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Valve and JJ Abrams Collaborating On Half-Life, Portal Movies 208

LordStormes writes "JJ Abrams, who apparently plans to direct every movie for the rest of time, is teaming with Gabe Newell and Valve to explore films for both the Half-Life and Portal franchises. 'Abrams and Newell made the surprise, succinct announcement at the end of their keynote speech, which took the form of a carefully rehearsed discussion between the two creatives about the strengths and weaknesses of games and movies as storytelling mediums. ... "Movies let you experience moments that you might not think are the point, but really are everything,” Abrams said, pointing to the early introduction of compressed air canisters in the opening scenes of the movie Jaws, which initially seem unimportant but prove consequential to the film’s ending. Newell pointed out that the “take your child to work” scene in Portal 2 accomplished the same thing, setting up important plot points in a way that made them initially seem like humorous throwaways.' No word on Half-Life 3, sadly..."
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Valve and JJ Abrams Collaborating On Half-Life, Portal Movies

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  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:40PM (#42812233)

    First of all, that is the stupidest fucking idea I have ever heard, even by dumbass Hollywood standards. The whole point of the Portal games was for YOU to solve puzzles in creative and fun ways. Making that into a passive experience renders the whole thing absolutely pointless. I would rather watch an Adam Sandler movie while eating shards of glass, with Lindsay Lohan's week-old panties wrapped under my nose.

    Secondly, does JJ Abrams have blackmail photos of every studio head in Hollywood or something? Because the guy never struck me as particularly talented, certainly not enough to warrant letting him direct EVERY GODDAMNED MOVIE MADE FROM NOW ON. Not since Keanu Reeves has a less deserving motherfucker gotten so much.

    • by Sebastopol ( 189276 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:43PM (#42812267) Homepage

      Good thing this isn't reddit, or you'd find yourself at zero karma.

      I learned not to point out the relative lack of talent of J.J. (and Joss) the hard way.

      I completely agree with you though.

      I don't get it: we've all seen LOST, Cloverfield, Super8, Star Trek... there's no reason for people to not see how mediocre this guy is. Why do they keep giving JJ the prime scifi?

      I'll answer my own question: Justin Beiber.

      +10 for the Keanu Reeves. "Dangerous Liaisons" should have been enough warning.

      • by YodasEvilTwin ( 2014446 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:50PM (#42812345) Homepage
        Fringe is the best show I've ever watched.
        • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:55PM (#42812415)

          John Noble made Fringe great.

          Adapting to a completely new universe (and/or completely different era) in which some of the previous universe may or may not have existed every season grew tiresome. Ir provided for some interesting twists, but it became difficult to care for anything or anyone once you realized they might simply not exist next time someone powers up a mystery machine. Even deaths became meaningless. How could I feel anything for someone who'd probably just exist in another universe or timeline if they "died" on the show?

        • Fringe is the best show I've ever watched.

          My wife & I are enjoying Fringe quite a bit. We're currently watching it on Amazon Prime. We're on season 3. Guess I'll have to avoid the entire rest of this thread so I don't see any more spoilers...

        • Fringe is the best show I've ever watched.

          I'm sorry.

          I don't think I've ever recommended to anyone that they should watch more TV, but in your case, I don't think there's any harm, since you obviously don't watch much. Have you, in fact, watched any other shows?

          If you ignore reality TV, there's not much of anything worse than Fringe.

        • In that case, Breaking Bad might be the best show you've yet to see.

          • by dstyle5 ( 702493 )
            BB is great, but I found S5 - Part 1 pretty weak in spots. It seemed like the writers were trying to hard to be good instead of just being good and the end result was characters doing things just to do them. Mike's storyline seemed pretty forced at the end, for example. I hope Part 2 gets BB back to form.
        • And how did you feel about LOST? This is how I'll know the compatibility of our opinions.

        • by Hatta ( 162192 )

          Fringe is the dumbest show I've ever watched. Not to say there aren't dumber shows, I just haven't watched them. Fringe makes the last season of the X-Files look coherent.

      • The answer is simple. He's a classic home-run hitter.

        Most of his hits are "Alcatraz" pop-ups caught just past the infield. But you only make hundreds of millions if you get your home run to syndication - and for all the Alcatraz pop-ups, he keeps hitting a fair amount of Person of Interest home runs.

        Swing for the fences!

        • by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:21PM (#42812775)


          I was going in the exact opposite direction with that. I would consider JJ a high percentage batter. Lots of base hits, very few strikeouts. Of the things I've seen, JJ produces perfectly serviceable works, with no colossal flops. Lost was pretty good. Started out a bit above average, imo, but suffered due to the writers strike and some making-shit-up-as-you-go. Super8 and Star Trek were both good movies. Nothing spectacular, but both enjoyable. Same thing with Mission Impossible: decent flick, while certainly not setting Hollywood ablaze. Cloverfield was a good premise, and really only suffered to due the shaky-cam...

          Perhaps that's why he's so popular right now. Studios aren't willing to "swing for the fences." They want a steady hand that will ensure decent returns.

          • From a TV perspective, there's a lot more "Undercover," "Anatomy of Hope" and "Shelter" out there than there's Lost.

            Fringe almost got caught at the wall :) and it looks like Revolution is going to get ruled a ground rule double.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Hatta ( 162192 )

            In other words, it's because he's mediocre that he's getting so much work. Mediocre sells. Brilliant work is practically doomed to be appreciated by a cult following and no one else.

            • Exactly. Which is unfortunate.

              As bad as the Star Wars prequels were (and they were really really bad) at very least they were memorably bad. Darth Maul, despite being very limited in screen time, has stuck with us. We still remember the pod racing, the "oops" of young anakin blowing up the drone-base-thing... we even remember his stupid braid thing from Ep2 and how terrible Hayden Christensen's acting was. Who has forgotten Yoda's light saber duel? Mace Windu being a bad ass mutherfukin Jedi all up on J

        • But you only make hundreds of millions if you get your home run to syndication - and for all the Alcatraz pop-ups, he keeps hitting a fair amount of Person of Interest home runs.

          Person of Interest is not a J.J. Abrams product. Yes, he's "executive producer", but he has had no real creative input (writing or directing credits). Jonathan Nolan is the force behind PoI, and the actual show-runner.

          Compare this to the things he has actual creative credit on, where there was obviously no thought as to where things were going (Fringe creator/writer/show-runner, Lost creator/writer/show-runner, Alias creator/show-runner) or that just generally suck (Armageddon writer, Gone Fishin' writer

      • by fermion ( 181285 )
        J.J. and Joss both do certain things well. Joss is able to do some pretty interesting things on a pretty low budget, and has a good handle on story structure. When he has a budget, sometimes that is a problem. I can't believe that he did not know cows don't walk on grates. One thing that people like about Joss is he a writer that does promote strong female characters, which may or may not be of value

        J.J. OTOH, does not get bogged down in continuity or story structure, which allows him to move in direc

      • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:55PM (#42813323)

        People disagree with me about movies!
        They're all idiots to not agree with my clearly superior intelligence!

      • J.J. Doesn't make good science fiction but he makes Science Fiction that the general mass who doesn't like Science Fiction to actually like.

        Lets compare the original Star Trek Movies with J.J. Star Trek.

        Star Trek Motion Picture to VI wasn't made as an action flick. Sure there was some fights, but they were never much about the action.
        Star Trek Motion Picture vs Star Trek. These two are polar opposites One was Slow and showed off all the money they spent to make it, vs. Fast (spend a lot of money on effects

      • I guess that's a matter of opinion. I liked Lost and Star Trek. In fact, my opinion is that the reboot was one of the best trek films to date. Apparently the majority agrees based on what you said about "pointing out the relative lack of talent."
    • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:54PM (#42812403)
      Someone's already done a short Portal movie (search Youtube for 'Portal: No Escape'; I don't want to accidentally give hits where they aren't due), but you're right. It's really difficult to pull off a film where there is only one visible, active actor. It's possible, but while I enjoy Abrams' oeuvre for its flashes of cleverness and all of its ridiculous spectacle, I don't think he could pull off a straight-up Chell vs. GlaDOS.

      Of course, this is assuming that everything is based on the games and not the broader continuity they're built from. A movie about Gordon Freeman squeezing antlion bits, or Chell discovering that the cake is (twist ending!) moist, delicious, and real? No. God, no.

      A movie based around the events of the Seven Hour War, or the events leading up to GlaDOS going on-line, on the other hands? Those, or something strongly resembling those, I could see.

    • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:57PM (#42812431) Homepage

      First of all, that is the stupidest fucking idea I have ever heard, even by dumbass Hollywood standards.

      I guess you haven't heard about: Battleship []. It really is based on the table top game.

    • by Kenja ( 541830 )

      First of all, that is the stupidest fucking idea I have ever heard, even by dumbass Hollywood standards.

      Really? Worse then Mall Cop 2?

    • Eh, I agree that a Portal movie seems rather weak. Portal is brilliant, and is a great game experience, but I just don't think a movie, novelization, comic book series, cartoon, would be an appropriate medium for it.

      However, if you think that this is anyway the stupidest idea that Hollywood has ever come up with, then I envy your sheltered life.

      The Half-Life series might could work as a movie... maybe. It would be a cheesy film horror action/adventure/horror movie, but I could see it working.

      I'm reluctan

    • First of all, that is the stupidest fucking idea I have ever heard

      One word: Battleship

      • It was entertaining, mostly because you were keenly anticipating the moment that Liam Neeson kicks Taylor Kitsch so hard in the balls that they form a coherent plasma burst that destroys the alien invasion.

        "Total Complete Douche Saves the World" is probably a reasonable summary of the plot.

    • Cube was a good movie.

      • Haven't seen it yet, in my Netflix queue, but this was my first thought on how it could be done.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Because the guy never struck me as particularly talented

      So he's a better than average Hollywood director.

    • I would rather watch an Adam Sandler movie while eating shards of glass, with Lindsay Lohan's week-old panties wrapped under my nose.

      Now, that's a bit harsh. Things could always be worse [].

    • by cout ( 4249 )

      At least it's not Michael Bay.

    • Maybe you can't think of how the plot behind Portal might make a compelling movie. Doesn't mean everyone else shares your lack of imagination.

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:43PM (#42812265) Journal
    I haven't played Portal 2 yet, you insensitive clod!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is it going to be a silent film?

  • Valve needs to concentrade on releasing the next edition of the game, and stop working on a 1000 other projects on the sidelines.

  • Now we'll finally know how Episode 3 ends.
  • It will have to involve time travel in the plot, right?

    The portal gun will end up malfunctioning at the end, delivering Chell to the Black Mesa laboratories, just before Gordon Freeman arrives?

    • by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @06:08PM (#42814213)
      JJ Abram's whole life is about time travel: Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, JJ Abrams stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished... He woke to find himself trapped in the past, directing movies that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Jerry Bruckheimer, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only JJ can see and hear. And so JJ Abrams finds himself leaping from movie to movie, striving to put right what Uwe Boll once put wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home
    • by westyvw ( 653833 )

      Yes, it will all lead up to some non-sensical ending that unravels everything before and makes you wish you had never bothered seeing it in the first place.

  • Portal? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:59PM (#42812463)

    The Dan Trachtenberg short film "Portal: No Escape" already proved (to a lot of people) that Portal would be a fun movie. []

    • it is good in a short little clip, almost like a movie trailer, but i don't know if it would scale up well to a full length film.

      and i think the short is missing an ominous eye watching at the end.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:59PM (#42812465)

    How about Gabe Newell and Valve Collaborate on releasing Half Life 3?

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:03PM (#42812529)
    Because movies based off of games have been awesome! You know like the Super Mario Bros movie...
    • Can't you draw a more recent example of awfulness than 20 years ago? All the recent video game movies I can think of come off as the kind of action shlock that doesn't interest me but makes tons of money on typical US audiences.

    • Ok. I don't understand your comment, is it supposed to be sarcastic? Or are you being serious; because Super Mario Bros was excellent as a film related to the "super mario bros" franchise, a mix of funny, and a little dark and a little just plain bizarre.
      Taxation is how individually poor people pool resources under a common banner to do, build and invent new things. Taxation helped buy the baseline for the communications network you are using to complain about taxation*, among other things. Taxation
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Add some more lens flare
      I'm making a note here: needs more punch!
      It's hard to overcompensate bad lighting

      Specular highlights
      We use them a lot
      Because we can

  • They could have hired Micheal Bay to direct.

  • I'm in favor of this, not because I'd ever spend a dime to see a J. J. Abrams movie, but because it raises the possibility that I'll see a Half-Life 3 game in my lifetime.

    Of course, having J. J. Abrams involved in the franchise increases the possibility that Half-Life 3 will suck, but that's a chance I'm willing to take at this point.

  • ...will shoot lens flares instead.

  • by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:52PM (#42813265)

    and same goes for a portal movie. And for good reason, the lack of the character talking or making sounds makes the player feel as if they are Chell or Gordon. Games that feature character dialog make you feel more like a puppeteer. A movie cant capture that first person experience so they would have to avoid casting Gordon or Chell. My guess would be that any Valve based movie plot would be set in the HL or Portal universe and tell another heroes story.

    A HL movie could be based on the Combine invasion of Earth bridging HL1 to HL2 (though it wouldn't have a happy ending) or telling another story set in another City 17 like Combine ruled dystopian city, maybe in the USA or another location. They can still take full advantage of the HL story, Combine enemy's and aliens while tying it in with events from the game. You will probably hear references to Black Mesa, Gordon Freeman Alyx and Dr Eli Vance, Kleiner etc. Maybe their actions of stirring up trouble in city 17 inspires other rebel groups to do the same in their respective prison cities. Plenty of opportunity.

    Portal would be a bit more difficult as the game universe is limited to one lone character trapped in a high tech prison maze ran by a murderous AI. Basically a one-on-one story line. So the story would be a bit more tricky unless the plot is based on the period of time when GLaDOS went rouge and murdered the entire facility staff. Maybe a lone scientist or janitor escapes and they story is based on them. Portal 2 showed the final release of Chell, set far after the events of portal and HL2 so they could make a stereotypical "group of playing kids stumble upon danger" type plot. Maybe chronicle the rat man (I think that's the name), the person who wrote all the "cake is a lie" graffiti. Either way a Portal story would be tough.

    • Writing for Portal is tough. Why you could even start out thinking a new portal wouldn't even have Chell, or even Portals! Ah, but you could be wrong, because that's exactly what the Portal 2 developers thought... They were wrong. Chell may not speak, but there is a reason it is she, and not some other, you play as in Portal 2; She's integral not because of her dialog (or lack thereof), but because of her identity. You may enjoy this Game Dev Conference talk from the writer's perspective on Portal 2: C []

    • by Yunzil ( 181064 )

      the period of time when GLaDOS went rouge

      I don't know, I can't see GLaDOS wearing rouge. Maybe just a little polish on the exoskeleton.

  • I agree with MovieBob. []
    He's already got two of the biggest sci-fi franchises of all time. JJ Abrams missed the wonder and universal good will inherent in all other Star Trek movies, and turned it into a mediocre action flick. WTF were water pipes doing in the engineering room? It was stupid, existing only for a hardly humorous plot device. Transporting at Warp Speed, DESTROYING a tenet of the Star Trek Universe, simply because the movie wrote itself into a corner?! Spock and Uhura? It's Pon Farr 24/7 now? [] I mean damn, I'm surprised Spock didn't have a romantic interlude with his future self as some Abramsian loop hole in the mating rituals. RED MATTER?! What the hell is that crap? No explanation, it's a pointless mcguffin -- not even an ounce of pseudo-scientific techno-babble: In a ST movie that had multiple time travelers, not a word of tachyons. []

    No surprise that since Abrams demonstrated his ability to destroy planets he's got himself appointed master of the Death Stars as well. Must this be the era of samey sci-fi? Oh damn, the philistines will finally be right! "What movie are you watching?" "Who cares, it's science fiction, they're all basically the same."

    You know what? Screw it. I'm done with franchise recycling. The movie could have been great if it had been in any other universe, why borrow existing playgrounds to stomp in? Is Hollywood really that hard up for ideas? I wasn't pleased when they mined comic books for plot and mindshare. I actually will watch movies with NEW characters. There's no reason to lobotomize and reprogram the old ones. May the gods not ever let Hollywood learn of series such as Steins;Gate, especially not JJ!

  • It'll be a tag-team effort, each cut frame directed by different directors in rotation:

    JJ Abrahms then Ewe Bol followed by Stephen Spielberg and then George Lucas. Over, and over again. It'll be like some kind of assisted suicide for theatre goers.

  • bastardized by Uwe Boll.

    With Abrams, it might actually be good.

  • Seriously, the main character never speaks. We need a Deus Ex movie!

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein