Halo Legends (BLU-RAY)

Halo Legends

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Running Time: 
119 mins

First things first: I’m an unabashed Halo nut. Along with owning all the games thus far, I’ve also collected the comics, read one of the books and, until it was shut down by Microsoft, I followed the development of ht live action film religiously. Before the creation of District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Peter Jackson were working on that Halo film, and some of their test/concept footage (Halo: Landfall) was released online. Even in a very rough developmental stage, you could tell that they were on to something good. Something that might finally lift the video game-to-film curse that seems to hamper every adaptation that comes down the line.

Alas, it was not to be. Who knows if Halo fans will ever get the full-length theatrical treatment of their beloved game, but in its absence, we get Halo Legends. If you’ve ever seen The Animatrix or Batman: Gotham Knight, you’ll be somewhat familiar with the concept behind this release. You get seven stories animated in various anime styles, most of them based in and around established Halo canon. Perhaps the most interesting of the seven is the two-part “Origins.” As you might guess from the name, this story details the history of the Forerunners, the Flood, and the creation of the Halo rings. These two segments are very similar in that respect to “The Second Renaissance, Parts 1 and 2” from The Animatrix. The other stories vary in degrees of quality, with one of them “Odd One Out” being a pretty funny parody of the Halo universe.

All of the stories look fantastic on Blu-Ray and the audio is top-notch. Detail, clarity, and color are incredible. Most of the animation styles work really well, but the one used in “The Duel” gets a little rough on the eyes. It’s like watching a living, moving watercolor painting, but the soft textures and blurry edges make it a tad painful after a few minutes. Beyond that, I was a bit disappointed at how much the soundtrack pulled directly from the games. It’s understandable on one hand, but I guess I expected it to feature more original themes.

The Blu-Ray bonus features include the following:
•    Halo: Gaming Evolved – Explaining the Halo phenomenon from its inception as an Xbox video game to a present-day entertainment franchise
•    The Making of Halo Legends
•    Halo: The Story so Far – Overview of Halo Universe up until the end of Halo 3
•    Commentary by directors Frank O’Connor and Joseph Chou

Ultimately, your enjoyment of this release will most likely depend on the depth of your Halo love. If you’re simply a causal gamer, without much interest in the larger Halo story, this probably won’t convert you. But if, like me, you enjoy finding out more about the overall mythology of this sci-fi series, then you will most likely enjoy this.

Jeremy Hunt
Review by Jeremy Hunt
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