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Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Serenity Graphic

Serenity achieves something that I wasn’t sure was possible: it should end up appealing to fans of the show Firefly as much as it does to people who didn’t even know that it was derived from an unfortunately short-lived TV show. The early exposition is kept to a minimum and even provides a little bit of background that will keep the fans happy, and, with just that tiny bit of fuss, the viewer is launched into Joss Whedon’s Western-tinted science fiction world.

The plot is fairly typical: fugitives from a secretive, scary government are sheltered by a group of (mostly) good-hearted outlaws. The group is hunted across the galaxy and share wild adventures. But that isn’t the half of it.

The script is smart and funny and quick-witted, the characters are sharply drawn, and it manages a few emotional tugs along the way (tugs that will be enhanced for fans of the show). From the very beginning, there are surprises and the action moves with impressive intensity. This movie is, almost literally, one that will have the crowd sitting on the edge of the seat, eyes wide, and wondering what’s going to happen next. This is good stuff.

For as action packed as it is--and the action makes the thing move fast--it never seems stupid or gratuitous. In fact, some of the more casual and brutal violence makes the most sense in the context of the story. It isn’t overly bloody, it isn’t sickening, and it isn’t over-the-top; it’s a movie where the violence simply makes sense.

The characters--from Jayne with his hilarious, mercenary self-interest to River with her mysterious past and to the Captain, Mal, with his conflicted worldview--all bring something unique and interesting to the show. They never feel like stock characters that would fill out any other script or story--they are a product of Whedon’s well-conceived universe.

Sure, there are a few moments where the sets feel like sets and the special effects don’t rise far above Firefly’s (admittedly solid) TV type effects. For that matter, some of the Old West meets space opera dialog stumbles as it tries to rise above affectation. But those are minor quibbles about a movie that feels this fresh, this fun, this exciting, and this surprising.

This one deserves a big following and the hope that Whedon either brings the TV show back to life or gives us a few more feature films to keep us happy. Brave the crowds and go see this one soon--it’s worthy of the big screen adaptation.

The Vodka Pundit view.
Internet Freedom Trail (where the writer hadn’t seen Firefly).
Combs Spouts Off has a great review.
Misplaced Keys has what can only be described as a very happy review.
TBOTCOTW has a great review, too. After the movie I had dinner with Matt, his lovely wife, and a few other companions. You really shoulda been there.
Dorkafork (another of the dinner companions) has his own review with bits that border on spoilers but don’t quite go over the edge. And, if you look carefully enough, he also has this:

He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal on a three hour tour.  A three hour tour.”

Which made me giggle.
Roger Fraley gives a good review, too.
VOLuntarily Conservative
The wonderfully named Doc in the Box.
I told you that Phil was going to do a review.
The wildly neglected Bad State of Gruntledness (who has decent taste in movies, booze, music, and wives (or should that be singular?)) has a review that almost has a spoiler. Almost.

Note: I’m doing what I can to weed out the reviews that contain full on spoilers. The movie deserves better and so does the audience.

Comments & Trackbacks
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I wouldn’t call River’s past especially mysterious. Psychologically disturbing (to the point when mentally, she’s a wreck), certainly.

Yes, it was very good. Yay for blogger rights.

on Sep 28 2005 @ 04:42 AM

I’d really disagree on the special effects. I thought they were quite good (not $200 million dollar, LotR good, but good), and much better than those on the series. Watch the series again sometime, you’ll notice how cramped everything is, how tight all the shots are. The bigger movie budget really let them build some big, cool sets.

I’m going to borrow your description of the movie as anarcho-libertarian (since you didn’t use it) for my post. Cool?

on Sep 28 2005 @ 07:28 AM

Of course. Use it well.

Don’t get me wrong about the special effects: they were solid. There were just some moments where I felt like they were definitely reminiscent of the TV show (and not in the best possible way). But even the TV show had solid effects, and, yes, there were some big, extremely cool sets in the movie.

on Sep 28 2005 @ 07:35 AM

Ahem, a “few other companions” that maybe have a blog you could’ve checked for a review.  Gosh.  (I told you it’d just be a matter of time before I’d be begging for linkswink

on Sep 28 2005 @ 09:17 AM

I just want to note that while you were begging, I was already adding the link.

I’m also waiting for the Speculist (he was there last night, too, although not at dinner) to post a review.

on Sep 28 2005 @ 09:24 AM

Heh.  I almost went whole hog with the synopsis.  “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale written by Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director...”

on Sep 28 2005 @ 09:31 AM

Now that would have been a unique review.

on Sep 28 2005 @ 09:34 AM

I was supposed to do a synopsis? Crap, I guess I’ll have to turn in my Citizen Journalist card.

on Sep 28 2005 @ 10:21 AM

Bad Citizen Journalist! Bad bad!

on Sep 28 2005 @ 11:26 AM
Trackback from TBOTCOTW
Serenity is a very, very satisfying movie, and that was a tough trick to pull. A movie based on a beloved (yet short lived) teevee series and written and directed by a man frequently called a genius has to be...
Sep 28 2005 @ 12:10 PM

I mention you, by blogger name, in my review of the movie and you don’t even link to it. I am hurt. I guess it’s not too late for an update.

on Sep 28 2005 @ 02:49 PM

My misstep has been fixed. My apologies.


on Sep 28 2005 @ 03:02 PM

I wish I could have gone, but I have a class on Tuesday nights. Cheryl was quite disappointed.

And the Turing word is “merely43.” I *wish* I was merely 43.

on Sep 28 2005 @ 08:56 PM

My wife (who does not go by the nickname “Our Mrs. McGehee") and I will be seeing the movie tomorrow, Shepherd Book’s boss willing. I may put up a review after that, or I may have to wait until we’ve seen it four or five more times.

So, maybe tomorrow night, maybe Monday morning, maybe somewhere in between.

on Sep 29 2005 @ 05:31 PM

If you do manage it, but you don’t write a review, do me a favor and drop me a line. I’d love to know how much you enjoyed the movie.

on Sep 29 2005 @ 06:15 PM

I enjoyed it a great deal. Not that I’d expect you to know that, since you don’t bother to come by even though I posted things nearly two days in a row.

BTW, don’t you owe my wife some mp3s?

on Sep 29 2005 @ 08:48 PM

Indeed, I do. I’ll try to send them tomorrow from work to your gmail account.

And you’re in the mighty big mix of links now. Because you’re special and stuff.

on Sep 29 2005 @ 09:12 PM

See, that’s all I wanted. Undeserved praise.

on Sep 29 2005 @ 11:26 PM
Trackback from Literal Barrage
Serenity Blogger Review Roundup
The Serenity blogger reviews are starting to pour in. Here are the ones I've found thus far: GA Mongrel says Wow!. mrLawson apparently didn't get what all the hype was about. G. Bob says you're sure to like it as long as you like ...
Sep 30 2005 @ 12:49 PM
Trackback from blackjack
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May 24 2006 @ 02:11 AM
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