September 30th, 2005

bswing

Serenity

candid comments in starling321's journal:


So I understand that lots of people on LiveJournal are really excited about this movie.

But I saw the commercial at least 5 times this weekend, and not one time did it make the movie look the slightest bit interesting or appealing.


Here's my (modified) response:

I think the first trailer released was not so great. The international trailer (Quicktime) is probably the best.

Will you like it? Judging from the response of mainstream critics, you don't have to be a fanboy to enjoy the film. The movie is currently getting an 83% rating on the Rottentomatoes "Cream of the Crop" critics rating. Ebert, the NYT, and the Village Voice, among others, are giving it positive reviews:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/serenity/

However, if you can, I recommend watching Firefly series first. Although I think the movie stands on it's own, I think it has a much greater emotional impact if you know more of the backstory. Also, if you like the series, you'll probably like the movie. If you don't like the series, you probably won't.

Of the TV episodes, I think Serenity (the pilot), The Train Job, and Our Miss Reynolds give a pretty good idea of what to expect from the rest.

As for myself, I liked Firefly/Serenity for, among other things, the snappy dialog, the subversion of sci-fi/action cliches, and emotional realism. Whedon and crew do a great job of making the audience care what happens to the Serenity crew. (Serenity is the name of their spaceship). It is also nice to see a trader/smuggler as a positively portrayed main character, unlike most of the quasi-military protagonists of say, Star Wars, or Star Trek.

I also like the many subtle touches that help establish the Firefly world. For example, in several episodes Book and Jayne converse while working out with a standard Olymic weight set. Kaylee's cabin entrance has flowers painted on the sill. The kitchen looks like a real working kitchen, not a sterile mess hall.

That said, the movie doesn't dwell on such details, as it is much faster paced. The dialog and emotional realism remain--but it begins with an action sequence, and doesn't let up much until the end. It was one of the few movies that completely absorbed my attention.

The movie/series does have some flaws. (Possible minor spoilers: highlight the following sentences to reveal). For example, the Reavers, a band of cannibalistic space pirates, terrorize Serenity's crew in both the series and the movie. I found both the explanation of their origin, as well as their continued existence as spacefarers, to be quite implausible,

At worst, I think you will think it's a decent, modest movie, but you will wonder what all of the fuss is about. At best, you will be replaced with a Firefly pod person who looks like candid but can't stop raving about the film become a fan.

(Note that I had never seen Buffy or Angel nor had any idea of who Whedon was before seeing the series. )