First review anywhere of Serenity: The Official Visual Companion by Joss Whedon
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?