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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 03.16.15] scifi action adventure video game

Microsoft's "Halo" has been extremely lucrative for all involved from the studio to the developer. What started off as a video game has spawned everything form webseries and movies to books, most of them (though not all) officially licensed and falling within the "Halo" universe. Staying true to canon has been key to all of the official merchandising, a fact that is apparent not only from the story at the center of Halo: Nightfall but from the extras on the blu-ray release, many of which deal almost exclusively with how each department (be it costuming or story) ensured the story of this latest adventure fit into the "Halo" universe continuum.

Mike Colter stars as Locke, an ONI agent who finds himself leading a mixed team of ONI agents and Colonial Guard deep into the remnants of Halo. The expedition comes on the heels of a biological attack on the colony world of Sedra, an attack that only targets humans. The goal of the mission: to eradicate the remainder of the Halo along with the substance which was used in the attack and can only be found on the small shard of the planet. Of course the mission turns out to be far more complicated than simply dropping in, setting a bomb and leaving. The group find themselves stranded on the planet and fighting for a way out before the sun rises and burns them all to a crisp. Inner fighting and drama ensues.

The concept of Halo: Nightfall, though reminiscent of everything from Pitch Black to Alien, has great potential and screen writer Paul Scheuring does a good job of shifting the story from a straight forward action adventure to a slightly more meditative tale of survival in the harshest of environments and the inner workings of group dynamics when faced with life-or-death situations. It's a bit on the nose at times but nothing too egregious and honestly, Colter, Steven Waddington and Christina Chong, the three leads, are fantastic and I found myself interested in the characters and the outcome despite the fact that much of the story was telegraphed well in advance and didn't steer far from expectation.

The biggest problem with Halo: Nightfall is that it's pretty much for fans only. I'm only vaguely familiar with the universe of the game and I found myself completely lost amid most of the world-specific jargon. Despite the fact that these are all new characters to the "Halo" universe, there is some expectation that viewers already know this universe and not just in passing but in some great detail, you have to have played this at some point to really get what's going on. There are a few half hearted attempts by several characters at various points to explain some of the jargon that directly affects the story but I found it mostly indecipherable.

With a hefty webseries price-tag of approximately seventy million dollars, (and don't worry, there aren't strange cuts where one episode ends and the next begins) Halo: Nightfall is a nice looking bit of entertainment. Though some of the effects are a little more made-for-TV than cinematic, it looks fantastic and is boosted by a couple of great performances.

Though it still works as a halfway entertaining and really great looking bit of action sci-fi, Halo: Nightfall plays far better to fans familiar with the universe and understand the stakes than to the casual viewer.

Halo: Nightfall is available on blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, March 17.

Extras: The blu-ray release includes a wide assortment of extras that cover everything from costuming (including details on the armour which super-fans might want to pay close attention to) to story with a through line of how everything fits into the canon. Also included throughout the featurettes are interviews with the cast and crew that provide some great insight into the scope of putting the project together.

Recommended Release: Halo: Nightfall

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Lenny (5 years ago) Reply

The real question is how good is Colter? Will he make a badass Power Man?


Marina (5 years ago) Reply

I REALLY lied the character. No idea what a Power Man is so can't comment


Lenny (5 years ago) Reply

Colter is set to play Luke Cage (aka Power Man) in the upcoming Marvel Netflix series. This along with Daredevil, Alias and Iron Fist separate/interlocking series. He looks the part but I know nothing of his acting presence.

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