BLU-RAY REVIEW: HALO: NIGHTFALL / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: SERGIO MIMICA-GEZZAN / SCREENPLAY: PAUL SCHEURING / STARRING: MIKE COLTER, STEVEN WADDINGTON, CHRISTIAN CONTRERAS, SIENNAH BUCK / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 16TH
The history of video games being adapted into films is one littered with disappointment. None have been received with much enthusiasm from fans or garnered any real credibility, with the original Resident Evil being the only possible exception. And yet this rich vein remains a regular source of inspiration for filmmakers and shows no sign of running dry with more than 20 productions planned for release in the next few years. It is interesting, and perhaps understandable then that when approaching the coveted Halo franchise Ridley Scott’s company Scott Free Productions have avoided directly referencing any existing story.
Halo: Nightfall is originally a television series consisting of five 30-minute episodes originally released through the Xbox Halo channel and now available complete on DVD and Blu-ray. Set years after the events of any previous story and linked with the upcoming release of the Halo 5: Guardians game, Nightfall follows two elite teams of soldiers as they strive to overcome inevitable, weary differences in order to prevent a biological disaster; a mission that takes them back to the remains of an ancient Halo ring. Led by gruff former Spartan Aiken (Waddington) and slick Special Forces commander Locke (Colter), this is a back-to-basics military adventure featuring hostile new alien life forms as opposed to an all-out battle with traditional foe The Covenant.
In reality there are few Halo series references, and what there are could have been dispensed with as the central plot is a tried and tested formulaic one of survival, infighting and ultimately single-minded heroism. The result is a “film” that existing fans may find a little disappointing and one that casual viewers with little or no prior knowledge will easily understand, but will likely not be drawn to. Taken in context within the larger Halo universe context however, Nightfall is notable as a link between game releases. As an introduction to the character of Locke, who appears on the cover of the forthcoming Guardians, this film can be taken as an origin story of sorts; not one with the depth of a fully filled out backstory but certainly one offering some motivation for the actions of a character that may well become more prominent in subsequent games.
However you approach Nightfall, it predictably doesn’t live up to any scant early promise. Everything feels far too drawn out and a running time nearer the hour mark would have proved more than sufficient. Ultimately this film feels more like a dismissible extra to be included with a game bundle rather than a stand-alone release and as such it is difficult to know who it is really aimed at.
Special Features: Behind the Scenes / Various mini featurettes / Second story extras / Poster / Art cards
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