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Shabana Azmi Is The Reason To See HALO

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HALO

Halo(Available On Voot Select)

Starring: Pablo Schreiber, Shabana Azmi Jen Taylor, Natascha McElhone, Yerin Ha, Bokeem Woodbine,  Olive Gray, Charlie Murphy, Kate Kennedy, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac, and Danny Sapani

Directed by:  Otto Bathurst

Rating: *** ½

Halo: Not being a fan of video games  actually helps  in amplifying  the  enjoy,ent of  Halo, an  epic-sized  made-for-television series  based  on  the globally popular  game of  the same name from  Xbox Game Studios.

So say hello to  Halo,a  free-falling flamboyant  ferbrile  adaptation  of  the  video game  which kept me invested  in the galactic tension  and  outerspace   splendour   that  sprawl into  9 episodes.I was sent only the first two  episodes for  review. What  I saw was in one word, intriguing.In two words,  intriguing and dazzling.

Being a Steven Spielberg  presentation, no  corners  are cut . The production value is  exceedingly high though never  ostentatious , with the  battle scenes conveying all the raging  mystique  of what we recently saw  in Zack Synder’s Justice League sans the  gore.

 The  series opens with a  pitched battle on a planet  called  Madrigal where vicious aliens known as the Covenant plunder  attack and  annihilate  the entire  population except one  girl Kwan Ha Boo(played by Yerin Ha ). Starting as an apocalyptic   survival story, the  storytelling smoothly slips  into a Star Trek mode , when  Kwan Ha meets the  series’ hero  Master Chief. Pablo  Schreiber as Master Chef (far more emotionally  naked in  Orange Is  the  New Black ) is not allowed to be much of an actor in this series. He is  either fully armoured, face  shielded,  or  his face  conveys  the incurable stoicism of  a time traveler who  isn’t into  expensive watches.

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In the  first two episodes  the  bonding between  Kwan Ha  and Star Chef  every sign  of branching  into tender tendrils  , provided the plot allows the space between them(pun  intended) to breathe easily.

There is  an excessive  and palpable tension in the  air throughout, nowhere  more evident than in the  veiled but  venomous  sardonicism in the conversations between  Dr Catherine Halsey(Natascha McElhone) and Admiral Margaret Parangosky Director of Office of Naval Intelligence(Shabana Azmi).

 The  bouts of  interactive  dialogue , subtly  laden with  power pressures, between  the two women on  what  the impending attack by alien forces signifies,  are  richly layered with   currents of  hostility. As a  powerful women whose  dominance is  under threat, Shabana Azmi is  a  ball of fire ready to explode. It is a  pleasure beyond measure to see  our National treasure being given a  role to which  she  does  absolute  justice  , and that too without  assuming a false accent!

The presentations wears a polished look . The  battle sequence which  opens  the series looks like  an energetically choreographed ballroom  dance of  death . The  outer space  imagery  is never short  of innovative  visuals.  The stakes  in the  game of survival are  perpetually  high.

Director Otto Bathurst’s understated  style should come  as  no  surprise to those who have seen his crafty work in Peaky Blinders.  He brings us close to the catastrophic  conundrum  but  succeeds in  keeping us away for just that  amount of distance where we remain involved without the excessive dramatic pressure   that repels audiences.

 Halo is epic in design , the cast members are  sharp and alert, none more so than  our Shabana Azmi whose  killing looks could  finish off an entire  galaxy of  aggressive  aliens.

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