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First review anywhere of Serenity: The Official Visual Companion by Joss Whedon - Meaningless random observations

Date: 2005-08-15 18:08
Subject: First review anywhere of Serenity: The Official Visual Companion by Joss Whedon
Security: Public
Got a copy sent to me today, read it and here's the review of the movie tie-in.

First of all let’s get the obvious question out of the way. Is this book a cheap cash-in?

No. It’s a labour of love. And not cheap at all. Cost 17 pounds or 20 US dollars. Good to see that favourable exchange rate working out so well.

Labour of love? Really?

Yes. So much passion has gone into this, it’s overwhelming. Compared to the official guides to Buffy and Angel, this Serenity tie-in blows them out of the water.

Fair enough. Don’t get carried away. So shall we start at the beginning?

Ok. Here’s how it is.

There’s a brief intro by Joss filled with the usual witty quips we’ve come to know him for. But this is Joss on a new level. He’s become what he’s always wanted to be. He’s now the film maker.

So he’s ascended then?

Heh. In a manner of speaking.

Do we get any kind of backstory to the Firefly universe?

Yes. There’s a four page “A Brief History of the Universe circa 2507 A.D.” section. It completely fleshes out the brief glimpses of the history we saw through out the series. And I’ll say one thing, this will hopefully settle the galaxy versus solar system arguments that fans have been having since the show first aired. There’s also a great insight into how the War of Unification came to be. And loads more which I don’t want to spoil you for. I know it’s intended for new fans but for anyone who watched Firefly from the beginning, this section is a gift from the gods.

I noticed there was an interview with Joss, anything new ?

Well one revelation was that Zoe was originally intended to be a man and more importantly the two hour plot of the movie was intended to be told over two years of the show. Which makes you wonder what had to be lost, to get the story told on the big screen. Joss goes over each character and explains what the original concepts for them were. Jayne apparently is the Cordelia of the bunch. The interview is one of the best I’ve read.

Let’s get the major part of the book – the script.

It takes up most of the book.


It’s jaw droppingly good. And I believe there's scenes in it that won't be in the movie. And the Chinese dialogue is translated too. Shiny! Can’t wait to see it on screen.

Spread out between the dialogue pages, there’s notes from each actor about their character, production stills, story boards and some wonderful production design ranging from Inara’s costumes to the space ships. The art is so amazing, you could cry it’s that bloody good.

Oh and there’s one pic that’s competely Lord of the Rings for me but I’m not going to tell you why. See the movie, then come back to me on that one.

Didn’t you forget something?

Ah yes, the pre-production memos by Joss where he talks about the music, the lighting and camera shooting. Wonderful insights into his film-making technique.

So should fans buy it?

Oh god yes. This is a real treasure trove. It's a must read.

You love your cliches, don't you?


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The Original Mary Sue (accept no substitutes): Big Damn Show-off | ilovejayne
User: wondersheep
Date: 2005-08-15 17:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Big Damn Show-off | ilovejayne

Okay, whom do I have to kill to get ahold of this? *looks at you menacingly, fingers Vera Jr.*
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User: simonf
Date: 2005-08-15 17:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It'll be in the shops some time middle of next month.
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The Original Mary Sue (accept no substitutes): PP-Death Eater Pony | meiki&potterpuffs
User: wondersheep
Date: 2005-08-15 17:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:PP-Death Eater Pony | meiki&potterpuffs
For my birthday, I want a pony this book!
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User: bowen29
Date: 2005-08-15 17:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I want one!
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User: sister_luck
Date: 2005-08-15 18:05 (UTC)
Subject: Congrats on getting your hands on a copy -
how did you manage? It sounds like a book I should own - and I'm usually not so big on the merchandising etc.

BTW, did you see the German trailer for Serenity I linked to on my lj? In case it's whedonesque material could you please post a link for me - I'm not registered.
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User: simonf
Date: 2005-08-15 19:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'll fit it in with the next Serenity link I post :). Thanks for the heads up.
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User: iphi1
Date: 2005-08-16 14:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
well let's hope that by the time this book is available from Amazon, my stolen credit cards will have been replaced, so I can actually buy the damn thing!
Otherwise I'm going to be more annoyed with the stupid thieving, -insert random expletive here- thief, than I already am;
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charles: Heronie chickl
User: eddy_1985
Date: 2005-08-19 19:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Heronie chickl
"Oh and there’s one pic that’s competely Lord of the Rings for me but I’m not going to tell you why. See the movie, then come back to me on that one."

Man I really hope this is what I think it is. Cause I'd just die to have it in my hands. It was so cool.
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User: numfar_ptb
Date: 2005-08-20 00:54 (UTC)
Subject: Great Review
Hey Simon,

That was a great review.
Now I'm in a dilemma. I'm already spoiled, and the book will definitely get into my hands before the movie open at my part of the "land". I don't know if I'll be strong enough not to read it before watching the movie.
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User: simonf
Date: 2005-08-20 09:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The script is in three columns to a page (which includes a pic from the film on each page), the stage directions are not in italics and the font looks to be the normal font for a book. So nothing like what was done for Magnolia.
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