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Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn [UK] Blu-ray Review

halo-4-uk-blu-ray-coverUnited-Kingdom-Flag-Orb-Icon-32px

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English LPCM 2.0 stereo (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Subtitles Color: N/A
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certificate: 15
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 84 Mins.
  • Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 27, 2013
  • List Price: £15.99; £24.99 (Deluxe Edition)

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

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What a difference a couple of decades make, huh? Just in case everyone has forgotten, I’ll give a quick reminder on the origins of the majorly successful gaming franchise for the Xbox from Microsoft. It began as one of the few successful Mac-only games. That’s right, you heard hear first, folks (well, maybe you heard here first). Developer Bungie’s FPS Marathon, initially a Mac-only franchise, was so popular that the developer even ported at least one edition of the game over to Windows – and then Microsoft came calling. They needed a killer app for their new gaming console, and Bungie’s follow-up to Marathon: Infinity would be it. The next version of Marathon for the Mac was scrapped and morphed into Halo for the Xbox.

Now here we are, the Xbox and its successor Xbox 360, are huge successes, as is its flagship gaming series, Halo, here made into a live-action film that, with all it special effects, quick-paced second half, and, of course, the iconic hero at the center of it all, Master Chief, will be sure please most fans of the game itself.

The story follows an elite military training academy made up of cadets chosen from the best military families in the galaxy. Training to eventually enter into a galaxy-wide civil war they may not return from, the young soldiers, particularly young Cadet Thomas Lasky (Tom Green), are caught between honor, duty, and their own youthful desires. They soon find themselves under attack by a strange and powerful alien race. Thomas and a few of his fellow cadets are left the only survivors on the entire planet. With the help of the powerful armored super-soldier Master Chief, they must struggle to survive and fight their way off the planet.

This one starts out a bit slowly trying to impart that feeling of youthful angst and conflict early on during the training sequences, which have their own small bits of action like a capture the flag mission, but once the invasion hits, all bets are off. It’s pure video game glee and a hyper intensive assault on the senses, almost like you’re dropped in the middle of the video game itself. This is what you’d expect from a Halo live-action movie, and they’ve done it well.

Video Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

Halo-4-Forward-Unto-Dawn-UK-BD_01

I was optimistic when I saw the opening CG sequence for Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, but that optimism quickly turned to frustration as the movie progressed. Shot on the Red Epic in high definition and arriving on Blu-ray with a 1080p/24 AVC/MPEG-4 encodement, Halo 4 is simply riddled with digital anomalies such as banding, noise, and posterization straight through the presentation. It’s to the point where it does become distracting.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Halo-4-Forward-Unto-Dawn-UK-BD_03

Wow! The video may not be up to snuff, but this is one heck of an audio mix. Coming in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) or LPCM 2.0 stereo (48kHz/24-bit) mix, this one is maxed out, in your face, and will push your sound system to its limits. Sounds ping across the room, dialogue rests over your shoulders, explosions kick you in the chest with a resonant “boom.” Highs are natural and clean – this one is a winner, folks.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

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Additional featurettes and character pre-release vignettes in addition to trailers round out this package. The Deluxe Edition also comes packed with a DVD and additional collectible swag.

The supplements:

  • Carbulo Academy of Military Sciences Recruitment Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:50)
  • Teaser Trailer (1080i/50)
  • Pre-Release Vignettes (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:22:15)
  • Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:54)
  • Behind the Scenes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:57:43)
  • Deluxe edition also includes: DVD, A3 poster, four art cards.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Halo-4-Forward-Unto-Dawn-UK-BD_05

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn isn’t going to win any awards, but for what it is, an extension of the video game franchise, it actually succeeds much better than one would expect going into it. It is an action-filled journey into the iconic Halo franchise that will give you an adrenalin rush. Recommended for fans of the game.

Additional Screen Captures

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

 

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