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Serenity Movie Review

Serenity Movie Review

By Zachary Shevich

            Who knows how Joss Whedon managed to get his short-lived FOX T.V. Series “Firefly” (you may recall it was one of the 26 series mentioned in the pre-theme Family Guy list on the episode “North by North Quahog”) to become one of the latest big-budget productions out of Hollywood, but the series known as “Firefly” is now the movie “Serenity,” and it paints a beautiful picture of the future. “Serenity,” set 500 years in the future, centers on Captain “Mal” Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), captain of the space ship Serenity, and his crew, Zoe (Gina Torres), Wash (Alan Tudyk), Jayne (Adam Baldwin), and Kaylee (Jewel Staite). Together, they take on any jobs that will pay, whether or not they are legal. When the ship takes on two new members, River Tan (Summer Glau), an unstable telepathic 17-year-old and her older brother Simon (Sean Maher), a doctor, they get into a battle with the Alliance, the corporation that controls the galaxy, over possession of River. River, who can be an extremely powerful weapon, is hard to control and can be set off randomly and without warning. Serenity’s crew wants to keep her from being used and the Alliance wants to keep her from becoming a danger to the galaxy and in order to do so, they want her to be in their possession, therefore in their control. And so the struggle begins, mainly between the crew and a big member of The Alliance, The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor). This struggle, however, is not so much a struggle between the Alliance and the Serenity, but the movie’s trouble to let you know what exactly is happening.

            To Whedon’s credit, he does not fool around and jumps into the plot immediately. His job of pacing should be recognized, as he evenly distributes scenes of action, dialogue and moments of comic relief, and although some of the humor is a bit cheesy and not too clever, it’s enough to help keep the watcher entertained with what is happening. The only real problem is that since this is based on Whedon’s T.V. Show “Firefly,” there already has been a plot in place, and those who are not familiar with the show that got yanked by Fox after only 15 episodes will likely be confused.

By going into the plot so quickly, writer-director Joss Whedon spends no time for introductions and hopes that his audience will simply go along for the ride, but that’s hard to do when set 500 years in the future with inter-galactic travel being as common as white on rice (assuming you don’t like brown rice). For example, Morena Baccarin’s character Inara is introduced with almost no explanation or backstory, and while you can understand her character’s relation to Captain Mal, there is so much unanswered between the two that the way they interact cannot tell anything because no one knows what hidden interactions one should be looking for. There is a tension and compassion between the two that goes completely over the viewer’s head because Joss Whedon takes his two hours of the film called “Serenity” and turns it into the 16th episode of the “Firefly” series. This goes on throughout the whole film so that the time you spend in the cinema watching it feels either too short or too long because it seems like so little is happening since the dialogue is heavily plot related.

            Overall, the movie does give one some interesting things to see. Some of the humor is quotable and there are some cool moments, whether or not you can understand what is going on. One can see that beneath the surface, Joss Whedon has created something brilliant, if only he would let us watch it. If you were a fan of the show when it was on, go and see this movie. If you saw the preview and thought it looked good or at least decent, you should find something to enjoy about this movie. If you don’t understand it afterward, go out and get the DVDs, they clear up quite a bit. If you didn’t like the preview, don’t bother with this and go do something else. I give Serenity 6.5 out of 10.

Brought to you by The Fro Man Shevs