"Halo Legends" is a seven-story anthology—told across eight episodes—that explores the origin and historical events of the Halo universe and its intriguing characters. Each episode is imagined by a cutting-edge, renowned Japanese anime director/animator, including Shinji Aramaki, Mamoru Oshii, Hideki Futamura, Tomoki Kyoda, and Yasushi Muraki. The individual episodes fall within Halo's 26th Century mythology as the battle between humanity and aliens rages on in an attempt to protect Earth and mankind's expansive number of space colonies. The dramatic, action-packed stories feature characters and locales familiar to "Halo" fans, and episodes range in length between 10 and 17 minutes. (Gary Reber)
Special features include commentary with Director Frank O'Connor and Producer Joseph Chou; a making-of featurette in eight segments (SD 54:49); the featurette "Halo: Gaming Evolved," which explains the Halo phenomenon from its inception as an Xbox video game to a present day entertainment franchise (HD 21:46); a featurette on "The Story So Far" (HD 23:56); the Reach trailer; and the Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths trailer.
The 1080p VC-1 picture is wonderfully artistic and pristine in presentation. The visual palette varies in resolution and artistic intent from soft, virtually blurry painted imagery, to crisp sharp line art. Contrast is excellent throughout, with deep, solid blacks and a sense of shadow depth. Colors are vibrant, with a wide range of hues, expressing richness and warmth. This is a very creative and artistic animated feature that will surely please fans. (Gary Reber)
The soundtrack is limited to a 640 kilobits per second Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel encoding, which is satisfactory but not wonderful. It is unfortunate that a lossless presentation was not provided to complement this visual epic. While dialogue is intelligible, there is virtually no sense of scene integration and the narrative sounds way forward. The overall fidelity sounds a bit strident and harsh as well as thin. While there is surround envelopment, the sound is not particularly holosonically® engaging, though, there are moments of aggressive split surround sound effects. Bass extension is pretty good, but the overall sense in low-frequency support is weak. Much of the motion sound effects are frontal focused and do not expand into the surround channels. Overall, the soundtrack is pleasant but just fails to really command authority. (Gary Reber)