Serenity: The Review
By Liz & Melissa
"Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take a boat in the air you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she outa fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home."
Obviously, we're pop culture junkies. But Liz and Melissa are also hardcore Joss Whedon fans, so September 30 was a red-letter day for us: the opening of Joss's new baby, Serenity.
Serenity is based on the 2002 series Firefly, which was cancelled after only 11 eps. We could grumble about how FOX aired the pilot last, aired episodes out of their intended order, and pre-empted the show willy-nilly, but we won't. Instead, we'll assure all of you: you don't have to see the show first to get this movie. The first fifteen minutes of the movie gives you the backstory on the world of Serenity and introduces you to the main characters. All the reports I've seen have indicated that people who are new to this 'verse have been able to follow things. Still unsure? Check out the first nine minutes of the movie, and judge for yourself.
Liz: I suppose gushing "I loved it" for an hour isn't a review? Serenity: Great, great picture. It contains all that which makes Joss great: it's witty, it's heartbreaking, it's funny, it's well plotted. And since what makes Joss great is he knows how to tell a story -- this is a great story. It's what a movie should be.
Here's a thought.... maybe, if they made more movies like this -- people would go to the theatre more often. When we went to the opening night, we ran into some people who had already seen this three times.
Melissa: I've seen Serenity twice already, and I'm planning to go back again for at least a third time. The second time, I picked up on so many little things that I hadn't caught before, and I know that no matter how many times I see it, that'll be the case.
The writing is definitely the thing that makes Serenity take shape--but it's the actors that help make the movie fly: to soar like a leaf on the wind. Nathan Fillion and Summer Glau are certainly front-and-center in this movie, and both are superb at presenting their characters, making the captain funny yet angry, making the psychotic psychic confused yet insightful.
And for fans of the show, there's little moments for each of the other characters. Adam Baldwin nearly steals the show: at all the screenings I've seen, Jayne's lines typically get the biggest laughs, even near the end of the movie during tense action sequences. Maybe that's what makes Serenity just so special: it can laugh even when it looks like everyone is going to die. How many other writers, how many other casts, how many other movies can mix things up so much, make it work, and make it real?
Liz: I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.
Melissa: I aim to misbehave.
Liz: Hell with this. I'm going to live.
Melissa: I swallowed a bug.
Liz: At last. We can retire and give up this life of crime.
Melissa: Or, we could talk some more.
(The quote game continued, but we'll spare you that. Join in with your favorite quote in the comments! Those of you with poor quote memory can refer to the Serenity Official Visual Companion, with complete original screenplay, or the book adaptation by Keith R.A. DeCandido.)
Melissa: Fans have gotta talk the movie up. Early estimates put Serenity at 10.1 million for the weekend, which is within range of expectations, but still should be better.
Liz: 10.1 & number 2, right? ahead of both Jessica Alba and Viggo Mortensen. It could be better...but I think Serenity will have legs so still do well next weekend. (Check here to see if Liz is being overly hopeful.)
Melissa: It's looking like 10.1 and number 2, yes, and number 2 in per-screen average. So not bad, and as you said, we beat Alba and Viggo, and Johnny Depp, for that matter. Go, big damn movie!
"They can't stop the signal, Mal."