I requested this a few years under the promise I would write a review. Now, I had watched this (and the second edit) with a friend who had never seen the original series. He loved this edit. Both of them, so you have his approval in addition to mine. In fact, when I gave it a second viewing he was disappointed that I rewatched it without him.
What I particularly enjoyed about this edit is that it brings Reynolds loss of faith closer to the surface, using it as his arc in this edit. The first film is very much his origin story. Full disclosure though, I haven't watched this in a while so the memory of both edits is not fresh on my mind. However, from what I do I recall is that this edit was much tighter. It could've easily served as a TV movie with its tight plot and pacing.
The second is a bit more non-traditional in its plot and is more set-up for what happens in the Serenity film. I remember it bounced its focus between four characters: Reynolds, Jayne, River, and, to a lesser extent, Wash. The first has a strong focus on a singular protagonist. Still good, but IIRC it lacks the tightness of this first edit. I don't blame the editor for this as it had to set-up the drama of the cinematic feature, and putting a little attention and development on Wash is not a bad idea before jumping into that film.
There are minor to medium drops in quality when MusicEd921 uses deleted scenes to add some character development to the plots he's trying to craft. However, they're infrequent and easy to ignore. The vast majority of the edit is quite good and I didn't notice any issues. The video quality is what you can expect from a mid-2000's TV DVD box-set. A bit grainy and rough, but this is an issue with the source and not the edit.
An excellent pair of edits. And with an endorsement from someone who'd never seen the original source material, I can hope that is encouraging to MusicEd921's work on these edits.
I'm going to recommend this edit as a great way for fans to rewatch the series Firefly. So thanks for that, MusicEd921. On the other hand, for anyone who hasn't seen the series, I think actually watching those episodes will be superior, and there's a couple reasons why.
Firstly, I have to say that it's not apparent that this was intended to have commercial breaks and credits. The editor pieces it together to feel like a movie, a TV pilot movie, but a movie nonetheless. There are a couple subtle audio hiccups, but for the most part the editing is all top notch. Where I got a little hung up is on the placement of scenes in the beginning third of the film. It's a weird start, honestly. We're in a big battle that's filmed on a TV budget, and we have no attachment to any of the characters or reason to care about what's happening. These scenes work great as they were intended: flashbacks to reveal more character. They're also great when in contrast to the slow West feel that's established for much of the later series. When we suddenly cut from that to a full-on space battle, it's exciting. However here, it just looks like a cheap deleted scene, and then doesn't jibe with the later tone of the film. Similarly, playing the flashbacks of the crew getting together in chronological order actually doesn't work very well. The jokes of the scenes fall flat because we don't know what the personalities and relationships of those characters are until later.
I know it's more complicated to find artful places to insert flashbacks, but I think it would greatly improve the narrative flow for a first-time viewer. It would also allow the editor to play around with filters for these scenes, which could cover for the loss in visual quality in the deleted scenes. And there are some great places where they could be inserted, for example inserting the battle of Serenity into the other deleted scene where Zoe interrupts Simon to tell him ABOUT that very battle. If we're going to be retelling Firefly, why not get creative with it and play with the presentation a bit more? Some of the Western music could even be exchanged for more sci-fi music (like from the film) in the space scenes, a montage title sequence could be created, etc.
As is, this is a fun alternate viewing of the TV show. The deleted scenes are appreciated, and it's an enjoyable trip down memory lane. I'll probably still go back to my episodes next rewatch though, and that's what I'd show to a new viewer. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited for the next installment.
Firefly's nearly perfect introductory episode gets a nearly perfect re-edit.
Mostly a re-cap of the original two episodes (DVD order) s01e01-e02 introduction to our favorite Big Damn Heroes! The added meditation of Mal's lose of faith, through the deleted scenes, makes him much more well rounded. The beautiful use of scenes from Out of Gas create a more complete introduction to the family.
I only have minor nit-picks, around the reintroduction of the "Lay of the Land" scenes, I'm not sure that the placement is best, or that the two scenes could potentially use a little separation. I am not sure if it would flow better or not. Also I found the cortext PDA startup music to be jarring especially when it cuts out, perhaps it should start as Simon opens it and then fade, after the data stick is inserted. The hard cut just doesn't feel good.
Overall this is a great re-edit, the audio/video quality is related to the issues with the source of the deleted scenes, and I already mentioned the only audio issue I had. Thank you MusicEd921 for a great way to come home to my Firefly family.