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Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family--squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal. When Mal takes on two new passengers--a young doctor and his unstable, telepathic sister--he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl. The crew that was once used to skimming the outskirts of the galaxy unnoticed find themselves caught between the unstoppable military force of the Universal Alliance and the horrific, cannibalistic fury of the Reavers, savages who roam the very edge of space. Hunted by vastly different enemies, they begin to discover that the greatest danger to them may be on board Serenity herself.
For more about Serenity and the Serenity Blu-ray release, see the Serenity Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on December 18, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite
Director: Joss Whedon
» See full cast & crew
Serenity Blu-ray Review
One of the best science fiction films you've never seen.
Reviewed by Ben Williams, December 18, 2008
From the mind of the revered writer Joss Whedon comes Serenity, the theatrical followup to the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged television show "Firefly." Serenity's path to theaters is a strange one, indeed. Most film adaptations of television material tend to come from shows that enjoyed mass popularity and high ratings. That was not the case with "Firefly." The show, while being lauded as a masterpiece of serialized science fiction, floundered on the Fox network and found cancellation a mere 11 episodes into its debut season. Strong DVD sales and a very vocal fan base convinced Universal Pictures to option the film rights to the series in the hopes that the show's numerous and outspoken fans could turn a relatively low-budget sci-fi adventure into an unexpected box-office hit. Much like the series, Serenity didn't quite meet expectations in theaters. The film received positive reviews and fans of the original show were thrilled with the film, but the mass audiences that Universal had hoped for never materialized. Serenity has performed well on video, but it seems likely that this single film is the last we'll hear from the characters that inhabit this beautifully conceived universe.
Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) has a problem: A tightwad of a young Doctor, Simon Tam (Sean Maher), and his awkward and secretive sister, River (Summer Glau), have made a home among the crew of his spaceship, Serenity. Mal runs a tight outfit smuggling goods across interstellar boundaries and under the nose of the meddling Interplanetary Alliance. Unfortunately for Mal, his two newest crewmembers attract a lot of unwanted attention. When River unexpectedly goes berserk in the middle of a smuggling deal, Mal is forced to investigate her bizarre behavior as well as the shadowy government henchman, The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who has been sent to find her. The fate of the entire crew of the Serenity hangs in the balance as they face the deadliest foe they've ever encountered.
Serenity is a rare film in that it surpasses the greatness of its source, "Firefly," while being accessible to viewers unfamiliar with the original show. Whedon has done a fantastic job in setting up his characters and the basic plot of the show while using a minimum of screen time. By the time the first ten minutes of the film have passed, any viewer, regardless of their familiarity with the TV show, should possess enough information about the characters, society and universe presented in the show, to feel totally comfortable enjoying the film. It is the the unique character of Whedon's efficient and well timed writing that separates Serenity from television adaptations like X Files: Fight the Future.
Whedon's outstanding talents as a writer and creative force bring Serenity a unique old west feel that approaches the lofty heights of true space opera. His vision for the film is huge and he's unafraid to tell a large story through the eyes of a small group of likable renegades. Every character is sharply drawn with a distinct personality and purpose. I've always been intrigued by how Whedon seems unafraid to be boundlessly optimistic in his writing. A character like Kaylee (Jewel Staite), with her inexplicably cherry demeanor and positive outlook on even the most dire events, would seem ridiculous in just about any other world. But within the Whedon-verse, she's the perfect compliment and balance to more serious characters like Mal and Jaybe Cobb (Adam Baldwin). In general, there is a considerable amount of levity and humor to Serenity that allows for Whedon's unique writing timbre to develop freely from the characters.
Serenity is a unique and highly entertaining film that will thrill fans of the original show while, no doubt, creating new fans eager to seek out the original "Firefly." Serenity comes highly recommended.
Serenity Blu-ray, Video Quality
Serenity finds its way to Blu-ray with a brand-spanking-new 1080p transfer in the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Universal has chosen to stick with VC-1 as their compression scheme of choice for the film, and the results are quite impressive. The majority of the film is rather dark and it would be easy for a lesser encode to fail to produce acceptable black levels and shadow detail. Fortunately, Universal has done a fine job in delivering an outstanding and detailed transfer. When the film moves into brighter scenes, colors are remarkably saturated and fine detail shines through in a stunning manner. I was particularly impressed with the film's exceptional fabric and skin detail - - every thread and pore is easily distinguishable. In addition, I didn't detect a trace of artificial sharpening or any vulgar picture anomalies. Serenity is the very definition of demo material and is a stunning addition to the ranks of stellar Blu-ray video experiences. Highly recommended!
Serenity Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Serenity is as aurally pleasing as it is visually. Universal has provided the film's action packed and explosive soundtrack in full 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless glory. To say this is an exciting and dynamic track would be an understatement. Surround activity is massive with loads of effective panning effects. Explosions, gunshots and rockets blast from each channel with an intense and immersive sense of ambience and separation. The film's score, by David Newman, builds on themes from the "Firefly" television show and helps to deliver the emotion behind the action. Dialogue is also handled exceptionally well while low frequency information will engage your subwoofer in a thunderous cacophony of deep, rumbling bass. Serenity will tick off your neighbors, impress your friends and scare the living hell out of the cat. Highly recommended!
Serenity Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
* Alliance Database
* Mr. Universe Compendium
* Digital Tour of Serenity
* Picture in Picture
* Visual Commentary with Writer/Director Joss Whedon & Cast
* BD Live: My Scenes Sharing
* Feature Commentery with Writer / Director Joss Whedon
* Feature Commentary with Writer / Director Joss Whedon & Cast Members Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau and Ron Glass
* Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Joss Whedon
* "Future History - The Story of Earth That Was"
* "What's In A Firefly"
* "Re-Lighting The Firefly"
* "A Filmmaker's Journey"
* "We'll Have A Fruity Oaty Good Time!"
* Extended Scenes
* Take A Walk On Serenity
* The Green Clan
* Session 416
The supplemental features contained on the Blu-ray release of Serenity offer a wide variety of behind the scenes featurettes as well as a slew of excellent commentaries and interactive features. I really enjoyed the cast picture-in-picture commentary. The actors all seem to be great friends and exceptionally proud of their under-appreciated work. Joss Whedon joins the cast for the visual commentary as well as a solo track where he goes into great detail on the technical aspects of making the film. "What's in a Firefly" and the Digital tour of the Serenity offer an interesting look inside the ship that inspired the name of the film. It's a science fiction hardware junkie's dream come true. My favorite features are the Alliance Database and "Future History - The Story of Earth that Was." Both features offer an intriguing glimpse into the film's complex mythology. These two features are a must for those new to the show. Universal has done an outstanding job assembling a well thought out grouping of features that are sure to satisfy the most rabid fan while interesting the most casual viewer.
Serenity Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Serenity is a terrifically entertaining film that will thrill fans of the original "Firefly" television series while inspiring new converts to the amazing Universe contained within this series. I came into the film upon its release as a neophyte to the series and was immediately compelled to catch up on what I'd missed. This Blu-ray edition features reference quality video and audio, as well as an abundance of excellent special features. It's my sincere hope that as more people discover this great little science fiction gem, that Universal will see fit to produce another film featuring these lovingly created characters. Serenity is a must-see on Blu-ray.
Serenity: Other Editions
Serenity Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - December 30th - December 30, 2008
The fifth quarter has officially started, and while for the most part studios are enjoying some well-deserved time off, Paramount has come out swinging with five hits from their extensive catalog. Today they are releasing 'Days of Thunder', 'Event Horizon', 'Ghost', ...
• Universal Announces Serenity for Blu-ray - November 6, 2008
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring 'Serenity' to Blu-ray on December 30th. As one of the first HD DVD titles released, it been a long wait for fans to get the film on Blu-ray, but it appears to be worth the wait. Coming on a ...
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