Prior to seeing Serenity, a Sci-Fi action flick, I was completely unfamiliar with the world of the film's director, Joss Whedon. I have not seen Firefly, the cancelled TV show that the film is a continuation of. Nor have I seen Whedon's two previous television creations, Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Angel. I don't think that my knowledge of his previous works prevented me from enjoying Serenity, but I do believe that it has caused me to ask one question: what is all the fuss about and who are these browncoats that everyone seems to be talking about?
Fanboy geekdom aside, the movie does have its strong points, and the geek stigma should not deter people from seeing this film. Serenity's premise is intriguing. I won't get into the details because they are quite complicated, but basically it is a story of a spaceship full of bandits and thieves who all have one thing in common: their hatred for the alliance, which is the governing body that has power over all of the outlying planets. These are planets that human beings inhabited after Earth become too dangerous to continue living on. Onboard this ship is two extra passengers, one of whom may or may not hold the secrets behind the true dishonorable nature of the alliance. She is also, by the way, telepathic. Meanwhile, the ship is being chased by a government assassin because of the cargo in question, and this of course results in a lot of CGI-filled action sequences and hand-to-hand combat that for the most part work.
What I didn't like, however, is the feeling that I was missing something. While the first half hour of the film seemed fresh and original the plot quickly grows tiresome and I was left wondering where all of this business with telepathy and government conspiracies was going. It eventually steadied its course in the film's last act, which nicely ties up all the threads. Yet, I still found myself merely having a few chuckles and went along for the ride while merely enjoying the pulpiness of the product. I do have to congratulate Whedon for actually hitting most of the film's attempts at comic relief, some of which were really quite inventive and funny.
I strongly encourage those who found Whedon's television work interesting to see this film. Or if science fiction is your cup tea then Serenity might be right up your alley. In all honesty even though I may have some negative things to say about this film, it is still far better than the majority of science fiction garbage we see produced in Hollywood so often. In the end Serenity is a good b-movie that satisfied my popcorn-eating habits but ultimately left me wanting more story and way more substance.
-Take A Walk on Serenity: Cast and Crew take us on a special tour of the Serenity space ship
-A Filmmaker's Journey:Take A Journey with Joss Whedon from script to the big screen
-The Green Clan:An expose on Cinematographer Jack Green and his team
-Sci-Fi Inside: Serenity Hosted by Adam Baldwin, an in-depth look at the film that was resurrected from a cancelled television show, as well as its supportive culture.
-Session 416: These internet pieces document a portion of River's participation in a psychological study and her interactions with her therapist