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SFRevu Media Column- 11/2008  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we appreciate media kits, preview invitations and preview DVDs. All dramatic presentations received will be listed in this column. Send Materials and Invitations to: Gayle Surrette c/o SFRevu 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613 Email should be sent to: media (at) sfrevu.com

Firefly: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] by Joss Whedon (Creator/Executive Producer)
and Tim Minnear (Executive Producer) (20th Century Fox 11 November 2008 / $89.98) - Product Description:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: 11/11/2008
Run time: 665 minutes
Rating: NR

Amazon.com
As the 2005 theatrical release of Serenity made clear, Firefly was a science fiction concept that deserved a second chance. Devoted fans (or "Browncoats") knew it all along, and with this well-packaged DVD set, those who missed the show's original broadcasts can see what they missed. Creator Joss Whedon's ambitious science-fiction Western (Whedon's third series after Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) was canceled after only 11 of these 14 episodes had aired on the Fox network, but history has proven that its demise was woefully premature. Whedon's generic hybrid got off to a shaky start when network executives demanded an action-packed one-hour premiere ("The Train Job"); in hindsight the intended two-hour pilot (also titled "Serenity," and oddly enough, the final episode aired) provides a better introduction to the show's concept and splendid ensemble cast. Obsessive fans can debate the quirky logic of combining spaceships with direct parallels to frontier America (it's 500 years in the future, and embattled humankind has expanded into the galaxy, where undeveloped "outer rim" planets struggle with the equivalent of Old West accommodations), but Whedon and his gifted co-writers and directors make it work, at least well enough to fashion a credible context from the incongruous culture-clashing of past, present, and future technologies, along with a polyglot language (the result of two dominant superpowers) that combines English with an abundance of Chinese slang.

What makes it work is Whedon's delightfully well-chosen cast and their nine well-developed characters -- a typically Whedon-esque extended family -- each providing a unique perspective on their adventures aboard Serenity, the junky but beloved "Firefly-class" starship they call home. As a veteran of the disadvantaged Independent faction's war against the all-powerful planetary Alliance (think of it as Underdogs vs. Overlords), Serenity captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) leads his compact crew on a quest for survival. They're renegades with an amoral agenda, taking any job that pays well, but Firefly's complex tapestry of right and wrong (and peace vs. violence) is richer and deeper than it first appears. Tantalizing clues about Blue Sun (an insidious mega-corporation with a mysteriously evil agenda), its ties to the Alliance, and the traumatizing use of Serenity's resident stowaway (Summer Glau) as a guinea pig in the development of advanced warfare were clear indications Firefly was heading for exciting revelations that were precluded by the series' cancellation. Fortunately, the big-screen Serenity (which can be enjoyed independently of the series) ensured that Whedon's wild extraterrestrial west had not seen its final sunset. Its very existence confirms that these 14 episodes (and enjoyable bonus features) will endure as irrefutable proof Fox made a glaring mistake in canceling the series. -- Jeff Shannon

(see review)

Hancock (Single-Disc Unrated Edition) by (Sony Pictures 25 November 2008 / $28.96) - Product Description: Academy AwardŽ nominee Will Smith (Best Actor, The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006) stars in this action-packed comedy as Hancock, a sarcastic, hard-living and misunderstood superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public. When Hancock grudgingly agrees to an extreme makeover from idealistic publicist Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman, Juno), his life and reputation rise from the ashes and all seems right again--until he meets a woman (2003 Academy AwardŽ winner Charlize Theron, Best Actress, Monster) with similar powers to his and the key to his secret past. (Source: Sony Pictures)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Widescreen Edition) by Dave Filoni (Director ) (Warner Home Video 11 November 2008 / $28.98) -

Product Description:
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: 11/11/2008
Run time: 98 minutes
Rating: PG

From IMDB.com (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1185834/plotsummary):
Plot summary for Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
As the Clone Wars sweep through the galaxy, the heroic Jedi Knights struggle to maintain order and restore peace. More and more systems are falling prey to the forces of the dark side as the Galactic Republic slips further and further under the sway of the Separatists and their never-ending droid army. Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan learner Ahsoka Tano find themselves on a mission with far-reaching consequences, one that brings them face-to-face with crime lord Jabba the Hutt. But Count Dooku and his sinister agents, including the nefarious Asajj Ventress, will stop at nothing to ensure that Anakin and Ahsoka fail at their quest. Meanwhile, on the front lines of the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda lead the massive clone army in a valiant effort to resist the forces of the dark side ... Written by Warner Bros. Pictures

(see review)

Twilight [Theatrical Release] by Catherine Hardwicke (Director) (Summit Entertainment 21 November 2008 / ) - Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke...

The Plot: In her new town of Forks, Washington, misfit teenager Bella Swan (Stewart) falls for her alluring and mysterious classmate, Edward Cullen (Pattinson). As it turns out, Edward belongs to a lineage of vampires, although he doesn't fit the typical vampire mold. As their passion reaches dizzying heights, can Edward resist his natural urges, and will he be able to defend Bella from his family members who have come for her? (Source: Summit Entertainment)

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