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October 07 2005

Serenity opens in the UK today. The Times casts its eye over the movie and mentions the magic word "franchise". Whilst The Guardian says "Whedon is a movie-making force to be reckoned with". And the The Mirror resorts to using traditional cliches with "fantastic non-stop action adventure" (spoilers in the reviews btw).

If anyone knows of any other UK reviews, please do post the link to them in this thread. Hopefully we can have a fantastic non-stop action thread here *ahem*.

I'd like to know when it open is Holland. Anyone?
According to UIP Holland, the 17th of November.
Hey, as long as the traditional cliches are positive ones, I'll take em.
Yay! Thanks Kiddo. The Financial Times' review picks up on the Hawksian vibe too.
The best review of the bunch definetly is in Time Out (thanks kiddo for pointing it out)
I'd like to know when it open is Holland. Anyone?

Another fellow dutchman huh? How's it going in my old stomping grounds? You guys did have Firefly on TV there right? But late at night only? Any vibe going on there or is the public at large clueless about the movie?

Btw these reviews are positive and that's great, but some of these guys are really tossing out elements that are supposed to be surprises in the movie. Sheesh...

Say Simon, is it opening in Ireland too so you can have a peek at last? (Or did you see it already? Don't actually know, sorry)
I've already seen it at a fan screening in Belfast. Assuming I can shake this flu I have, I'll toddle down to the cinema sometime this weekend. It's a great movie, I didn't want it to end.
I was really hoping to get to see this tonight but it looks like i'm going to have to wait to Sunday or maybe Monday before i finally get to see Serenity. That will teach me to leave things too late in arranging a babysitter! Dammit!
I planned to go last night but got my cinemas mixed up and no showing at the one I went to. I'd have been furious if I hadn't already seen it at the mystery screening!

Going again on Saturday now.
The Daily Mail gives it a lukewarm review, calling it an "updated Blakes 7".
Serenity also gets a postive (4/5 star) review in today's Irish Times. The review also states
"Those unfamiliar with the show need not be concerned that they will be lost. Whedon is a wonderfully efficient storyteller and in a breathlessly busy opening flurry, full of dream sequences and false turns, he brings us rapidly up to speed."
Sounds encouraging.
"The Daily Mail gives it a lukewarm review" - however, the Metro, a free newspaper widely distributed in London and a few other cities, and in the same stable as the Daily Mail, gave it positive review with 4 stars. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have their film reviews on-line. I would guess the reviewer is a bit of a fan, as the word "shiny" appears in the review.
The Liverpool Daily Post/Liverpool Echo loves it, 4 stars out of 5 (no spoilers):

"After a bloated summer of mainly damp squibs, Serenity is a breath of fresh air. At last, an exciting emotionally packed story with fleshed-out characters and relationships you actually care about."
The Independent gives it 3 out of 5 and says:

Whedon, who masterminded Buffy the Vampire Slayer, went on to make another TV series, Firefly, dumped after 11 episodes. Serenity continues the story, with spiffy effects and smart one-liners.

The Manchester Evening News is somewhat lukewarm, 3 stars out of 5:

Serenity is a slickly written and entertaining romp that bears all of the hallmarks of an old-fashioned Star Trek episode (albeit with more snappy dialogue).
The plot is simplistic, hung on a series of energetic set pieces, which are let down by a lack of imagination and crude computer generated special effects.
Characterisation in the feature film is scant to say the least, relying on an appreciation of the television series to understand the relationships between the crew members.
However, even newcomers to the Firefly universe will find something to keep them engaged for the two hours."

(Deep breath people and exhale. Serenity Now).

Different question, does anybody know if the review in 'This is London' equates to the main review in the Evening Standard? Because if it is, oh my, he really isn't liking the movie. (I am not going to post it a) you just get upset b)that bloody site is just going to get traffic otherwise).

Really really happy about Time Out as many people (including me) use this to plan their weekend, but if the Standard comes out negatively, this wouldn't be particularly good news. London being so big and all. (Stop moaning, I just posted 2 reviews from up North and personally I am never sure if there is actual life outside the M25 :) )
UIP is offering a free gift if you send in 3 Serenity ticket stubs by Nov. 4th. Tickets must be dated between the 7th and 31st of October.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-10-07 12:38 ]
Taking the whole family to see it tomorrow night, even when my mother in law couldn't get into Firefly she now wants to see Serenity.
Someone please tell me that 3 stars from the Times and the Guardian is a good thing. I need to somehow explain it to my friends who now think that my enthusiasm is quite ill-placed. In a seminar yesterday my Prof was telling us that "enthusiastic" used to have really negative connotations in the 1800s, meaning that one was overly emotional and not thinking rationally. Times really haven't changed that much.
C4 Teletext have a review on page 313 (I think). 2 stars, although some of the comments were fairly dubious.

Curiously, the C4 website has a much better review:

"A likeable and rousing adventure that revitalises the bloated Hollywood science-fiction film. Great stuff, if you don't mind Whedon's idiosyncratic dialogue."

[ edited by Grounded on 2005-10-07 13:24 ]
For a genre film, 3 stars out of 5 is very good. Usually the Guardian slates films like these.
Thanks Simon, I guess that is something.
I thought that the Mail would give it a good review following the praise they gave it in their Sunday magazine a few weeks back, so I was dissapointed when I read a 2/5 star review.

Since the end of the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, there's been a hole in the movie market for a new space opera series, and Serenity may just fill it.
Based on a short-lived American TV series called Firefly, it's about a group of space-pirates led by Mal (Nathan Fillion), a figure obviously inspired by Harrison Ford's Han Solo.
Writer-director Joss Whedon tries hard, if inconsistently, to find a suitably piratical language for his characters, and throws in a few neat one-liners. His plot, unfortunately, is nothing to teleport home about, and his characters lack originality.
The most memorable performance, incidentally, is given by our very own Chiwetel Ejiofor, and he's even better in Kinky Boots.
The overall impression is of an updated Blake's 7, with a bigger budget, better effects and a lot more fighting. I wasn't knocked out, but Serenity may find an appreciative cult audience among those in their 20s and 30s.

Accompanied by a tiny picture of Gina Torres with the hi-larious line "Yarr! Don't mess with Gina Torres".

Not a good review at all, I don't know much about newspaper sales but I hope the Mail isn't one of the top ones. I really can't understand how the reviewer can bash the plot and dialogue, they're excellent, and the characters unoriginal?!

Anyway, I'll be there for viewing number 3 this evening.
The weekends here: here we go!
lack of imagination and crude,computer generated special effects

Huh? Which film did this reviewer see?

*starts Serenity now chant*.....
Ghost Spike - Daily Mail is a 'top one' although I'd be hard pressed to call it a newspaper.

The comparison to 'Blakes 7' is bizarre (if you had ever seen it you would understand) and the reference to '20 and 30's' is just plain patronizing.
I'm almost glad the Mail gave it a bad review as 95% of the time I completely disagree with Christopher Tookey. In fact whenever I'm at home my Mum always sighs when I decide to glance through their copy of Friday's Mail as I'll almost always end up ranting about what he's written :)

However in this case where I'm actually completely invested in the box office I just wish we'd gotten a decent review.

Anyone know if The Sun or the Daily Star have reviewed Serenity yet, because sad to say the're the most popular papers and if we can get their readers onboard we'll definitely be onto a winner?
The Times and the Guardian take their film reviews very seriously.
They are a tough sell.

Here are their ratings for several films (sorry about the formatting);


Oliver Twist.................****........................***
Pride and Prejudice......***.............................?
Kinky Boots..................***...........................**
Just to follow on from the reply by TDTG to Ghost Spike, the Daly Mail is the second highest circulation newspaper in Britain behind The Sun and ahead of the Daily Mirror. The combined circulation of these three tabloids is approxiamtely 8 to 8.5 million. The circulation of the Daily Mail is around 2.8 million.

I don't think a poor review in this particular newspaper is going to make a huge difference to the box office potential of 'Serenity' in its opening weekend. I would imagine that 'Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' will bulldozer everything in its path. 'Pride & Prejudice' might still have enough legs left to cause some damage and undoubtedly 'Night Watch' will compete for some of the potential 'Serenity' audience. I'm talking about cinemagoers who plan to go to see one film this weekend and haven't yet made their minds up which one it will be.

My guess is that 'Serenity' will come in at two or three in the box office list with a gross somewhere between £500,000 and £700,000.
Lord_Magneto: Like Simon said, the date is November 17th at the moment. But at the red carpet Premiere in Amsterdam we had a conversation with the boss of UIP Netherlands who mentioned it might yet move up to the beginning of November.

EdDantes: The hype here is pretty much non existant. There's been a press screening, and most of us dutch browncoats have been advertising it on a couple of websites and the likes. Biggest problem at the moment is that UIP Netherlands hasn't gotten any promotional material yet.

We've got a list of stores (comic book, sci-fi, and the likes) which we've phoned or where we dropped by asking for permission to put up posters and stuff, but they still haven't arrived. A couple of us also write for student publications where we can review the movie. Last we heard, movie theatres weren't wild about playing Serenity, because they're not sure if people'd come to see it, but we've been calling the theatres asking if they'll play Serenity, to get them to notice the movie as potentially succesfull.

At least UIP Netherlands has been helpfull. The webmaster of is a big fan of the show himself, which helps. They made the fan-run the official dutch website for the movie (I'm a moderator at the forum), organised a pre-screening for our forummembers, and we got a red carpet premiere in Amsterdam with Nathan and Summer. Sadly, the major media didn't pick up on it (the only report on tv was on a tabloid show where they interviewed a dutch celebrity on the red carpet and mentioned in passing that it was at the Serenity premiere - and we had a couple of reports in minor publications).

We're doing our best at the forum to promote Serenity, but with the changing release date (it's hopped around quite a few times - a couple months back we were even premiering before the USA on the 29th) and the fact that the timing of the release isn't perfect, things aren't looking too well at the moment.

But we're still hopefull, and we're definately not giving up. I've already planned the first couple of times I'm gonna see the movie on it's release. And once we get the promotional material, we'll be able to promote the movie at several shops and local genre conventions and the like. The biggest question remains if it'll be promoted enough in movietheatres (the trailer's not yet running since the release is still a bit of and there's no promotional material to put up yet), on tv and at busstops and the like....

And that concludes my update on Serenity in The Netherlands ;-)

[ edited by GVH on 2005-10-07 14:55 ]
dashboardprophet - Fortunately Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit doesn't open in the UK until next week.
See here.
Technovamp, thank you for the correction. I had convinced myself it was released this weekend. That is very good news for 'Serenity'. I think I need to raise my guess to something between £700,000 and £1,000,000. We might just get the top spot, unless 'Pride & Prejudice' holds on for another week.
Daily Record gave it top marks, although I have no link to give.

I went and saw it yesterday, making the trek into Glasgow to see the 12:40 preview screening. Given that it was a Thursday, in the middle of the day before general release, it was surprisingly busy. About 40-50 people, and as someone who goes to see 2 films a week or so I can say that this was one of the busiest films I've ever gone to.

The audience laughed out loud five or six times, which again is pretty remarkable. I've gone to a lot of well-liked comedies that haven't had that kind of response from audiences in this country.

Oh, and I loved it.
The Sun liked it giving Serenity a good, if brief, write up, though with a few qualifications.
"Like Buffy, this futuristic flic deliveres a tasty mix of full on action and wise cracking gags that paper over it's low budget flaws and guarantee satisfaction. You may not know why you're laughing, but trust me you will."
(Oliver Twist got most of the page.)

The Evening Standard doesn't mention it at all. Nothing! Even in the "Top Ten New Movies" list! Though if they were going to slate it it may be a good thing.

[ edited by zz9 on 2005-10-07 15:22 ]
The Daily Telegraph said

"Serenity is basically good Star Trek"


"Most of it's a blast, though, and sci-fi addicts suffering Star Wars withdrawal symptoms need look no further for a vivifying shot in the arm."
Todays Metro gave it a good review, 4 out of 5 stars and it was in its own little box so very visible. The Metro is a free newspaper and loads of people read it on the way to work so that's great exposure. I can't remember it completely and there's no link but the first few words were something like 'In a perfet world, Joss Whedon would have written/ directed Star Wars Eps 1-3.' It's a bit spoilery, I think, but I've seen the film so I can't be too clear!
(Edited for pesky punctuation problems)

[ edited by lone fashionable wolf on 2005-10-07 17:16 ]
Because you asked and because it is a national tabloid, I sullied my hands and mind and checked out the Daily Star and the review is here (be warned, it has a highly annoying audible ad on the page, I hate, hate, hate that sort of thing).

Anyhow, surprisingly the review actually made me smile, it makes Serenity sound like “Lock, Stock and two smoking Barrels” which considering the audience the Star is aimed at, is a very good thing. Plus it is complimentary about the fans.

“If you didn’t see the original series, a) join the club and b) relax: the film works as a stand-alone tale (and a very good advert for a certain DVD box set, of course). Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) fought for the losing side in the galactic civil war. Now he and the ragtag crew of his slightly knackered ship Serenity, are forced to survive via dodgy transportation jobs and assorted crimes.

However, one of the crew, a troubled teenager called River (played by a suitably adorable, very lithe hippyesque actress named Summer Glau), is more than she first appears. And the Universal Alliance – the vaguely sinister, all powerful galactic government – have sent their top operative (the ubiquitous Chiwetel Ejiofor, also in Kinky Boots and Four Brothers at the mo) to get her back.

Cue the aforementioned cracking action, whiz-bang effects and quirky, quotable dialogue, including at least two of the best lines you’ll hear in the cinema this year. Serenity is funny, exhilarating, good-looking, well made and hugely, HUGELY enjoyable.”
I was starting to have some faith that Serenity would do really well over here but then I exchanged emails with my brother this afternoon. Told him I'd been to see Serenity yesterday and was going again tonight and he asked me what it was. He's not a sci-fi fan, hates Star Wars, didn't watch Buffy or most things I like (we're very diffenet) but he is a big film fan and does use the internet a lot. Not good as far as I'm concerned. I think I might've convinced him to go check it out though, so that's something.
So what do you suppose the two lines are? Kaylee's perhaps?
We finally saw a preview of Serenity last night, resulting in a very happy fanboy and girl.
I was also excited about the review in the Irish Times today (see Fence's comment above), in which Donald Clarke suggests that George Lucas should be nailed to a chair and forced to watch Serenity over and over.
I read the Daily Mail and Irish News, and was very disappointed. The Daily Mail relegated it to quite a small space whereas Kinky Boots had a much larger space, and Serenity received three stars out of five, but the review wasn't great. It said there was potential but wasn't very complimentary.

The Irish News gave it 6/10 but was also very negative, saying it was clichéd and basically moronic.

I'm kind of disappointed, but I know that most of the reviews are postitive and it is a great film.

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