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Serenity (2005)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Screenwriter/director Joss Whedon Rating:8.0/10 (66 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by reidca on February 12th, 2006:Find all reviews by reidca
Possibly one of the best commentaries I've heard. Joss is a funny guy, but he doesn't let that get in the way of the talking about the movie - the pain he went through writing the damned movie, the location shooting, techniques employed, movies he stole from and he generously gives kudos to everyone - from the cast to DP Jack Green to the fx people et al. Nevertheless, it's quite annoying as he never describes what's happening onscreen. Nor does he really pause all that much. He also never indicates when he's popped a family member in for a cameo.
Reviewed by angrynerdrock07 on July 20th, 2006:Find all reviews by angrynerdrock07
Joss Whedon needs to do more projects for the sole purpose of doing more commentaries. The great thing about Joss is that he covers EVERY aspect of the film. One minute he's talking lens sizes and shutter speeds and the next minute he's talking about character motivations and screenwriting. All of this is combined with his dry sense of humor to create one of the most enjoyable commentary tracks I have ever heard.

Reviewed by ZachsMind on August 31st, 2006:Find all reviews by ZachsMind
Definitely one of the best commentaries ever recorded. I can't recall a moment in this commentary I didn't enjoy. Whedon is not just a screen writer, director, producer, and afficianado of film, he's a consummate story teller, and he uses practically every moment of this commentary describing bits and pieces of little tales, which all add up to an overall story about how this happened and how it almost didn't, and what a ride it has been. This commentary is like sitting down and having a beer with the guy while the movie happens to be rolling. There's tidbits about what the cast and crew were like, some of which may be true. There are amusing anecdotes about filming, or writing, or what happened when a department gave him something he didn't expect ("mule won't run with five"), and most intriguing is how sometimes less money, time or other resources can actually make what ends up on the screen better than one had anticipated. Less is more, and all that. This should be required listening for anyone studying to work in the film industry, but it's also just a fun story about a wild ride, told by the guy who stood in the center of that storm with a big dumb smile on his face. It's the tale of a tall man, telling you how he lassoed the moon and brought it down for you. A labor of love, and he toasts it to you.
Reviewed by Voodoo_Benjamin on September 4th, 2006:Find all reviews by Voodoo_Benjamin
Easily the best commentary I've had the pleasure of listening too. I am by no means a Whedon fanatic, but I was very impressed by what he has to say here - and how he says it. Whedon is a commentary junkie's dream - he discusses every aspect of the film and filmaking, from lens and shutter speeds, to the writing and character work, to dealing with actors (his stories about Wash had me rolling). All done with the driest humor imaginable. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by aph86 on July 25th, 2007:Find all reviews by aph86
This is a perfect commentary. Whedon is funny and goes over everything that went into the making of this movie. One of the best commentaries ever recorded. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Londo Mollari on February 22nd, 2008:Find all reviews by Londo Mollari
Whedon's commentary was incredibly entertaining to listen to. It was nice finding out that he's such a Trekkie and his impersonation of William Shatner was spot on!
Reviewed by Gledster on July 18th, 2008:Find all reviews by Gledster
A really enjoyable commentary. Joss's love for his creation clearly shows through here and he has a lot to say about everything related in any way, shape or form to the film.

He peppers the film with anecdotes, techincal talk, background info, issues with creating the film, admiration for the people involved, you name it, Joss mentions it. He's very self-deprecating and very funny too.

The only down-side I can find with the commentary is, on all the DVD players I've tried, you can't have the commentary track playing at the same time as the film's subtitles. This is how I prefer to watch commentaries. It helps keep a track of what's going on, especially when the commentator says "That's a great line" and so on. On Serenity, that's not possible.

Not a major niggle, and not in any way a reflection on Joss's amazing commentary. But if you watch commentaries the way I do then it's something to be aware of. I have the R2 edition of the film.
Reviewed by lvcambot on January 23rd, 2012:Find all reviews by lvcambot
This Movie needs to be REMOVED from any "Rating". Joss Wheadon's followers have corrupted IMDB and Amazon.com. Fan Fanatics who corrupt OPEN rating systems need their beloved materials Removed/Exempt from ALL RATINGS!
Reviewed by reidca on February 21st, 2012:Find all reviews by reidca
Not on this dvd but on the more recent special edition is one of those picture in picture commentaries with Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau and Ron Glass. To sum up, Joss, Nathan and Adam fight over the air space, Summer is happy to watch the film and Ron chimes in with something interesting every now and then. Being able to see them definetly adds to the good time nature of this commentary.

Funniest line? "It was a razor blade with seats"
Reviewed by Pineapples101 on September 24th, 2012:Find all reviews by Pineapples101
One of the best and most engaging commentaries that I have ever listened to.
Joss Whedon should just do commentaries for random films; he's a seriously smart guy and I suspect he could bering insight to just about anything he's put in front of.

I remember Frank Darabont on his Mist commentary explaining the process he goes through on commentaries and how it can take multiple sessions over an extended period of time. I would very much like to know Whedon' process, this sounds like it was performed in one sitting and if that's the case then I am even more impressed, because this is easily one of the most information and anecdote dense commentaries out there.

My only slight gripe is that Whedon is a slightly sarcastic, tongue in cheek speaker, but you do always know when he's being serious or not.

A truly great commentary. An example to all other commentators on how it should be done.
Reviewed by maarow on July 12th, 2017:Find all reviews by maarow
Nothing much to add to the previous reviews. Joss Whedon is a chatterbox, and a pretty entertaining one. The only note I will make is that it does seem at times like he tries to talk like his characters, and the "hipness" feels a bit self-conscious to me. But I guess you could also choose to just find it charming.
Reviewed by grimjack on September 21st, 2020:Find all reviews by grimjack
Yep. Whedon is so good at commentaries you almost wish he would make more great films just to give us more great commentary tracks to listen to.

In fairness I kind of want to rate this 9 out of 10, only because there is a sort of second track on the blu-ray I'm going to review next, and on it he points out even more great things that I thought was missing from this track since I heard that one first.

But why is this one so great? Because he points out meaningful subtle moments, and explains some character arcs that you might miss the first time around. Because he talks about changes from his first draft that he regrets losing but knows he made a better film because of it in the end. He makes the funny moments even funnier. He gives stunts that we barely notice the attention they deserve. He points out ways he expository dialog says so much because he wanted to whittle it down. And he points out the ways his film ignores the expected moments but still gives us the ones that we want and need.

He even acknowledges things he is accused of doing again and again, and why he doesn't care. (And he's right. We don't care either, because he is so damn good at it.)

My one big question is how the hell does this commentary track have several zero ratings?
Reviewed by grimjack on September 21st, 2020:Find all reviews by grimjack
Not listed here, or found on the DVD, but on the blu-ray is a picture in picture type commentary with Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass. Really it is just Fillion and Whedon talking most of the time, and they have a lot to say!

Whedon often says that he does not want to repeat anything that he already brought up in the official commentary, which is good, but also points out just how much he did say in the first one, and still could have added that is helpful, informative, interesting, and funny. He could have done a commentary while the movie played at half speed, and given us even more great info, no problem, and well worth watching!

Seeing them on screen while talking about the film does not add anything, but is interesting just because it feels different seeing their expressions, not that we couldn't tell just from their voices how much they deeply love this film (and characters).

It is hard to add more compliments than I did in my review of the main commentary moments ago, but I can by pointing out that Fillion adds lots of similar additions like Whedon does, that are interesting, funny, and helpful in better understanding and enjoying the film.

One moment has him explaining how in the novelization of the film they explain why the operative reacted so hurt by Mal, and it was because he had never been hit by an opponent before, and Whedon is like "You read the novelization? Seriously??") And Nathan was like, I absorbed everything I could about this film.

Another moment has him chanting like a five year old, "I got to be in a western shootout in a film. I got to be in a western shootout in a film."

I do not know if I have ever seen two commentaries for one film that are both this great.