Serenity Soars on DVD

by Alan Rapp on December 21, 2005

in Home Video

  • Title: Serenity
  • IMDB: link

serenity-dvdA TV show made into a movie; a movie made into a DVD.  Although a hit with a small and vocal fan base (and a fair amount critical support), Joss Whedon’s sci-fi western never found a home and was cancelled after only twelve episodes.  Whedon’s drive and the fans furvor wouldn’t allow the series to die and Universal Pictures stepped in to provide the opportunity to continue to explore these characters in a feature film now available on DVD.

In a year that brought us Episode III of the Star Wars saga, Speilberg’s re-interpretation of War of the Worlds, the clones of The Island the best movie of the genre by far is Joss Whedon‘s Serenity.  The well designed and lived in ‘verse of the television show is recreated and retold as a cinematic event that still stays true to the original tale while adding layers and depth to the original story.

Serenity tells the story of Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and his crew that began in Whedon’s television series Firefly.  In particular the story centers around River Tamm (Summer Glau) as the government that turned her into a weapon wants her dead for the secrets she carries.  For a more in-depth review of the story check out my original review.

River’s transformation into a whole and complete person that began in the last episode of the series continues to weave its way through the story of the film that also delves into the truth behind the Reavers and the reason for the Alliance’s interest in recovering her.  Glau gives a terrific performance for a character that is more lucid than in the original series but still both more and less than normal.  Of the series’s cast she and Fillion get the most meaty roles in the film as each character comes to find a completeness and resolve that they lacked at the beginning of the series.

Besides the cast we get the return of David Newman‘s score and some incredible lighting and photography by Jack N. Green (Unforgiven).  Beautifully in sight and sound (including the series specific visual and digital syle) the film also provides trademark Whedon touches that his fans have come to expect.

A nice group of extras includes a short introduction and commentary for the film and for the deleted scenes by Whedon.  It’s not your average commentary as besides talking only about the film and specific scenes Whedon also addresses the series and the journey of all involved into finally having this chance to tell more of these character’s stories.  Also included are short featurettes on the history of series to film and the casts experiences of coming back together to work on this project.  There are other languages and subtitles options available (though not Chinese which I think would have made a nice touch).

Serenity wouldn’t exist without the fans (which I count myself among) and Whedon’s drive to share this vision.  The cast speak warmly over the fan reaction and the debt they owe to the response to the series that helped push for a feature film after it’s cancellation.  This DVD is a nice thank you note for them and for the cast and crew that spent so much time in this unlikely venture.  Whedon has moved onto other projects and the cast has dispersed once again but I sincerely hope we haven’t seen the last of Captain Malcolm Reynolds and the cast of Serenity.  Anytime they’re ready to saddle up for another adventure I’ll be ready and waiting.

Previous post:

Next post: