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366 of 370 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie, and much more, August 31, 2005
This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
This is the shooting script for the movie "Serenity," but it only starts there. It's also a long interview with creator Joss Whedon on the show "Firefly," what roles he originally envisioned for the characters and how the actors embodied them, all the different elements that went into creating a TV show like few others, and all the great insider stuff that fans burn to know. Then there are the extras...

The definitive (since it's from Joss) history of how the 'Verse got that way. How the government is set up. How the war for Unification began with the best of good intentions. And how a young man named Malcolm Reynolds volunteered. Star maps. Tons of photos from both sides of the camera. Production drawings of weapons, ships, costumes (including some beautifully drawn samples of Inara that I'd like to see available as prints), and every major set. Long notes from Joss about lighting, direction, and cinematography. Quotes from the cast about their characters. Storyboards for the exciting fight and chase scenes. Oh, and the script, written in Joss' trademarked style and including scenes you won't see in the movie.

This is like a DVD extra you can get before the movie is released.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable., December 11, 2005
By 
Harold Harefoot (Tucson, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
If you have any interest in the movie Serenity or the tv show Firefly, you NEED to buy this book. Chances are, if you're a Firefly/Serenity fan, you probably have some interest and/or questions about how Joss Whedon came up with his ideas for all of the characters and all of the other aspects of the Firefly 'verse. Well, they're probably answered in this book. There is just tons of information in here that probably would have been revealed over time if Firefly had continued as a series, but that I didn't know and probably never would have found out about if I hadn't bought this. Seriously, if you really want to fully understand the Firefly 'verse, this book is essential. The information you'll glean from this book is worth so much more than the sub-$14 price tag. If you have (will soon have) the Firefly (Serenity) dvd sets, you also should buy this book. You won't regret it.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than I expected..., December 15, 2005
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This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
Large and very high quality, glossy paper (you can't tell from the picture). Gorgeous shots from the movie and from the set, beautiful artist renditions of costumes, sets and scenes from the movie. Interviews, storyboards and extras for the biggest fans, just the pictures themselves are worth it for me. My compliments to Joss Whedon and the Firefly/Serenity team for this lovely visual companion, this is a MUST HAVE!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is beautiful!, October 31, 2005
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This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
I really got my money's worth in this book. I bought it primarily for the pretty pictures, and there are certainly plenty to look at. But it also included the full shooting script of the movie, a wonderful interview with Joss Whedon (the writer/director), and lots of blurbs about the world of the movie, and words from each actor about their characters. There was tons of production art too, but of course my favorites were the stills from the movie.
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73 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shiny!, September 14, 2005
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This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
Ah. Truly sweet. A lengthy intro from Joss about the making of the movie and the Firefly universe, followed by the screenplay (including a few deleted scenes), all interlaced with numerous gorgeous color shots. A wonderful book for anyone with interest in the movie, or the 'Verse.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book for Serenity buffs, November 3, 2005
By 
Anna (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
This is a very well put together book, with lots of very good quality photos and shots from the movie, a number of interviews with Joss Whedon, cast and crew, and the full shooting script. The interviews have a lot of background info. Even as a casual fan, I am very pleased with it; die-hard browncoats probably have it already.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential companion volume to the film for "Serenity" fans, February 3, 2006
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
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.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything Else you want to Know!, October 25, 2005
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This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
AFTER you see the movie, this book gives you all the juicy info about how it became what it is. Besides the shooting script, Joss explains how he came up with Firefly and the true story of how the movie came to be made.

The movie is an awesome accomplishment: fitting about 2 years of TV show into 2 hours, while making the story comprehensible to new viewers. This book is truly the perfect companion.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully done...and interesting to boot!, February 22, 2006
By 
J. Waggoner (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
I came to "Firefly" backwards - I saw one episode on TV and was underwhelmed, but went to see "Serenity" with my 24-year-old-son. I was hooked, and went back to see all the episodes of the series. I'm a big fan of "behind the scenes" books about films anyway, and this one was nicely packaged, with excellent photography and lovely production illustrations. Reading the script demonstrates just how well-written the film was, and how much the actors continued to bring to their roles. Best of all was the interview with Joss Whedon and the "mee-mos" he wrote to the crew, outlining his vision. The book was worth it just for those! You'll go back to this one again and again!

Why only four stars? Fully 3/4 of the book is the script - not a bad thing, but I'd like to have seen a couple of longer interviews with the cast, or the other production crew, or something - in short, what's there is great, but I'd like more "meat."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have for True Fans, October 17, 2005
This review is from: Serenity Official Visual Companion (Paperback)
The Official Visual Companion is excellent for its graphics, stills, and production artwork from the filming processes alone. However, it touches upon almost every element of the production process as well. It is not a text book for film production, nothing is dealt with in great detail, but each element IS touched upon where it is most appropriate: Inara's costumes, Reaver make-up, etc. Fans of Joss Whedon will love the Meemos at the beginning, offering insights into his intentions and the tools he used to tell his story on multiple levels. The shooting script itself is priceless to answer almost every question you could have of the film, from "was that reaver REALLY a femail?" to "What does Mal REALLY say when he's telling off Inara?"

Good stuff.
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Serenity Official Visual Companion
Serenity Official Visual Companion by Joss Whedon (Paperback - September 1, 2005)
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