I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Connor Bynum // Film Critic
HALO: THE COMPLETE VIDEO COLLECTION
Available exclusively on shoutfactory.com and/or at participating Movie Trading Co. locations.
The HALO video game series first came to Earth in fall of 2001. Nearly 20 later, the saga that reinvented multiplayer gaming has sadly fallen into obscurity. Rest assured, fans of these games certainly still exist, but HALO is hardly the cultural phenomenon it once was. This is what makes the release of Shout Factory’s HALO: THE COMPLETE VIDEO COLLECTION such a confusing situation. With over nine hours of material spanning across six Blu-ray discs, it’s difficult to know who to recommend this collection to outside the most hardcore of HALO fans.
HALO LEGENDS (C)
The first disc in the collection is a bit of a misfire. Featuring seven short films of various visual styles and thematic tones, LEGENDS is all over the map. One story is overflowing with melodrama while another is quirky and outright confusing to watch. Involuntarily breathing a sigh of relief as the main menu pops back on screen is never a good sign.
HALO 4: FORWARD UNTO DAWN (B)
This is probably as close to a live-action HALO film as we’re ever going to get. Initially released as a television miniseries in 2012, FORWARD UNTO DAWN follows Thomas Lasky (Thom Green, not to be confused with the comedian Tom Green) and his fellow UNSC Cadets as they struggle to defend their military academy from a Covenant attack. Featuring decent performances from its young cast as well as an appearance from Master Chief himself, this is certainly the most approachable entry for those unfamiliar with the series.
HALO: NIGHTFALL (B-)
Fans who recall how the first game drew heavy inspiration from the ALIEN films will be pleased to know that Ridley Scott decided to produce what is essentially a made for TV horror film set in the HALO Universe. Another live-action entry in the collection, NIGHTFALL tells the story of Jameson Locke (Mike Colter) who leads his team to the planet of Sedra to investigate a distress beacon only to discover a deadly alien entity. So yeah, ALIEN in the HALO Universe.
HALO: THE FALL OF REACH (C+)
Rounding out the collection is another animated feature that tells the origin story of Master Chief and ties in nicely to the 2010 game, HALO: REACH. This is another case where the viewer may find themselves feeling like they’re watching an hour long cutscene to a game they never get to play. While it is certainly interesting to see the adaptation of one of HALO’s most popular stories, I often felt compelled to dust off my copy of HALO: REACH instead.
The supplemental materials included in this package are a daunting assembly. Covering two of the six discs, these features focus heavily on the production of the HALO games themselves.
- Bonus disc with four all-new commentaries from the HALO creative team
- HALO NIGHTFALL: Launch Party Live Show
- HALO NIGHTFALL: Photo Gallery
- “Remaking the Legend: HALO 2 Anniversary”
- “HALO 4: A Hero Awakens”
- “HALO 4: Forerunner ViDoc”
- “HALO 5: A Hero Reborn”
- HALO FORWARD UNTO DAWN: Blooper Reel
- “HALO Waypoint: Heroes Never Die”
Final Grade: B-
Ultimately, this comes down to whether or not you’re a dedicated fan of the HALO saga. If you only remember playing these games for the multiplayer elements, this might not be for you. However, if the expansive universe and epic story of the series is what kept bringing you back, this collection was made for fans like you.
HALO: THE COMPLETE VIDEO COLLECTION is available to purchase today.