I have a lot of respect for the cast and crew of this film. Everyone took part not because they expected fame or money, they did it because the love the source material. That love shows above all of the problems of this film, and make it worth viewing for any fan of the source material (Firefly and Serenity, respectively). I can only hope that this film captures that fan base and drums up a lot of money for some very good causes.
Now, please understand, I do understand that this is not a professional production. I understand that budget and time was limited. And, looking past the faults, there's an enjoyable story here.
But the film certainly does have it's faults.
The biggest fault in my eyes, is the writing. The biggest problem with the writing on this film is that it breaks one of the biggest rules of screen writing... "Show, don't tell". Too much of this film is people telling us things that have happened, or telling us that this person is good at this or that. Characters, for the most part, don't actually get to have an endearing moment that makes us connect with them. We are forced to bond with the crew of the Redemption by hearing about past adventures, without seeing them in any real action. We get a long voice over to fill us in on past events instead of visually making it a flash back or dripping out information during some sort of action (remember Reese's exposition during the chase in Terminator... sure didn't feel like an info dump, but it was). Additionally, characters are forced to over react to small things. Instead of anyone having a measured response, they immediately think everything is fighting words.
It also seems that there wasn't a strong idea where the film could go when it started. We spend quite a bit of time setting up for a "job" that is completely irrelevant, and a long scene picking up a pilot that really could have been done in a minute instead of five. It is frustrating because the source material always moved along at a brisk clip, but somehow it seems the writers didn't have a grasp on how to carry that over into their own work.
The cast is okay, especially considering they were all volunteers and do well with what they're given. The camera work is a bit annoying as it is all medium shots that seem to hold long past their expiration date. What is genuinely impressive is the digital effects the sets for the ship. Though they clearly had a limited budget for each, what they managed to put on the screen really does work well and looks like they easily spent more than they did.
All in all, the film feels like a long first episode to a series, the plot seeming to exist merely to introduce us to the crew. So perhaps they will be able to make a stronger follow up now that introductions are out of the way.
Honestly, if you are at all curious about the film, buy itstream it from the source site. The money goes to some great causes and it really is enjoyable despite it's flaws.
Review by gavynhelfyre from the Internet Movie Database.