Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a major step forward in the right direction for video game movie adaptions. It succeeds where many have failed and shows that with a big enough budget, and enough care, video game movies can be a success. The movie strikes strong emotional chords and is able to keep interest with suspense and action. Although the character relations, as well as some of the dialogue, are weak, Forward Unto Dawn still manages to bring to life this video game world. Overall, Forward Unto Dawn won’t spark non-gamers to pick up the controller, but it will successfully give audiences an idea of just how rich the Halo franchise is.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times in the Monday Updates that a live action Halo web series was being developed and released online. Given the numerous live action trailers that Microsoft had produced for its game releases, it was an obvious next step for them to take the short two-minute trailers and create something bigger. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn was initially released in five parts but was then collected and cut together like a movie to be released on Blu-ray and DVD. This special cut was released just this past Tuesday and runs a little over an hour and a half long.

Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn

 

The main story of Forward Unto Dawn follows the student lives of freshmen cadets at the Corbulo Academy of Military science. Thomas Lasky is the central antagonist who struggles to find his place in the academy as he comes to grips with war and sacrifice. The events take place before most of the games and deals with the early stages of contact with alien forces. The story is self-contained for the most part, but those who are familiar with the Halo franchise, even on a simplistic level, will appreciate the richness and depth of Forward Unto Dawn.

The story and the performances are entertaining. The movie knows how to create great suspense and even spark a lot of strong emotional reactions. The relationships among the students are strong but are only vaguely hinted at throughout the movie. I would have liked to see the students interact more together in the earlier stages of the story but for the most part the interactions we see are screaming and arguing as they run exercises or fight for their lives. Forward Unto Dawn won’t spark non-gamers to pick up a controller, but it definitely gives new comers an idea of the depth contained within the games and novels.

The cast is young, but for the most part they deliver solid performances. The weakest of the bunch, Masam Holden, is only slightly annoying but I believe that is largely due to the way the character was written. The central duo, Tom Green as Thomas Lasky, and Anna Popplewell as Chyler Silva, are able to hold their own on screen and are entertaining to watch. The military discipline and performances given by the young actors

Another weakness in the Forward Unto Dawn lies with the Master Chief character himself. For those that don’t know, Master Chief is the central character for majority of the main Halo games. Master Chief was criticized very early on in the games as being emotionless, and robotic in nature, but over time through books and better development in the games, Master Chief became more of an emotional character. However, in Forward Unto Dawn the inclusion of Master Chief bordered a very cheesy line, which almost felt as though his dialogue was written by a giddy fan. Although a few of his scenes were worthy of eye rolling, his action scenes were still entertaining and helped capture the same hero sense from the game. Had this been Master Chief’s origin story it would have been disappointing with the way the character was handled but fortunately the central focus is on Lasky and therefore is easy to look past.

The biggest achievement for this production was the overall look and feel of the movie. Everything from special effects, costume designs, CGI, and set designs were spot on. The movie captures the feel of the game and translates it almost seamlessly to film. Fans of the game will notice the care and effort put in making sure the alien weapons fired much like they do in the game, as the appropriate bursts of green plasma, and pink needles flew across the screen. Alien animations were believable and behaved in a familiar fashion. It helps that the aliens stay out of view for the most part, making Forward Unto Dawn only a tease of what could be done given a larger budget and more time to work.

Forward Unto Dawn is special. Few game franchises have successfully tamed the live action arena and many have failed miserably. The efforts we have seen before fail to capture the essence of the game or even going as far as changing a lot of what makes a game franchise so special in effort to produce a more commercialized success. Although Forward Unto Dawn isn’t a perfect movie adaption, it’s a huge step forward in the right direction. The people behind the production have proved that with the right amount of time, effort, and care, a game franchise with a worthy enough story is adaptable.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a major step forward in the right direction for video game movie adaptions. It succeeds where many have failed and shows that with a big enough budget, and enough care, video game movies can be a success. The movie strikes strong emotional chords and is able to keep interest with suspense and action. Although the character relations, as well as some of the dialogue, are weak, Forward Unto Dawn still manages to bring to life this video game world. Overall, Forward Unto Dawn won’t spark non-gamers to pick up the controller, but it will successfully give audiences an idea of just how rich the Halo franchise is.

Interested in writing reviews or news posts for Thinking Cinematic? Contact me at rrsolis@me.com! You can also send your guest reviews there too!

Connect with me at:
Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic
Email: Rrsolis@me.com

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