A band of renegades on the run in outer space get in more hot water than they anticipated in this sci-fi action-adventure adapted from the television series Firefly. In the 26th century, the galaxy has been colonized by a military force known as the Alliance, but its leadership has not gone unquestioned. The Alliance was once challenged by a league of rebels known as the Independents, but the Alliance emerged victorious after a brutal civil war, with the surviving Independents scattering around the galaxy. Also wandering the edges of the galaxy are the Reavers, who have won few allies due to their violent behavior and habit of ripping apart their enemies and eating them before they're dead. Capt. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), who fought as an Independent in the galactic war, is the head of Serenity, a rogue frieghter ship whose crew includes Mal's first mate, Zoe (Gina Torres), who fought alongside him in the war, her husband, hotshot pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk), sunny but dependable mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite), and hard-nosed gunman Jayne (Adam Baldwin). The crew of Serenity wander the galaxy, taking on whatever work they can get, from criminal activities like smuggling and stealing to legitimately offering transport to travelers. Passengers aboard Serenity include professional "companion" Inara (Morena Baccarin) and holy man Shepherd Book (Ron Glass), but the real trouble aboard the ship comes with the arrival of Simon (Sean Maher) and his teenage sister, River Tam (Summer Glau). In time, the crew discovers that River has remarkable psychic powers and was being held captive by Alliance forces until Simon came to her rescue. Now the Alliance is hot on the heels of Serenity and its passengers, with The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a sinister Alliance tracker, leading the chase. Serenity was written and directed by Joss Whedon (in his directorial debut), creator of Firefly, which only lasted 11 weeks on the air but gained a powerful cult following who rallied to get the show released on DVD after its cancellation, leading to impressive home-video sales and and an eventual motion picture deal. A couple of months prior to Serenity's theatrical release, reruns of Firefly were picked up by the Sci-Fi channel, adding even more fans to its cult following.~Mark Deming
Over 20 minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes
Joss Whedon introduction
Re-lighting The Firefly: the story of how a television show gained enough of a cult following to become a major feature film
Feature commentary with writer/director Joss Whedon
Firstly, you’re probably only gonna get this if you’re a huge Firefly/Serenity Nerd, just buy it. This is the best we will probably ever get of Serenity from Universal. Universal wastes no time in franchises that don’t have Fast, Jurassic, or Furious in the title, so this mostly likely it. It is an obvious upconvert from the original Blu-ray release, maximum of a 2k scan. But to their credit, they did make a fan film for a show that was cancelled halfway though it’s first season. Again if you’re a hardcore fan, this isn’t disappointing at all and major improvement over the DVD I got back in ‘06, but it isn’t perfect for the hardcore HDR nut.
No Dolby Vision, no Atmos/DTS: X, which should move this down to 3/5 but I love this film. Sonos owners beware, no Dolby tracks, only DTS which sucks. The desert/sunny scenes are nice to look at but most interior shots are meh when referring to HDR.
If you are interested in the 4k version of this film, you more than likely you know the story, so my review is based on new video and audio formats.
I have purchased the DVD then Blu-ray and finally the 4k version.
This release is by far the best this film has ever looked. I thought the Blu-ray had a good picture and the audio was decent. The 4k is so much better than I thought possible.
The 4k remaster is fantastic. The HDR is very evident in the way colors pop. With the 4k you get the usual upgrades of clarity and sharpness. Clothing has texture and color that are major improvements over the standard Blu-ray. In the opening sequence there is a vast improvement that gives the film a new depth of field -- almost a 3D quality. In the darker scenes there is improvement in fine detail. You can pick up objects in shadows that were lost in past versions. Because the movie has lots of scenes in both sunlight and the darkness of space, it's a great film to show off your equipment.
The new DTS-X soundtrack makes great use of the overhead and surround speakers. Dialog is very clear even in scenes with lots of action. While all speakers get a great workout, it doesn't feel forced and of the sound effects feel like they belong.
While 4k is still relatively new, this movie is one of the best upgrades from Blu-ray that I've seen so far. It's the first movie that I would give a 5-star rating based solely on audio and video.
Great stand alone movie that just so happens to me a continuation of a tv series that got canceled after 14 episodes. No need to watch the show to appreciate this movie. Will only make it better. The 4K transfer is amazing. The DTS X is awesome.
The plot picks up a short while after the TV Series, "Firefly", left off. The pre-title teaser provides backstory for those unfamiliar with the TV series. The events in the teaser occur prior to the first episode of the TV series. After the teaser, we find the 25th century spaceship "Firefly" class freighter "Serenity" captained by former Independent soldier Malcolm about to enter the planet Lilac's atmosphere on one of the crews' not always legal jobs; this time a bank heist. When the renegade crew of Serenity agrees to hide a fugitive on their ship, they find themselves in a battle between the relentless military might of a totalitarian regime who will destroy anything to get the fugitive girl back. But, the greatest danger of all may be on their ship. This space opera is written and directed by Joss Whedon (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and is thus filled with what the Sci-Fi buff wants in a movie in this genre.
Serenity continues the magic of the original Firefly series, helping to bring some closure to a great series that ended way too soon. Joss Whedon had a very special show, taking an everyday man and his eclectric crew, just trying to make a living on the frontier of space, while the corporate elite try to consume and control everything. No social commentary here.
Presented in 4K, Serenity has never looked better. This is an upscale from a 2K master according to sources, which had me originally wonder if it would be worth re-buying. At it's current price (around $18) it is. A definite must for fans of the original series.
There's a nice increase in detail and clarity while maintaining some grain and the look of film. The lettering and detail on the Serenity pops, textures on clothes are clearer, along with facial details. Colors look stronger too. I tried the included 1080p blu ray afterwards (which always looked strong), to compare, and it looks lighter and more washed out. A few of the special effects suffer slightly from the increase in resolution (the scene where the Serenity lands in an open field or the Rever ship chasing it looks more fake), and in one or two scenes faces looked a little shinier than normal, but that might be me nitpicking.
This is a great buy at this price, and Serenity won't look any better unless they ever do a full 4K or higher scan from the original 35mm prints. Watching this again made me want more Firefly and wonder why this amazing series had such a short run.
Serenity in 4K is the way to go!