The long-awaited series adaptation of the HALO video game franchise, produced by Steven Spielberg, is finally coming to France on CANAL+ and myCANAL. Is it worth a look?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
In the 26th century, when humanity is embroiled in an intergalactic war against an alien threat known as the Alliance, Dr. Halsey, a brilliant scientist, created the Spartans, genetically and technologically enhanced super-soldiers to boost physical and mental abilities. John-117, the commander of one of the units, leads his troops into battle…
The series is broadcast on CANAL+ with 2 episodes per week. The first five episodes are already available on myCANAL. Episodes seen: 5/9.
WELL WORTH A LOOK ?
In project since 2013, the serial adaptation of the Halo video game franchise is finally seeing the light of day today. Produced by Steven Spielberg with Amblin Television, among others, this show narrates the war in the 26th century between the United Nations Space Command and the Covenant, an alliance of several extraterrestrial species, through the story of the Spartan super soldier John-117 alias Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber), the iconic hero of video games.
If the series wants to remain faithful to the spirit of the video game franchise and transcribes this rich universe with this struggle between humans and aliens in the background, it aspires above all to dig into universal human themes by weaving deep and original personal intrigues. .
And this vision concerns as much the different characters who will cross paths with Master Chief as the latter, in the midst of an existential crisis and rebellion against authority, as evidenced by his face uncovered without his helmet, unlike the games, which will surely make people cringe. a few teeth.
This bias makes it possible to attract both video game fans and science fiction neophytes. In this fairly well-drawn humanist vision in a chaotic and visually impressive world, which sometimes wants to be as epic as The Mandalorian Where Westworld (even in its disturbingly similar credits), Halo does not forget to be an adventure show with a gripping opening scene of great violence.
Between existential quest and intergalactic war
With these first minutes, we expect an epic pilot from start to finish. Unfortunately, the soufflé falls fairly quickly afterwards, the fault of a very (too?) didactic scenario. We understand that the production wanted to address both fans and those who know less about it, but this adaptation lacks a certain spark and a defined tone in its first episodes.
We nevertheless retain the performance of Pablo Schreiber who manages to breathe emotions and humanity into his stoic and not very talkative character who cheers up alongside Kwan Ha Boo (Yerin Ha), a survivor of an alien attack on the rebel planet Madrigal, whom he takes under his wing. This kind of duet, already seen in the genre, works rather well thanks to the chemistry between its two interpreters.
Bokeem Woodbine, which camps the independentist Spartan Soren-006, brings a lot of freshness and humor to this sometimes sanitized universe. On his side, Natascha McElhone gropes but unfolds as her character expands and offers more nuance, especially when her Artificial Intelligence Cortana, embodied by none other than the voice actress Jen Taylor reprising its role from the video games, springs into action.
With so many means, technical and financial, implemented for this adaptation in live action, we feel the desire to make good teams, which have changed many times over several years after the abandonment of the film project in 2006 by Peter Jackson, and this translates into sets and visual effects that are rather impressive in some respects, a little more disappointing in others, notably the aliens or timid first-person shots.
Despite everything, we have to wait a few more episodes for the spatio-political chessboard to finally fall into place and for the action to really take off with an impressive fifth chapter. In short, the series takes time to take its marks and really find its identity but it seems to have all the cards in hand to become an honorable SF entertainment. In any case, Paramount + trusts him since Halo has already been renewed for a second season.