I am a huge Halo fan and own all the games for the Xbox 360 (yes, even the Xbox 360 compatible version of Halo 2) and it was with lofty expectations I purchased and the watched the blu ray version of the internet live action show “Halo 4 – Forward Unto Dawn.” The only actor I knew in the movie was Daniel Cudmore, who played Colossus in X-Men 2: X-Men United and X-Men The Last Stand. So I was extremely cautious in regards to what the cast could do.
Would they do the source material justice or would it come crashing down?
As with my reviews, I will do a list of Pros and Cons, and then end the review with my own thoughts. I do assign a numerical score and try to be as fair as I can in that assessment.
Let’s do this………………………CHIEF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
– First off I have to say that the powers that be did a fantastic job of assembling the cast for this project. The entire Hastati Squad was diverse in not just their personalities but also their ethnic backgrounds. Each character was memorable and was flushed out enough that you could remember them.
– The opening segment of the cadets introducing themselves was a very simple but powerful moment of the series. I kind of overlooked it at first but as the series went on, I realized that it was such an effective way to lay the foundation for the group as a whole.
– How cool was it to see Master Chief in the cryo chamber and Cortana debating if she should thaw him? Whether it was the part of the opening sequence or the ending sequence, they were terrific ways to bookend the story.
– Daniel Cudmore was fantastic as Master Chief. The moment that Chief showed up to save the cadets, you truly believed that this is the exact same Master Chief that you have played as in the Halo video game series.
– This series was intense! Both emotionally and with it’s action. The invasion by the Covenant was scary and really made you feel the character’s desperation. You knew some of the cadets would have to die and when Chyler died, you felt each of Lasky’s tears. There have been few movies or shows that have pulled me in so emotionally as Halo 4 – Forward Unto Dawn did.
– The CGI in the series was fantastic! Whether it was the Covenant space ships, the Elites, the Jackyls or The Hunters….they all looked top notch! It also helped that the props that were not CGI were also very well done. The cadets armor, the Warthog, the weapons and Master Chief’s armor all looked superb!
– The soundtrack was great. It was something that truly accented what was going on in the series at the time the music was playing. It did not ruin or overwhelm any of the scenes but it really drove home what you were feeling as you watched.
– I loved the idea of showing the past of Lasky and his relationship with Master Chief. It was risky to have the story play out over 32 years but it really gave their relationship “weight” that makes their relationship in Halo 4 the game even more important. It could have strayed off the path and gone cheesy but excelled.
– The brief glimpse of what was going on with Cortana was a smart move. It did not add much to the story of “Forward Unto Dawn,” but it did set the tone for what she has been going through since Halo 3 and now Halo 4.
– How freaking cool was it to see the guys from Roosterteeth do a public service announcement titled “Sleepover” as a special feature. I literally lost my mind when I saw Burnie Burns dressed like the guy from the original Halo who ran Chief through the paces when he is thawed. I only wish we saw Grif along with Sarge and Caboose.
– There were lots of nods to the various Halo games. There were many times throughout the series that had me giggling like a fanboy when I saw them. They were used in a way that made you say “Yes! I was hoping they would do that!”
– We need a full Halo movie done in this vein, and that one does not exist is a minus to me.
– The blu ray had me wanting MORE!
Halo 4 – Forward Unto Dawn is a fine example of how to make a great video game adaptation. There is a great story, great cast, great action, lots of nods to the source material, great CGI and props and the little Red vs Blue special feature was the cherry on the cake.
I know people will say that the “Chosen one who tries to side step his destiny” story idea is over played but it works extremely well in this context. It feels fresh and really has a lot of emotional weight to pull you in. You have to look at the series with an open mind and if you do, will not be disappointed.
Even if you are not a Halo fan or player, you can still enjoy this series. It proves that a big screen version of Halo is just not only possible but is something that would translate extremely well.
I highly recommend this series!
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