Let me just first announce my claim to the first Grapefruit review released before the movie. This easily beats the previous best.1 Tom had his chance. He saw the movie. If he’s not going to post a review then that’s his problem. So now I own the record for the earliest review on Grapefruit. Let me take a couple of line breaks to enjoy this feeling.

Ahh, that was good. The movie goes something like this: A quick voice over and some galactic panning of the camera to set the scene. The camera then roves the ship E.R. style sneakily introducing the crew to non-Firefly fans while Firefly fans are still dazed by the realisation that the movie is finally showing.2 The crew being miscreants and cattle rustlers decide to start the movie with a bank heist that goes wrong. While the crew are laying low after the robbery, River flips out like a ninja and attracts the attention of the authorities. There are hints at a mysterious past and government conspiracies. The crew then fly around the galaxy searching for the answers to River’s past while avoiding the authorities and there’s a big shoot out at the end.

Serentity has a touch of classic Star Wars about it. The captain is bit like shoot-first Han, Kaylee is a little like Chewbacca3 and Shepherd Book is like Obi Wan. The captain’s character had changed slightly through the series to a direction I wasn’t keen on, but in Serenity he’s smarter and more careful and less prone to doing stupid things. These are all qualities I like in my heroes.

It’s been a while since I saw an action movie this good. It’s been a while since I liked something from Joss Whedon. It’s been a while since a tv show cancelled after 13 episodes has been remade as a movie. Hmm, actually I don’t know if that’s ever happened. I don’t know how Joss did it. He does occasionally produce some great stuff. The last seasons of Buffy showed a marked decline in quality but this is a return to his best form. He’s also adapted well to the movie format and uses the time well. It felt slow in during the middle and meandered somewhat, but regained all the tension for a gripping final scene. I found the final scene was made especially tense because I know that Joss likes to kill his characters to shock the audience and, well, I got attached to these characters and didn’t want them to die. I know some characters have to die but everytime one of them was injured I thought “no please don’t kill that one.” I haven’t been this concerned about movie characters for a while, since The Matrix perhaps. In the end I realised that I liked all the characters thanks to the high standard of acting. Joss has collected an excellent cast of actors. They’re given plenty of material thanks to a witty script.

Cliches are used sparingly and are broken up with a joke avoiding too much cheese. The best jokes are used in the trailer but having suppressed memory of the trailer I was free to laugh at the jokes. The minimal use of cgi payed off, giving it a grittier more realistic effect, although I would have liked to see more of the large fleet battle at the end. It mentions themes subtly and doesn’t shower the viewer with catch phrases. For an action movie it is far above the norm. Much better than I was expecting and worth driving to Knox City for.

  1. This movie also contains people being saved from falling deaths by unlikely wires.
  2. Or possibly they’re stunned by the smell of the other nerds in close proximity.
  3. By which I mean she fixes the ship, not that she’s tall and hairy.
Been more'n a year since I had anything twixt my nethers didn't run on batteries! — Kaylee

14 Responses to “Serenity”

  1. Joss Whedon is apearing on Rove Live tonight to talk about the serenity movie, incase your interested.

  2. Where’s my blurb, Tom? It’s gone missing!

  3. Also, I really like being able to use a picture that’s wider than it is tall and so big on the front page.

  4. It’s very nice, isn’t it? Blurbs don’t pop up on the front page any more. It takes the pressure off writing a funny one. And looks cleaner. They’re still in the archives.

    For your information, I was waiting until the week before release to post it, so as to maximise publicity and avoid clashing with my essay! Luckily we have cunning multiple review code. Although, I must say I agree with everything you say.

    Although, I’m reasonably sure at least two of your pictures aren’t from the actual movie. I’ve got a super hi-def trailer over here that I could make screenshots for you from.

  5. Oh, and I’ve given you some line-breaks too, if you want them.

  6. You caught me. I initially got my pics from a google search and then realised I could take them from the trailer. I liked the front page one so I kept it but I couldn’t find a better picture of Kaylee. She didn’t feature in the trailer much.

  7. Yeah, Kaylee’s role in the film is somewhat limited, though the lines she gets are awesome.

    I think the closest thing to the Firefly -> Serenity situation is probably Star Trek, but even that got more than one season before it was cancelled. I note a particular lack of Crusade movies.

    The script really was a cut above what I expect from adventure films these days. I heard an interview with Whedon where he talked of Raiders of the Lost Ark as the best of the adventure genre and I’d have to agree. But Serenity might get second if I were feeling generous.

  8. I was trying to decide whether it was a good film or a great film. It felt very close to being great; I’ll have to see it again to decide.

  9. pics changed.

  10. That Kaylee is pretty.

    I may have to review this film as well, if only to get some pictures of Inara and Mal up. Inara because she is also pretty, Mal because, well, he was the main character.

    And to make my highly differing opinion clear. For example, where you say “grittier more realistic”, I would say “more gritty and realistic”.

  11. Incidentally, I’m undecided as to whether “Shoot-First Han” sounds more like an action figure or a grumpy cowboy.

  12. Grittier more realistic should have a comma but I’m too lazy to add it in myself.

    I always thought of Shoot-First Han as an action figure. He was released in the 80’s but has now been replaced by Han the Pussy.

  13. How’s the Serentity review Tom?

  14. It fell victim to the dreaded “I’ve got a project to do so I can’t possibly do anything else that would take an hour until I finish it” factor. I’ve been very busy staring at my physics notes trying to work out how to do my project.

    Besides, the glory just wasn’t there any more, you know?