Not enough votes yet! Vote for your favorite (and least favorite) reviews below.
Posted on 1/10/06 06:56 PM
The crew above the Serenity will do any job that pays, even if it's illegal. Running the ship is Mal (Nathon Fillion), a hotshot veteran who was on the losing side of an interstellar war. Joining him is second-in-command Zoe (Gina Torres), pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk, "I Robot"), mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite), and muscle Jayne (Adam Baldwin). Mal gets more than he bargains for when he invites Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and his sister River (Summer Glau) aboard. The young girl was held captive in a government facility, and has since developed unimaginable combat skills and telepathic abilities. Now the crew must take on the Reavers, and their leader The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and protect the Tams.
It has been eight years after "Alien Resurrection" since Joss Whedon has been involved in a big screen project. During that time, he created a variety of great shows, including "Buffy," "Angel," and "Firefly." The latter is the backdrop for this new movie Whedon has directed AND written, and brings a majority of their cast to the big screen. And the title has changed, now it's called "Serenity," named after the TV show's ship.
For "Serenity," Whedon expands his style on a much grander scale (the budget is $40 million, double than what was used on his TV shows) since he's working 2-hour long movie. You've got his trappings: slick action scenes (we get to see River kicking ass like Buffy), well-developed characters, and comic undertones. The director makes some of the clichés feel fresh and realistic: sexual tensions between Kaylee and Simon (which is really funny near the end), the parental stylings, and the bad boy with a heart of gold (Jayne).
Whedon doesn't skip up on the dialog. As mentioned, "Serenity" borrows the comic timing of "Buffy" and "Angel" with hip slang, as well as an unusual (but not overwhelming like the show) amount of Asian inflections. Pith is doled out in large doses and does wonders to create a joyously aloof vibe that is never condescending, but rather leaves the audience feeling as if they are privy to the innermost jokes of a tight-knit clan.
The action sequences are also slickly done. It's evident during the broad mountain chase where the crew elude several Reavers. The pacing is water-tight and expertly handled without resorting to manic editing and sloppy camera handling that we've seen in summer movies like "Stealth." That movie could've done wonders for Jamie Foxx and co. if Joss Whedon took hold of that movie.
Sure, we may have had great sci-fi films like "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" and "War of the Worlds." But you have not seen a film in the genre like "Serenity." Not only does Whedon pepper the movie with a lot of witty jokes and up-to-par pacing, but he's made some well-developed characters that the audience can follow. Not many people will like this, especially people who saw "Firefly" and didn't care for it (see several reviews), but for those who need a little craving for smartness in the action/sci-fi genre that several movies haven't delivered, "Serenity" is worth the price of admission.