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Edgeworks Forums   »   Edgeworks Productions   »   Videos   »   The Codex Review
GeorgeK_16 Sep 29 2009, 10:49pm


Joined: Sep 24th, 2009
Location: Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Posts: 297
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Being a great fan of The Codex , since I first watched it several years ago, I have decided to write episode reviews for the entire series. Although it has been quite a while since Edgeworks produced a machinima, I hoped those involved in making The Codex will find that the reviews give both informative and entertaining feedback.

Such time and effort was placed into making The Codex , that I feel the only way to do the series justice is to take each episode and give praise (or criticism) for that episode. And now might also be a good time for some of us to watch the series again.

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Episode l: The Gathering Storm

The use of campaign footage at the beginning of the episode was expertly done, and served as a strong opening for the series. The editing was smooth, and the dialogue immediately indicates that the series is both serious and sophisticated in manner. By including the humans in this episode, an effective parallel was established between The Covenant and the UNSC. It instantly became apparent to the audience of the factions that will be involved in the series.

As one would expect from the initial episode, I found the voice acting and camera work in episode 1 to be the weakest of the series. This is completely understandable though, as one can assume that the actors would still be familiarizing themselves with characters, and the techniques of filming would not yet be perfected. The use of music was good, although it is improved upon greatly in the following installments.

Overall, I deem that the first episode serves more as a prologue to the series, then as an actual component of the storyline. The style of the production is established, characters are briefly introduced, and battle lines are drawn. From this episode, there was created a great opportunity to develop on a sophisticated plot later in the series. It servers all the purposes of a pilot episode, and any film making errors can be readily excused at such an early stage.

Episode ll: First Strike

A problem found in a large number of machinima's is that the first few episodes are bogged down by dialogue and are heavily plot driven. It is excellent, therefore, to see the second episode of The Codex featuring an insense battle, whilst still developing the storyline of the series. This shows that Edgworks is also capable of creating intense action scenes, as well as sophisticated dialogue.

I found the voice acting and camera angle to be much more refined in this episode. It is great to see the finer aspects of machinima production being addressed in such a short space of time. Although the music used in this episode is from the Halo games, its use is neither cliche or unoriginal. My only complaint would be that the battle in the caves and the flight of Green 2 could have been developed further. It may also have been good to 'get to know' the members of Green Team before they were attacked; establishing audience empathy.

Overall, it is very difficult to find a balance between plot and action in a machinima. Whilst giving the audience a sense of drama, First Strike also allows the story to develop rapidly. There is no risk at all that the plot will become stale and uninteresting. It is a great accolade to the production team that the episodes were so well produced, at such an early stage in the series.

Episode lll: Aftermath

The interaction of the elites play a crucial role in The Codex . I believe there was no better way to introduce the main elite characters into the series, then by the confrontation the occurred in the episode. This also helped to establish the lasting tension between Praetor and The Cleric, which eventually leads to betrayal. All of this was achieved whilst still keeping the story interesting and compelling to an audience.

The Codex serves as the best portrayal of elites in a machinima. From a writing perspectives, the elites were masterfully created. Even at this point in the series, it becomes apparent that the Covenant is much more diverse then one might assume. In a scene with relatively little action, tension and drama was expertly created. Further adding to the drama of the scene, dialogue was effectively prepared and delivered. Combined with successful editing, it made for a very interesting combination of film techniques.

It is often much more difficult to produce a scene that relies heavily on dialogue and character interaction. The efficient development of characters means that an audience can instantly identify themes that will effect the remainder of the series. The only criticism I could give is that several of the camera shots, particularly panning, were uneven. However, this is a finer detail that is almost unavoidable when using a video game engine to produce a film.

Episode lV: Regrouping

Throughout the series, the interaction of the human characters, particularly Jack and Candice, plays a crucial role in making the story more light-hearted. Even at this early stage, an audience can begin to develop a repore with the human characters, which can influence the emotional response to certain events later in the series. As well as being informative, the episode also had great comedic value, something that is capitalized upon throughout The Codex .

A large range of camera angle were used in the episode, which helps to give an original variety to the production. Although there were a few occasions when the characters sounded scripted, for the most part the voice acting was fresh and diverse. This is essential in allowing an audience to better understand the emotions experienced by a character.

Despite the fact that this scene contained little action, it was produced in such a way as to make it interesting and entertaining. The interaction of key character helped to lighten the story, and supply a contrast with the interaction of the elites. The cast and crew also succeeded in creating great anticipation for the forthcoming episodes, as it is apparent that the events of the story are building towards a large confrontation between the humans and the elites.

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"You are, all of you, vermin. Cowering the dirt thinking what, I wonder? That you might escape the coming fire. No, your world will burn until its surface it but glass! And not even your Demon will rise, blackened from its hole, to mare reflection of our passage; the culmination of our journey. For your destruction is the will of the gods! And I? I am their instrument!" - Prophet of Truth, Halo 3
   
 
GeorgeK_16 Sep 29 2009, 10:49pm


Joined: Sep 24th, 2009
Location: Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Posts: 297
Achievements: 0

RESERVED.

-------------------------------
"You are, all of you, vermin. Cowering the dirt thinking what, I wonder? That you might escape the coming fire. No, your world will burn until its surface it but glass! And not even your Demon will rise, blackened from its hole, to mare reflection of our passage; the culmination of our journey. For your destruction is the will of the gods! And I? I am their instrument!" - Prophet of Truth, Halo 3
   
 
GeorgeK_16 Sep 29 2009, 10:49pm


Joined: Sep 24th, 2009
Location: Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Posts: 297
Achievements: 0

RESERVED.

-------------------------------
"You are, all of you, vermin. Cowering the dirt thinking what, I wonder? That you might escape the coming fire. No, your world will burn until its surface it but glass! And not even your Demon will rise, blackened from its hole, to mare reflection of our passage; the culmination of our journey. For your destruction is the will of the gods! And I? I am their instrument!" - Prophet of Truth, Halo 3
   
 
GeorgeK_16 Sep 29 2009, 10:49pm


Joined: Sep 24th, 2009
Location: Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Posts: 297
Achievements: 0

RESERVED.

-------------------------------
"You are, all of you, vermin. Cowering the dirt thinking what, I wonder? That you might escape the coming fire. No, your world will burn until its surface it but glass! And not even your Demon will rise, blackened from its hole, to mare reflection of our passage; the culmination of our journey. For your destruction is the will of the gods! And I? I am their instrument!" - Prophet of Truth, Halo 3
   
 
GeorgeK_16 Sep 29 2009, 10:50pm


Joined: Sep 24th, 2009
Location: Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Posts: 297
Achievements: 0

RESERVED.

-------------------------------
"You are, all of you, vermin. Cowering the dirt thinking what, I wonder? That you might escape the coming fire. No, your world will burn until its surface it but glass! And not even your Demon will rise, blackened from its hole, to mare reflection of our passage; the culmination of our journey. For your destruction is the will of the gods! And I? I am their instrument!" - Prophet of Truth, Halo 3
   
 
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