In the history of gaming there has been several characters that are truly iconic including: Mario, Sonic, Solid Snake and Pac Man. For this article I’m going to deal with one of the newer additions to this pantheon. Today I am going to talk about the Master Chief otherwise known as John-117 or Spartan 117 . The Master Chief is the definition of a badass, he single handedly takes down alien fleets, flips tanks, survived space and a fall to earth and so much more but where did this all start? Who is John 117? How did he become humanity’s greatest hope? Well this hero has an interesting path to greatness, true he was born brilliant but he was crafted and forged from John into John-117.
This is an animated film adapted from the original book, Halo: The Fall of Reach. It’s an explanation and backstory of the shaping and creation of Spartan 117, The Master Chief. We see how John was taken at a young age and the training and adjustments he went through to go from a smart ass to a universe saving bad ass. For those who don’t know the basic back story of the Halo franchise, this is a very brief summary of what happens : Humans have spread out amongst the stars and are living in a united federation of planets but there are insurrectionists who want out, referred to as Innies, which is rather ironic as they are the ones who want out. Desperate to defeat this new threat to peace the office of Naval Intelligence wanted to create weapons that could destroy these Insurrectionists in quick surgical strikes, thus the Spartan program was born. The SPARTAN Programs are a series of UNSC projects designed to create generations of physically, genetically, technologically and mentally superior “super soldiers” as a special fighting force within the UNSC Military. To do this a clandestine group lead by Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey began to abduct genetically superior children and replaced them with defective clones that would eventually break down and die. A truly evil act that would result in some of the greatest acts of heroism ever seen. Of course the Spartans never got to truly fight the Insurrectionists as they ended up taking on a much more dire threat, the Covenant. The Covenant is a theocratic hegemony made up of multiple alien species that maintained control over a large portion of the Orion Arm in the Milky Way galaxy. The Covenant was a political, military, and religious affiliation which was originally a mutual alliance between the Prophets and Elites following a brutal conflict between the two warring races. Its expanded to include at least six other races united in the worship of the Forerunners and the Halo Array soon began after the original formation. (Yes, that really is a summary but it will all make sense eventually).
Its this contrast between the Master chief’s origin and his destiny that drives the series for me. It’s such a twisted dark origin story about a nobel yet good character. He represents the best in humanity and the best of everyone of us, once again the concept that our greatest is augmented is not wasted on me but this is another interesting contrast. This film has hidden depths that will surprise you and it’s nice to have an idea who the Chief was before he became such an iconic character. With themes of sacrifice, war,loss of innocence, the futility of anger and friendship throughout the story it will surprise you. One of the most interesting parts of this tale will always be Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey, she knows what she is doing is kind of evil yet she knows it needs to be done, she almost loves these warriors as her own children but has no qualms about sending them off to die in battle when it is needed, she is a very confusing character.
With some very unique animation, great story telling and a fresh look at an old character this will be a great film for die heard fans and new comers alike, it’s definitely worth a watch.
Halo: The Fall of Reach is available on iTunes and other major digital platforms internationally now.