Serenity is an OK movie. A bit too small for the BIG screen but overall it’s OK. All the Firefly fan boys give it so much credit, however, and no movie can live up to this much hype. It’s still waaaay better than Doom though.
There are no stars to talk about in this movie apart from the writer/director, Joss Whedon, who’s the guy behind TV shows like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. His vision and dialog are good enough for the TV screen but frankly, he doesn’t quite measure up when projected on the big screen.
Serenity is the name of the cargo ship inhabited by the captain, Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), and his motley crew. The Firefly TV show and this movie are both set in a kind of Western Sci-fi world. The ship and its crew are brigands – taking different jobs, some more honest than others. The central parts of the system are ruled by the Alliance but the rim is pretty much left to its own means.
There’s just one significant source of menace, the Reavers, who are cannibals drifting in big ungainly ships painted in red. Their appearance is explained later in the movie but till that point they seemed to be based on the Native Indians. Judging from the portrayal though, Wheldon probably calls then Injuns.
In addition to the regular crew, there are two passengers on board as well: Simon and River Tam (Sean Maher and Summer Glau). River is a psychic brainwashed by the Alliance and her brother Simon is the one who bailed her from the Alliance lab.
It sounds complicated but it really isn’t. Some reviewers called it “the intelligent man’s action movie” but I didn’t find particularly engaging. The plot moves from one action scene to the next until the captain and the operative meet at last, the future of the multiverse in their hands.
If you haven’t seen a good sci-fi movie in a while (I haven’t!), Serenity is an OK choice. Don’t let the fan boys tell you otherwise though – it’s a just a 2 hour pilot. The lighting, the set designs, the performances all vary from OK to pretty bad which is OK for a TV show but hardly enough for a 40 Million dollar “epic.”
Note for indie producers: Serenity still has to break even. The movie made barely 25 million domestically and its international proceeds don’t look too good either. My guess is that its appeal is limited to people who have liked the Firefly TV show. Most of the other movie goers probably felt a bit cheated because of all the hype. A bit of suspence (e.g. The Descent) should’ve added to the action scenes.