I'm a big Halo fan and have been since the original games.
Yes, the plot of the series is basically "blow up aliens and then blow them up some more," but there are some powerful themes within the games that characterize great sci-fi.
The Master Chief and the other superhuman "Spartan" soldiers save humanity from the ravages of an alien empire bent on our extinction, yes, but the series forces you to count the cost of that victory.
The Halo Spartans are abducted as 6-year-old children by the military, then groomed by a mad scientist to be absolutely heartless killing machines. Their journey mimics the practices of the ancient Spartans, who would throw any babies with "defects" into a pit to starve, put their sons in a military school called an "agoge" at age seven, have kids fight each other in contests for food, whip boys at a festival called the Diamastigosis to test their pain endurance, and encourage children to kill slaves as combat practice.
In the games and books, the Halo cadets were subjected to grueling surgeries that made their skeletons as hard as metal and their reactions and muscles superhuman. Many of the children died.
The Master Chief survived, and while exercising for the first time after the surgery, was jumped by four special forces soldiers who had been sent to test him. The Chief was so powerful that he accidentally killed them all.
These children were then sent into horrific battles, first against human terrorists, and then against alien monsters, for decades on end. The true weight of it all was theirs alone to bear.
The Chief's A.I. companion, Cortana, has a far more colorful personality than the Chief, making you wonder which is more human.
"This one is machine and nerve, and has its mind concluded.
This one is but flesh and faith, and is the more deluded."
Throughout the entirety of the original games made by Bungie Studios, the player is called into a narrative where discipline, pain, and horrible sacrifice win the day against truly insurmountable odds. You see story after story of people making the ultimate sacrifice. Planet after planet burns. Yet valor and hope survive.
If you want two commercials that encapsulates what Halo is about, here you go. Prepare to have shivers run down your spine:
It makes one question what lengths they would go to in order to protect life, and where certain moral lines should be drawn.
Which makes Paramount's adaptation of this series that much worse:
There's spoilers here for this garbage show, but I'll keep it brief:
...After dismissing some guards, John, aka Master Chief, kisses Makee, then the two take off their shirts and touch each other's scars. Then they wake up later in the same bed, so it's possible that they just fell asleep after some frenzied scar touching; but the implication is definitely that they had sex.
So why is this creepy? A couple of reasons, but the first one is that during their love-making session, Cortana (Jen Taylor), the digital assistant/AI who is part of John's brain, is watching them. And though she's supposed to not make any attachments or have any emotions, it's clear that nasty little blue voyeur is loving it.
Yeah, that's horrible. Even more horrible than all the intersectional wokeness the show has been pushing.
To be ultra-nerdy here for a moment, the augmentations the Spartans undertook erased their sex drive and their ability to have children. One augmentation that achieved this in particular was a platinum pellet that was surgically inserted into the children's thyroids that contained human growth hormone.
But Paramount thought NOT including sex would be a deal-breaker, so they decided that Spartan porn was the way to go.
...there's an added layer here, which is that Cortana is — at the time — working for Dr. Halsey (Natascha McElhone). And later in the episode, when Halsey breaks into Makee's visual display to try to manipulate her and John into accompanying her off-planet (it's complicated, don't worry about it), she tells Makee how pleased she's been to see Makee and John grow closer. So it's pretty clear that not only was Cortana watching, Halsey was probably reviewing the footage later, as well.
I've stayed away from this show, or commenting on it entirely. I was content to let the fandom continue to reject it. Star Trek has always been woke, but the gamer bros aren't gonna tolerate that nonsense.
But this went about 30,000 steps too far, and a major reason for that is the other major theme in Halo.
See, Halo also calls into question what makes humanity unique. After all, if we are merely intelligent apes, what makes us more worthy of life than bugs? If an advanced alien empire thinks we should be eradicated as pests, what makes us special?
This is Halo's greatest story arc. The Covenant aliens are unable to innovate on their own. They merely copy their technology from the long-dead alien civilization of the Forerunners. The Forerunners, in their hubris, believed they could control and cull the galaxies' species as authoritarian dictators. This totalitarian "follow-the-science" posture led to their demise.
In the end, a parasitic lifeform known as the "Flood" obliterated their civilization, but in a last-ditch effort to do something right, the Forerunners built an "Ark" for the galaxies' species, built ring-weapons to kill everything the Flood could infect, then made humanity the inheritors of their technology.
In short, the Forerunners saw something unique in humanity. We weren't just another species. We laugh, we create, we innovate. We create new things out of nothing. We love.
And Halo recognizes this. It applauds it. It argues that those sacrifices are worth it, because there is a spark of something greater – something divine – even within the smallest of children.
We feel the call to fight the monsters that come to devour the Imago Dei within us.
This is a biblical tale of epic proportions, the tale of brave knights slaying dragons.
"Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker." - C.S. Lewis
Yet this TV series kills that sacred tale in favor of a raunchy, random humans vs. aliens plot with sex and nudity galore.
Hollywood is so grotesque at this point that it's worse than the Covenant empire, with its inability to create anything new and its focus on eradicating everything that disagrees with it.
It has become, instead, like the parasitic Flood, intent on devouring all life and twisting it into an undead, nightmarish form.
To the Lord of The Rings fans excited about Amazon's new series in the fall, I hope y'all are paying attention!
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