Halo Legends [Blu-ray]

Halo Legends [Blu-ray]
There is a void in the Halo universe, with the release of Halo: Reach looming and the novelty of Halo 3 and its expansion, Halo: ODST, wearing off now that most of us have found all the skulls, the weak spot in the Hunter's armour and watched Sentinels battle the Flood while avoiding exploding floors. In part, this is where the Halo Legends animation short anthology steps in, keeping the franchise energized despite the demise of Neill Blomkamp's feature film adaptation. Comprised of seven episodes, most of which aired on Halo Waypoint well before this package hit stores, this collection expands on different areas of the mythology and boasts the vision of five different animation studios with varying styles, visions and voices. The result is mixed, with aspect ratios constantly changing, a glib, awkwardly written "Origins" piece and the watercolour "Duel" episode blending characters into the background, but there is the benefit of simply moving on to a new short when one does not appeal. While the "Origins" story provides an overview of the wars and plague that led to the creation of Halo, contextualizing everything with a blanket understanding that the only thing that can unite enemies is yet another common enemy, the entertainment comes with the parody "Odd Man Out" and the action-packed "Package." These instalments offer the most humour and animation know how, mocking the severity and embracing the chaos of the franchise, respectively. On the other hand, artistically, "Homecoming" offers a humanizing, if familiar, perspective on the SPARTAN recruitment and subsequent tragedy, with an interesting focus on technology meeting flesh. Essentially, there is something for everyone, even if none of the shorts are particularly groundbreaking and the overall experience is forgettable. Legends is a serviceable package with outstanding picture (not suffering from motion blurs or evidence of enhancement) and hollow, compressed sound that features an exhaustive array of special features. Exclusive to Blu-Ray is the "Halo: Gaming Evolved" supplement, which features Microsoft folks talking about the phenomenon of the franchise from conception to now, while the hour-long "Making of" documentary details the approach of each animation studio and is available on the DVD version as well. Also included is a redundant story supplement, a commentary track and a teaser for the Reach videogame. (Warner)