Friday, August 29, 2008

Repost Movie Thoughts: Serenity

I am cutting and pasting some thoughts I posted on my old reviews blog. Serenity, the movie, is up first.

Having never seen the Firefly TV series that inspired the movie Serenity, I had no expectations or knowledge of the lore behind the film. Therefore, it really wasn't on my radar as a "must see" movie. It is rare for me to miss a major Sci-Fi movie during its theatrical release, but Serenity didn't gain steam until after it hit theaters. Still, I am disappointed I missed this one in theaters.

I did not go to Blockbuster looking for Serenity, but when I saw it on the shelf I knew I had to rent it. Not that I hadn't meant to see it, but it just really hadn’t been on my mind. Fortunately, I did rent it and will now be exercising a bit more determination in getting the Firefly DVDs.

Overall, I found the acting to be a mix of good, OK, and so-so. There are spots of brilliance and there are spots of mediocre. The dialogue is strong throughout the movie, but sometimes the delivery is just not convincing which is a bit disappointing in a movie so heavily involved with the characters. Most of these flat spots hit during roaring battles or other special effects scenes.

The good news: the acting does not kill the movie in any spots! The acting is solid. I knew none of the actors by name and even after watching it I doubt I will remember any by name. As I said the acting is solid all the way through, but no one really stands out. This helps the movie, because one overpowering actor could have really disrupted the balance in a movie with a very this is our crew sentiment.

Next, we have the special effects which can make or break any Sci-Fi movie. Serenity definitely doesn't disappoint! The entire movie is a visual feast and most of the time the effects blend amazingly well with the live action. As with most Sci-Fi, there are scenes that just don't fit, uncanny valley and all.

What really makes up for the lows in special effects and acting is the rock solid story. Having no idea how it ties into Firefly, I only know that I want more. While I wouldn't place this as one of the best Sci-Fi plots ever, it definitely ranks up there as one of the best in recent times. Recent, as in the fact it wasn't written thirty years ago and just recently was made into a movie.

I recommend this movie to everyone that has any interest in Sci-Fi. Go out and buy the DVD because the movie is damn close to making enough profit for them to go out and make part 2 and maybe even part 3! I am more than glad to add another movie to my collection!.

My final question: is it just me or is Mr. Universe the same actor that was driving the car full of potheads in Super Troopers?


  1. I was "MEH" on this movie, but I love the theme and the actors. Not bad but not the great sci fi movie messiah that Joss Whedon fans always pine about.

    You want good sci fi, watch Ridley Scott, Kubrick or James Cameron. Joss Whedon be damned.

  2. Don't make the mistake of saying that on certain Sci-Fi movie sites. I said something to that regards in a Star Wars: The Clone Wars (which I enjoyed) movie bashing. To even hint that Star Wars may have, at some point, been a better movie than Serenity is against the law I guess.

    Not to mention Star Wars has the better expanded universe. Serenity is and always will be about the Brown Coats. Everything else is lackluster filler.

  3. It's the tv show fans pine about. Which was great. The movie sucks big c*ck.
    I was terribly hooked to the tv show, and watching the movie was like checking in the Betty Ford Center. Great detox therapy.


  4. I really liked this movie, I have seen it about 3 times now. It's a great film! Recently, (this last summer) I watched the FireFly series.

    I recommend you watch them heartless. They only had one season, it's not a really long watch, and it's some good stuff.

    From watching the series I learned that the movie was really everything the producers of the TV series wanted to do, but didn't get the chance to because their time ran out and they couldn't have another season.

    So definitly go and enjoy the series, and you will be surprised to find that the movie actually adds a lot more to the lore then it really takes from it.

  5. Anonymous11:49 AM

    When I first saw the movie I was like you, I had not seen the TV series and had no clue about anything in the movie.

    The movie is one of my favourites. It manage to blend necessary action, dialogue and story in a perfect mix that just move forward - it never becomes slow.

    After watching the TV series I loved the movie even more, it's a real shame that they shut it down :/

  6. Anonymous1:52 PM

    I think the only fault of the movie is that it tried to wrap up an entire series that never made it out of its first season in about two hours.

    I would have loved to see Firefly stretch out over 3-4 seasons. I think it could have given BattleStar Galactica a run for smartest Sci-Fi show on TV.

  7. The movie can stand on its own alright, but it will definitely be different seeing it after watching Firefly (it's on Hulu. Whereas the movie is driven by action and suspense, the series delves deeper into the characters. You'll look at some of the characters very differently.

    And Firefly has so many great one-liners: "Well, my days of not taking you seriously are definitely coming to a middle."

  8. Anonymous4:57 PM

    On it's own Serenity is a pretty good movie. That's how I first saw it. Clone Wars has some higher high points but such abysmal low points that they drag the entire movie down for me. For me Serenity on it's own is a 3.5, while Clone Wars is a 2 or3.

    However, if you have seen the series that Serenity is based on, it rockets up to a solid 4.5 or so. It's really as much of a swan song for the fans as it is a movie. I was shocked at how much better the movie became for me post series. You come to love those characters so much that you would watch them do damn near anything to get to spend more time with them. The characters are also much more fleshed out in your head than they could possibly be after the short time you see them in the movie, whihc makes nuances of the performances really pop.

  9. the series is awesome. i loved the movie before seeing the series, and after seeing the movie i had to see the series, which i did, and honestly the series blows the movie away.

    they had to change the story a bit to accommodate the movie, but that's the way it goes. and i think most people who don't enjoy the movie are just bitter that it didn't quite live up to the series, and also that it marked the irrevocable death of the series.

    firefly is an amazing, amazing tv show and i only wish it were still on. watching it you get the sense that they could have taken it into some amazing directions. i guess some things are just too good for the world at large.

  10. I remember watching the first aired episode (The Train robbery) with a friend. As the credits rolled I looked at him and said "Best show I've seen in a while, I give it about 10 episodes before Fox cancels it". My argument was that nobody would get Western + SciFi = win. And sure some like minded folks did get it but it just wasn't meant for the masses. That said, I would have liked to have seen it on a station where lower ratings would have been better tolerated like WB or (even better) SciFi. I think the best part of the show was it's potential and the stories that Joss never got to tell.

  11. I liked the Firefly series a lot when I watched it on DVD. I never actually got a chance to see it on television and I don't remember Fox ever advertising the show. I thought the movie was decent enough and better then a lot of sci-fi I've seen on the big screen.

    Oh and the only other time I've seen Western + Sci-fi combined has been the Adventures of Brisco County Jr. So far its kind of campy but I think the genre works.


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