Today marks the release of the final episode of the brand new Halo 4 web series, Forward Unto Dawn. For fans hoping to eventually see a motion picture release, this might be as close as it’s going to get. Frank O’Connor of 343 Industries has frequently assured us that the film is not necessary in order to understand the events of Halo 4, it merely gives players a better understanding of the universe that they’re re-entering. Part of enhancing the player’s experience in the upcoming game includes giving them a bit of background information on the characters that they will be encountering during their journey. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn shares the story of UNSC Cadet Thomas Lasky, future executive officer aboard the UNSC Infinity. The Infinity is the largest spaceship in the UNSC Navy’s entire fleet, measuring over 3 and a half miles in length.
In Forward Unto Dawn we see Lasky at the Corbulo Academy of Military Science, struggling with disciplinary issues as well as an allergic reaction to the drug used to put the cadets into cryogenic sleep. Unbeknownst to Lasky and his friends in the academy, a vast covenant threat looms over the planet which is revealed when they are violently ambushed by covenant forces and the only goal becomes surviving the onslaught. Shit hits the fan which prompts Master Chief, along with his Spartan comrades, to come in and round up the survivors. The students must escape the academy with the Chief and make their way to an evac location where a Pelican is waiting to fly them to safety.
The people behind the characters, although all lesser known actors, are actually fairly decent as video game adaptions go. That might not mean much based on the history of video game movies but during no point did I feel like the acting detracted from the film as a whole. Tom Green, of Dance Academy on ABC, sells his character given what little time he has to make an emotional connection. The man under the suit of armor is Daniel Cudmore of the Twilight and X-men movies. Although you never get to see his face, his stunt oriented background very much contributed to the physical demand of being Master Chief. Special effects, character animations, and architecture throughout the film were also very true to the Halo universe. Forward Unto Dawn follows its history by the books and never strays from the literature that it is taken from. Normally that can get a bit tedious when bringing stories to film from other forms of media but 343 managed to actually produce some very cinematic action sequences while at the same time throwing in all kinds of footage for hardcore fans to drool over.
“Your experience should be enhanced by it, not required.”
– Frank O’Connor, Franchise Development Director
All of the episodes are embedded below so you can watch the series all the way through (as it should be watched). Fans who buy the limited edition of Halo 4 will get an extended version of the series that is roughly 90 minutes long, an entire episode’s worth of new footage. Halo 4 hits shelves next Tuesday, November 6th. Master Chief’s future looks like a bright one as he steps into his new trilogy, leaving Bungie behind and welcoming 343 Industries as his new development team.
FINAL RATING: ★★★★★★★★ (8/10 stars)