A well made short film design to set up characters and events to precede the game Halo 4
Full Review: Forward unto Dawn is a short film produced by 343 industries created to provide backstory for the character for Thomas Laskey, who is the commander of the UNSC Infinity as seen in the following game, Halo 4. The Film follows Laskey as he trains to become an officer for the United Nations Space Command at Corbulo Military Academy. During his tenure, Thomas encounters many difficulties, from trouble interacting
with his fellow cadets, to allergic reactions to the cryo-freezing process. Laskey must overcome these obstacles when his classmates lives are suddenly thrust into very real danger when a new, mysterious enemy enters the fray.
The character’s personalities and development are substantial for such a small, short film, and 343 does a great job with casting the various cadets and faculty at corbulo. We get to see big names in Sci Fi like Mike Dopud, and the relatively young cast do an astounding job. Many short films fall victim to inexperienced actors and poor execution, however Forward unto Dawn’s cast do an astounding job with line delivery, emotion control, and overall great acting performance. For me, as a critic, a film qualifies as decent when my mind doesn't wander to thoughts of the camera or the filming whilst watching. If I can stay hooked on what's going on without acknowledging the fourth wall, then the film has succeeded in immersion, thus my attention remains solely on the story. The cast of the film make this easy with their earnest performance. Director Stewart Hendler does an great job, made easier by an amazing cast.
The world in which the movie is set is a fictional planet among the many different worlds of the Halo universe. The writers and Hendler do a great job using everything in the big ol’ toolbox that is Halo lore to their advantage, making the film come to life with all the things we love about the UNSC. Thanks to 343’s large budget from Microsoft, the prop department does an excellent job creating realistic, true-to-universe weapons. My only problem with the movie is the style and design used for the weapons and vehicles in the movie are not accurate to the timeframe the movie takes place. In the Halo continuity, the model of weapons and vehicles they use are not produced for many years. It's like using M16s and Humvees in a World War II film. This may bug big Halo fans such as myself, but for the average viewer, this is merely a side note to an good film.
The special effects are astounding, and the visual work keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the finale. Fans are treated to an great crescendo, and despite the continued continuity errors with Fred and Kelly’s MJOLNIR armor, the movie ends on a beautiful note, with the survivors riding away on a Pelican dropship. The film does its job in giving Laskey a proper backstory, and Halo 4 was better off for it.
Final Score: 8/10