on September 10, 2015
As a fan of the series and the movie, I really appreciated the ability to go deeper into the material. The visual companion provides so much for the fan--and if you are a fan (and there are thousands of us browncoats out there) you cannot be without this.
You get storyboards, pre-production art, thoughts from the cast and crew, and so much more. I often find myself picking it up just to flip through the pages. Despite reading it cover to cover, I still find new things.
on October 11, 2005
Then you want to have this book! With an opening and exclusive interview with Joss Whedon, AND the full movie shooting script, this book really is the perfect movie companion.
The book is packed with large, glossy, full colour photos - behind the scenes and movie stills. As well as quotes from the cast, and many filming notes. But the thing that makes it irresistible is the shooting script! It contains all the deleted scenes and lines, and really adds to the movie experience. I HIGHLY recommend this to any Browncoat or Joss Whedon fan.
I remember being impressed a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away from that of Joss Whedon's "Serenity" when they published the scripts for the original "Star Wars" films with pre-production paintings and storyboards. So it is with a profound sense of understatement that I can tell you that "Serenity: The Official Visual Companion" is the proverbial much, much more. There certainly are the promised visuals, consisting of dozens of pieces of not only production art and storyboard but also movie stills. Being able to see a production painting of a deserted street on Miranda next to a photograph of the actual set, the storyboards for the escape from the Reavers on Lilac, the conceptual art for the Alliance spaceships, and Inara's costume designs are all worth the looking. But there is a far amount of worthwhile reading between these covers as well and that is what makes this companion volume essential for fans.
The cover trumpets that this book has an introduction and the motion picture screenplay by JOSS WHEDON, but in between the cheery welcome to the book and the full shooting script (i.e., it includes scenes cut form the final edit) there is 32-page interview with Whedon conducted by Abbie Bernstein. In it Joss talks about how he originally developed "Firefly" and its main characters, how he had the opportunity to make a movie version, and what it was like making the film. So this is an in-depth interview and not simply a case of ten or twenty questions. But, wait, boys and girls, there is more, because in the pages of that interview you will find Whedon's pre-production memos on "A Brief History of the Universe circa 2507 A.D.," "Frame/Lens/Perspective," "Light," and "Music" (Yes, Joss has even worked out what music will be like in 500 years). We have known for some time that Whedon pays attention to detail, and here is the textual evidence that proves the point. Bernstein does a good job of not just setting up Whedon, who always provides long replies to any and all questions, but also of asking questions about things fans want to hear about (you will find out more about the series and the film from this interview than you will from listening to the commentary track Joss made for the DVD and that commentary track was not hay).
Consequently, this is much more than a visual companion, as stunning as that part of the book can be. Once you read all of the background material you can sit down with the shooting script and follow along while watching the film to see not only what has been altered or deleted, but also to enjoy Whedon's stage directions (If you read any of the script books for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" then you know there are always some fun little comments worked into his scripts). This is an absolute must have volume for the legion of fans of the television show and theatrical film. Final note: I thought the blue tinted shot of River with Mal's head behind her that appears on the cover of the "Serenity" premium trading cards binder looked pretty good and while they follow the same basic design with the cover for this book they have used a much better shot of Summer Glau as River (plus adding a shot of Firefly in flight from the binder's back cover rather than the Serenity symbol). The "Serenity" poster that is available is actually a cross between the two, the original River with the Firefly from this one, which is good, but not great.