Paramount+’s ‘Halo’ attempts, fails to adapt iconic video game franchise


Photo Courtesy of Paramount +

Halo attempts to bring the video game series to film but does so in a way that feels flat.

Joseph Ferrer, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Debuting on Paramount+, ‘Halo’ is an episodic adaptation of the iconic first-person shooter franchise. As one of the earliest video game series of the modern era to have attempted to adapt the source material to a film setting, with the first attempt going back as far as 2015, ‘Halo’ attempts to bring the world of the series to live-action but does so with mixed results. ‘Halo’ ultimately tries to represent a variety of aspects of the series to appeal to fans while also changing and highlighting lesser parts of the story to appeal to general audiences and in the process, the series fails to fully satisfy both demographics.  


The plot of the show revolves around a war set in the 26th century between the human race and an alien alliance known as the Covenant. The Unified Earth Government develops a group of super-soldiers known as the Spartans and the main plot of the series follows a member of the Spartans, Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) as he travels to a planet in search of a mysterious artifact while also helping Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha), the teen daughter of a central leader of the rebel human alliance.  


One aspect that the series immediately misunderstands is what makes Master Chief appealing as a character, that being the elusive persona behind the helmet. Within the games, Master Chief never takes off his helmet and what makes his character work from a narrative standpoint is how little information is given to the audience on who Master Chief is as a person. This simultaneously helps put players in his shoes through the game’s first-person perspective and is something that the Paramount+ series almost immediately does away with by spending significant time with the character outside of his Master Chief persona. Unfortunately, Master Chief is written to be as close to a blank slate as possible and Schreiber’s performance does not greatly contribute to making him a relatable character.  

Other aspects of the series also fail to immediately impress. The action has a cheap feel to it with most of it being done in CGI rather than using actual actors in places where it would have been feasible to do so. The soundtracks of the original series remain incredibly iconic to this day 20 years after the release of the original and unfortunately, the original composers were not brought back, resulting in the music feeling like a hollow replica of the source material. ‘Halo’ ultimately feels like a shell of the original source material’s former self.