Friday, 14 December 2012

Film Review: Serenity - (2005)

Director: Joss Whedon

Starring: Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher and Summer Glau
Running time: 119 minutes
Age Rating: 15
Release date: 30th September 2005

"This is the captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then - explode."

Serenity is the film adaptation of the cult American TV show Firefly, both being created by the geek mastermind Joss Whedon. It tells the story of six outlaws who take in two fugitives trying to escape the grasp of the evil empire,the Alliance  The biggest question I had before seeing Serenity was if the TV show could be turned into a much bigger scale science fiction film. The series and director are known for the large cast of characters and how interesting they are. With a TV show, specific episodes can be used to explore each character and present their personalities to the audience  Films can't really do this, as while longer than a single episode they don't have an entire series to make the audience care.

Fortunately Joss Whedon knows what he's doing. There is a grand plot in the film, but you care much more about what happens to Serenity's colourful cast of characters. It all takes place in a unique setting where American and Chinese cultures have merged together, giving a unique vision at what could happen if the political powers came together to reach space. While it has a few elements social commentary, it is truly a fun and action packed science fiction adventure movie. And it is fun.

So like I was saying, this is a character driven piece and all of the original cast return in full form. Leader of the group and captain of the ship Serenity, is Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion). Second in command is the battle harderned Zoe Washburne (Gina Torres), who is also married to the humorous pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk). The  mechanic is Kaylee (Jewel Staite) and muscle is  Jayne (Adam Baldwin). Finally there is Simon (Sean Maher) and River Tam (Summer Glau), brother and sister on the run from the 
Alliance. These actor all have the advantage of having great on screen chemistry because they have done this all before. The dialogue that drives the plot is a little bland, but banter between different people at times is amazing. Its no wonder the director is renown for witty and clever writing.

My biggest issue with Serenity is that it doesn't handle action very well. The punch ups are a little dull and apart from one scene the space stuff looks a little cheap. Admittedly a few memorable scenes are pretty well choreographed, but they don't have much impact or meaning. A verbal confrontation between people is far more interesting then a flat fight scene. This is a small complaint, as that's not really the point of the film. Its about characters coming together and making a stand against something far greater then themselves.

At this point I understand that I am somewhat bias after watching the TV show before the film. I went into it already attached to the characters and aware of the back story. For a fan of the show its a perfect send off for it's cancelled predecessor  The problem is that it comes of as a bit underwhelming for everyone else. Its still a good film, but it misses the emotional punch for everyone who doesn't understand why certain things are important. I still highly insist you check out Serenity. Its a fun film with very witty dialogue and a great cast.

"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar."

1 comment:

  1. The others do a good job gushing about the movie. Sure we're fans and bound to like the movie more than the usual fare, but those looking for an original and thrilling movie experience, this will shock and amaze. The Firefly world introduced a fantasy home for many of us, with characters we truly cared about and dilemmas we could get behind. The best way to describe it is to take the best aspects of the Han Solo elements of the original Star Wars, and build a world around that. > Reviews Serenity 2005
    There's no grand theme or clear cut good and evil. There's just a band of fugitives trying to make their way in a dangerous sky. It's something folks can relate to, although most of us won't be in a space battle or fighting psychotic creatures anytime soon. The point of the name Serenity is the name of the ship, though in a deeper sense that's what our characters are in search of. Finding freedom and a home, and that's what the ship represents to them, and to the fans. So you understand why so many are so excited about this dinky little scifi flick.

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