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Looking Back on Roger Ebert’s Favorite Film ‘HALO 2 ALL CUTSCENES (4K 60FPS) GAMEMOVIE’

Nearly a decade after Roger Ebert’s death, the film critic’s legacy looms large over Hollywood. Ebert had a special way of looking at movies and gave a critical eye to all films, regardless of how he thought the audience felt he should feel about them. But what about his favorite film of all time? Today, we look back at the one film Roger Ebert ever gave a five-star review to: HALO 2 ALL CUTSCENES (4K 60FPS) GAMEMOVIE.

In the final years of his life, Ebert had all but given up on finding, as he called it, “the perfect film.” La Caremonie, Senso, the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari… all are great films, but none of them great enough to be the “one,” according to Ebert. Then, one day, a fellow critic recommended he watch this “quaint little animated sci-fi film” that had been making waves on the YouTube scene. Ebert checked it out, and immediately rediscovered his love of the medium. 

The cutscene compilation, which was released on the StonedGamerZPresents YouTube channel in 2011, and likely edited by StonedGamerZ himself, was publicly lauded by Ebert as “the greatest film of all time.” 

“This Master Chief character is a tough cookie, clad in an alien, olive green carapace, but he isn’t a monolith. He has a soul,” said Ebert in his original review of the film. “When Chief promises to ‘give the Covenant back their bomb’ before diving toward the alien vessel, I cheered. I leapt from my seat. The cutscenes, which are slickly intercut with only the most essential bits of gameplay, are cinematic bliss. A Yin to the bombast of Chief’s Yang, the Arbiter’s moments are a quieter, more contemplative dissection of religious piety. Those who decry these sections as ‘boring’ don’t understand good pacing. What StonedGamerZPresents has done here is truly exceptional.”

Despite Ebert’s praise, HALO 2 ALL CUTSCENES (4K 60FPS) GAMEMOVIE has never earned an endorsement from Bungie. 

“I mean, I’m glad he liked it?” said Bungie spokesperson Charlie Roth. “Sure they’re good cutscenes, but most of the content from the actual game, where the real work was put in, is missing. I feel like the YouTube channels get more recognition than the game’s actual developers. The Palme d’Or win at Cannes was bad enough, but this is too much.” 

Unfortunately, HALO 2 ALL CUTSCENES (4K 60FPS) GAMEMOVIE has been delisted from YouTube after a DMCA strike from Bungie, and is incredibly difficult to find online. Hopefully one day, the film will make its way onto a streaming service or the Criterion Channel in the near future. When he was alive, Ebert said often that he wished the film would play at a theater, because he felt it would have been one of the greatest movie-going experiences in his life.

It is a deep shame that Ebert did not live long enough to see the Halo 2: Anniversary edition of StonedGamerZ’s massive work. But if you seek out the film — either the original or the remake — know that the legend of film criticism is smiling down on you.

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