For my half-dozen loyal readers: no, you haven't gone to the wrong blog. What follows is a movie review of the movie Serenity. As for just why I'm reviewing movies on a blog devoted to political, economic and social issues, please see this post, which hopefully explains things. (And if you are a die hard fan who can't wait to see the movie, don't worry; I'm including no spoilers below.)
This is probably a unique blog review of Serenity, as I've never seen the TV show Firefly, upon which the story of Serenity is based. Worse yet, it is my understanding that in some ways this movie is the series finale that never was, as Firefly was cancelled on short notice. Because of this I expected to be confused by the plot, especially if the script attempted to tie up loose ends from a season of storylines.
I did go in with somewhat of high expectations as well, since Serenity was written and directed by Joss Whedon. I was a big fan of Whedon's more famous TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Specifically, I always thought that the writing and stories on Buffy were far more complex and sophisticated than people who could only scoff at the show could realize. So I expected similar complexity from Serenity.
Did I get what I expected? Yes and no. The plot was easy to follow and while there certainly seemed to be something of a rich history that was alluded to but never fully explained, it didn't get in the way of the film. The pace of the film was notably good. There wasn't a dull moment or a scene that lingered too long throughout the entire movie. Was it complex? I'd have to say no. There were a few twists here and there, but nothing shocking. I suppose this is to be expected. It is harder to develop a complex story in a 2-hour movie as opposed to 24-hour television season.
The acting was interesting, as the cast is pretty much the same as the cast of the Firefly TV show. This worked to great advantage as the small crew of a spaceship had a clear sense of camaraderie that was I think would have been hard to accomplish if the actors hadn't worked together so much before the movie. My favorite performances were by Summer Glau, as River (though admittedly her role as young girl having suffered extreme emotional trauma made it easy to sympathize), and Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays the villain and makes him a fascinating character in his own right.
Overall I enjoyed the movie. Judging from the reactions of the rabid fans in the audience, it will be a huge hit with people intimately familiar with Firefly. Compared to the wealth of horrible sci-fi and action movies out there, Serenity is heads above its competition. While it won't be winning any major awards, it is sure to please fans of the sci-fi genre.