Director: Stuart Hendler
Screenplay: Aaron Helbing, Todd Helbing
Starring: Tom Green, Anna Popplewell, Enisha Brewster
Producers: Lydia Antonini, Ryan Copple, Josh Feldman
Running time: 90 minutes
When it comes to films based on video games, I usually give them a wider berth than a plague victim who is about to sneeze. Forward Unto Dawn though is set in the world of Halo and is actually not a bad thing.
When it comes to video games, I’ve never been that much of a fan of Halo. I’m not sure quite why, it’s a shooter, which I like, it’s sci-fi, which I like. However, I never really hit it off with the game. Having said that I have played a fair amount of the various versions from the original on the Xbox, right up to Halo 4 on the Xbox 360.
What this means is that I have a pretty good idea of what the Halo universe looks like and I have to say that in Forward Unto Dawn the director has done a pretty good job of matching that. The weapons, the Warthog and many other things are spot on. For the devoted fans out there, there are some excellent bits later on that I won’t spoil now.
The action centres around a group of soldier cadets at their training base somewhere in the galaxy. When I first started the film and saw what looked like kids running through a forest, I thought, ‘that’s not very convincing, they look like children.’ That’s because they are. Once I realised this and that they were in training, not fighting real baddies, then I settled down into the film.
Without giving too much away, I have to say that Forward Unto Dawn has the feel of a scene-setting film. It was as if the writers, director and producers plan this to be a much larger series and this first foray was a way of introducing the characters. There isn’t much to the story either and the characters are quite flat.
The film is quite short and although we do get an insight into the mind of one recruit, Thomas Lasky (Tom Green), who doesn’t feel he has what it takes to be a soldier, the characters are also a little stereotypical and predictable.
What amazed me though are the production values. The special effects, the costumes, the weapons and the vehicles are spot on from the game. This isn’t a film that was done on the cheap by any means, yet it is a straight to DVD/Blu-ray release.
Having said all this, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn isn’t a film that will bring non-gamers into the Halo world. This isn’t a crossover film, it’s a film that is aimed purely at Halo lovers. If you fall into this category then you will love it, if you don’t then it’s a mildly interesting sci-fi film.
Review by Henry Tucker