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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) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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4:54PM on 05/04/2006

One Shiny Movie

I saw this movie before seeing the show and I can say I'm a Born-Again Browncoat. I love this movie. It has funny, witty lines of dialogue and it was an easy and accessable plot. I'm not sure how you didn't get it, but it was this: A Federation who has taken control of all colonized planets (who are not Earth) did evil experiments to make "super-human" psychic soldiers. Their greatest achievement was a young girl named River who (other than being surprisingly hot) was rescued by her formerly
I saw this movie before seeing the show and I can say I'm a Born-Again Browncoat. I love this movie. It has funny, witty lines of dialogue and it was an easy and accessable plot. I'm not sure how you didn't get it, but it was this: A Federation who has taken control of all colonized planets (who are not Earth) did evil experiments to make "super-human" psychic soldiers. Their greatest achievement was a young girl named River who (other than being surprisingly hot) was rescued by her formerly rich brother and then joined a ship that was run by a former "anti-fed" soldier and his only surviving friend from the war and an assorted crew (including my ideal Wonder Woman, Morena Baccarin). The Feds track them down and a chase ensues. It is then discovered a failed experiment has led to some messed up stuff (won't spoil it) and a fantastic space and close quarters ground battle ensues.

Fantastic acting on all parts (except from Reaver #4 to the left of Reaver #5 to the right), great and quotable dialogue (I may reference it every now and then a day), sub-star wars special effects (which makes it better, surprisingly), makes me give it a perfect.
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4:54PM on 05/04/2006

One Shiny Movie

I saw this movie before seeing the show and I can say I'm a Born-Again Browncoat. I love this movie. It has funny, witty lines of dialogue and it was an easy and accessable plot. I'm not sure how you didn't get it, but it was this: A Federation who has taken control of all colonized planets (who are not Earth) did evil experiments to make "super-human" psychic soldiers. Their greatest achievement was a young girl named River who (other than being surprisingly hot) was rescued by her formerly
I saw this movie before seeing the show and I can say I'm a Born-Again Browncoat. I love this movie. It has funny, witty lines of dialogue and it was an easy and accessable plot. I'm not sure how you didn't get it, but it was this: A Federation who has taken control of all colonized planets (who are not Earth) did evil experiments to make "super-human" psychic soldiers. Their greatest achievement was a young girl named River who (other than being surprisingly hot) was rescued by her formerly rich brother and then joined a ship that was run by a former "anti-fed" soldier and his only surviving friend from the war and an assorted crew (including my ideal Wonder Woman, Morena Baccarin). The Feds track them down and a chase ensues. It is then discovered a failed experiment has led to some messed up stuff (won't spoil it) and a fantastic space and close quarters ground battle ensues.

Fantastic acting on all parts (except from Reaver #4 to the left of Reaver #5 to the right), great and quotable dialogue (I may reference it every now and then a day), sub-star wars special effects (which makes it better, surprisingly), makes me give it a perfect.
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4:25PM on 12/26/2005

Good, grimy fun

Without being disrespectful, I can honestly say that you will probably have a better appreciation of "Serenity" if you have seen the series before the movie. I've seen both "Star Wars Episode III" and "Serenity", and in terms of plot, characters, and acting, "Serenity" easily eclipses the former. One of the best things about "Serenity" is that Whedon never talks down to his intended audience and he knows his characters inside and out (The Operative is a more conflicted character than just being
Without being disrespectful, I can honestly say that you will probably have a better appreciation of "Serenity" if you have seen the series before the movie. I've seen both "Star Wars Episode III" and "Serenity", and in terms of plot, characters, and acting, "Serenity" easily eclipses the former. One of the best things about "Serenity" is that Whedon never talks down to his intended audience and he knows his characters inside and out (The Operative is a more conflicted character than just being a "bad ass dude sporting a great English accent"). Sure, the F/X may not be top-notch, but it worked for the film. And the action sequences were just icing on the cake.

I highly recommend that you watch the series (it's being re-run on Sci Fi for free, or borrow a copy from a friend). If you like the show, give the movie another spin. If you still don't appreciate it, well, each to his own then.
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9:00PM on 12/21/2005

I can honestly say...

...that I don't agree ith you. Like you, I have never seen an episode of Firefly. Unlike you, I thought Serenity was, uh, how do the kids say it today, kick ass homey. Sorry about that, I don't normally speak rap.
...that I don't agree ith you. Like you, I have never seen an episode of Firefly. Unlike you, I thought Serenity was, uh, how do the kids say it today, kick ass homey. Sorry about that, I don't normally speak rap.
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10:51PM on 12/15/2005
WHOEVER IS POSTING THEIR "REVIEWS" HERE, please re-read our RULES/GUIDELINES before posting:

"Here’s your chance to add your own movie reviews to those written by JoBlo and the Arrow, as well as to provide them with your own rating. Please post full reviews with reasons behind you liking/disliking a certain movie, like its entertainment value, what you thought of the story, the actors, the music, the ending, the pacing and everything else that makes a movie…a movie (in your opinion). We will
WHOEVER IS POSTING THEIR "REVIEWS" HERE, please re-read our RULES/GUIDELINES before posting:

"Here’s your chance to add your own movie reviews to those written by JoBlo and the Arrow, as well as to provide them with your own rating. Please post full reviews with reasons behind you liking/disliking a certain movie, like its entertainment value, what you thought of the story, the actors, the music, the ending, the pacing and everything else that makes a movie…a movie (in your opinion). We will be posting average scores from our readers’ reviews as well, so make ‘em count. All posts that are not reviews of the films in question will be DELETED."
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7:56PM on 12/15/2005
I don't know why my comment was kicked off, but I still think Serenity rocks. Saw it before any of the Firefly episodes. My biggest draw is comedy and this film and the Firefly episodes work in great comedic moments amid the explosive action scenes.
I don't know why my comment was kicked off, but I still think Serenity rocks. Saw it before any of the Firefly episodes. My biggest draw is comedy and this film and the Firefly episodes work in great comedic moments amid the explosive action scenes.
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5:51PM on 12/15/2005

Not Star Wars But still Awsome

I don't agree with you on alot of things, but you did make a few good point. I really loved this movie, I thought it was flippen sweat. To let you know where I'm coming from, I'm not a "browncoat" and i really haven't seen any episode of Firefly prior to sirenty. I enjoyed the characters, the acting was great, it was funny, and loved the style (one of the most original sci fi movies i seen) it was very well writin. okay didn't any chewbacca's or Han Solo's, but i still liked the characters.
I don't agree with you on alot of things, but you did make a few good point. I really loved this movie, I thought it was flippen sweat. To let you know where I'm coming from, I'm not a "browncoat" and i really haven't seen any episode of Firefly prior to sirenty. I enjoyed the characters, the acting was great, it was funny, and loved the style (one of the most original sci fi movies i seen) it was very well writin. okay didn't any chewbacca's or Han Solo's, but i still liked the characters. They weren't memerable but still likable (i felt bad about Wash dying). the movie wasn't a classic, it probly would be if it got more publicity though.
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11:36AM on 12/15/2005
This movie surpassed Star Wars on many levels: writing, directing, and acting. I think you were just so predisposed to not liking this movie (as evident by you mentioning how shitty it looked at every opportunity) that there's no way you could have come up with any other review since you had made up your mind before you even saw it.

And you gave Supernova (a movie I regard as one of the worst ever made) a 5/10???
This movie surpassed Star Wars on many levels: writing, directing, and acting. I think you were just so predisposed to not liking this movie (as evident by you mentioning how shitty it looked at every opportunity) that there's no way you could have come up with any other review since you had made up your mind before you even saw it.

And you gave Supernova (a movie I regard as one of the worst ever made) a 5/10???
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9:18AM on 12/15/2005
It's too bad you didn't like it, but I am also in the group that loves this movie. I walked in after seeing the previews expecting a sort of TV quality sci-fi/comedy/action sort of thing and walked out highly impressed. I've never seen the show but plan on picking it up some time.

I think the main thing I liked about the movie was the characters. Unlike you, I found every one of them interesting and likable enough to watch for two hours, no matter what they were actually doing. I also found
It's too bad you didn't like it, but I am also in the group that loves this movie. I walked in after seeing the previews expecting a sort of TV quality sci-fi/comedy/action sort of thing and walked out highly impressed. I've never seen the show but plan on picking it up some time.

I think the main thing I liked about the movie was the characters. Unlike you, I found every one of them interesting and likable enough to watch for two hours, no matter what they were actually doing. I also found the action scenes really good and the story, while not great, was adequate enough to give the characters something to do for two hours.

Good dialogue + charismatic cast = Good fun movie.
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8:34AM on 12/15/2005

Great fun

Yeah.. I'm usually right there with ya Joblo.. but everyone has a different opinion - and mine is for sure different than yours on this one.
I loved the Firefly series... I've seen the episodes many times... so this was obviously an anticipated movie for me.. and it didn't disappoint. Except for killing Wash. That sucked. Didn't care so much for Book.

People may enjoy the flick without seeing the series.. but I highly recommend watching the series - then see the movie again. You'll
Yeah.. I'm usually right there with ya Joblo.. but everyone has a different opinion - and mine is for sure different than yours on this one.
I loved the Firefly series... I've seen the episodes many times... so this was obviously an anticipated movie for me.. and it didn't disappoint. Except for killing Wash. That sucked. Didn't care so much for Book.

People may enjoy the flick without seeing the series.. but I highly recommend watching the series - then see the movie again. You'll understand a few things better.. and pick up on certain things during conversations better.
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