Very few TV shows that only air 11 episodes are as revered as Firefly. Joss Whedon‘s space-western starring Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin and others was famously canceled by Fox but has lived on thanks to a rabid fanbase known as Browncoats, a reference from the show. Their passion for the series helped Whedon direct Serenity, a movie based on the series, and continues to drive interest in the franchise, spawning fan events, merchandise and more.

Yet even with that level of intense fandom, there are still things most of us – and some fans – might not know about Firefly and Serenity. After the jump, check out an infographic that lists a whole bunch. Eighteen to be exact. Read More »

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Infographic: Bad Science in Movies Chart

IO9 has created a handy chart which shows which space movies feature the most common scientific mistakes. It might come as a surprise that Michael Bay’s Armageddon actually fares better than the Star Wars of Alien films. And it comes as no surprise that Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff have been graded a clean bill of accuracy. Hit the jump to see the entire chart.

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If you’ve been reading /Film for a while, then you know that I love good movie-inspired art. And the superbowl of movie art is Crazy4Cult, an art show put on every year by Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles. This year’s show will open on July 9th, and we have seen the first batch of artwork premiere online. For years I’ve been writing about the show, and posting and buying the art online. I’m super excited because this year I’ll be able to attend the event since I now live in Los Angeles.  After the jump you will see a compilation of the artwork I have found thus far. New pieces from Eric Tan, Dave Perillo, Tom Whalen and more. We should have another preview closer to the show. Believe me, if you like movie art, hit the jump!

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Cool Stuff: Serenity Scaled Ship Prop Replica

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Sideshow Collectibles have teamed with Quantum Mechanix to produce a Serenity – ‘The Big Damn Replica’ Scaled Prop Replica. The titular ship of Joss Whedon’s sci-fi western television series/movie has existed only in digital form only – until now.

More than three years in the making, Serenity – The Big Damn Replica, has been painstakingly crafted to be absolutely screen-accurate in every aspect. Unlike most ships from science fiction, Serenity was designed from the ground up to be as realistic as possible, from her floor plan to her construction, using real-world components and manufacturing processes. As one of her creators observed, the idea was to make Serenity so real, fans could see themselves walking her decks. With such a sense of place and familiarity, viewers would never feel lost in this Firefly-Class Transport.

Now for the bad news: This highly detailed scaled prop replica is limited to 1,000 pieces worldwide, and made to order for $2699.99. Yeah… it ain’t cheap. More information and photos after the jump.

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Each week in Blu-or-Not I take a look at the recent Blu-ray releases. This isn’t a review column. If you’re looking for movie reviews, look out for Adam’s This Week in DVD on Tuesdays. Blu-or-Not takes a look at the extra value content — the Blu-ray difference (and yes, this does include Picture and Sound). We decide is it worth buying the Blu-ray version or the plain old DVD.

Eagle Eye
Exclusive to Blu-ray: All the content is presented in High Definition, but none of it is exclusive to the Blu-Ray release.

DVD Features in HD: :

Deleted Scenes: Four and a half-minutes worth of four deleted scenes that had no reason to be in the film in the first place, including a laughable alternative ending with Rachel’s son Sam playing Rock Band (Jerry’s gift) with his friends when the television goes all “Matrixy” and begins to instruct him with a mission. If they had included that ending on the theatrical cut, people would have been laughing out loud.
Asymmetric Warfare: The Making of Eagle Eye: A 26-minute making of documentary which opens up with one of the screenwriters/producers talking about how Steven Spielberg came up with the idea for the story ten years ago, and that if the film had been made back then, it would have been “science fiction” and that it would have been “a movie that stretches all plausibility and credibility.” I would argue that the storyline still defies plausibility, but watching this documentary makes you want to like the film and the people involved, even though you know it’s a gigantic mess.
Shall We Play a Game?: The coolest featurette on the set, a 9-minute conversation between Eagle Eye director DJ Caruso and Wargames director John Badham. I’ve always loved conversations between filmmakers, and even while this is more self-promotional than most, its still cool.
Other features include: Is My Cell Phone Spying on Me?, A 9-minute featurette exploring the film’s tech-paranoia premise, Road Trip, a too short 3-minute featurette on the film’s many shooting locations, and a Gag Reel which mostly consists of Shia LaBeouf and Billy Bob Thornton flubbing their lines and Michelle Monaghan getting the giggles one too many times.

Video: 4 out of 5
Sound:
4.5 out of 5
Blu-Ray Exclusives:
0 out of 5
Extra Features:
3 out of 5
Price: $39.99 MSRP ($27 on Amazon)

Bottom Line: Might be worth a rental but definitely not worth a purchase. None of the extras attempt to explain the convoluted plot which makes less and less sense the more you think about it, even while you’re watching the film. I’m also disappointed with the lack of an advertised audio commentary from the filmmakers/screenwriters. NOT

Serenity
Exclusive to Blu-ray:

Picture in Picture: Interviews with the cast and crew and behind the scenes footage are spread throughout the film, most of the time scene specific. This is probably the only worthwhile feature added to this edition.
Visual Commentary: This is the same commentary recorded for the collector’s edition, featuring Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion (Mal), Adam Baldin (Jayne), Summer Glau (River), and Ron Glass (Book). But this time around you can watch Joss and the crew sitting on a couch while the joke and share their experiences working on the film. It’s a fun commentary but nothing new.
Alliance Database: A series of menus that let you explore the planets, people and history of the Verse. I’ve never really believed that people actually use these type of features. No one I know likes reading long text segments on a television screen. Too bad it isn’t supplemented with computer animated videos and documentaries.
Mr. Universe’s Compendium: Basically a version of the Alliance Database which comes up with new textual information based on the scenes you’re watching. I found it pretty much useless.

DVD Features in HD:

Deleted Scenes: 13-minutes of 9 deleted 6-minutes of 4 extended scenes, available with or without commentary from Joss Whedon. The scenes are off of an AVID output, not correctly formatted for a 16:9 television, and have time-codes at the top and the bottom of the black letterbox.
Outtakes: 6-minutes of bloopers, presented in the same non-hd condition as the Deleted Scenes.
Featurettes: Future History (4:31), What’s in a Firefly (6:32), Re-Lighting the Firefly (9:40), A Filmmaker’s Journey (19:53), Joss Whedon Introduction (3:41), Take a Walk on Serenity (4:06), The Green Clan (3:07) are all off of the Serenity Collector’s Edition Set. None of the features have been remastered for high definition presentation, and most even contain a letterbox within a letterbox.

Video: 4.5 out of 5
Sound:
5 out of 5
Blu-Ray Exclusives:
2 out of 5
Extra Features:
4 out of 5
Price: $29.99 MSRP ($20 on Amazon)

Bottom Line: I wish that Universal would have spent the extra time cleaning up the extra features for High Definition presentation. The addition of the Visual Commentary and Picture in Picture features are cool, but can’t really be played at the same time. If you play the film with both activated, the player will push you back to the visual commentary when the Picture in Picture segments end, leaving it up to you to switch back over to PinP when another segment begins. Hey, I’m lazy. Truth is this is the type of movie that either you lvoe or hate, and if you love it and have a High Definition television, its a no-brainer. BLU

More after the jump.

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Cool Stuff: Firefly/Serenity Maps

Quantum Mechanix has released the Complete and Official Map of the Verse, the first comprehensive guide to the worlds of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and Serenity. Spread over both sides of the 65 lbs heavy cover stock paper, the map, measures 25 x 38 inches and “documents the location, relative sizes and names of the 215 terraformed worlds and moons, seven gas giants, seven protostars and five distinct star systems that comprise the star cluster known as The Verse.”

Created by Serenity graphic designer Geofferey Mandel, the map was compiled over months using dozens of experts of every stripe (science, design, production) and then tested against storylines and other sources of continuity including the Dark Horse Serenity comics, the Serenity Role-Playing Game and even some fan-generated fiction. Available Z-folded (down to 9.5 by 12.5 inches) and inserted into a glassine envelope for $26.95 or hand-rolled and shipped in an archival tube for $34.95.

Also available on Quantum Mechanix is Worlds of the Alliance lithograph, which was created by designer Geoffrey Mandel for the classroom scene in the movie Serenity, but was never used because the final set had no walls. Only 1,000 30″x24″ lithographs of the Worlds of the Alliance were printed. Hand-signed and numbered by Mr. Mandel himself, available for just $39.95.

The site also has available a map of Serenity Valley. Created by ‘Verse historian and QMx artisan Ben Mund, this 30” x 26.5” lithograph is printed on 100-pound, satin-finish paper and contains a complete topographical rendering of the infamous valley, including many landmarks and other details of historic importance dating back to 2506, just prior to the outbreak of hostilities that would become known as the Unification War. The 1,500 limited edition print is hand-signed and numbered by Mr. Mund himself. Available for 39.95 from Quantum Mechanix.

Cool Stuff is a daily feature of slashfilm.com. Know of any geekarific creations or cool products which should be featured on Cool Stuff? E-Mail us at orfilms@gmail.com.

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The Complete and Official Map of the Verse via: AICN

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