I played the first Halo game a little bit when it first came out, but that was about it. I never got into story of the game, I never played any of the later games and I never read any of the books. But I was curious what this Animatrix-style collection of animated shorts had to offer.
Legends is six short stories that focus on different aspects of the Halo universe. Not having a huge background in this world some of the stories were a little confusing to me and required a few trips to wikipedia to fill in the holes. However I’m sure if you’re a huge fan of the games and the books then you’ll understand everything that’s going on here.
The Halo Universe is filled with many different alien races and the story takes place over thousands of years on many different planets so it certainly lends itself to this time of presentation. The stories themselves are hit or miss. The ones that were more action oriented really drew me in while the more story and character driven pieces quickly lost me. They seemed to take themselves way to seriously. I mean, c’mon, it’s based on a video game people.
As with the Animatrix and Batman: Gotham Nights before it, each story is directed by a different Japanese animator. All the stories here look pretty amazing, but the most beautiful, hands down, is the third story, “The Duel.” The whole piece basically looks like something right out of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The abstract brush stroke looks is something I never would have expected in this kind of story but it worked really well.
The other story worth noting is “Odd One Out” which is the comedic story presented in a “Dragonball Z” style that makes it really stand out from the seriousness of the other stories. It’s silly, goofy and a nice change of pace from the other parts.
Halo Legends is presented in 1:78.1 and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. If nothing else, these are some beautifully animated films, and on Blu-Ray it looks even more amazing.
Halo Legends: The Making Of: (55 min.) Typical making-of stuff for each of the short films.
Halo: Gaming Evolved: (21 min.) A history of the game and how it changed peoples perspective on first person shooter games. Basically it’s a bunch of video game nerds talking about how great the game is. A couple people even go so far as to compare Halo to Star Wars and Star Trek… yeah right….
Halo: The Story So Far: (24 min.) Just like it sounds, this is a recap of the entire story that Halo has been telling through video games, novels, comics and now this collection of short films.
Commentary by directors Frank O’Connor and Joseph Chou: Pretty typical commentary, probably only interesting if you’re a hardcore Halo fan.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this, but I ended having a good time. I doubt it’s going to turn any non-fans onto the Halo world, but for established fans, I imagine they’ll love this as much as they love the games and books.
Warner Bros. presents Halo Legends. Written by Frank O’Connor, Megum Shimizu et al. Directed by Frank O’Connor and Joseph Chou. Running time: 119 minutes. Rated PG-13 for violent content throughout. Released on DVD: February 16, 2010. Available at Amazon.com
Mike Noyes received his Masters Degree in Film from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. A few of his short films can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/user/mikebnoyes. He recently published his first novel which you can buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Days-Years-Mike-Noyes-ebook/dp/B07D48NT6B/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528774538&sr=8-1&keywords=seven+days+seven+years
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