Yesterday, I had a very serious problem: I could not decide what game to play. While Everquest and Neverwinter downloaded, I half-heartedly did my dailies in SWTOR and Guild Wars 2 until my husband suggested we watch a movie. He stumbled onto Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn on Netflix - because even when we're not gaming, we're gaming.
We get to meet a few other cadets, each of which is really only memorable because they fill the typical cadet archetypes, including the robotic squad leader, the hyperactive techie guy, the semi-princess who's not afraid to call her mother's name to get what she needs, the love interest and the Asian guy who does martial arts and has parents concerned about his grades. Not a lot of attention is spent on them, and it's a good thing because when the shit FINALLY hits the fan 40 minutes later, most of them are taken out in predictable order. (I'd warn you about spoilers regarding who survives, but the promotional art already took care of that for me).
Despite the dragging first part, we were still enjoying it to that point. Lansky was interesting enough and did a great job of staring emotionally into the camera. The few action sequences we get with their training were interesting pieces of cinematography. But it's a good thing we got to see this all at once, rather than as the original webseries, divided into 15 minute segments. I can definitely understand complaints about the pacing when so much time was spent in the academy establishing and re-establishing the obvious.
But then the bad guys attack. And Master Chief comes in for the save. The action picks up, as do the slow motion sequences which occasionally get carried away. But I can forgive them. I appreciated the way they used explosions to move things along as opposed to the YAY 'SPLOSIONS!! concept that Michael Bay keeps giving us. I also liked the way the violence was handled in a manner that showed you don't need constant explosions and blood and gore to get the point across. I thought they did an excellent job in these scenes without losing the story. They also did an excellent job of building tension when necessary. I was really impressed with the seamless CGI, especially with Master Chief. He was rendered in such a way that I initially thought it was an actor in a suit. When he performed the more elaborate actions, it was clear it wasn't an actor, but it wasn't over the top.
At the end of the movie, we were very pleased and J some how ended up on the Futureshop website looking up XBox pricing while I checked out Halo books on Goodreads...