Just Out of Reach: ‘Halo – Fall of Reach’ Review

GameStop, Inc.

image003Review in a Tweet: Halo – Fall of Reach, stretches for greatness but falls just out of reach.

I will forever stand by this, HaloCOD. In Halo I can’t panic and get ambushed in a small corridor, brainlessly stab away and end up with a quintuple kill that gets me an air strike, which in turn gets me another quintuple kill. Halo makes you earn your kills. Ever get a quintuple kill with melees in Halo? If so, you’re probably Master Chief.

And if you’re Master Chief, Halo – Fall of Reach shares the story of how you came to be (not sure if that is a genius segue from my rant or cheesy and lame as possible). Microsoft and 343 Industries bring us Halo – Fall of Reach, a seemingly CGI, mixed with slight live action and animation, movie detailing the early life of Master Chief as John recruit 117.

It details his obvious potential as a warrior and leader starting with his recruitment at the age of 6. His development throughout his time in the academy, and climbing through the military ranks. It is reminiscent of the Marvel limited Halo: Fall of Reach, as they are both derived from Eric Nylund’s novel Halo: Fall of Reach. It might also be a ripoff of Ender’s Game.

One of the reasons for Halo‘s superiority over COD, is the in-depth story. Now I won’t deny I was impressed by the whole Fifth Sense twist in Black Ops or felt a blow to the chest when Soap went out in a disappoint spark of glory after 3 games of being a complete BAMF. Halo – Fall of Reach does a great job of expanding the story and serves as a great prequel to the entire series. It sets up Master Chiefs origin, as well as the entire conflict with the Covenant. It also has a brief cameo of Noble Team, and delivers very similar bouts of emotion as some of the members of the Master Chief’s Spartan team share eerily similar faiths.

Halo – Fall of Reach does a great job of telling the story, but does not quite capture the right feel of the Halo universe. Mainly I feel the inconsistensy of the animation really brings the movie down. The look of the faces on the character models often times look like the movie is a few steps away from the final rendering, and the fluidity of the animation jitters sometimes gives the impression of a YouTube video that is playing faster than it is loading. Also the blending of what appears to be live-action sequences with some post-visualizations to try and look like the CGI parts, and random harsh cuts to pen and ink animation mess up the flow and gives the opposite impression of good artistic choices. The final scenes with everyone in Spartan armor does play and look better than the rest of the movie however, but is nowhere near cool enough to make up for the choppy and inconsistent quality throughout every other act of the film.

The voice acting is adequate and does add to the movie, but is nothing to lay claim to. The highlight of the voice acting, is that they got Steve Downes to reprise his role as Master Chief. However, he is used sparingly. Overall it was a solid performance, and there isn’t anything more that could’ve been accomplished by them.

Considering this isn’t the only medium to get this story, and it is not an incredbily unique take, the film is a bit of a disappointment. The disappointment is largely due to the art stylings and CGI of it; which is surprising since Sequence provided the animation for the film and did such a great job on the “Terminals” in Halo 2: Anniversary  and Halo 4. 

Movies are a visual medium and if you aren’t going to commit to that, there is no point to retell a story alread told amazingly well in print and illustration. I am harshly judging the animation because of the gorgeous graphics all the games were rendered in. You can’t go and make a Halo movie that doesn’t even look as good as the in game graphics of the original game on the original Xbox! If I had the patience, I am positive they could go and reshoot the scenes to look better and more engaging via Red vs. Blue style shooting. It’s disappointing that this looks worse than Toy Story’s early renderings when Woody was an unlikeable jerk.

I realize I might be using some insanely cross medium references that stretch deep into nerd levels so I’ll wrap it up, Halo – Fall of Reach is a great and profound story that is a must for fans of the franchise, and an enjoyable one for fans of military stories or adaptations of Ender’s Game. However if you don’t mind reading, it is better captured by Marvel’s limited series Halo: Fall of Reach and Eric Nylund’s novel Halo: Fall of Reach. The story is well presented in the film, but the visuals are far below par of any Halo game in the franchise, which defeats the point of making a film about the game in my honest opinion. The 65 minute Halo – Fall of Reach is worth spending a dollar or two to rent, but the written mediums are much better for the time and money investment.

Halo – Fall of Reach is available on iTunes and other major digital platforms internationally now.


The Verdict


The story is well presented in the film, but the visuals are far below par of any Halo game in the franchise, which defeats the point of making a film about the game in my honest opinion.

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One Response

  1. Douglas McCage December 30, 2015 Reply

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