on 1 February 2006
I was advised by a relative to go and see this film last October. I'd seen the trailer for it on TV and I didn't think a great deal of it. A sort of comedy scifi flick. I'd hadn't heard of Firefly, just that Serenity was a film version of that show.
Only once before have I gone into a cinema expecting so little, only to come out wanting to go see it again. Infact I did, 2 more times that month.
I feel this film was wrongly promoted right from the off. Comedy SciFi flick it most certainly is not. Don't get me wrong, it does have some very funny moments plus some very poignant ones too. It certainly moves along at a fair pace, has a great deal of breath taking action scenes and very nice special effects for a film I understand was made on a modest budget. But most of all it's a very deep and thoughtful piece of film making.
Not long afterwards I purchased the Firefly DVD box set and what a great series this is. How this could have been cancelled is completely beyond me, it's nothing short of criminal. Needless to say, it completed quite a few of the links in Serenity which weren't covered.
I've read most of the reviews here and I heartily agree with almost all of them. There are some very shallow and overly negative reviews of Serenity here too, but the contradictions, vocabulary and difficulty in following the story speak volumes. This is not a film for children. This is grown up, intelligent and thought provoking science fiction that's right up there with the best of them.
If you're wanting vacuous, simplistic blasting action this is not your film.
If you want to see an engrossing, exciting, nail biting piece of cinema, which will shock you, make you laugh, bring a tear to your eye and even make you think you can't go far wrong with Serenity.
on 15 February 2006
If, like me, you aren't a great fan of TV sci-fi such as Buffy, StarTrek, Stargate and the like, you are in for a great surprise. Although this is a spin off from a TV show, this film absolutely kicks ass. It is the freshest, most exciting and memorable sci-fi flick in recent memory. I'd say that apart from the cracking effects, design, score, acting and costume, the most remarkable element is absolutely the script. Dialogue that really breathes life into the lovable characters and malice into the baddies. Punchy but never corny one-liners and a mixture of sarcastic and slip-on-banana style humour. I'm massively tired of Hollywood movies and although this film was made there, it has none of the formulaic schmaltz or predictability of a Hollywood movie. It has a truly dynamic and surprising plot that is always credible, always surprising and nothing is ever resolved by recalibrating the disconbobulator.
If you like this movie, go buy the TV series Firefly. It's 630 minutes of the same stuff. In your face Fox Television! This film ROCKS!
on 4 January 2006
"I'm not going to say it's the best science fiction movie, ever. Oh wait, yes I am". The words of Orson Scott Card himself, author of the award winning scifi novel "Ender's game", and many others.
Not only is this a very fine movie, made on a fraction of the budget of any other scifi film I can think of, it also captivates those who have previously had no interest in science fiction before. Which is far more than I can say about almost any SciFi movie I can think of, the only other being Ridley Scotts 80's classic Bladerunner.
Why is this you might wonder? Well, a director can throw about all the money they want to create dazzling special effects, huge space battles and the like, but if the characters don't feel real, if you don't feel any empathy for them, if the script is clunky, and the story somewhat tired and predictable, then what is the point in creating it?
Even if you've never seen Joss Whedon's critically acclaimed series "Firefly", less than a quater of the way through this movie you'll suddenly realise, I care about these people, I care about what happens to them, so rich are their characters. They have flaws & insecurities just like we all do.
You can do alot more in a 14 Episode TV series regarding character developement than you can in a 2 hr movie, so the focus here is mostly on 2 main characters. The captain of the cargo ship Serenity, 'Malcolm Reynolds', and 'River', the extremely intelligent but mentally traumatised teenage sister of Dr Simon Tam who Reynolds agreed to give sanctuary aboard his ship some eight months or so earlier. Having said that though, all the characters are here, and they all do a fine job. The script is very whitty, clever and often very powerful.
The soundtrack in Serenity quite wonderous in it's self, with beautiful melancholic strings, echoing piano, and western and oriental influences. They work perfectly with Whedon's stunning camera work and lighting.
There are special effects in this movie a' plenty, and they look fantastic, infact they completely belie the fact that this film cost less than $40m to make. They really are quite beautiful but they are there to further a strong story, not to overcome it.
So emotionally powerful is this film that it has been described as 'art', and I really do think that it is, but will everybody like it? In the words of O.S.Card, "Not a chance...... it really is too strong for some people. Plus the storyline is 'smart enough' and 'mature' enough that some people just won't get it. Can't be helped".
Serenity was indeed voted film of the year 2005, did it deserve the top spot? Possibly not, but it did deserve to be very close to it. It was certainly the "only" Scifi based movie that deserved to be anywhere near the top ten movies of 2005.
Serenity is a very unusual film, a tiny film that went by almost unnoticed and was a difficult film to market. There are no big names in the cast, and it is based on a short lived TV series that sadly too few know about. So when you see it for the 1st time, nay, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time and so on, you'll feel privileged that you did..
on 13 December 2005
Serenity is a continuation of the TV series Firefly, a Joss 'Buffy' Whedon show which was cancelled prematurely after only 1 season, but after massing a huge fan base and by public demand, it was decided to continue the series with movies.
Firefly was an excellent show and to be cancelled so early was ridiculous, (it was cancelled half way through the first season before filming was complete)so the pressure on Whedon to produce the goods must have been immense. Fortunately he has produced an excellent film that lived up to my expectations and beyond.
The film has a gritty reality to it, there are no crazy aliens and the characters are all believable. Its simple stuff but it works so well. The action is very well staged and takes a step up from the TV show, despite being an unarmed space ship the space scenes will leave you breathless.
The special effects are awesome, the big screen budget has moved the technology along leaps and bounds. The acting is good and all the Characters from Tv are here.
It isnt totally necessary to watch Firefly before this as this is good enough to be a stand alone film, but the story is a continuation of stories and ideas that were developing throughout the TV show, that were obviously never finished.
This is for anyone who enjoys quality science fiction, I really cant recommend it enough. Brilliant.
on 16 January 2006
Nowadays it's a shame, that "originality" doesn't get the time and money to be able to evolve and be brought closer to the audience. The Firefly TV show as well as the Serenity movie are an exclusive exception to the "fast food" served on TV-channels and cinemas. As it is one of the most original series I know, it's no wonder for me, that it has to fight to stay alive.
The solid fan base helps. This fan base knows the quality and appreciates the humor, tension and character of the show.
I hope, the DVD sells good, so that there might be a sequel to either the TV show or the movie (or both ;-)
ps: english ain't my mother tongue so please be patient about my spelling. Thanks.
on 9 January 2009
The story follows the crew of firefly class vessel Serenity, as they scrape by a living taking dangerous and illegal jobs on the harsh border worlds of the solar system. Quite happy to blur the lines between right and wrong, if it keeps the ship in the air and food on the table. The ship captained by Malcolm Reynolds is home to an assortment of characters, including doctor Simon Tam and his sister River, experimented and left mentally traumatised by the Alliance, the dominant power in the system. The operative sent by the alliance has been dispatched to recover River Tam by any means necessary, with violent and brutal results for the crew of serenity as they are pursued by the alliance as well as desperately trying to avoid the flesh eating reavers...
For the uninitiated Serenity spawned from short lived cult classic Firefly - The Complete Series . Mixing westerns with science fiction, not traditional sci-fi, no googly headed aliens or phasers, but a strong character driven series effectively translated over to serenity. Sadly it was cut drastically and unfairly short. And a testament to those who worked on the show as well as it's many fans who kept its spirit alive, as it eventually transformed into serenity.
Very much a labour of love and it shows, Whedon's script and direction are of outstanding quality, clearly showing the effort and time spent on it and how much it means to him. Expertly mixing drama, humour and action.
The 'verse in which it is set is also richly detailed everything from the sets to the language is meticulous and you can't help but be drawn into it.
The actors are also fantastic, knowing their roles back to front from firefly's limited run, but to maintain the pace some are inevitably short-changed sadly. A wide assortment, all with their flaws but together strike an undeniable chemistry. From Mal's hot headed, shoot first attitude to Kaylie's caring but meekness, they all play off each other perfectly creating one of the most enjoyable to watch group of richly drawn misfits hurled together and are easily the best thing about the movie.
Onto the disc itself, which takes full advantage of the Blu ray format. The picture is mesmerising one of the best I've seen on a Blu ray disc from the CGI to facial detail, everything it perfectly clear and proves to be visually stunning. Likewise the sound is again excellent, be it David Newman's powerful score, ship engines or extended silences in space the sound or lack of is crystal clear.
Extras wise commentary, intro, out-takes, making of's and deleted scenes from the original release have been transferred over but there a fair bit of new content. Session 416, recordings of interviews with the character River shot with an art house horror feel to them and featuring a rather familiar voice. The green clan focusing on cinematographer Jack green and his family who worked on the film, a selection of new deleted and extended scenes not featured on the previous release, take walk on serenity featuring Nathan Fillon, Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk and Joss Whedon detailing the differences between the original set and the movie set in their usual humours manner.
During the movie itself is the ability to access to Mr. universe compendium, detailing facts on people places etc, a digital tour of serenity displaying facts on the ship at various points. There's also picture in picture feature, little pop ups of interviews and rehearsal footage displayed throughout the film, giving some genuinely interesting and insightful clips on effects and characters that fans will lap up.
Lastly a second audio commentary for this release featuring joss and cast members Fillon, Baldwin,Glass and Glau, who were sadly missing from the previous commentary, and anyone who listened to firefly commentaries know what a hoot they are together, and here proves to be no exception. It can be displayed visually so you can see them talking while the film is playing or listen to it like a standard commentary.
All in all near perfect picture and sound with a host of new extras make this essential purchase for true fans, and for newbies its the best way to experience Whedon's epic. great Blu ray for a great film.
on 25 February 2013
Serenity is not only a gripping sci-fi flick, but a fantastic sequel to the TV series Firefly, and a masterpiece of cinema in its own
right. There are already hundreds of reviews of the regular releases which can persuade you to watch the movie. From Joss Whedon,
director of The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods, Serenity is subtle and action-packed, moving and witty, beautiful and terrible.
If you haven't already seen it, Firefly is classic cult TV with an ever-growing following, and this movie is the perfect bittersweet finale.
This new steelbook release is essentially the same Blu-Ray disc as before but packaged in a lovely, sturdy steelbook. The designs on the
front and back covers are simple but elegant, and the dimensions are identical to a regular Blu-Ray case. The product is well worth your
money. If you already own the movie, you may not feel the need to buy a second copy, but I did, and I'm satisfied that this new edition
is very, very shiny.
I didn't get it. The first time I saw this I just didn't get it. I couldn't understand why it had such a following and why a poll in SFX Magazine declared it the 'Greatest Sci-Fi movie ever made', beating even Star Wars.
Then I saw the series, Fire Fly. And on second viewing it clicked.
However, much as I enjoyed Serenity, I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say it's the best Sci-Fi film ever made, but it is still pretty good. If I had one criticisms though, it would be this: it still feels like a TV show not a film.
But, given the films history and origins that's completely understandable and totally acceptable because although, in places, it feels like a Made-For-TV-Movie it is in fact a Made FROM TV movie.
It was part funded by fans of the cancelled TV show, Fire Fly, who wanted to see more of the space western penned by Joss Whedon and it's basically all the ideas he had kicking around for season two put together for the Fire Fly fans.
And here's what they got: Serenity. A film that wraps things up nicely and gives some sort of resolution; tying up (most of) the threads that were left dangling when Fox chose to axe what could have been the best Sci-Fi show ever (Yes, Trekkies... even better than Star Trek, which incidentally, I can't stand!)
Serenity expands the show's universe, reveals River's background and what it is she is. It exposes the origins of the dreaded Reavers and the fate of the rest of the Fire Fly crew. There are some brilliant new characters introduced as well as great performances from the familiar cast and characters we all got to know and love in the original series.
It's a good film but I would say this. Save it. If you're thinking of buying this and haven't watched the original Fire Fly series yet, don't. Don't watch it. Go a buy yourself the Fire Fly box set, digest that and then come back for Serenity.
Although you can watch the film as as stand alone piece, it takes on a whole new dimension once you're a 'brown coat' (read Fire Fly geek). I should really give this film 4 stars because, as a film that's all it deserves. But, as a way to right wrongs and give Fire Fly fans some sort of resolve, it gets 5.
on 7 April 2006
I hadn't heard of the Firefly series nor the film...that is until at the end of 2005 when it appeared to be voted the number one film of the year on the Jonathan Ross show. I don't buy DVDs so when the free rental deal came along, I thought I would give it a go...and I am certainly glad I did! Not only have I now ordered the series and film on DVD, it also prompted me to actually write the first review I've done on anything!
You WILL like this film; with such brilliant people behind this film you are sure to love the endearing characters, the script, the action, the laughs, the irony, the soundtrack - there's only one downside...I wish I saw the series first though not because the film was confusing or anything, just because I wish I had heard of the series years ago to watch it and make sure it wasn't cancelled! Hence I urge you to buy both the series and the film! You can take whatever you want from this film, it can be a casual no-brainer or a thought-provoking look on the future, funny or serious with interspersals of sadness; there's something for everyone. Get the DVDs now to show support for such a great series and film and hopefully we'll get more of the same!
on 24 July 2006
I never really warmed to Buffy or Angel and I'm generally not that keen on sci-fi, so I wasn't expecting much from a Joss Whedon movie set in space. But this took me by surprise.
Amazon summarise the plot well enough above so there's no need to do so again here. But it is worth saying that this is a really entertaining film, even if the notion of a sci-fi western might seem a little odd. So many summer blockbusters seem to rely on the pulling power of their stars and the size of the effects budget for their success, leaving you with the feeling that the story is just a thin string on which to hang a series of set-pieces. Serenity doesn't suffer from this: The storyline and script are both pretty strong; the cast are not A-list but they do a good job of making their characters believable and sympathetic/ malicious/ whatever else they need to be; and the visuals are slick and spectacular even though I imagine the budget wasn't anywhere near as big as most major sci-fi movies.
It isn't all perfect. Some of the scenes are bit clichéd, and the characters speak with a semi-futuristic, semi-antiquated vocabulary (not as bad as it might sound) that generally works ok but does seem a bit odd on a couple of occasions. But I give it 5 stars because it is a decent, well-made, story-driven adventure that was easily the most entertaining film I saw in 2005. I had no hesitation in buying it on DVD to cheer me up on rainy evenings. At the time of writing it's advertised on Amazon at just under eight quid - it would be good value at twice the price.
Incidentally, when I first saw this I was completely unaware that it was based on the TV series "Firefly", but the film stands alone and I had no problems following it at all. Indeed, much of the film is a condensation of the overarching story from the TV series, but don't let that put you off watching either if you've already seen the other one (if you follow me). I bought the TV series on DVD too and enjoy it almost as much as the film.