Movie Review: SERENITYUniversal Pictures
2005
PG-13

“Way I remember it, albatross was a ship’s good luck, ’til some idiot killed it. Yes, I’ve read a poem. Try not to faint.”

Set in the not-so-near future of Joss Whedon’s sci-fi series Firefly, a genetically enhanced and telepathic girl escapes the government-controlled experiments subjected on her, and hitches a ride with her protective older brother in tow on the Serenity, piloted by the cynical Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his motley crew, themselves at odds with the coalition dominating their universe. After inadvertently discovering a massive cover-up involving a supposedly “failed” planet colonization, the crew find themselves on the run from a deadly assassin, fighting their way through traps and hordes of cannibalistic Reavers to uncover the conspiracy, with a human cargo that may be their biggest threat. Just another day in the life of the Serenity crew, really…

Let me preface this review by stating that I, your beloved Uncle NecRo, have yet to see an episode of the series Firefly, the short-lived show that this movie is based on.* Chalk it up to lack of interest, as the only things with the Joss Whedon stamp that I was interested in at the time happened to involve vampires. Namely, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel (Angel being my favorite of the two). Firefly was more sci-fi with a western feel kind of show (i.e.- no fangs…and definitely no Spike), and while I did want to check it out sometime, the affiliate it was shown on didn’t really give the show much of a chance, showing the episodes out of sequence and such. So, before anyone thinks that this is one of those kind of reviews that slathers this movie with praise because the author is already a ravenous and drooling fanboy of the mythos its based on, keep in mind that I walked into the theater with something of a clean slate.

That said, I also want to point out that, the moment the opening credits rolled, I was captivated by one hell of a well-written, well-directed, and just flat-out fantastic sci-fi adventure movie. Once again, as with his writing on both the other two shows and on the impeccable Astonishing X-Men comic (the only X-Men comic I’ve ever read, save for my brief lapse of sanity involving the Grant Morrison run on New X-Men…geek boy roots showing again), Joss Whedon has woven one hell of a space yarn that’s really more of a western with space ships. You know, like how the classic Star Wars movie was. You got intense action, captivating drama, some interesting plot twists, and some very outstanding special effects. The fight scenes were kept low-key by today’s standards (meaning, no wire-fu, just some good-ol’ classic martial arts and fisticuffs), and the final stand-off between the crew and the Reavers was just…unbelievable. In a good way. And, true to Whedon’s method, I’m sure there will be some fans of the series that’ll be taken aback by some unexpected plot turns involving the cast. That’s his way. I remember standing up and screaming at the television when he offed Fred for no apparent reason in that episode of Angel…but again, I’m getting away from the subject. I digress…

Bottom line, this is a fantastic movie that both fans of the series and anyone who’s never heard of Firefly can enjoy. Too bad I saw little to no advertising for this, and apparently it’s taking a dive at the theaters. But word of mouth from other geeks on the ‘net have praised it, so word of mouth can keep this sucker in a strong “cult” standing. Highly recommended…a good use of your $8…

[* = this was posted nearly ten years ago…I have since then not only watched the entire series, but I own them, and watch them all back-to-back at least once a year…in case anyone feels the need to troll, and all that – Uncle NecRo]

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