Article first published as Blu-ray Review: ‘Halo: Nightfall’ on Blogcritics.
Halo: Nightfall is the second blu-ray release from Microsoft’s flagship gaming franchise, Halo. Released in 2012 Forward Unto Dawn paved the way for Halo 4. In a similar way, Nightfall helps to setup one of the main characters in Halo 5: Guardians. Produced by Ridley Scott, Nightfall was originally broken into a series of episodes available for those that purchased Halo: The Masterchief Collection for the Xbox One. Finally available for fans that don’t yet own an Xbox One or prefer to have the movie as a standalone, Halo: Nightfall is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Halo: Nightfall isn’t likely to garner the same reverence as Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzen, NIghtfall is a competent piece of science fiction, though I can’t help but think many Halo fans will find the pacing too slow. Nightfall follows Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) Commander Jameson Locke, played by Mike Colter, a legendary manhunter, on a career defining mission. What starts out as routine stakeout, on the distant colony world of Sedra, quickly turns into a terrorist attack and a subsequent investigation ending in deep space.
The horrific biological attack on Sedra forces Locke and his ONI team to coordinate with Randall Aiken (Steven Waddington,) the commander of the local military. The result of their team-up is a fragmented squad of space travelers, ill-suited for the mission ahead of them. Though Nightfall does take place in the Halo universe, there isn’t much that fans will see from the games, in this movie. There is one Covenant Brute, and a couple of vehicles from the games that are recognizable. Of course, the final destination is pretty significant, but it never really feels exactly like the game’s environment.
The high definition blu-ray transfer of Halo: Nightfall is pretty good. Along with the movie are handful of behind the scenes featurettes and the Second Story Extras that shine a little more light what’s going on in Nightfall. Any potential complaints about the 1.77: 1 widescreen video on the disc are with the original cinematography. The primary audio track is in English as 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, though its high fidelity is hardly noticeable. Everything is all pretty tight, with little separation. 5.1 Audio is also available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian. A long list of subtitle options are also included.
For science fiction fans, Halo: Nightfall is a pretty middle of the road affair. The plot is a bit predictable, and somewhat derivative, and the acting is neither terrible, nor great, though the characters seem pretty one dimensional. Besides Locke and Aiken, not much time is really given to anyone else’s character development. For those reasons alone, Forward Unto Dawn is arguably still the better Halo movie. I would have preferred to see it all fleshed out in a proper ten or twelve episode season. Fortunately, Nightfall is only a piece of a larger whole, and for fans of the Halo series, this movie is still important, and relevant.