Back in April, in order to promote the newly-released Xbox 360-exclusive Halo 4, head developer 343 Industries announced that they would be releasing a five-part live action series bridging the gap between Bungie’s Halo 3 to Halo 4. On Oct. 5, the series launched on YouTube under the channel “MachinimaPrime” and so far has gathered over 9 million views just on the first episode alone.
With the launch of Halo 4, those who purchased the limited edition of the game were granted early access to all 5 parts stitched together to create a special edition film, 92 minutes in length.
Unfortunately, the film is only allowed to be streamed as it has not yet officially been released to the entire public.
Taking place in the year 2525, the story follows Thomas Lasky, a future commander of the UNSC (United Nations Space Command) Infinity during the 4th Halo game, as a freshman officer cadet struggling to rise in ranks at the prestigious Corbulo Academy of Military Science that specializes in training young soldiers for the UNSC. Audiences watch as Lasky grows as a soldier and the story dives into twists, revealing more about how life was before the Covenant invaded human colonies.
After the first sightings of Covenant forces, the film really kicks into high gear as visual effects are used heavily at the right times and in the perfect manor. For a first attempt at a live action Halo film, “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” was an exceptional success as not much seemed too overdone, and even though the primary antagonist (the Covenant) didn’t show up until half way through the film, the story was very exciting, never leaving a dull moment.
On the other hand, some shots filmed in a handheld notion seemed to be gratuitous and almost annoying, though when it came to battle sequences, the disorientation combined with the right amount of action led to a perfect batch of scenes that were both exciting and awe-inspiring. The style of the film gave it a very “independent created” sort of look, but was perfect for what kind of film this was.
As the plot moved forward, not one character was left untouched as the story made it easy to connect with each character. By far, one of the most remarkable feats was introducing the one and only Sierra-117, AKA Master Chief. As gamers know, many live action mockups of the Spartan soldier have been less than satisfying, distorting the look by having his head too big or his suit too small. However, through the film, audiences can plainly see that this nine-foot-tall, gun slinging, mean green fighting machine is in fact Master Chief. Though the voice wasn’t the one that we all know and love, Daniel Cudmore captured the role perfectly and undeniably played the part to Halo fanatic expectations.
From the intelligent dialogue penned by Aaron and Todd Helbing to the superb directing style of Stewart Hendler, this film is one that will be placed in the history books as one of the greatest film adaptations of a video game and book series of all time. It’s recommended that Halo fans see this miniseries before playing the game as it does fill in a few holes and helps the player create the obvious connection between Commander Lasky’s and Master Chief’s characters throughout the campaign.
The well-portrayed story not only tells the origin of one of the most important characters within the plot of the newest Halo game, but is also an all around amazing film that doesn’t leave much to chance. The motion picture is definitely a game changer and proves that if given the right tools and the right people to helm the project, any video game adaptation is conceivable. Hopefully this will give the official green light to a professionally done Halo film to be shot and released to theaters for the masses to see.
“Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” stars Tom Green, Daniel Cudmore, Anna Popplewell and Iain Belcher and will become available on iTunes, Netflix and DVD this December.