REVIEW SUMMARY: This is what a SF movie should be. Anyone who enjoys a good movie should see Serenity, not just Firefly fans.
PROS: Strong characters, believable dialog, snappy humor, answers some questions about the ‘Verse.
CONS: Weak-ish ending, lackluster music, cheap SFX.
BOTTOM LINE: See it. Now.
I won’t bore you with a re-hash of the plot as you most likely know it or have seen the movie. Does Serenity live up to the TV show and was it worth the wait? Most definately.
We get everything that the TV show had: interesting and strong characters, great dialog, humor and the interesting ‘Verse iteself. In fact, right off it feels like the hiatus never happened. The crew interacts like old times and Whedon’s snappy, witty dialog is in full force withing the first few minutes. We learn how Simon managed to spirit River away from the Alliance and we come face to face with the best villain in a long time, the completely amoral ‘Operative’. Ruthless doesn’t begin to describe him, yet his demeanor onscreen hides that trait very well.
The action starts as The Operative begins tracking River to Serenity and slowly ratchets the tension up between the crewmembers to the point where you can see the stress of running has frayed everyone’s nerves and Jayne and Mal almost come to blows over River. Very believable and well executed.
Whedon manages to combine River’s story with the origins of the Reavers in a manner I didn’t see coming until almost the last minute before the reveal. Again, well done and unexpected. In fact, I liked everything story-wise about Serenity. Whedon knows how write interesting characters who use believable dialog and interact as real people do. We can only hope Lucas is watching, but he may be too busy lighting his cigars with a roll of $100 bills. But I do have a new tag line for old George: “Mal would have shot first!”, ’cause, well, he would have. I’m not going to delve deeper into the meaning of the movie or the motivations for the characters actions. Other reviews do that better than I could. I will say I bought into everything that happend, except for the ending. Well, the final confrontation between Mal and The Operative.
From what we know about The Operative, I didn’t buy into his actions at the end. They didn’t feel right given what type of person he supposedly is. It could be that he changed during the movie, but I didn’t see any clues that he did. That bugged me. There were also a few scenes/results that I didn’t buy either, but they were very few. I also found the music to be lackluster, and missing the psuedo-Chinese sound from the show. And the SFX were barely adequate. I’m surprised that $40 million doesn’t buy better effects. I will say I really likes the opening scene onboars Serenity that is basically one long take that traverses the ship. Outstanding.
All in all, I highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes good movies, not just SF or Firefly fans.
Arr! Here there be spoilers! Ye’ve been warned. Arrr!
And yes, there is one big surprise that no one saw coming. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen the movie and your reaction was probably the same as John’s: “WTF?!”. I was speechless and Tim basically entered a state of catatonia. I believe I know the reason why. Spamalot. Don’t go looking unless you’ve seen the movie, otherwise it will spoil the surprise.