Halo 4 - Forward Unto Dawn

Thursday, 30 May 2013 17:38
Posted in Blu-Ray
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Halo 4 - Forward Unto Dawn on DVD and Blu-rayThis ambitious movie based on the hugely popular Xbox franchise was originally released online as a series of webisodes to commemorate the launch of Halo 4. The focus is a bunch of cadets at Corbulo military academy in the 26th Century. The cadets undergo a series of training missions in preparation for war against human rebels, though unbeknownst to them a far more terrifying and alien enemy awaits.

Thomas Lasky (Tom Green – Home and Away) has the aptitude to be a leader but he does not believe in the cause against the insurrectionists, and is struggling to move out of his brother’s broad shadow. Can he turn it around over the last few missions or risk failing the entire squad? Meanwhile, a fellow cadet is piecing together classified video clips from the battlefield that are about to reveal a secret that will blow their minds.

Lasky’s fellow cadets include Silva (Anna Popplewell – “The Chronicles of Narnia” series), Orenski (Enisha Brewster - “Footloose” remake), Chen (Osric Chau – Supernatural), Tchakova (Kat de Lieva – Cult) and Sullivan (Masam Holden – “Battle for Terra”). Whilst the characterisation is typically not very detailed, the actors manage to convince us that they have been training together for years, probably helped by having undergone a strict boot camp to prepare themselves for the film.

Green is very capable in the lead role, vulnerable and far from macho but able to dig deep when it matters most. He has a soft spot for and confides in Silva, and their chemistry is strong. Lasky receives regular updates from his brother (played by Desperate Housewives actor Max Carver); these keep the audience in touch with the wider conflict, but also play on Lasky’s torn nature. He loves and supports his brother but at the same time has little faith in the war being fought.

Halo fans worried that the Master Chief does not make an appearance at his own party can relax. Whilst not wishing to give too much away (just look at the box art!) he turns up roughly thirty minutes from the end and makes a massive impression. Arch enemies The Covenant also feature and are quite terrifying. Somewhat strangely, the Master Chief is voiced by Alex Puccinelli rather than series regular Steve Downes, but Puccinelli does a decent job.  The towering and very physical actor inside the battle armour is Daniel Cudmore (“The Twilight Saga”, “X-Men: The Last Stand”).

The pacing of the movie is a little slow in the first half, though the training missions are quite exciting and the whole thing is beautifully shot in pristine high definition (the Blu-ray version is definitely recommended). Things heat up considerably later on and brilliantly capture the hectic nature of the games, including an exciting Warthog chase sequence and some very tense moments when the cadets are cornered inside the academy by a fearsome, invisible foe.

The attention to detail is remarkable and very faithful to the games, from the immaculate costumes, weapons, sound effects, music and sets. The world of Halo is quite downbeat, harsh and militaristic but the movie’s makers inject enough humanity and colour into it to prevent it from becoming too cold and unwelcoming.

Halo fans will love this, and non-gamers will also find a lot to enjoy, especially those who like “Starship Troopers”, “Full Metal Jacket” and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. When I first saw this movie I saw real potential in either a full-blown TV series or a movie franchise. On the same day as the announcement of the Xbox One device, Microsoft announced the former!

Special features on all formats include:

  • The Making of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
  • Character Interviews
  • Behind the scenes featurettes about the stunts, the design and the costumes
  • Pre-release vignettes
  • Deluxe Edition also includes limited edition cardboard sleeve, set of 4 Halo art cards and an A3 poster (for an additional £9!)

 

The bonus content is produced very professionally and certainly shows the high level of respect given to the source material. The makers did not want to upset fans of the game series!

“Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” (2012) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The main feature has a running time of 84 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £12.99 on DVD, £15.99 on Blu-ray and £24.99 for the Deluxe Edition Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 30 May 2013 17:43

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