Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Ron Glass, David Krumholtz and Chiwetel Ejiofor

Joss Whedon

Running Time:
119 mins

Out to buy on DVD 20/12/05 (Region 1) & 27/02/06 (Region 2)

"the 'Oh no we are all going to die' kind"

After running low profile, small jobs in the region of the outer planets Capt. Mal Reynolds (Fillion) and the crew of the Firefly class spaceship Serenity have managed to keep themselves off the radar of the Alliance. The main reason for avoiding any Federal presence is two of their passengers, Simon (Maher) and his sister River (Glau). After breaking River out of a Federal research facility, Simon instantly made his sister and himself their most wanted fugitives and Parliament has sent its most dangerous operative (Ejiofor) to track her down which puts the whole of the Serenity crew in great peril.

In their infinite wisdom Fox TV cancelled Joss Whedon's 'Firefly' after only fifteen episodes in 2002 but now the so-called failure is heading to the big screen.

Gaining huge successes with the TV series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and spin off show 'Angel' but the failure of 'Firefly' is the only blotch on Joss Whedon's televisual résumé. Despite critical acclaim and positive reaction from fans, the low audience figure for the shows first run lead to Fox wielding the axe. Three years later the crew of the 'Serenity' are back.

After becoming a cult classic on DVD and syndicated television, building a huge following of fans, Universal decided to give Joss Whedon the chance to say thank you to them and introduce everyone else to his vision of the future. The good news is that Whedon and his team have made this so that you haven't had to have seen the series to follow what is going on but for those of you who have, the film is an absolute joy.

Set five hundred years in the future, 'Serenity' continues the story of Capt. Mal Reynolds and his rag, tag set of smugglers and thieves who scrape a living on the outer rim taking the jobs that no one else would touch. This is a future that isn't all shiny technology, federations, aliens and lasers but one more similar to the Old West than anything that we usually see in science fiction. With spaceships replacing wagon trains, the universe of 'Serenity' fells more realistic in as they really do travel on the frontier.

All of your favourite characters return for the big screen outing. Nathan Fillion is Mal Reynolds, the ex-independence soldier turned freighter captain. He is the strong rouge, partial to taking risks but fiercely protective of his crew and friends, like a certain other famous galactic smuggler. Gina Torres is his first officer Zoe, who served under him during the war between the Independence and the Alliance. Still a soldier to the end, Zoe only steps out of her military persona when she is with her husband Walsh, Serenity's extremely gifted pilot played by the excellent Alan Tudyk. The muscle of the crew is Jayne, played by Adam Baldwin. Always hungry for a fight, Jayne has his favourite gun ready at all time for the riskier jobs the crew take on. Kaylee is the heartbeat of the ship. Played by Jewel Staite, she is Serenity's engineer and the only one who can keep the ship going. Companion Inara, played by the stunningly beautiful and talented Morena Baccarin, brings some class and dignity to the ship but Mal and she never really see eye to eye. Simon and River, portrayed by Sean Maher and Summer Glau, are passengers along for the ride. Ex-Alliance doctor Simon brings his expertise to the ship but his sister River is a whole different story. Add to this a short but welcome appearance from Ron Glass as Shepherd Book and a menacing performance and a menacing villainous performance from British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and you have a fantastic ensemble cast.

'Serenity' succeeds on every level as a quality piece of science fiction. With an excellent story, engaging characters and visuals that can compete with any film in the genre with a far greater budget, this is not just a joy for 'Firefly' fans but a great movie on its own. While the film is action packed, it is Joss Whedon intelligent script and characterisations that draw you in from the off. Switching from moments of comedy to tragic drama, this shows that Whedon has a real gift for storytelling that is currently lacking in Hollywood today. 'Serenity' is not just a gift to 'Firefly' fans but an exceptional science fiction movie.


Presented in Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is extremely good. Jess Whedon's vision of the future looks awesome, showing that you don't have to have a mega-budget for a science-fiction film to look good.


Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Joss Whedon
This special feature was missing from the review disc but will be updated upon release.

Deleted & Extended Scenes (14.37 mins)
Entitled 'Extended Lilac entrance', 'Extended Kaylee and Jayne', 'Inara & Sheydra', 'Operative tracks Mal', 'Extended River & Simon/Haven opening', 'Escape from companion training house', 'Mal & Inara shuttle chase', 'Mal & Inara quiet moment' and 'Extended Mal & Operative coda', these extended and deleted scenes could have been improved by the inclusion of an introduction or commentary track.

Outtakes (6.02 mins)
A collection of gaffs and mishaps from the cast in this funny montage for 'Firefly/Serenity' fans

Future History: The Story of Earth that was (4.30 mins)
Writer/director Joss Whedon talks about the future he envisaged for 'Firefly' and then later 'Serenity'. He reveals the influences behind the look, the combination of Chinese and US cultures, the civil war setting and the utopian vision/nightmare of the Alliance.

What's in a Firefly (6.30 mins)
Writer/director Joss Whedon, executive producers Christopher Buchanam and Alisa Tager, producer Barry Mandel and visual effects supervisor Loni Peristere talk about bringing some believability to science fiction. They talk about the Mule/Skiff chase and the other SFX shots in the film, highlighting how even a lower budge movie can push the bar when it comes to visual effects.

Re-lighting the Firefly (9.39 mins)
Writer/director Joss Whedon, executive producer Christopher Buchanam and stars Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau and Ron Glass talk about the cancellation of the 'Firefly' TV series and its return to the silver screen. The featurette looks at how the fans contributed to its comeback and the reception the cast and crew received at the San Diego Comicon as production started on the film.

Joss Whedon Introduction (3.52 mins)
The writer/director introduces a preview of the movie (before the film was actually released) and gives a rallying cry to the fans to support the movie and he gives a personal thanks for their help in bringing it back.

A filmmakers' journey (19.54 mins) (Region 2 only) Writer/director Joss Whedon, executive producers Christopher Buchanan and Alisa Tager, stunt coordinators Chad Stanleski and Hiro Koda, editor Lisa Lassek and stars Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau and Ron Glass take you behind the scenes of 'Serenity'. From the first cast read-through, to filming and postproduction, showing the friendships and fun of the set as the cast return to their TV roles. The featurette includes interviews with the cast and behind the scenes looks at fighting sequences. This is a really good featurette for UK fans.


Region 1: North America
Universal has done a decent job with the DVD transfer of 'Serenity' but for a cult science fiction film you might have been expecting more. The featurettes are good however, covering most aspects of the movie but fans of the film and 'Firefly' might have been expecting more detail and a little more fun. This is still a good DVD that all fans should buy however, especially if they want to see a sequel or a new TV series.


Region 2: UK & Australia
Universal has done a better job with the UK version of the 'Serenity', other fans of the film a bonus twenty-minute featurette that takes them through the film's production in a lot more detail. This should make fans of the TV series and the film very happy making this even better than the North American version, for once.



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