“Why should I trust you?”
For any XBOX player who found themselves in the early 2000s—hooking up to their friends consoles for a “Halo” party before online gaming was a thing—no doubt you’ve been excited about any developments of a live-action Halo. Development doesn’t even describe how long fans have waited, as directors like District 9’s, Neill Blomkamp’s name has gotten passed around, hoping to make a movie that would bring the famous Master Chief to life. Well instead, and maybe for the better, we have a series that’s finally set to premiere on Paramount+. Will it satisfy fans’ undying love for their beloved game?
The series opens sometime in the distant future as The Covenant, a military-like entity runs the universe. Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber), a Spartan in the Halo universe, is probably one of the greatest characters in video game history. He and his fellow Spartans land to fight malicious enemies, and proceed to cut into them like a hot knife through butter. It’s amazing to finally see some of the iconic weapons used onscreen for the first time. Enemies are flying, shots are fired, and walls are exploding. But no sooner does the action start, it ends. Though I appreciated the action for what it was, there were times that were a bit confusing—especially when it came to the weapons and who was using them. There were some nods to the video games, but to be honest, I don’t want to feel like I’m playing a game if I’m watching a television show.
The action, even with its faults, wasn’t the biggest slip up for me. There’s so much story to unpack within the pilot, that there’s hardly any action at all. Most of the story comes and goes between The Covenant and The Spartans as Dr. Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone), the woman behind the Spartan program, is put front and center. I found her character the most interesting in the entire pilot. Most of the drama, however, is boring or just plain annoying. Some of the interactions between the characters began to grate on me. To be honest, it was a bit of a chore to get through the episode. You can definitely see the parallels between the storyline from the game, and where the series has chosen to divert to something different. Now whether that’s a good thing, we’ll just have to find out.
The “Halo” franchise has taken a dip in other forms of media such as games, comics, and novels, but this is a brand new path they’re about to find themselves on. While laced with a lot of potential, the pilot finds itself struggling to be a caricature of another popular series. Dare I say, Halo finds itself as a watered down version of that popular series. *cough* The Mandalorian *cough* If you’re a massive fan of the franchise, I wouldn’t come into this looking for something that equally resembles the characters of the game—funnily enough. It’s hard to make a definitive statement after only watching one episode of the series, and I hope it gets better, but there was nothing really mind-blowing.
I hope most will find Halo action-packed, and up-to-par with their vision of the video game. However, prepare yourself that it may just be another lackluster adaptation.
Created by: Steven Kane and Kyle Killen
Starring: Pablo Schreiber, Yerin Han, Bokeem Woodbine, and Natascha McElhone
“Halo” episodes and images courtesy of Viacom CBS, which premieres on March 24th on Paramount+.