My First Blu-Ray: Serenity

bill bodkin celebrates 100 posts on the B&B with a review of a sci-fi film on blu-ray. yes, he’s really sentimental.

For Valentine’s Day/my anniversary this year I unexpectedly received a Blu-Ray player as a gift.

Yeah, pretty awesome gift!

However, this proved to be a bit of a quandary, I have an impressive DVD library, so do I go out and re-buy all my movies on blu-ray now or do I wait, be selective (and economic) and purchase films that are perfect for the blu-ray player?

I choose the latter of the two options and for my first blu-ray purchase I choose the cult sci-fi action flick, Serentiy.

As the virtual tumbleweed rolls by your keyboard and the crickets begin to chirp in the background, let me make a bold statement — Serenity is one of the best films, you haven’t seen.

It’s actually one of the cooler “how it got made stories” as well. See, Serenity is based the canceled-after-barely-one-season-show, Firefly. That’s right, it barely lasted a season. However, the mastermind behind the series, Joss Whedon (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel) is a superheavyweight in the world of geekiness and comic book nerdiness, (two qualities I unabashedly subscribe to) and through support of his fans was able to turn this failed series into a cult hit.

The plot to Serenity picks off where the misfit crew left off in the series- bombing around the galaxy in search of trouble. The trouble for Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and his crew on the Serenity is that they’ve got a new passenger- River Thams (Summer Glau), a young girl who’s been engineered to be the perfect weapon and who happened upon some goverment secrets.

So hot on the team’s trail is the government lead by devout badass hitman (the awesome Chiwetel Ejiofor) as well as a mysterious hoard of cannibal humanoids known as Reavers, who may just be the key to

Sounds like any other straight-to-DVD film, right? Plotwise, sure, but in true Whedon form, it starts out as a fun and funny flick but ultimately grows a bit dark, bloody and in the end- emotional. Something most sci-fi pics lack these days. What the film also sports is a charismatic lead character, who’s basically Han Solo without the wookie. Nathan Fillion (who you can see on ABC in the show Castle) easily vacillates from a glib, wise-cracking son-of-a-gun to an in-your-face, bare-knuckle, red blooded hero. In fact Paste Magazine just named Fillion’s character as the #5 Anti-Hero of all-time, one notch above Han Solo and one below The Dude. Good company to keep.

What bolsters his performance is an outstanding supporting cast. Veteran character actor Adam Baldwin’s trigger happy knucklehead Jane provides a lot of comic relief. In true Joss Whedon form, there’s a retinue of strong female characters, all of whom are stunning in the looks department and lethal in the action department.

However, it’s Chiwetel Ejiofor who gives the best performance. He delivers a fanatic’s resolve, a killer instinct and a terrifying sense of brutality, all with the slight nod of his head. This performance was from 2005, so it’s very easy to see why Hollywood has latched onto his as an A-list supporting actor.

Even with strong performances, it’s still the presence of Joss Whedon that makes this film work. He’s a master at what he does. His dialogue is always rife with one-liners and emotional impact — like a Tarantino for the smaller screen (he’s mainly a TV guy). His ability to make us care about this small, scrappy crew of space pirates is admirable.

In conclusion, my decision was the right one. I choose a blu-ray movie that combined high-end effects with a terrific cast, a crackerjack plot and an overall fun demeanor. And I believe when it comes to renting a movie, Serenity should be your choice as well.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites


  1. I highly recommend the series. It begins as Serenity takes on the passengers who become regular characters alongside the crew. You won’t be disappointed. (although, it is sad to already know the fates of some of the characters you will undoubtedly come to love over the course of Season 1.

  2. The character is Jayne Cobb, played by Adam Baldwin, the only decent one of teh Baldwin brothers.

    In the opening scene, Joss Whedon wrote the script/dialogue where River Tam as a child in school explains the whole reason for the movie, and why wise people don’t trust the government today.
    The people think the Constitution protects their rights;
    Government sees it as an obstacle to be overcome.

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