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The others do a good job gushing about the movie. Sure we're fans and
bound to like the movie more than the usual fare, but those looking for
an original and thrilling movie experience, this will shock and amaze.
The Firefly world introduced a fantasy home for many of us, with
characters we truly cared about and dilemmas we could get behind. The
best way to describe it is to take the best aspects of the Han Solo
elements of the original Star Wars, and build a world around that.
There's no grand theme or clear cut good and evil. There's just a band
of fugitives trying to make their way in a dangerous sky. It's
something folks can relate to, although most of us won't be in a space
battle or fighting psychotic creatures anytime soon. The point of the
name Serenity is the name of the ship, though in a deeper sense that's
what our characters are in search of. Finding freedom and a home, and
that's what the ship represents to them, and to the fans. So you
understand why so many are so excited about this dinky little scifi
The movie captures that beautiful feeling but takes us on a ride that there's no turning back from. In my opinion, the one thing that makes for a truly GREAT movie is if you walk out of the theater a different person than when you walked in. This movie takes you on such a journey I didn't know if I would leave the theater at all. Sure the visual effects are stunning, but even the unfinished effects I saw meant nothing to me because it was the characters I cared about (and note that the digitally created ship itself is one of them, and I cared just as much for that than any of them). The humor is probably better than anything in the theaters this year, and the action is even greater. My screening actually came a week after Episode 3 was released, and I immediately washed my hands of Mr Lucas, and months later when I saw Fantastic 4... well let's not even talk about that one.
This movie really does have something for everyone, and even in the core of the geek fandom, the range of people is total - men and women split it at least 50/50, uber-geeks and "cool" types, and a surprising amount of attractive people of all ages. Seriously though, don't trust the rants of the fans. Check out the movie for yourself. Give it an honest chance and I promise you will be taken on a journey that will turn you into a fan as well.
From start to finish there are no wasted moments. All your emotions
will be engaged. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll gasp in shock. What
you won't be is bored. Don't plan on being able to take a bathroom
break or get more soda and popcorn. You won't want to miss a second of
There's plenty here for everybody: Good writing, humor, excellent acting, plot, action (that actually makes sense in terms of the plot), excellent cgi, eye candy. And it's a movie that needs the big screen for the full effect. Watch it in theater; don't just wait for the DVD.
If you saw Star Wars (the original) in the theater way back when, then this movie will evoke a similar feeling of awe. Once you see this movie, your perceptions of the movie-going experience will be changed. No other movie I've ever seen has hit me with the intensity of this one.
Before you start reading this, you have to know where I'm coming from.
I'm a huge fan of Joss Whedon's work, was a loyal follower of 'Buffy
the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel' and really got into 'Firefly' (on which
this movie is based) and the whole browncoat phenomenon as well. So I
was, you might just say, pretty much predestined to like this movie.
But, not so. Whedon-fans are a pretty critical bunch, most of the time,
and no one went into this thing with higher expectations than us. And
to have those expectations be met in such a way as Serenity does, is
very special indeed.
The movie itself has all the elements that make Joss Whedon's work so very unique. The sense of humor, the wonderfully realized characters and their strong interpersonal bonds, masterful dialogue and emotional pain, everything is present. I laughed, I cried, I pretty much went through the entire emotional spectrum watching this movie, and that's not something you might expect from 'just another sci-fi movie'.
While I'm writing this, the release of Serenity is still a few weeks ahead, but I got to see the finished version of the movie with a selected group of Dutch Firefly fans in an exclusive pre-screening. Afterwards, the atmosphere was strange, subdued. It was almost as if everyone had survived some kind of big disaster together and we were too stunned to really say much. And I say that in the kindest possible way. Honestly.
If you're not into Whedon's work, or even if you're not into sci-fi in general, this is gonna be a movie worth watching. Ignore the whole 'geekmovie' hype that'll undoubtedly surround the release. Ignore the hype created by Whedon-fans such as myself. Simply go see it with an open mind and be prepared to be blown away. Because when Whedon works his magic, everyone has to pay attention.
This movie is truly a leaf on the wind. Watch it soar!
Instead of going into a long, drawn out review, let me sum up
"Serenity" by saying that 1) no fans of "Firefly" will be disappointed,
and 2) Whedon does a good enough job laying out the backstory that
newbies to the Firefly universe will have no trouble figuring things
out and enjoying the heck out of the movie.
The film is split more into halves than the standard three acts, which works just fine in this instance. The plot may be confusing at first, but when the second half of the film starts there are no lingering questions and a pantload of great action bits and one-liners. Frankly, the last 45 minutes are absolutely outstanding. The first half takes a bit to really pick up, but it's the second half of the movie that will leave old fans and new yearning for a sequel.
There are some sad moments, some gut busting lines, and some rousing actions sequences that make "Serenity" a wonderful film that really, really deserves a sequel and, perhaps if we're lucky, a second chance on Sci-Fi.
***NO SPOILERS*** I saw the movie at a sneak preview in Houston, TX on
6/23/05. I was just happy that we were getting more of these characters
and this setting.
Visually, it was stunning. The extra budget for effects was well spent. The characters and their relationships were recognizable, but there had been changes from the show. I think this was necessary within the movie, and part of an evolution from the TV show to the big screen (the movie takes place 6 months after the last episode, "Objects in Space"). Things have changed.
There is a higher action and violence level in this (duh, it's a movie, not on TV), and we get some major revelations about the world (which some who saw it with me already don't like). There are some MAJOR events that affect the characters, and I wasn't totally happy with them - shocked is the word. But this is Joss's world, and his characters, and he tells the stories he wants to tell. He doesn't get bound up in hurting our feelings; he just tells it like it is. I believe he did say that this was the hardest thing he'd ever had to write.
At least one person at our screening was a "Firefly virgin," and he said that he liked it. I hope people who have no exposure to the show will be able to see this and enjoy it. Our big damn heroes come across well, and I hope this will get them some well-deserved exposure. This is a no-holds barred, big-time action/adventure sci-fi story, bold and raw, and set in a world unlike anything portrayed in SF before (well, except for "Firefly"). And I hope it does really, really well, and we get to see the sequels.
I saw this movie twice in preview screenings in May and June, and I
cannot emphasize enough how rewarding it is to see this movie more than
once. The first time through is such an amazing ride that it is
impossible to soak everything up. Subsequent viewings really give you
whole new levels of appreciation. There's SO much going on here, and
it's amazingly good.
There's never been a movie quite like this one. It defies easy genre categorization, and has so many beautiful moments, comedic moments, and fantastic action sequences that it has got to appeal to a much wider than just a "scifi" audience. It really manages to deliver an important message while still being enormously entertaining -- a rare feat.
Joss Whedon has crafted one of his tightest, most masterful scripts ever, and his directing is masterful. For example, he surpasses even some of his own legendary "one-ers" of Buffy and Angel in the introductory sequence on the ship.
Plus, the actors are talented, and damn pretty to boot.
When Firefly was canceled, a small part of me died. With Serenity, I'm feeling wonderfully whole again. Serenity is a grand, sweeping finale to Firefly and with any luck, the beginning of a new film franchise. Like Firefly, Serenity just plain rocks. Intense storytelling, amazing visuals, sharp-as-a-tack dialog and the prettiest darned crew ya ever seen. These are Big Damned Heroes for sure! The Operative is a fantastic new character in this wonderful verse. Serenity answers many of Firefly's lingering questions while leaving others wide open for the next adventure. And I for one can't wait for that. Watch Firefly, see Serenity, tell your friends. Lather, rinse, repeat. Any questions? Shiny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm a fan of the original Firefly series, and had high hopes for
Serenity based on the reviews. Sadly, it was not nearly as good as I
What rubbed me the wrong way? * Waaaaay too much emphasis on combat, starting with the opening scene. The fun of Firefly was always in the decisiveness and determination of Mal and crew in the face of a hostile universe. The movie reduced that spirit to a series of action movie clichés -- the worst of which being the revelation that River is not just a troubled psychic, but is also Jr. Kickboxing Champion of the galaxy. By the time the "climactic" battles rolled around, I was thoroughly bored with the fighting. River single-handedly slaughtering a horde of Reavers was just silly. Mal against the assassin was marginally better, but still clichéd and unbelievable.
* Actions were too hyped-up and extreme. I understand that the characters have to be punched up a bit to make the leap from TV to a movie, but it was taken too far. Mal threatening to kill his crew if they don't help him travel through Reaver territory? River kicking her brother in throat because she thought he might "deactivate" her? Please. And Wash's death was just ridiculous (and unnecessary). Even the special effects were overdone -- they would have been better off just burning half the FX budget for this film in a big bonfire.
* Plot holes galore. It's easy to overlook plot holes if a movie is good enough, but in this case the holes threatened to unravel the whole ball of yarn. The Alliance knows that Mal will seek shelter with Book or at other safe-havens, so they wipe them all out... but they don't stick around to greet Serenity when it arrives! How stupid is that? No, really. The Reavers all live in a small clump of ships in the middle of nowhere, but Mal can't detour Serenity a few kilometers around them in order to get from A to B? Space is a big place, folks, but the makers of this movie don't want you to think about that.
* Half the plot elements that weren't full of holes were just incomprehensible. Can anyone tell me what exactly killed Wash? It seems to be the remains of a Reaver ship, but there's no way to tell. Or is it an Alliance ship? I had trouble caring. When Mal brings the entire Reaver fleet to Mr. Universe's planet, is he doing it on purpose? Did he expect to find the Alliance waiting for him? The answer to such key questions seems to both yes and no. Much of the movie was in such a frenetic hurry to move forward that it couldn't be bothered to make sense.
* Simplistic. After the failure of Firefly, the movie was obviously dumbed-down for mass consumption. The revelations about River, the Reavers, Miranda, etc. were all disappointingly straightforward. The interesting relationship between Kaylee and the Doctor was reduced to a series of sex jokes. The only character who held up well through the entire movie was Jayne (since he still works well in a straightforward shoot-em-up like this). The build-up of the secret of "Miranda" was matched in lameness only by the too-easy revelation of the same secret about 15 minutes later.
I really wanted to like this movie, but I walked out feeling that I had watched something that was 1 part Firefly mixed with at least 2 parts conventional Hollywood movie.
I was lucky enough to catch one of the pre-screenings of Serenity in Spring (thank you Universal!). I let the cinema with a lump in my throat and a feeling that I had just witnessed something special. A phoenix from the ashes, if you will. Serenity is simply an emotional roller-coaster, especially given its ilk in the sci fi genre. Joss has truly created something special for the fans of the show, and for fans of clever storytelling. The movie is an analogy of the show as a whole and can best be summed up by the infamous quote from Mal in the TV series, "We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty." See. This. Film. Watch Firely first if you want to get the maximum effect.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I first became interested in FIREFLY, the series, and SERENITY, through the early trailers shown back in May. AFter seeing the trailer I rented the series, loved it, and since purchasing the DVD have seen it many times. I really looked forward to the movie. Unfortunately, the movie didn't live up to the trailer and was mediocre at best. None of the elements that made the series so enjoyable are present. Gone are deep character development and the lively interaction among the crew members. Book and Inara are really just cameos,while Kaylee, Wash, and even Simon have little to do. The heart of FIREFLY was the relationship between Simon and River, but it's little explored here. Humor and hints of romance are, for the most part, absent. The plot is action-heavy and really is just the crew trying to escape from Reavers. The entire rationale behind the Alliance's desperate need to eliminate River Tam is uninteresting and the explanation for the existence of the Reavers is truly lame. It was much more interesting to have the Reavers be humans who'd gone wild on the outer rim. I kept waiting for the "two-by-two, hands-of-blue" creeps to show up but they never did. Finally, the operative's bizarre about-face at the end makes no sense. Seeing this poor feature film makes me love the FIREFLY series even more. I was hooked at the end of the first half, when Mal opens up the crate carrying River. There will be no trilogy here.
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