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"Mercy, forgiveness, trust. Those are the things he left back there."
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December 20 2005

CHUD review of "Serenity" DVD. A newbie's take on the BDM. And a glowing review from DVD verdict. And this is hereby the Serenity DVD review thread.

From DVD verdict:

"You've got it all hereóbig action, high drama, huge laughs, romance, sharp dialogue, and eye-popping special effects, all blended together into just the right mix. It's a hearty meal of a film, one that leaves you full and satisfied."

On the DVD itself:

"Where are the trailers? Where's the short film, The R. Tam Sessions, starring Summer Glau as River? Why isn't there more depth to the featurettes? What's with that cover art? I'm only guessing here, but it seems that a more elaborately-produced special edition might be in the future. Nothing's been announced, but we've seen this pattern before, haven't we?"

Combined the previous two links. As anotherfireflyfan suggested (at least, I think it was s/he), this is now the thread to post DVD review links.
"The film's marketing department was quietly dispatched."

That made me laugh out loud.

Nice to get a newbie's perspective.
I'll only quibble with one thing in the CHUD article.

The Kaylee, "twixt my nethers" line he sites is not actually unique, Whedon rythmic dialogue (though the "batteries" part is).

Yes, he wrote it, but the wording itself is pure Western verbage (which is good, cause, uh, Firefly/Serenity is a space). So his criticism that that's an example of Whedon's dialogue running rampant is a weak one.

And his remarks about River and the Operative, and his assuming Joss' feelings about the characters....that annoyed. River was in a traumatized, emotional and psychological state, which by the end of the film, Joss had her begin to recover from. Because he does believe in and care about her. That's one of many reasons we need a sequel. To see her progression beyond someone "trotted out for fight scenes." Grr.

And maybe I misread the Operative's final scene, but to me he isn't someone who saw the light, but someone who saw an ugly truth, lost his belief, and was going to either kill himself or disappear to some corner of the Verse never to be heard from again. That's not naive hope, that's actually quite disturbing if it's the former especially, and a little sad.

Okay, so I quibbled with three things. Maybe if he watches the series he'll have a better appreciation for River, at least.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2005-12-21 15:43 ]
Heh, it's pretty funny how the CHUD review sees things differently from most of us. No love for River or The Operative? I don't think so. The twixt my nethers line an example of Joss' dialogue gone wrong? Don't agree. But other than some stuff I don't disagree with, this is a fine review. I especially enjoyed:

I don't have to tell anyone that this movie redefined marketing disaster, and the aftershocks continue to this lousy piece of Photoshop afterbirth. "Experience the Ultimate Action-Adventure"? Why not "Arr!" or "Eat Yogurt"? :-)

I'm very happy with the DVD verdict review. That was obviously written by a fan of the show.
Oy, those captions are getting me into trouble 'round the office. Disapproving glares follow my hearty guffaws and loud exhalations accompany my mutterings of "San Bernadino! Ha-ha!"

I wonder if Mr. Fischer got to see the flilm in theaters? No matter, it seems like Serenity's got a new fan now, bare-bones screener copy and all. This bodes well for our inevitable world takeover. Yippee skippy.
I took two friends, both more or less newbies, to see "Serenity" -- while neither of them fell in love (or hate) with the movie, they both were really impressed by the Operative and C.E.'s performance. This guy is pretty much the first person that I know of to be less than thrilled with that aspect of the film.

But he's definitely spot on on the cover art!
This pains me very much. I just watched 'Serenity' on DVD and I was not impressed. Not quite sure where Joss was going with this. I loved the 'Firefly' series and was so looking forward to this movie. But, something was missing. Can't lay my finger on it, but it wasn't Joss in his normal story telling way. I could be totally off the mark here, however, I don't think so.
So I am assuming, Madhatter, that you did not see it before in a theater?

It will be interesting to see how first-timers generally feel about the movie on DVD. It is always a very different experience from seeing it on a big screen.

BTW, the movie was what really got me into the TV show, though I had seen the TV show first.

[ edited by newcj on 2005-12-21 20:51 ]
Madhatter, I was a touch disappointed on first viewing too. Several viewings later, not so much. I think it took me time to adjust to the necessarily different rhythm and focus of the feature, as compared with the series. Give it another try. Or two, or three. :)
The movie is different on DVD. It's a much more powerful experience on the big screen with loud surround sound. The DVD doesn't capture that. Unless, of course, you own a big screen and big speakers.
Yes, this is definitely a big-screen movie. As in, 30-inch wide-screen isn't very big, even with digital video and surround sound.

The pacing is radically different from TV, also, as Joss notes repeatedly through the commentary. Not just the tempo, but having to cut dialog, subthemes, and more. I think Inara has more dialog in the deleted scenes than in the movie.

Joss's storytelling style needs TV to have room to breathe.

But the Fruity Oaty Bar is worth the price of admission! I need to make a video capture of that!
I'm with SNT on this (actually, I first saw it with SNT) -- I thought it was probably a very good movie the first time I saw it, but it did take another viewing or two to sort of cast off the "Firefly" baggage and enjoy it like an ordinary movie. I think it's telling that, as a group, the reviews from newbies were far simpler, less conflicted, and often more positive than reviews from longtime fans.

Personally, yeah, I would have preferred a slightly slower pace. I also would have preferred a four hour movie...."Malcolm of the Planet Arabia", but I love what we got.

[ edited by bobster on 2005-12-22 01:00 ]
Madhatter do you think it was a little too hyped in your mind and it didn't meet the expectation?
After hearing all of us rave about it?
I also saw the BDM before the show at a prescreening, and it's what got me into the show. I love the movies pacing, the fact from about half way in it just down't let up. It's tense and full on.

I'm with SNT in saying, give it a few more viewings, to let it all sink in. It's a great movie to watch and just focus on a different character each viewing.
The Daytona Beach News gives Serenity a positive review and also offers some interesting ideas on how theaters can get out of the slump they're in.
I'm looking forward to the DVD so I can finally really hear the movie. The theater I saw a pre-screening at was decent, but packed with Browncoats, and that many people that enthusiastic can't help but make some distracting noise. I've seen it two more times now in a big tent with a concrete floor and a sound system that was evidently manufactured locally under communism - bad sound. I loved to see it, but I know I'm still missing some of the work of these actors, the composer, the technical people, and Joss, because Firefly, like all Joss's work, really needs to be listened to. I've got surround sound :).

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