The origin of Master Chief…
If you’re not a great game player, then the HALO universe may have passed you by – although it’s stretched into many multimedia incarnations over the years. One of these was a series of novels, which began with Eric Nylund’s The Fall of Reach, published back in 2001. It provided backstory for the characters, in particular Master Chief, aka John 117, explaining how he became involved with the SPARTAN program.
That’s the basis for this new 65 minute animated feature from Sequence, which you’d think would probably only be of interest to those caught up in the game. In fact, coming to it totally fresh (as I did), it’s more engrossing than I expected, with the characters of John (the boy chosen for augmentation within the program) and Dr Catherine Halsey (the scientist responsible) developing across the hour: John becomes progressively less “human”, while Halsey – who initially comes across as the cold scientist – goes the other way.
There are certainly elements that will remind you of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers – both the original novel, and the movies (and even more so the animated TV series) based on it – and the animation style feels occasionally stylised, but never so much as to pull you out of the story.
Verdict: HALO fans will know the story already but to those new to the universe, this is a good entry point to the mythology. 7/10
HALO: The Fall of Reach is available on iTunes and other major digital platforms internationally now.