Halo: Fall of Reach is the story of the beginning of the spartan program and the creation of the Master Chief. The origin of Master Chief was originally told in the tie in novels, but only hinted at in the games themselves. The title is therefore a bit of a misnomer then, as the main story concludes after the Master Chief and Blue Team’s first mission against the Covenant.
The story itself mostly follows Dr Halsey, the creator of the spartans, as she “recruits” her candidates and oversees their training, augmentation, and finally deployment against their enemy. The early scenes are reminiscent of the movie Soldier, except in that movie they were taken as infants instead of 6 year olds. The training is equally brutal however, with significant losses to the candidates. Dr Halsey’s story focusses mostly on John 117, aka the Master Chief, and as this is the character that fans would be most familiar with, it makes sense.
For me however, I prefered when the MC was a nameless, faceless protagonist, that I, as the player, could assume the role of. Now, I have not played Halo since Halo 2 on the PC. As a result I have not been as “in the loop” on the storyline. My oldest however is a Halo junkie and did help to fill me in.
Taken on it’s own, Fall of Reach is an interesting story, that like I said has a lot of the movie Soldier in it, along with inspiration from other great sci-fi works. There are nods to Starship Troopers (the book), War of the Worlds, and others. Seeing what the characters had to go through as they made their way through training kept me interested as did Halsey’s own internal conflict about what she was doing to these children. My biggest beef was with the fact that the movie did not show the actual fall of Reach, but the aftermath. While I realize that the fall of Reach was shown in the games, it would have been better if the title matched the content. Something like “Rise of the Master Chief”, might have made a more appropriate title.
The animation is highly stylized. While CG, the facial animations reminded me more of what would be seen in traditional hand drawn animation. I don’t mean that it was cell-shaded, but rather that the level of movement in the facial animations was lacking and wooden. This was a bit off putting but was less so once the characters covered their faces.
Overall I give the movie 4 out of 5 stars, but polling my resident halo fan, he gives it 4.5 stars.