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Halo: Nightfall
Halo: Nightfall tells the personal story of Jameson Locke, a legendary manhunter and agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Earth’s most powerful and secretive military branch. He and his team are investigating terrorist chatter on the distant colony world of Sedra, when they are caught in a horrific biological attack. Led by Locke, ONI agents are forced to coordinate with Randall Aiken, a local commander with a remarkable history and deep-rooted mistrust of ONI. As they unravel a plot that draws them to an ancient, hellish artifact, they will be forced to fight for their survival, question everything, and ultimately choose between their loyalties and their lives.

Halo: Nightfall
Full disclosure:  I’ve only played the first two Halo games.  I have a working knowledge of the franchise, but not a deep one, so I’m came into this half-blind.  My reasons for not continuing on with the game franchise thus far have little to do with a lack of desire and more to do with a lack of time.  To get personal for a moment, once I started having kids, something had to give in terms of my media obsessions.  My focus remained on film (and occasionally television and music), but faltered when it came to gaming.  I get some game time in here and there, but I just don’t have the time to keep up with it all these days.

So, again, I’m coming at this mostly as an outsider with a basic knowledge of the franchise and its elements.  To that end, I’m sad to say that Halo: Nightfall just doesn’t hold must water.   It doesn’t help that a lot of the series’ iconic elements (Master Chief, The Ring, The Covenant, The Flood, the Spartans, etc.) are either barely glimpsed or not utilized at all.  I’m not sure if this was an edict from above that they had to abide by or if it was a creative design made by the parties involved in making Nightfall.  All I can do is judge what is in front of me and it is found wanting.  By stripping away these elements, we are left with a largely derivative and cliché-filled science fiction actioner.

Halo: Nightfall
While it looks and sounds wonderful, Nightfall is predictable from start to finish.  If the lack of iconic Halo elements is Strike One, this is Strike Two.  Strike Three comes in the form of a lot of bad FX work, particularly with the lone Covenant Elite used early on in the proceedings.  The cast, including leads Steven Waddington (Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans) and Mike Colter (soon to be seen on Netflix as Marvel’s Luke Cage), all do their best to elevate the material.  They should be commended for their efforts, but it’s just not enough to elevate Nightfall from any other generic sci-fi actioner with decent production values.

It’s been over a decade since the first Halo game arrived and knocked us off our feet.  Ever since then, those of us enamored with the on-going sci-fi saga have been waiting for an equally-great live action adaptation to arrive in cinemas or on television.  After watching Nightfall, it’s clear to me that our wait will continue for at least awhile longer.

Halo: Nightfall
Video
A noticeable step-up from the version released with the game franchise’s recent Master Chief Collection, this is an impressively detailed transfers.  There are no major issues to be found and what minor issues that exist are likely the fault of the source itself.  I can’t imagine Halo: Nightfall ever looking better than it does on this release.

Halo: Nightfall
Audio
Aside from a few instances of pinched sound effects and the occasional drowning out of Klaus Badelt’s score, the 7.1 track is top-notch.  Again, any minor problems seem likely to be an issue with the source and not the disc itself.  Just as I can’t imagine this looking any better, I also cannot picturing sounding any better than it does here.

Extras
  • Beyond the Game: Expanding the Halo Universe (HD, 4 minutes)
  • Canon Fire: Developing the Story of Nightfall (HD, 6 minutes)
  • Old Dogs & New Tricks: The Tech of Nightfall (HD, 4 minutes)
  • Try to Keep Up: The Stunts of Nightfall (HD, 5 minutes)
  • Return of the Ring: The Locations of Nightfall (HD, 6 minutes)
  • Heroes Evolved: Introducing Agent Locke (HD, 4 minutes)
  • Character Building: The Cast of Nightfall (HD, 6 minutes)
  • New Horizons: Forging the Worlds of Nightfall (HD, 5 minutes)
  •  Second Stories (HD, 45 minutes) *Easter egg*


Halo: Nightfall
Overall
Halo: Nightfall is a decent piece of spin-off material for the popular gaming franchise, but just doesn't cut it for this writer as a standalone piece of entertainment.  Beyond the film itself, however, this release is positively packed to the brim with special features (over 85 minutes worth) and has a top of the line audio-visual presentation.  It should make a wonderful addition to any Halo fans collection.

Halo: Nightfall
Halo: Nightfall
* Note: The above images are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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