If any of you out there are fans of Firefly, or if you're just looking for a high quality independent film, then I'd like to introduce you to Browncoats: Redemption.
I watched this when it was briefly available for free streaming. I have the dvd, but I must admit that I haven't put it in my player yet - I've been crazy busy lately.
First off, these guys make me proud to call myself a Browncoat. They set this up as a non-profit charity project so that they could give the proceeds to groups like Equality Now, Kids Need to Read, Dyslexia Foundation, The Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center, and The Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation. Their writer and director Michael Dougherty is one of the most down-to-earth guys I've ever talked to.
I've seen some bad reviews for this movie, and I can sort of understand what they're saying, but people forget one big thing: This is an independent fan film. Its only real flaw is that it is so close to big-budget Hollywood quality that you sometimes forget how much of a struggle it is to create something like this on such a limited budget (I would know, this is what I do too).
The characters are easily believable, and very relatable. As is the issue with any ensemble cast, you don't get to know the minor characters very well, so Mike Dougherty did a good job of choosing a few characters that we need to focus on, and giving us hints about the rest of them. The family dynamic that we love so much about Serenity is on Redemption as well. We see them through the eyes of the not-so-welcome newcomer, and watch as the status quickly becomes not quo. (Bonus points if you get that reference.)
The ship is spectacular. I certainly didn't expect to see CGI like that in a fan film. There is a scene inside the ship that is really brightly lit, and we start to see some of the shortcomings of the set, but for most of the film, the interior looks phenomenal. For comparison, just the cargo bay set for Firefly cost over a million dollars. This entire film was done for around $30,000. To pull off a set like that for the amount of money they had is impressive.
In the streaming version that I saw, the sound had a few issues, but from what I've heard they're all corrected for the DVD release.
The story does take a little while to set up, and I've heard a few people complain that they just couldn't get into it, but it's well worth waiting a few minutes for the action to start rolling. By the time you finish the film, you'll be cheering on the captain and her crew, and you'll be begging for more.
So go out and buy your dvd, give them some money to hand out to some worthy charities, and show your support for the 'verse. I can't wait to see what these guys come up with next.