OTT reviews

Halo TV series (spoiler-free) review

Master Chief comes to life

₹ 0

Video game adaptations have largely been cursed, but thankfully, that isn’t stopping studios from trying to turn the tide. On paper, Halo is ripe for a live-action treatment – a gigantic world, interesting storylines and characters, plenty of action, and to top it all the green armoured Master Chief. 
But is the new Halo web series attractive enough to keep existing fans hooked and also reel in viewers with absolutely no knowledge of the sprawling Halo universe? Here’s our spoiler-free review based on the first two episodes.

What’s good?

It doesn’t take long in episode one for all hell to break loose, and for Master Chief (portrayed by Pablo Schreiber) to make a statement entry worthy of a few hoots and whistles. Halo fans will be overjoyed with the accuracy of the design elements as the showrunners clearly seemed to have paid a lot of attention to the way the silver team looks and fights. 
Much of the first episode is a hyper-paced introduction to the world of Halo, UNSC politics, and The Great War between the Covenant and humanity. We are also introduced to a host of characters like Dr. Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone), Admiral Margaret Parangosky (Shabana Azmi), Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray), Kwan Ha Boo (Yerin Ha), and Soren-066 (Bokeem Woodbine) to name a few. 
Episode two slows things down a bit for a closer look at the lore, and more importantly, John-117, the man under the iconic helmet. Schreiber does a pretty good job at being relatable considering the lack of emotions of the main character. There’s a lot introduced in terms of plotlines with regular hints at what can be expected from the upcoming episodes.

What’s not so good?

There’s plenty of action in episode one, and director Otto Bathurst does a fabulous job of changing the viewers’ perspective to show the action from behind the Spartan helmet. It is a clever way of sticking to the game’s roots without alienating new viewers. But the same can’t be said about the visuals. 
The CGI struggled in the very first battle on planet Madrigal, with the heavily-armoured Spartans looking a bit wonky in some action moments. Even the elite Covenant warriors looked forgettable. It remains to be seen how the showrunners will tackle the bigger battles that are surely coming our way in the upcoming episodes. With shows like The Mandalorian and The Witcher showing what can be achieved with CGI, we felt a bit let down by Halo
While it’s still early days, the pacing of the story could be an issue for some. The first two episodes felt like a rollercoaster ride, and hopefully, it will be smoother sailing in the coming episodes.

Verdict: Should you watch?

The first two episodes of Halo provide a fair idea of what we can expect from the rest of the series. Schreiber as Master Chief is great, and in a very short span, he breathes life into the series’ main character. 
Despite some pacing issues, the showrunners have done enough to keep existing fans happy, and new viewers intrigued. 
Halo starts streaming on VOOT Select in India on March 24, 2022.