Serenity Rocks

When I was IMing Andrew yesterday I mentioned that I was going to the midnight showing of "Serenity" and asked me to write a review for you guys…

Wow. Well first off for those of you not familiar with this movie, it’s based off of Jos Whedon’s TV show "Firefly". "Firefly" like so many brilliant shows died a horrible death on FOX, but has accrued a cult following in a very short time. The series is about a group of characters that travel on a firefly class spaceship called Serenity, which is for all practical purposes, is a smuggling vessel. It is a thoroughly enjoyable mix of archetypical western themes set in a solar system far, far away. There is the daring captain (ex-sheriff, doing what’s right after being on the wrong side of the war), the beautiful companion (soiled dove), the goon with a heart of gold, the doctor, the preacher… you get the idea.


With that said, I’m going to break my review of the movie into two parts. The first part is for those who haven’t seen the series, and the second is for those who have.

Part 1: Watch the series! Beg, borrow or steal it! O.O… OK if you really can’t see the series before the movie you will still probably enjoy it (especially if you like the idea of a space western). There are some things you will be missing as far as back story is concerned. They didn’t go into detail about things that happened in the series, but they do reference them. You will be able to follow, and as you are all very bright, you will be able to interpolate what is going on when they get vague. The other big reason I would say for seeing the series before the movie is that the movie answers most of the mysteries brought up in the shows. Watching them in reverse will take some of the surprise out of the series (if you are planning on watching it in the future).

Part 2: I would like to use the analogy my boyfriend had in the car coming home last night. ***Disclaimer*** this is not a straight line analogy, don\’t try to draw lines to the actual plot of the movie!

"You know how I feel? I feel like I waited all summer for the season premier of \’The Power Puff Girls". I was sitting on my couch turned on the TV and in the first five minute the Professor was tortured and killed and the elementary school was blown up with all the children inside!"

This movie will make you cry. Flat out. If you love the characters be prepared to be very upset. Jos Whedon is a sucker for bringing dark things into the lives of characters he’s already made us love ("Buffy" anyone?). In the movie you get to see the gang at their best. They are fantastic! There are scenes where I was cheering out loud and clapping! They are wonderful, they are witty, the banter is all there from the show; but again, referring to something my boyo has said, "The best victories are those that cost something." I was supposed to go see it again with my parents this evening, but I had to bail, because I need to assimilate it before seeing it again. With that said. You should still see it. Your questions will be answered, and answered is a way you weren\’t expecting. Because there was a bigger budget for the movie, the effects are better, but they didn\’t loose the feel of sparseness and utility that was prevalent in the series.

I highly recommend this movie. I haven\’t been this moved by a show since "Last Samurai." I can\’t say more without giving things away :).

9 Responses to “Serenity Rocks”

Hmmm… I was having problems posting this, so Andrew posted it for me. Sorry about the funky punctiuation!

Lily - September 30th, 2005 at 11:09 am

Okay, I think I committed the ultimate sin. I’ve only seen 2 or 3 episodes, fell in love with the series and couldn’t wait to see the rest of the series before seeing the movie. I was actually a bit disappointed by the movie. It felt somewhat rushed. I wish they’d spent more time developing these characters (which I know are WAY cool from the series). And, of course, I’m bummed that I now actually know what was going on…it ruined the surprise!

Having said all that, I really enjoyed the movie…and may have to suck it up and buy the series so I can see the rest of the episodes!

Mallorn - October 3rd, 2005 at 5:50 am

The only reason why this movie exists is because of the hard work of its fan base. That’s how impressive the short lived series is. (Yes, I own, as in payed money for, the box set)

I saw it on opening night. Actually, I saw it during the second prescreening and one of the cast member (Jewel Staite, aka Kaylee) was there to answer questions. The TV series (which is short, only 14 episodes) rocks, and so does the movie. The movie can stand on its own legs, but works much better as a companion to the series. Hopefully, this movie will do well enough in the box office for Universal to give the go ahead for the second movie.

Background of the series:
* Was aired by Fox, who didn’t know where to put it in their line up, so they shuffled it around every week. It had a different air time and/or day nearly every week.
* Only 11 of the 14 epsiodes shot were ever aired. Due to this, and the previous point, it is know by the TV community as the most cancelled series ever aired.
* From the small group of people who were able to see the show upon its airing, a huge following grew. So much so, that the fan base was able to get Fox to release a box set of the 14 episodes.
* From the sales of this box set, Joss Whedon was able to buy the rights back from Fox. The limitations on the rights make it so that he isn’t able to produce another TV series out of it for another couple of years.
* Universal jumped on the idea to make the movie and signed a contract with Joss Whedon for a maximum of 3 movies, assuming each one does well in the box office.
* There was only supposed to be one prescreening in 10 cities, but after that one sold out nearly instantaniously, they increased the number of cities and added two more prescreenings (which, incedentally, sold out nearly instantaniously as well).

This movie is good. See it.

stephen - October 2nd, 2005 at 6:14 pm

*comforts Mallorn*

Watch the series. The series makes everything all better ;).

Lily - October 3rd, 2005 at 8:16 am

So… my bittorrent of the entire Firefly series is at 1.5 GB, about 43% complete. So soon, soon, I’ll be watching the series and seeing if I dig it. If I do, you can bet I’ll rent Serenity (or maybe even see it in the theatre… but I’m a cheap bastard).

Glad to hear positive press for a Westen/SciFi movie, though… neither of those genres (which I enjoy) often get good movies.

Paradoxdruid - October 3rd, 2005 at 9:48 am

Yea, I’ve learned my lesson with Bit Torrent. I got my phone call from the MPAA (at least indirectly). Watch out! Big Brother is out there!

Not that I’m bitter 😉

And you’ll definitely enjoy Serenity PD, what with your penchant for pulp 🙂

Mallorn - October 3rd, 2005 at 2:08 pm

Mallorn– if your (indirect) encounter with the MPAA doesn’t sound like an interesting post topic, I don’t know what does. *boggles* Tell me more!

Wait… no one said anything about Pulp. It has Pulp? *grin*

Paradoxdruid - October 3rd, 2005 at 6:56 pm

It’s pulpy in that is has a lot of good pulp archityes. Like I said, I think it’s up you alley 😉

Lily - October 4th, 2005 at 7:59 am

Right, so, I love this show, too. However, I disagree with some of what’s been said. First of all, I was really reluctant to watch the show in the first place because I knew Joss was attached to it. I hate Buffy with a burning passion. Each episode I’ve seen makes me want to claw my eyes out a little more. Also, Joss thinks he’s a lot more awesome than he really is (he re-wrote the X-Men 2 script when he was just asked to add some jokes and is still bitter that they didn’t use the new script)- not that he doesn’t deserve kudos for his success (even if I hate Buffy, it did well). I think he finally wrote something really good and, as Lily said, Fox brutally murdered it before it’s time.

The first time I saw the movie, I was very disappointed. The plot holes gaped at me, and even after a second viewing some of them are still disconcerting. And while all the characters had a brief moment in the sun, their screen time (except for River and Mal) was too short and just made me want to revisit the magic and chemistry of the show. I felt like Joss reduced most of the characters to one or two one-liners, which he sort of had to for this new format to work. And the parts that I think I was supposed to cry at weren’t nearly as moving as many scenes from the show, even the second time around. And, call me crazy, but I though the graphics were too good. The show is supposed to be gritty, not crisp.

That said, it’s still a far sight better than most of the movies that have come out in the past year, though I’d be hard pressed to give it more than a B or B-. And while I love the characters, love the stories they’ve told, and love the world Joss created, I’m just not sure that the movie’s good enough to warrant the sequels. It lost 50% of it’s audience in just one week for a grand total of about $15 million in two weeks. The biggest fans saw it in pre-screenings and opening weekend, at least that’s my guess. What I’d really love to see is Joss take it back to TV in a couple of years (when his agreement with Fox allows), get a smaller filming budget, and take the show back to what made it great.

Also, Lily, I really liked the references you made to the western archetypes. What I just hope the not-quite-fans-yet realize, is that the cast breaks a lot of these archetypes and reinvents them- like the captain doesn’t really think he was on the wrong side of the war. But the show is SO good that I’m sure the next time I see the movie, when I buy the DVD, I’ll like even more, but it’ll always pale in comparison to the series . . . by the way, Druid, have you seen it yet?

ShortSpeedFreak - October 9th, 2005 at 2:57 pm

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