Review- Halo: Nightfall

Anime Reporter hops up and down and tries to remember which button is for throwing grenades before settling down to watch Halo: Nightfall, the live-action film set in the same universe as the Halo video game series. Originally aired as a five episode mini-series, Nightfall serves as an effective prequel to Halo 5.

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‘It is the 26th Century.

Prolonged war between humanity and the fanatical alien alliance known as the Covenant has ended with a tenuous treaty.’

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Halo: Nightfall is the first release from Animatsu Entertainment and has already enjoyed a great deal of success since its release on DVD less than two weeks ago, reaching the Number 2 spot for new releases in the UK charts and hopefully it’s only the first of many successes for the company.

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The film kicks off with Jameson Locke and his elite team of soldiers investigating terrorist activity on the colony of Sedra when a certain alien species familiar to even casual Halo gamers makes its appearance, (although, this is a mercifully brief appearance as the CGI used is unquestionably lacking). What follows is an attack revealed to be more of a test. The Covenant has a new weapon, one which seemingly only targets human DNA, leaving other races alive. Luckily, (or more accurately because after completing their test, the Covenant doesn’t seem too bothered about covering up the evidence or eliminating witnesses), it’s possible to track the element used in this weapon to its only source in the entire universe, the shattered remains of a Halo Ring (Halo 1 reference).

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Locke and his squad are forced to work hand in hand with Sedra’s own local soldiers and there’s an instant, if rather clumsy, clash of personalities and egos. Characters fit into the fairly standard military movie clichés, from the cocky jerk who has a problem with authority, the father who just wants to make it home to see his kids one more time, the female soldier, who despite her training and considerable skill is regularly referenced as needing to be saved, not one, but two hard-ass no nonsense squad leaders and, of course, several nameless soldiers that nobody seems to care about after their deaths.

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Once this rag-tag team of soldiers comes to the Halo Ring with their nuke to destroy the Covenant’s only source of this terrifying element, they just have to deal with the inhospitable conditions brought about by the Ring itself and its close proximity to a star. The temperatures are enough to burn all life to a crisp during the day, while vast canyons and barely breathable air make movement a challenge at the best of times. These factors, coupled with the native life worms, hordes of incredibly quick worms, which are simultaneously piranhas and sock puppets who devour anyone using technology of any kind, make the entire experience less than comfortable.

“The scariest conditions imaginable. That’s all you had to say, the scariest conditions imaginable” – Owen Wilson’s character, when this same plot, minus the worms, was used in the 1998 film Armageddon.

“The scariest conditions imaginable. That’s all you had to say, the scariest conditions imaginable” – Owen Wilson’s character, when this same plot, minus the worms, was used in the 1998 film Armageddon.

As was always going to happen, the mission turns ugly and, making matters worse, the crew becomes stranded with escape only possible for two out of the group. The two squad leaders, Locke and Aiken, struggle to keep their troops on mission without making a mad dash for the proverbial lifeboat. Unfortunately, none of the characters manage to break free from their carefully-stencilled moulds and the uncomfortable, expositional dialogue makes it pretty hard to like or relate to any of them and there’s very little in this script that audiences won’t see coming a long way away.

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Halo: Nightfall is already available on DVD from Animatsu Entertainment. Animatsu Entertainment has a lot of great titles coming out soon and I’m really looking forward to seeing more from them!

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Plot:                 4

Special Effects: 6

Characters:      4

Pacing:             5

Action:             6

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50% – Halfway Decent – Halo: Nightfall delivers a pretty run of the mill space soldier, Starship Troopers clone which should hold enough easter eggs to please long-time Halo fans but probably wont endear too many newcomers to the series.

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