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Serenity (2005)
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Review Date: December 15, 2005
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Producers: Barry Mendel
Actors:
Nathan Fillion as Mal
Adam Baldwin as Jayne
Summer Glau as River
Plot:
To be honest, I didn’t totally understand this film’s plotline, but it basically has something to do with this young girl whose mind is being manipulated by the “Alliance” (baddies running the future universe), and a mercenary ship that shelters her and her doctor-brother, as they all try to figure out what she’s become (other than a hottie who can kick my ass up, down and sideways). What ensues is not much of a science-fiction movie.
Critique:
Here is a film that received mostly positive reviews, was adored by a legion of followers called “The Browncoats” and was even highly appreciated by the man whose opinion of movies I hold most closely to my own (the Arrow), and here I am, not really “getting” what everyone else seems to have “gotten” out of this movie. To me, this film played like a number of science-fiction TV shows with weak budgets and so-so stories, with a huge crew packed with not-so-interesting characters, regular special effects and very little originality boring me for most of its way, up until its final half hour (the entire movie runs a long two hours), which spices things up a little with some action sequences and deaths. Other than Adam Baldwin’s (a poor man’s Ben Affleck—or rich man’s, depending on how you look at it) macho dude character, another one called Mr. Universe and the lead “ambiguous” chick called River, no one in this cast stood out as anything other than your staple character in a sci-fi story, with lame costumes, a clunky space-ship and unfunny repartee adding to the film’s lack of punch. Even River, looking like a skinnier buggier-eyed version of Christina Ricci, started to annoy me after a while, as very little about her background was forthcoming, other than the fact that she “might” be this or she “might” be that. After a while, I just stopped giving a shit. The film’s “bad guys” also weren’t all that great with one badass dude with a sword, certainly swinging a great English accent, but not really affecting me otherwise. The other set of “bad guys”, so-called “reavers” also didn’t do much for me, as they’re mentioned throughout the film…but rarely seen.

The movie also tosses some questionable sequences into the mix like our brave shipmates getting by the bad guys simply by slapping a few skeletons on their spaceship and some red paint (is it really that easy to camouflage yourself in the future?), characters speaking out in different languages from time to time, and two crewmembers stopping in the middle of a wicked gun-battle to talk lovey-dovey to each other. Maybe you have to have seen the television show from which this film was sparked (called “Firefly”) to appreciate some of those subtleties, but as someone who had never seen one episode of the show, I honestly don’t get what the fuss was all about this movie, but hey…all the more power to those who did! I personally didn’t care when anyone died, I was bored for most of the way, wasn’t impressed by its few action scenes (other than its ending) and ultimately, didn’t think that anything about this science-fiction tale stood out vis-à-vis the thousands of futuristic stories that have come before it. Basically, it’s your standard science-fiction story, tweaked a little to appear to be a little “Western” (the lead guy pockets his gun in a holster), featuring weak bad guys, so-so effects and unmemorable action. Also, I could have done with the cheesy “love” conclusion…gimme a break. All in all, this film didn’t work much for me, but it does have a massive following, so who knows…maybe you’ll dig it.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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