Friday, October 07, 2005

Serenity AKA Firefly

Firefly was a not-so-successful T.V. show created by Joss Whedon, he of the much more successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel shows. Vampires are hot and hip, it seems. Not so with cowboys in outer space.

Serenity is the movie version of the T.V. show. Let me explain this again: Firefly was cancelled after about 15 shows aired. It did not go well even though it built up a small but devout core of fans. Still, Joss thought that the premise of this ne'er-do-well band of outlaws in space would fly better on the silver screen.

Yet he didn't introduce anything new to the movie. It's still the same people on the Serenity ship (Firefly class). You've got your captain, Mal Reynolds, who has a heart-of-gold but supposedly you'd never know that because he does stuff a hero shouldn't. There's your really rough-on-the-edges but with a heart-of-gold roughneck, Jayne, whose only real duty is firepower. (It sure ain't brains.). Add the very capable Gina Torres as Reynolds' lieutenant, who acts as the central moral point of the crew. And toss in an engineer and a pilot. The only unpredictable parts of the bunch include a brother and sister, but they were in the original T.V. show, so even they aren't original. The sister has her own secrets, however, and she is spectacular to watch.

The best part about the whole movie are these actors, or most of them. Nathan FIllion has a fine comic sense and is fun to watch. And as said earlier, Gina Torres holds the whole thing together, when and if she gets any screen time -- it's not enough. The others are thin characterizations, mostly stereotypes even though they're painted as odd heroes. But all in all, there's not enough plot here, not enough new here.

If you're a Firefly fan, I understand. If you're a Joss Whedon fan, however, and expect snappy dialogue and clever characters, pass on Serenity and go rent some Buffy DVDs.


At 2:51 AM, Blogger rws said...

A short rebuttal in the form of part of an article that appeared in El PaĆ­s (Spain's largest selling newspaper) two days ago:


"A strange 38th edition of the Sitges Film Festival began yesterday; strange because it starts on a Sunday and will end on a Monday, but strange also for the films chosen for its inauguration. One, Joss Wheedon's Serenity, is a dynamic space western that falls fully into the generic typification chosen by the festival for many years, the cinema of the fantastic, and with its futuristic appearance, its creation of a powerful character (the child-medium -- half dreamer/visionary, half killing machine -- given life by the magnetic Summer Glau) and even its veiled political parable can aspire to be remembered among the well-chosen inaugurations of the last few years.

"Based on a television series, Firefly, broadcast for the first time in 2002, Serenity tells a story within the forms of science fiction, but with characters belonging more to a western -- the life of a group of 'outlaws' that aid a seer/clairvoyant and her brother, pursued by the implacable machinery of the law, and confronted, moreover, by a group of horrific, murderous cannibals. It's a vigorous, lively film, making the mixture of exterior references its greatest weapon, even leaving space for a moderate and educated political parable that shows how those who believe themselves to possess the truth stop at nothing, though they do it in the name of Good and of the security of the citizens...."


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