Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
The cover for Red Vs Blue Revelation features a warthog (jeep with a gun) breaking through a wall, with several Halo Spartans looking ominous with guns at the bottom of the cover. It is obvious that this is a Halo related movie, and the cover is pretty basic, seeing as how there is not a whole lot that can be done to a movie that is made and based upon a video game such as Halo.
The menu features video of the warthog breaking through a wall, which is not featured in the actual game, but has been rendered by the folks at Rooster Teeth, the company involved in these web based episodes, that have made their way to DVD. After the breaking wall routine, the menu pops up and we get to hear voice overs that include the guyus saying things like “I suggest you push play.” Together they were not horrible, and seem to fit the Red Vs Blue series.
- Directors Commentary – The guys talk about the amount of work that goes into the making of these popular Halo episodes. It is interesting to hear about the fact that this is the first Red Vs Blue that uses full pre-rendered character animation, which allows for a whole new range of movement, which is more realistic.
- Special Videos & PSA’s – We also get several public service announcements and the like that Rooster Teeth has put together for this release. A ho-hum little extra.
- The RVB Holiday Miniseries – In this collection of episodes we get to see the crew in a different light, lounging on the beach and such. A nice addition. There are 3 short episodes here, and like the rest of the collection, they were made available on the web.
- Outtakes & Deleted Scenes – Some of the outtakes and deleted scenes were pretty good, but overall these just did not really do much for me.
- Cast Interviews – We also get a bunch of interviews with the cast of Revelation; the guys and gals who have spent so much of their time on this series.
- Visual Effects Breakdown – This was actually a pretty cool little extra, all things considered. The sheer amount of work that this crew has gone to to make these little episodes is amazing, as they use the Halo 3 engine and game, along with pre-rendered characters and such, to make this series work.
The Movie: 4/10
Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning: I love Halo. I still play Halo 3 like it was just released yesterday, and I have pre-ordered Halo Reach which is out in 3 days. I consistently find that the games are fun and even though I am not good at them, I love playing them with friends. Halo 3 is unique in that Bungie has allowed players to record video of their games. As part of that, there has been a massive up-swell of players who set up short movie and do voice-overs, to be rendered and released to the Internet via Youtube and other video websites. There are a slew of groups that spend massive amounts of time setting up shots and writing scripts, and delivering their own videos to the world for massive scrutiny. Some are funny, some are serious, and many are just plain bad. Rooster Teeth, the company that is responsible for the Red Vs Blue series has elevated this “user generated” video to an art form. These pioneers have taken their releases and made them into a full running saga, that has seen 8 DVD releases, as well as countless short episodes that have garnered a huge following.
Red Vs Blue Revelation is the 8th Season that sees the two separate teams (red team and blue team) pitted against each other throughout, based on the two colors of the actual teams in the game. Revelation features the main cast of characters that has been around for the bulk of the series (mainly discernible by the different armor permutations and different voices, since the Spartans in the game all feature helmets and visors, so no faces). Revelations is the latest in the continuing saga of the battles between the two camps, who at this point are very familiar with each other.
The two crews end up having to join forces in a bizarre twist, as they must figure out just what this “Project Freelancer” really means. We have the gravelly voiced Sarge leading his somewhat inept Red team against Blue team, with the likes of bull headed Washington. The Rooster Teeth team has taken to developing each of these characters with their own personality, which again is a feat, considering there is no facial expressions used in the series at all.
One of the more interesting things for me was seeing the pre-rendered characters movement, which is a bit shocking to see when you are a Halo 3 player. The movements are new and interesting, due to the release of the constraints of the Halo 3 engine. This group has put a great effort into making the Red Vs Blue series unique. The problem for me is that the series just seems to be a bit much. I am not a huge fan of the humor here, and dropping a curse word here and there strictly to try to make a scene funny just doesn’t work for me. I also had trouble following the story, and I got bored rather quickly, and I am a Halo fan. I just was not that involved with the characters or story, and it was not funny enough for me to want to sit through the entire 19 short episodes that have been culled into one 90 minute DVD.
I guess in the end I understand the project, and I appreciate the amount of work done here, as well as the fact that there are many people who may completely enjoy this, but it just is not for me. After a while, I just wanted to shut off my Blu-ray player and just pop my Halo 3 disk into my Xbox 360 and play. Enough watching, let me shoot someone.
Audio & Video: 6/10
The video for Revelation is unfortunately limited by the Halo 3 engine, which is decent, but has its limitations. I noticed quite a lot of jagged edges, which is not as noticeable when you are playing the actual Halo 3 game, but becomes glaringly obvious when just watching a movie using the engine as a back-drop. I will admit that the pre-rendered characters were amazingly cohesive with the game. The movements are mimicked, but expanded, so it still feels like Halo 3 characters, right down to the head nods and character movement, but the expanded range of movement is striking, especially for someone who still plays a lot of Halo 3. I reviewed the DVD, and I think that having a Blu-ray release of this would be overkill, as the limitations of the episodes would make a high definition release even more glaringly obvious.
The audio was actually pretty good, and the explosions and sound effects were bright and in your face. It is presented in 2.0 stereo, which is strange, but when you release for the Internet, I guess surround sound is the last of your worries. It was still a decent presentation audio wise.
This type of release is only going to be attractive to a very limited number of individuals. As a rabid Halo 3 player (Ascully thinks I am totally bonkers for still playing such an old game), I do not even really get the appeal of this DVD. The episodes are available on the web, and while some Halo 3 players may enjoy these, I still do not totally get all the supposed humor. I respect the amount of work and ingenuity that is presented here on these Red Vs Blue releases, but I just don’t get the appeal. To me they are not funny enough on a constant level for me to sit through a 90 minutes long version of the episodes.
Overall Score 4/10