Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gamer Goodness?: Halo 4- Forward Unto Dawn

I do eventually watch every movie I buy, but it does sometimes take me a while.  Back when the last of the local Blockbuster Video Stores closed, I bought this film for $1.  I took it home and, since it had no sleeve, put it in a DVD Binder and then...it sat there.  It wasn't that I didn't care, it's just that...well, let me put it to you this way.  When you're a kid and you collect Baseball Cards, you tend to get them for every occasion and you end up with 1,000,000,000 of them.  That's pretty much what happens to me with DVDs, which is part of why I have so damn many!  Anyhow, that all leads into today's movie Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.  First off, it is actually a collection of Episodes strung together (seamlessly) into a film.  I've reviewed unsold TV Pilots as films, so that's no biggie.  Let's address the odd title, shall we?  This was made to help promote the then-upcoming Halo 4 game, which is why it is in the title.  It seems like you could have just said Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, but whatever.  The film is a Prequel of sorts (further muddying the issue) that tells the story of one Soldier's rise to prominence (well, sort of).  It wouldn't be Halo without Master Chief (unless it is Halo: ODST), so he's here too.  I will try to avoid SPOILERS here since this is a 2012 'film' and I'm cool like that.  To find out why all Boot Camps need R. Lee Ermey, read on...
To open things up, we get Interviews with the Recruits as they explain why they are there and give us their key Character Traits.  This is the only part like this, but...whatever.
We get a quick glimpse of an older General with the same last name as one of the Recruits.  I guess that's a SPOILER...but it happens before we even get the Opening Credits, so bite me.
One of the Recruits finds some Classified Footage that he works to decode it completely.  More on that later.
Meanwhile, our hero is going through some issues with following orders and leading his team to victory in Combat Exercises.  He gets worse news (which I won't SPOIL) too...
However, that all comes to a head when the Academy learns what was really in the Footage.  Since this is Halo, I think you can guess what this is...
Our heroes are trapped and shit is getting really real (for real).  Who will live?  Who will die?
Fun Fact: the guy playing 'Master Chief' in his suit is Daniel Cudmore, the guy who played 'Colossus' in the X-Men movies.

He was discovered in a Gym by Bryan Singer and I totally won't imply anything from the first half of this sentence.  After all, I can't afford a Lawsuit.
This scene is dramatic, but all I can do is go 'Ooh, a Warthog- those were fun to drive!'
In all seriousness, we get some nice Action and Drama in the latter half and it feels as real as Aliens with Laser Swords fighting Space Marines can.  Check it out.  The End.
Damn- this one was a legitimate surprise.  Don't get me wrong- the Halo franchise has always been good.  The thing is this: as a First-Person Shooter, the Story has never been the Series' strong suit.  I don't mean to insult anyone who loved the Space Drama, Action Set-Pieces or Will They/Can They 'Romance' of Cortana and Master Chief.  The fact remains that the Story is a bigger thing in RPGs, whether it is good or bad.  I did like the one Halo game (I think it is Reach) where the Characters all engage in a 'Who Can Have the Most Heroic Death' Contest though.  This 'film' does a good job of giving us many interesting, if basic, Characters to get attached to before all hell breaks loose.  Since not all of them are going to live (this is Halo, after all), it adds some nice Drama.  The other nice thing is that none of the Cast are that famous, so it is a bit more immersive.  I was sad to learn that the 'Tom Green' in the Cast was our lead (above) and not the Canadian Comedian.  There's always Uncharted, Tom!  Joking aside, this is actually well-made and totally more interesting than I thought it would be.  If you look at it as a Science-Fiction Character Drama separate from Halo, it still works.  In fact, it is so good that it didn't make me miss the continued adventures of wacky Spartan 1337...
Next up, I continue to dig into my Personal Stash for some new material.  It could be anything, so enjoy the mystery!  Stay tuned...

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