Movie Review: Serenity

Scott Kurtz has T-shirts for sale that state: "JOSS WHEDON IS MY MASTER NOW"... and for good reason.

I wasn't on board the "Serenity" until recently. I had see half of one episode back in '02 when they first ran. But when I heard that there was a movie coming out and that the series "Firefly" was going to be run on Sci-Fi again, I decided I would check out the series and see if it was worth my time. I mean, the geek world had been all a-buzz about this series for three years... as a geek, I was obligated to at least check it out.

After seeing the first episode (or two episodes: Serenity Parts 1 & 2), I was hooked.

I'm a Texan, so Westerns are just a part of existence around here. This TV show was a Western. Just because it's set 500 years in the future in another solar system on a spaceship doesn't mean that it's not a Western. It's just a Western set 500 years in the future in another solar system on a spaceship. But it's not what it is... it's who is in it...

The characters are real... the dialog is real... and the characters deliver the dialog so as to make it seem real. This is what first draws you in. You hear these people interact, and you decide to give it another five minutes... then there's the gunfight, so you give it another five minutes... then there's more dialog, and you sit down and watch the whole thing.

I'll say this... my wife and I are only half-way through the original series, but we had to go see "Serenity" in a theatre.

Anything below this may be a spoiler... so if you haven't seen the movie... stop now.

So... you're still reading, so maybe you've seen it. If not.. it's your own damned fault.

I laughed. I cried. I nearly pissed myself.

This movie opens with brief description of the universe as it is, and then trouble. "This is your Captain speaking... we may encounter some turbulence and then... explode."

The don't explode, though, as that would make the movie all of five and a half minutes long... which would be a total waste of $6.

The villian(s) in this movie are extremely well done. On one hand, you have the Reavers... psychotic, canibalistic, rapist savages from the very edge of inhabited space. On the other hand, you have "The Operative", a person without identity except that he exists in that moment. He is evil, he is bad, and he knows that there is no place in Heaven for him, so he will do his bad things as well as they can possibly be done... preferably with a Katana. On the gripping hand, you have the Serenity itself, and the luck of it's captain, Malcom Reynolds. Mal doesn't have the best luck, unless you consider walking away from a gunfight with only three bullet wounds good luck, 'cuz you actually walked away....

People die in this movie... some people that I wish would not have... but I understand why they had to. This is the part that is total, 100% spoiler... if you haven't seen the movie, this is your last chance to stop...

"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar." Sadly, a leaf on the wind would be a dead leaf... Hoban Washburn had his "great ride"... There are legends of bikers who will be chased by cops across three states, only to stop, get off their Harley, say "Good ride!" and drop dead. There are legends of surfers who, upon catching that perfect wave, will stagger into a bit of coral, cut their head open, and die on the beach. Wash had his greatest, most skillful flight - maneuvering through two different enemies - only to crash land the ship he was flying... but no one was hurt. He was a leaf on the wind... I will say that I teared up. What? You have a problem with that? Go rut yourself, you gorram heartless wang-ba-dan.

Serenity is probably the best sci-fi western political drama love story that I have ever seen.

Spaceships. Explosions. Grenades. No breasts (but plenty of sex talk). Kung-Fu. Reaver-Fu. River-Fu. Revenge. Jim-Bob sez check it out.

(also covered at The Light of Darkness...)


Jon's picture

TLOD link points to AF. Are you doing {url=}The Light of Darkness{/url} with square bracket instead of curly?

eeun's picture

My wife and I are looking forward to seeing it once we get through the TV series, which we picked up a week ago.

I haven't had cable/satellite/antenna in the house for about 9 years now, so I never saw it during its run. We bought the series sight-unseen based on what we kept reading online, and we've loved it so far.

I didn't read much of your post above, to make sure I don't get spoilered.

BDub's picture

I caught it all when it first aired, and then when the DVD's came out I bought those. This is one of those shows where I never manage to actually keep my copy of the DVDs since everytime I show the first ep to a friend they steal 'em for a couple weeks.

I went with a group of friends who'd all seen the series. During the Reaver-chasing-Serenity scene one of them leaned over to me and made some comment like "I think they're bringing friends."

It enhanced the movie just that much more to lean over and whisper "The /special/ hell".

The movie wasn't great, but it was a fantastic ending to something that should have been great.

moosemanmoo's picture

I agree, it was certainly better than I thought it would be. I went and saw it last night due to Fandango having Wallace & Grommit listed at the wrong time, so that I went and saw Serinity instead so the trip wasn't a total waste. Well, it wasn't.

catmistake's picture

I've been hungry for some good sci fi, and this filled me.

I experienced the entire series in about 3 days, then saw the movie. I'd say it was like a cross between Matrix and Star Wars. I enjoyed it. I don't really understand why they had to kill Wash or Shepard... didn't really need to happen. Wash's character was barely explored in the series. I think he had one episode where he was central. Other than that, he was a likeable joke farm, but still, two-dimensional. And Sherpard was supposed to have a story, but we never got it... I remember that guy from Law & Order, on the last episode, I think, the bounty hunter, saying, about Shepard, that he wasn't a priest, and there was a story there in his eyes, like... I don't know, he was an assassan or something. Anyway, I imagine Alan Tudyk wanted a deeper role, and opted not to continue with any possible sequal, and Ron "Venus Flytrap" Glass was just getting too old... well, he's not that old... too bad, cool character.

eeun's picture

Thanks, Catmistake. Thanks a heap.

Oh, juh jen sh guh kwai luh duh jean-jan.

The usual polite and considerate thing to do, in case you have people reading who HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE YET AND REALLY WOULD HAVE APPRECIATED NOT KNOWING WHAT HAPPENS is to post some sort of warning that spoilers are ahead, as the Rev. did up above.

By the way, the chick in the Crying Game was a man.
I, what a movie.

catmistake's picture

Anything below this may be a spoiler... so if you haven't seen the movie... stop now. So... you're still reading, so maybe you've seen it. If not.. it's your own damned fault.

I figured Rev.D was speaking for the entire thread as being a spoiler... that's the only reason I posted... you should have read more carefully, or not read at all.

Besides... its not a spoiler in, say, Episode III to know that Anakin becomes Darth Vader... its how it happens that is important, and I said nothing about that. The deaths have nothing, nothing at all to do with the plot. Don't worry... I spoiled more by mentioning the Matrix, and you won't even notice until after you see. so go bold your text at yourself-- GOSH!