

The partnership between Abrams and Valve's Gabe Newell was announced at the DICE Summit way back in February of 2013. Even though it's been more than three years, we still haven't heard much more about these films than "We're working on it." Hopefully, that will change soon.

In the meantime, it's worth thinking about who could take on the role of the iconic silent protagonist. Here are five actors we really thought would be great as Gordon Freeman.

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So a free copy of Half-Life 3 with every ticket of the movie on opening night? Exclusively on the Ouya of course? One can only hope.

I can actually see a HL series working, possibly a movie - but Portal is another thing entirely.

While I love both Portal games and their stories, I just can't see it translating to film well.

Either way though....fucking hell Valve, this shouldn't be happening before a new game in either series.

I don't see any confirmation of either looking to be live-action, so thinking about casting on screen seems potentially misleading.

You'd hope JJ and Newell would be smart enough to recognise they need to play up to each medium's strengths, ergo nothing would be gained by just doing a straight live-action adaptation. Half-Life and Half-Life 2 didn't become seminal works because of their plot.

I can see the first HL movie being essentially Deep Blue Sea in the desert with aliens and soldiers instead of the sharks. So, doable, but I'm kind of worried that there's nothing that could be done that would make it more than just a B-Action/Survival movie.

distortedreality:
I can actually see a HL series working, possibly a movie - but Portal is another thing entirely.

While I love both Portal games and their stories, I just can't see it translating to film well.

Either way though....fucking hell Valve, this shouldn't be happening before a new game in either series.

I came here to comment basically the opposite. I can see a Portal game working, but I can't see a game like Half Life translating decently into film...

ffronw:
Director J.J. Abrams says that both the Half-Life and Portal movies are in development now.

Newell's sadism knows no bounds. Perhaps this is a surreptitious attempt to loot and pillage everything of value from the Half Life series before killing all interest in it forever so that they don't have to dissapoint everyone with hl3.

Oh well, I suppose it can't be helped. Those diamond screws in the new steamboxes won't pay for themselves. And its not like Valve has any kind of money to burn or anything.

J.J. Abrams can suck a fat one.

He turned Original Star Trek into an action series.
He removed alot of the deeper nuances of the space opera that is Star Wars for more explosions. I swear if the Death Star didnt blow up in A New Hope, J.J. wouldnt have liked Star Wars.

He is just a nerdier Michael Bay and needs to be stopped.

I cant even imagine how a -good- Portal movie would work.

So far this year we've had an Angry Birds movie, a Warcraft movie and a Ratchet and Clank movie.
Around the corner is Assassin's Creed, Tomb Raider and a TV series based on Mirror's Edge.
There will at some point be a live action Pok?mon movie, and The Division is in the talks.
Outside of game adaptations Spielberg is making Ready Player One, centred around an MMORPG, and Hardcore Henry was released earlier this year, whose plot can be comparable to that of a first person game(as can be expected from its chosen camera perspective).

In conclusion, my initial reaction of staring in utter disbelief upon reading this headline was unfounded. Movies based on or around video games are apparently a thing now. Whether JJ Abrams is the right person for the job is what ought to be discussed; between The Force Awakens and the Star Trek reboot I'd say he's good at making crowd pleasers. Does that fit with Half Life? Dunno, I've never played.

Oh right, there was a Hitman movie a few years ago. Did I miss any other adaptation?

I'm gonna call it now: These movies will most likely suck. How do you make a movie out of a game like Half-Life, where the Silent Protagonist is going through very similar looking halls in an Underground Science Facility fighting Aliens and Army men? Short answer is, you don't, unless you dramatically change it from the source material. The same goes for Portal, and that has the problem of there being only 1 or 2 other characters.

Saelune:

I cant even imagine how a -good- Portal movie would work.

The Martian but set in an underground facility with an evil robot and slapstick. Essentially what they need to do is mix extreme loneliness with dark humor to make something surreal.

But knowing modern Hollywood, it'll end up "Memes, the movie"

Back OT- So JJ reboots franchises. Has he ever made a movie that has more than one sequel? Probably the Half-life sequel will have a companion TV series that ends abruptly on an end-of-season cliffhanger.

Saelune:
J.J. Abrams can suck a fat one.

He turned Original Star Trek into an action series.
He removed alot of the deeper nuances of the space opera that is Star Wars for more explosions. I swear if the Death Star didnt blow up in A New Hope, J.J. wouldnt have liked Star Wars.

He is just a nerdier Michael Bay and needs to be stopped.

I cant even imagine how a -good- Portal movie would work.

THIS! Exactly THIS!

...and meanwhile, Rupert Sanders is ruining Ghost in the Shell...
why? oh, why?...

There'll be a half life movie, and a sequel. Then there'll be a straight-to-Netflix tv show season, and then a second season that ends with a cliff-hanger.

And that'll be the end of it.

hermes:

distortedreality:
I can actually see a HL series working, possibly a movie - but Portal is another thing entirely.

While I love both Portal games and their stories, I just can't see it translating to film well.

Either way though....fucking hell Valve, this shouldn't be happening before a new game in either series.

I came here to comment basically the opposite. I can see a Portal game working, but I can't see a game like Half Life translating decently into film...

really? just look at the plot of the games.

HL: scientist opens portal to alien world and has to fight al the aliens to correct te mistake.
straight forward enough, but done to death.

Portal: Test subject try's to escape a evil lab by solving complex spacial puzzles with a special gun that shoots smal wormholes.
As a game that works great, but as a movie it will either be boring after a couple of puzzles or incomprehensible from the fist one.

now that i think of it, rooms full of puzzles and death traps, leave out the portal gun and you have Cube.

But what about a portal series?
Every week a new room to navigate, that could work (just kidding, sounds boring as hell)

Pyrian:
There'll be a half life movie, and a sequel. Then there'll be a straight-to-Netflix tv show season, and then a second season that ends with a cliff-hanger.

And that'll be the end of it.

But we would still be talking en speculating about it for more than a decade after its cancellation.

So, if they finish the Half-Life 1 and Half-Life 2 movie, does that mean we'll get filler movies until they come out with Half-Life 3?

Jeroenr:

hermes:

distortedreality:
I can actually see a HL series working, possibly a movie - but Portal is another thing entirely.

While I love both Portal games and their stories, I just can't see it translating to film well.

Either way though....fucking hell Valve, this shouldn't be happening before a new game in either series.

I came here to comment basically the opposite. I can see a Portal game working, but I can't see a game like Half Life translating decently into film...

really? just look at the plot of the games.

HL: scientist opens portal to alien world and has to fight al the aliens to correct te mistake.
straight forward enough, but done to death.

Portal: Test subject try's to escape a evil lab by solving complex spacial puzzles with a special gun that shoots smal wormholes.
As a game that works great, but as a movie it will either be boring after a couple of puzzles or incomprehensible from the fist one.

now that i think of it, rooms full of puzzles and death traps, leave out the portal gun and you have Cube.

But what about a portal series?
Every week a new room to navigate, that could work (just kidding, sounds boring as hell)

Mostly because of the way the narrative is presented. You are right that Half Life setting has been done to death but, unless they decide to change the protagonist, I don't think a mute action hero would translate well into the big screen. It could work if they make a game about the adventures of another invasion survivor.

Portal, on the other hand, does not have that limitation. Sure, the protagonist speaks almost as little as Freeman, but in the games (specially the first one), she has no one to talk with... if the only other character is an AI behind an intercom, the protagonist can be excused for being less talkative. Also, you seem to be under the impression the audience will see the movie to try to solve the puzzles along side the protagonist, when in fact most people would like to see how the protagonist solves them. I think the movie could work pretty well if you see it as an escape/prison movie.

Could work. Could suck.

"In development" could, of course, mean almost anything, including "there's an outline of a screenplay buried on the desk of my third-favorite screenwriter".

To say video game movies rarely knock it out of the park is a massive understatement.

Then again, there are far worse people who could be on such a project than Abrams. I've almost forgiven him for Lost at this point. And the source material's lore has about the right combination of depth and understatement; enough to provide a strong world framework and some fan shout-outs without having to have massive exposition dumps.

But perhaps most importantly, an even middling-successful movie might be the best pressure one could put on Valve to actually release Half Life 3.

And, yeah, I know a lot of people are understandably tired of even pretending HL3 is anything other than vaporware that will never, ever see the light of day, especially while Steam continues to rake in money hand over fist. But the tiny spark in my soul that doesn't tend towards cynical misanthropy on such subjects still wants to see it.

I knew this was coming, but I was hoping it wouldn't. I don't see this working, mainly because it's Jar Jar we are talking about here.

Obviously it will be your usual action movie (because J.J. turns every other franchise into just that) with the HL & Portal names and settings. Sounds exciting. If you think it will be any different, that means you already have more of an imagination than Michael Bay 2.

hermes:

Jeroenr:

hermes:
I came here to comment basically the opposite. I can see a Portal game working, but I can't see a game like Half Life translating decently into film...

really? just look at the plot of the games.

HL: scientist opens portal to alien world and has to fight al the aliens to correct te mistake.
straight forward enough, but done to death.

Portal: Test subject try's to escape a evil lab by solving complex spacial puzzles with a special gun that shoots smal wormholes.
As a game that works great, but as a movie it will either be boring after a couple of puzzles or incomprehensible from the fist one.

now that i think of it, rooms full of puzzles and death traps, leave out the portal gun and you have Cube.

But what about a portal series?
Every week a new room to navigate, that could work (just kidding, sounds boring as hell)

Mostly because of the way the narrative is presented. You are right that Half Life setting has been done to death but, unless they decide to change the protagonist, I don't think a mute action hero would translate well into the big screen. It could work if they make a game about the adventures of another invasion survivor.

Portal, on the other hand, does not have that limitation. Sure, the protagonist speaks almost as little as Freeman, but in the games (specially the first one), she has no one to talk with... if the only other character is an AI behind an intercom, the protagonist can be excused for being less talkative. Also, you seem to be under the impression the audience will see the movie to try to solve the puzzles along side the protagonist, when in fact most people would like to see how the protagonist solves them. I think the movie could work pretty well if you see it as an escape/prison movie.

If the movie is immersive enough, they probably will.
That is the appeal of most prison escape or heist films, just look a the final plan scene, it is always filmt in a way that makes you seem as a part of the crew while being brieft.

Portal would really need this immersion to work, else it could turn in to a life action lets play.
Also, to make it more movie adaptable they have to come up with a sub plot. (guessing flashbacks from before/during the GlaDos incident)
Although, they could also go full "Cave Johnson era" story wise, that would open up a whole lot of other options.

But for now i'l put it on the "interesting but don't get hyped" list.

so the movie will be HL3? no wonder we havent heard from valve yet.
ok, i can see HL as a movie more or less. since JJ is at it, i think there might be some hope that it may be good. at least not freaking uwe boll.
but portal.....i really dont know how this can work. and i love both series. well, time will tell i guess. certainly have no high expectations.

Bedinsis:

Outside of game adaptations Spielberg is making Ready Player One, centered around an MMORPG.

To be fair, Ernest Cline wrote Ready Player One already with the eventual adaptation firmly in his mind. He sold the movie rights before the book was even out, and the book even literally follows a movie-like three act structure. The story is also a rather cringeworthy 80s geek fantasy, but we'll bash it when it comes out.

Oh right, there was a Hitman movie a few years ago. Did I miss any other adaptation?

The other Hitman movie.

Escape from City 17 already exists and hasn't been topped yet.

I cant even imagine how a -good- Portal movie would work.

If you've seen any of the Cube movies then it could very well work like that.

All I can imagine with a HL movie is it will get 40 minutes in, leave it at a cliff hanger and then promise the follow up a year later...

Archilochus:

ffronw:
Director J.J. Abrams says that both the Half-Life and Portal movies are in development now.

Newell's sadism knows no bounds. Perhaps this is a surreptitious attempt to loot and pillage everything of value from the Half Life series before killing all interest in it forever so that they don't have to dissapoint everyone with hl3.

Oh well, I suppose it can't be helped. Those diamond screws in the new steamboxes won't pay for themselves. And its not like Valve has any kind of money to burn or anything.

Half-Life 3 will never live up to the hype now and I think Valve gets it. They'll never officially say its cancelled but it probably won't ever be released.

A Half-Life movie? Sigh, just shut up and take my money!

I just want to take this moment to say how much disdain I have for everything the Escapist posts on facebook.

Also, the thing about most non-video game stories is the protagonist has to be an actual character and not a pair of ghost arms with a crowbar. I can't see a Portal movie that maintains what people like about the game, since again, the game is mostly a robot talking to a non-existent protagonist.

I'm for fans of the series. Maybe Abrams will get bored and quit before filming starts.

Let me get this straight... a Half Life movie is coming before episode 3. I give up. I finally give up.

Given that there are Sonic and Tetris movies on the horizon...actually, a Tetris trilogy (WHY?!?!), I imagine these will hardly be the most offensive videogame-related movies coming out.

EDIT: MOST! MOST OFFENSIVE! Not least offensive. That is the mother of all bugger ups.

Well at least that gives them a chance to finish the story (Orrr add more, depending on how deep the lore goes) without kicking a hornets nest of entitled gamer rage beceause it somehow wasn't absolutely perfect for some completely illogical cunting reason.

I am a little bit excited about J.J. Abrams being involved with Portal. Remember Dan Trachtenberg directed J.J. Abrams' 10 Cloverfield Lane this year. He did a great job with that movie. Also, Dan Trachtenberg did that excellent fan video of Portal.

Saelune:
J.J. Abrams can suck a fat one.

He turned Original Star Trek into an action series.
He removed alot of the deeper nuances of the space opera that is Star Wars for more explosions. I swear if the Death Star didnt blow up in A New Hope, J.J. wouldnt have liked Star Wars.

He is just a nerdier Michael Bay and needs to be stopped.

I cant even imagine how a -good- Portal movie would work.

That pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Though I'm interested (if not a little excited) about the prospect of a Portal movie, I'm worried that it'll be a vapid action film solely because of its video game roots, and that's what misguided studio execs believe audiences demand from video game movies. I don't think you can do justice to the Portal franchise unless the movie is a surreal, dark, insightful comedy (think 1984 Ghostbusters) and it's difficult to imagine that a big studio would approve that type of script these days because their so-called "wisdom" insists that it wouldn't lure 13-year-old, male, game enthusiasts to the theater.

And no, I'm not slighting 13-year-olds - I'm lambasting modern-day studio practices that consistently underestimate the intellectual capacity of young people, resulting in unnecessarily dumbed-down movies whenever there's a minute possibility of a studio-funded production appealing to a single person under the age of 17. Hell, I saw Ghostbusters in the theater during its original release, and though I was seven years old at the time, I absolutely loved it. Though I didn't understand most of the adult themes until I got older (which is why I grew to love the movie even more over the years) it was still my second-favorite big-screen experience of 1984, and it didn't rely on guns, explosions, or ham-fisted poop, fart, and testicle-kicking tripe to draw in the kids.

On an unrelated note, my first-place theater experience of 1984 went to Nightmare on Elm Street. Third place was a special screening of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I love my mom for raising me on horror. ;)

Rangaman:
Given that there are Sonic and Tetris movies on the horizon...actually, a Tetris trilogy (WHY?!?!), I imagine these will hardly be the least offensive videogame-related movies coming out.

In terms of movie quality, I second this opinion. In terms of fan dissapointment with the film however I'm not so sure.

On the topic of a possible portal movie, I honestly don't understand how it might work. From my experience playing Portal a lot of the humour and atmosphere came from embodying a constantly dying crash-test dummy that recieved nothing but quips for its failures. Nihilastic humour mixed with that special kind of lonliness that you get from being completely cut off from all contact apart from a computer that hates you (A science fiction classic) are the experiences that I personally associate with the game, which are ones that I would think are very difficult to replicate in cinema form. But maybe I am thinking too literally.

Ten Foot Bunny:
I don't think you can do justice to the Portal franchise unless the movie is a surreal, dark, insightful comedy (think 1984 Ghostbusters) and it's difficult to imagine that a big studio would approve that type of script these days because their so-called "wisdom" insists that it wouldn't lure 13-year-old, male, game enthusiasts to the theater.

I share your skepticism. Considering the status of games in the film world its really hard to believe that someone would buy the film rights to a game as popular as Portal or Half Life and not look to wring as much money out of its pores as concievably possible. And where there are people wringing money out of beloved franchises you can be sure there are going to be focus groups aimed at the "target demographic".

I have to say though, your description of what the Portal movie could have been does make me sad to think of the potential that very likely will be missed.

Edit: This came out as two posts when it should have been one, apologies.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
Half-Life 3 will never live up to the hype now and I think Valve gets it. They'll never officially say its cancelled but it probably won't ever be released.

That's the smart way to go, but it simply emphasises how Valve are rubbing salt into the wound by releasing films that I imagine won't immediately follow after the end of the HL series thus far.

Edit: Christ, now three posts, apologies again.

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