Blu-ray Review: Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn

Directed by: Stewart Hendler
Starring: Tom Green, Anna Popplewell, Enisha Brewster, Ayelet Zurer and Daniel Cudmore
Availability: On Blu-ray ($16.99) and DVD ($12.99)
Description: Cadet Thomas Lasky and his fellow cadets fight for survival and find assistance from a mysterious ally – the armored super soldier known as the Master Chief.

This really doesn’t need any saying, and I apologize for getting this out there this late, but if you are a Halo fan, you have got to see Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. This live-action web-series has been collected into one convenient Blu-ray for you to enjoy as a complete 90-minute movie. I actually really enjoy that they did this because waiting week after week while Machinima released each 15-minute episode was killing me. You have to understand, this is a damn good Halo series. I may not have been much of a fan of the game series until recently but I have always been a fan of the story that the games told. So having every episode in a single movie is a nice way of watching the entire series in one sitting. And boy, is it a good one.

Thomas Lasky (center) and two of the other Corbulo Academy cadets from Forward Unto Dawn

Thomas Lasky (center) and two of the other Corbulo Academy cadets from Forward Unto Dawn

Telling the story of Cadet Thomas Lasky (a UNSC soldier who would later have a major role in Halo 4) while at the Corbulo Academy of Military Sciences where he is undergoing the early stages of military training to help the USNC battle insurrectionist on outlying planets of human control in the galaxy. While there, his stance on the way the UNSC is running the current war against insurrectionist, as well as his attitude towards his fellow cadets, leaves him somewhat outcast from his teammates in Hastati Squad, as they feel that his pedigree (the son of a high ranking UNSC colonel and the younger brother of a decorated fallen ODST soldier) should make him a better soldier cadet. When he finally shows the promise of what is expected of him fate intervenes, as he suffers from an illness that may impede his military career right when the Covenant begin their assault on the planet that Corbulo is located on. And it is on that day that he first encounters the hero of the Halo series – Master Chief.

The cadets train to fight one war, unaware of the one coming toward them.

The cadets train to fight one war, unaware of the one coming toward them.

The series is really well-produced (given that it was a web-series) and shows a lot of promise for a series that a lot of people, myself included, would love to see made into a full Hollywood production. The visuals, acting and effects on are par or even better than some of the stuff we see coming out of Hollywood as of late. In truth, it looks better than half the stuff you see on TNT or SyFy. I am not kidding you guys; this is some quality film-making. The acting is no joke either. Notable actors in the series include Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe), Daniel Cudmore (X2), Mike Dopud (X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Ayelet Zurer (Angels and Demons) and Tom Green (Dance Academy). Everything in this web-series come together perfectly to create a compelling and gripping story that is worthy of being on the silver screen.

Master Chief arrives to help the cadets.

Master Chief arrives to help the cadets.

Which begs me to ask the question: what is the hold up with a full Halo movie in theaters? Ever since the whole Peter Jackson-produced project fell through, what has been going on with the full movie? If Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries could create such a marvelous web-series for a reported budget of $10 million, what is the hold up with a proper Halo movie? I am willing to wager that this collected web-series would have done well in theaters had it been released. As it is, I believe it was better than at least half of the movies I saw in theaters in 2012 anyway. Underworld: Awakening, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, This Means War, Lockout, Think Like A Man, Dark Shadows, That’s My Boy, Step Up Revolution, The Watch, Hit and Run, The Apparition, House at the End of the Street, Alex Cross, Red Dawn…take your pick! I would rather watch  Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn in a theater a million times over than any of those pieces of shit .

The cadets struggle to survive a Covenant attack on their school.

The cadets struggle to survive a Covenant attack on their school with the help of Master Chief.

So come on, Hollywood! Get your thumb out of your ass and get a full-length feature Halo film on the big screen now. Until that happens, I suggest that you pick up Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn. It is well worth the watch and more than worth the cost of purchase. This is a great example of how dedicated film-makers can make a beautiful film, on a small budget that is more than worthy of competing with anything Hollywood can put out.

Review Grade: A

Richard Cardenas

Created in a lab in Tijuana, Mexico, or cloned in a test tube in Torrance, CA, depending on which story you think is a better origin story, Richard is, if such a thing exist, a second generation nerd. The son of a man who loved sci-fi, comic books and horror, and a woman who loved making costumes, reading sci-fi novels and watching cartoons, Richard was exposed to all this and more since a very young age.

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