Look: I’m not a gamer. No, I couldn’t tell you anything even remotely usable about video games of any variety. The best I can do is tell you that I’m only vaguely even aware that gaming exists but that it’s a multi-billion dollar form of entertainment. I’ve read enough to know that gaming is a blockbuster industry for those titles that break through; its profits continue to grow for established ventures, and so many of them have grown increasingly cinematic with each new version that gets released. All well and good. But I’ve never been interested; that’s all I can say about it.
Still, I can appreciate the kind of thing that Rooster Teeth Productions have done. They’re the wunderkinds behind the laughable RED VS. BLUE. No doubt that, if you’re here reading this, then you’re aware of that. This release – FAILS OF THE WEAK: HALO EDITION – isn’t exactly drawn from the same vein, but, if you’re patient, you’ll probably experience the same aching gut from laughter that you did with RED VS. BLUE. Yes, it can be that intoxicating.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Well … there really isn’t any story here that I can divulge, so perhaps my above disclaimer isn’t all that accurate. What there is is an amazing assortment of death scenes, all of it captured and narrated by the hosts of a weekly podcast program entitled “Fails of the Weak.” For the uninitiated like myself, there are some snippets of animated video drawn from the games wherein the narration is definitely needed – having never played the game, I was completely unfamiliar with much of Halo’s tactics, techniques, and infrastructure. And no, FAILS will not encourage me to give it a try … ‘cause I know I’d just end up being a regular segment for the crew to gain even further laughs!
Still, there’s something wonderfully inclusive about the humor here. We’re laughing at the misfortunate of others – mom told me never to do that – but it’s perfectly benign. No one truly gets hurt here – well, at least not physically – except an assortment of pixelized characters … and, like the hosts will tell you, many of them deserved it for what they did.
You’ll probably be drawn in like I was if you give this one time. It could use a bit of an introduction – the narrators are a crew that simply lurch into the action without any set-up – and I’ll admit that I was a bit ‘lost’ until a few minutes in. Once I understood the joke, I joined in the merriment. And I probably experienced more laughs per minute with this modest feature (70 minutes) than I do with most deliberate comedies. Isn’t that a shame, Hollywood? You’re been once again shown up by kids on a podcast!
FAILS OF THE WEAK: HALO EDITION (2013) is a production of Rooster Teeth Productions. DVD distribution is being handled through Cinedigm. As for the technical specifications? Well, let me say that the video and audio works exactly in the way this was all intended. As for the special features? Well, there are a few items here – some trailers, and some other tidbits no doubt related to the other cinematic affairs of Rooster Teeth (yes, I’ve seen RED VS. BLUE) – but I didn’t spend any time with them. All I was interested in was the primary feature, and that tickled my fancy well enough to give it a polite nod with the corresponding thumbs up.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Look, I was honest, right? I have no idea of anything about Halo. I have no idea of anything concerning gaming, especially online role playing stuff. But I couldn’t help myself but occasionally laugh silly at the antics captured in FAILS OF THE WEAK. Much of this is like sitting in the room and accidentally eavesdropping on the hilarious conversations of others; you find yourself slowly being drawn into the joke, and you can’t help but to start laughing with them. Can I tell you most of what I saw in a way that it makes perfect sense? Oh, no way … but that didn’t stop me from laughing at it.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Cinedigm provided me with a DVD copy of FAILS OF THE WEAK: HALO EDITION by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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