Review: Serenity

Last night I went to watch Serenity with Misty and our buddy John McEnroe. For a science fiction flick there was definitely a feel of a lot of fans of the television series Firefly present, but I have not seen the series. I haven't watched any significant television since Babylon 5 finished. After that, I was worried that the “arc” television series was a rare breed.

Instead I focused on DVD's of series that had strong appeal. I have the aforementioned Babylon 5 alongside many other great arc-based series. It was on the advice of friends I trust that I tried Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Stargate SG-1. I never saw more than the first season of Star Trek: Voyager or any of Andromeda or, with apparent misfortune, Firefly. Even so, I went into this movie with an open mind.

Perhaps there was less time spent on the characters because of the pre-existing series, but I understood well enough. I don't think I was as invested in some of the folks as much as others in the audience. I liked the bad guy, but I had to take some time to understand the dynamic. Emotions were drawn in broad strokes and I was worried that everyone was going to be a caricature. I wanted some of those feelings that seemed real and not overdone that I had enjoyed in some of the better moments of Buffy and Angel. Sure, they had their overwrought angst at times, but the target demographic is into that.

First thing that struck me as different than recent episodes of Star Wars was that the folks in Serenity had decent dialogue that the actors enjoyed delivering. Comparison of this movie with the love scenes of Star Wars reminds you that oppressive gloom still exists in some people's lives. There was plenty of violence, and a plot that, while driven reasonably openly, made you wonder who was going to survive at the end. If I had been more invested in the characters I would have been on the edge of my seat. Who was a red shirt? Who was a star? I couldn't tell, and I liked it.

As for the story itself, I don't want to ruin it. It was decent, had some good ahas and twists, and didn't require extensive foreknowledge of the universe to follow. It also made me wonder what I had missed from the series, as some of the jokes, meaningful looks, or references seemed to be connected to something that had happened before.

If you are a sci-fi fan that likes a bit of weirdness, go see it.

Update: I'm adding this one to the Beltway Sunday Drive at Outside the Beltway.

Josh Poulson

Posted Saturday, Oct 1 2005 08:36 AM

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