DVD Corner's blog

News, dvd and blu-ray reviews

Halo Season 1 Blu-ray Review

“Halo” is a frustratingly uneven series. 

Based on the sci-fi Xbox video game series of the same name, the 9 episode debut season of “Halo” spends time introducing the core characters and conflicts of this universe. The basic plot is the brewing war between the destructive alien Covenant forces and everyone including the shady United Nations Space Command (AKA the UNSC) and their super-soldier Spartan warriors (led by Master Chief/John). Other key storylines involve a surviving teenage insurrectionist (Kwan Ha), mysterious keystone relics that Master Chief seems to have a connection with, a human woman (Makee) that collaborates with the Covenant, Dr. Halsey’s A.I. project Cortana, the mystery behind the Spartan program, Soren (a former Spartan turned insurrectionist living on Rubble), UNSC Captain Keyes and his daughter Miranda (an officer and scientist), clones, and, of course, the Halo ringworld.

As a huge fan of the video game franchise, it was exciting to see “Halo” finally get the treatment it deserved. Yes, there had been web series and animated projects before, but nothing with a big budget. Now, thanks to Paramount+, a high profile TV series exists although it may not be the adaptation fans were hoping for.

To say “Halo” is frustrating is an understatement. When the show shines it really shines. There are action sequences on the planets Madrigal, Eridanus II and Raas Kkhotskha that feel like the games have come to life. The cast is largely on point here with Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief, Bokeem Woodbine as Soren (a former Spartan), breakout star Kate Kennedy as Kai, the scenery chewing Burn Gorman as Vinsher Grath, and Natascha McElhone as Dr. Halsey all being highlights. The interpretation of Cortana and her bonding with Master Chief is easily one of the most compelling aspects. The production values are first rate here with the costumes, gear, weapons and vehicles all giving viewers that “Halo” look and feel. The writing, on the other hand, is where the show falters.

The decision for show creators Kyle Killen and Steven Kane to deviate from the video games is understandable. The desire to create a different experience and implement new story elements is par for the course for most adaptations. The problem is the new elements don’t work. There’s far too much focus on the character of Makee who is not from the video games. The notion of a human collaborating with the Covenant doesn’t even make sense nor does her romantic fling with Master Chief. It’s no slight on actress Charlie Murphy. It’s just the character feels woefully out of place in the Halo universe. Delving into the character of Master Chief/John makes sense from a storytelling standpoint, but you’re also ruining the mystique of the character. In an age where “The Mandalorian” exists, you don’t need Master Chief to take off his helmet constantly (especially when he never does in the games) nor do we need to learn about his childhood (at least not at this juncture). On top of that, the story also feels too unwieldy with an overabundance of subplots and characters that detract from what should be the main focus.

The first season of “Halo” has its moments, but it doesn’t quite pan out. The potential is there for subsequent seasons, but the writers really need to go back to the video games for inspiration. That’s the blueprint that should be followed. 


Presentation: 2.00:1 1080p. How does it look? A pristine hi-def print. Note: This series is also available on 4K. 

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? This is a very audio intensive series and thankfully this 5.1 track does it justice (and then some).

* 7 art cards
* “Halo The Series: Declassified”- Essentially aftershow specials on each of the 9 episodes that break down the episodes. Cast and crew interviews are included.
* “Dissecting The Battle Of Madrigal”- A behind-the-scenes featurette.
* “The World Of Halo”- An overview of the universe mixed with interviews, set footage, and discussions about the series.
* “The Culture Of The Covenant” is all about the alien species.
* “Adapting Halo”- Self-explanatory.
* “Becoming Spartans”- A look at bringing the Spartans to the small screen.
* 2 featurettes titled “Creating The Costumes Of Halo” and “Weapons And Vehicles Of Halo.”
* “The Making Of Cortana”- Actress Jen Taylor talks about the AI character she plays.
* “A Lake Of Eternal Life: A Song From Halo’s Score”- A spotlight on the Madrigal song


November 15, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: