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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Because, sir, to be blunt, the last time you became complacent about your existence turned out rather badly."
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September 30 2005

Look who's "All The Serenity Reviews You Will Ever Need To Read" now. And that makes the 5th installment of our review dump threads. Please post all links to online newspaper/blog/magazine reviews in this thread.

Link to first review thread

Link to the second review thread

Link to third review thread

Link to fourth review thread

What should be posted in this particular thread:

Post the movie review link and where it's from i.e. the New York Times.
Include a brief blurb regarding whether the reviewer liked or disliked the the movie (find a quote you like).
State whether the review has spoilers in it (minor or major).
And please do not talk about spoilers in this thread.

For spoilery talk about the movie please use this thread at

The tomatometer is now at 83%. The whole page is full of shiny red tomatoes!!!!
1, 2, 3, 4, 6?

And on topic, here's a positive review from the Houston Chronicle. Mild spoilers.
The best summer thrill ride since Batman Begins, Serenity roars in a late but mighty welcome considering this year's sub-fun slate.

The score on Metacritic is bouncing around the low 70's (currently 74) which is a pretty decent score for them.
I would say that metacritic score is more than pretty decent. Of wide releases, Serenity has a higher score than such critical faves as Batman Begins, 40-Year-Old Virgin, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Cinerella Man, War of the Worlds, Red Eye, and more.
Still waiting on the Ebert and Roeper audio review. Should be podcasted sometime tonight.
A guy who works for a tv station just emailed me a couple of hours ago and said that he watched Ebert&Roeper. They review Serenity right after Into the Blue. They give Serenity 'two thumbs up'. (of course)
True. I'd originally said it was "an excellent score" but then changed it for no apparent reason. It's the highest score of the wide releases on there aside from the 3 starred "universally acclaimed" movies.
They give Serenity 'two thumbs up'. (of course)

*lets out a sigh of relief* Ah, I can finally relax. Great RT percentage, a favorable review from Ebert, and two thumbs up. Now I just have to see the damn thing.
Good notices in the NY Times, LA Times, and Washington Post, too, holycow. Honestly, this has been a great series of reviews.
I'm amazed by the reviews. I was not expecting this at all.
Stephanie Zacharek of gave it a positive review. (watch an ad to get access to the whole review)

I've been most nervous about how she'd review it, given her very high standards for films (most of her reviews this year are total pans). I'm elated.
Yeah, the reviews are even better than I had hoped. Not that I don't still find it jarring when there's a bad one...but man, they couldn't be much better than this.

We all knew that some people would get it and some wouldn't. The pleasant surprise is how many people get it.

Interestingly enough, I kind of feel like the non-fans are giving it better reviews than the fans--like the fans are all bending over backwards trying to 'fair' and in the process overestimating how difficult it'll be for the non-fans to understand. Is that just me, or is anybody else seeing this?
Honestly I always thought that the more respected reviewers would like it and the reviewers that didn't feel like they had something to prove would give it good reviews, it was all the other ones I was worried about. I'm glad there don't seem to be as many as I feared.

Yea, Joss!

Now if only the pesky money numbers will come out as well.
IMDB in their round-up of reviews have some great quotes, like "Manohla Dargis in the New York Times compares Joss Whedon's Serenity with George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith. Serenity comes out ahead. "Scene for scene," she writes, "Serenity is more engaging and certainly better written and acted than any of Mr. Lucas's recent screen entertainments."
I agree that the firefly fan reviewers tend to more concerned that the nonfans won't follow along. The other fan review phenotype (as exemplified by the NYT review) that I've noticed is the "It's good, I had fun, I loved it, but it's no Firefly." Not that I'm complaining--both types are better than the "I can't be bothered to watch a film based on a failed TV series" review.
here is what I was talking about earlier on another thread.. NYPOST Review - REG required

I don't know if it was already posted (but it's already on rottentomatoes anyway). BAD Review, 2 stars.
*gasp* The NY Post, rag of Rupert Murdoch, lord of FOX, panned the movie?!

Color me unsurprised. ;)
I'm just glad the "bad" reviews are 2 stars. Have we had any that are 1 star?
The Miami Herald review is pretty funny (I'm sure it's been posted already, but whatever)...

There are two sorts of people in the world: those who believe Joss Whedon is a genius and those who are wrong. And even if Whedon's first feature film Serenity doesn't quite match the dark, witty brilliance of his TV creations Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, it's still a lot more sweaty fun than the last three overhyped, sterile, for-dorks-only Star Wars cartoons.

Miami Herald review
Rotten Tomatoes Update:

Overall: 83% Fresh

Cream of the Crop Critics: 90% Fresh

theonetruebix, the NY Post is an immensely entertaining and informative paper. Not to mention ifluential. The papers critics do not take marching orders from Murdoch. I'm disappointed in the review, to be sure, but your ad hominem attack is not only silly, but baseless.
Manohla Dargis from the NY times made an incredible review! "Scene for scene, "Serenity" is more engaging and certainly better written and acted than any of Mr. Lucas's recent screen entertainments." Simply amazing!
Someone please go check in with Chris inVirginia, because his or her humor switch appears to have been turned off.
Good lord! About the worst review I've seen so far has been USA Today -- which is sort of a compliment, since I dislike their pre-packaged NewsNuggets style in the first place.

And even they gave it two stars our of four.

Much better than I had hoped.
The IMDb review roundup is all positive, no references to negative reviews.
Zap2It has a review up on the front page. It's another one of the "I don't know how non-fans will take it" types. Actually, the reviewer attempts to downplay his own fanboyness but it's definitely there. If he can gripe about the lack of horses and replacing the old crew with Jack Green and David Newman, well...fanboy. But overall it's not that negative of a review.

Plus: Serenity has been listed as #1 most searched movie on Zap2It for the past couple of days. There's also a photo gallery of the Serenity premiere and an article about Amy Acker in Alias.
bookrats, yes, if the worst we're getting is 2 stars, and very rarely at that, things are going very nicely indeed!

[ edited by Chris inVirginia on 2005-10-01 14:37 ] pick this a the gist "… never takes itself too seriously." even though there hasn't been a negative review posted.

that phrase can be read in a bad way without context.
Is it too late for me to say that, on today of all days, need we bicker? No it's not. Please, no bickering. Eat chocolate. Enjoy the great reviews. Go see Serenity again. Rinse and repeat.
Not sure if this has been posted before, if it has i'm sorry.

Was catching up on some of the GeekOn podcasts since i enjoyed their Firefly/Serenity one that came out earlier this week. Anyhow stumpled across this review by Orson Scott Card.

A quote that kind of stood out was this...

I'm not going to say it's the best science fiction movie, ever. Oh, wait. Yes I am.

Damn. Thanks for that OSC review. Love his work and even got to meet him at a book signing. Great guy.
That Orson Scott Card review is incredible. Great stuff. I mean, not only does he call it the best science fiction movie ever, he also compares Whedon to Shakespeare!
The Ebert & Roeper audio review is now up on iTunes. Good stuff.
Wow, that OSC review was awesome. I love his writing (earlier stuff more than later stuff) and it kicks ass that he loves Firefly and *wow* that was an enthusiastic endorsement of Serenity.

So...given what he says here - he doesn't even want to see the Ender's Game movie made unless it can be made as well as this? What if Joss wrote/direct the Ender's Game movie (well, except the part where I think OSC has been writing the script)? =)

Incidentally, (or, forget which one) has Serenity listed as their number one most requested movie on their front page, with a big ol' Flash ad for it that's loaded up every time I've gone to this page.

Argh! 3.5 hours until Serenity and I can't think about anything else!

[ edited by teenes on 2005-10-01 03:50 ]
Omigod, the OSC review is great. Not just because he loved it, but b/c he got what makes Joss' work so great. At the end of the day, I love his work not only for the flash-bang whiz of funny quips and witty violence, but because underneath the layers of pretty entertainment, Joss has a human message. The most evocative moments of BtVS didn't happen during the action, it happened on SMG's face as she suffered pain or joys. For me, at least. And I believe that decades from now, he'll be recognized for being a true auteur. He's like Shakespeare (and I'm not delusional enough to say Joss is his equal, but his work is LIKE Shakespeare -- entertainment for the masses, some dubious plot choices, but essentially about humanity) combined with Preston Sturges (funnier than Shakespeare, and who loves to turn precepts upside down and shake 'em). No wonder I'm such a fan.
No bickering please - great day in the 'verse and we should all be rejoicing and celebrating! Plus just got back from the movie and loved, loved, loved it!!!!
he also compares Whedon to Shakespeare!

But we already knew that!
Another thread on reviews? What the hey, I found another good one that I'm pretty sure hasn't been up yet. It's from which claims to have 'reviews for bitchy people'. Well they have nothing to bitch about when it comes to Serenity. Surprisingly glowing review for a site with such a description.

"This is the first feature film Whedon has directed, and he swings for the fences and scores in a big way. I’m almost reluctant to use any of the adjectives that get thrown around too loosely, like “breathless” or “heart-stopping,” but they fully apply here."

Click here

[ edited by EdDantes on 2005-10-01 07:00 ]
Flick Chick from The Palm Beach Post:

However, consider yourself officially pushed, because I'm asking... nay, begging you, to go see Serenity. Please. See it twice. Tell a friend. Bring your mama. Post a blog. Just please, please, please get up right now — after you've read this here fine column, of course — and buy a ticket for this thrilling, funny, sad, scary oddity of an sci-fi Western, because if you don't, you'll miss a great movie with a talented shamelessly not-yet famous cast. And Hollywood will believe you don't want smart action movies, and stop making them, and then there won't be a sequel, the sun will cease to shine and the children will all be sad.

All right, fess up. Who hacked OSC's remote dial-in??!? Anyone? ;)

Edited to add: Actually I went back and re-read the original "Firefly" review and refreshed my memory that he loved that, too. He said, "Count on it [Serenity] getting bad reviews; go anyway."

But I swear I remember him reviewing someting negatively that was linked here, and I can't think of what it was. This article is the one where he said Jewel "smiled idiotically" that people didn't like, but the rest was glowing and positive. Maybe I'm thinking of one of the political ones. I know one of you guys will remember.

[ edited by brownishcoat on 2005-10-01 07:36 ]

[ edited by brownishcoat on 2005-10-01 07:37 ]
Into the Blue is now the number 1 requested movie at
oh crap
Oops, rottentomatoes is now down to 78% fresh. I was hoping the 80% would stick. has a review up

3 bunnies out of 4 (very good)

they even have ads on there about Serenity...
speaking of Serenity, she's a porn star you see .. i have no point just throwing it out there.
Both going to see the movie again, myself, tonight, I saw a TV ad, which had the quotes and reviews added to it. I was so happy. And,seeing OSC's review made me even happier. This movie is so gorram fantastic.
James Berardinelli says:

Serenity is a fast-paced, engaging science fiction adventure tale. The emphasis should be on "adventure;" the "science fiction" just gives Whedon (making his directorial debut) an interesting canvas to paint upon. In many ways, the film is old-fashioned.


But Serenity isn't about effects. It's about narrative and characters, and it does a solid job in both areas. Whedon propels the story along at a breakneck pace, but keeps it smooth enough that we never get lost, and occasionally pauses to allow for character interaction.

3 out of 4 stars
Okay another two "late" reviews, that I just got through e-mail.

First it's the written review from The Mungles on Movies, which podcast review I posted in first or second thread. Can't remember right now. Hard to keep track. Anyway, there's a written version (sent exclusively through e-mail), which turned out sounding much better that the cast version. SO it's a very positive review.

They give it 4 out of 5 stars.

"Every now and then a movie comes along that catches you by surprise. It sort of flies under the radar if you will. Serenity is one such flick. Based on the Fox TV series, “Firefly”, and starring the original TV cast, Serenity is a fun, action packed adventure that has the essential elements. These elements come together to make a futuristic movie not only unique but appealing to the non sci-fi fan."

The second review I got is from CS Daily.
They actually give it two ratings:
For Whedon fans: 5 Stars
For non-Whedon fans: 3,5 Stars
Here are some quotes from this quite positive review written by Jason Davis:

"Whedon concocts a paranoid political thriller with sequences of psychological terror, western action, and science fiction technology wrapped around a human core of genuine drama.

"Ported over from his cancelled television series Firefly, Whedon's characters are wonderfully realized bundles of eccentricity and contradiction. Reynolds projects an air of amoral self-interest but belies his image with occasional, and often unexpected, acts of mercy -- and sometimes he doesn't. The script manages to convey his unpredictable nature and sketchy code of ethics in a satisfying way."

"Small-screen in origin, big-screen in ambition, Serenity may not be the shiniest ship in the sky, but the characters and style with which they're portrayed take the emotion of the story to the limit. Skillfully borrowing from a variety of genres and wrapping the trappings around a core of well-defined character, Serenity tells an epic story of humanity in conflict with itself from the perspective of everyday folk trying to make an honest -- well, mostly honest -- buck."

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