Serenity (2005) – Joss Whedon

 

Ahhh, Serenity. I’m so glad I got a chance to watch this one again, thanks to the Sci-Fi Chronicles book. I remember the year Firefly started, and the now legendary story of how Fox screwed everything up and didn’t give Joss Whedon and the show the support it deserved.

Despite that of course, when the series hit DVD, it turned into a full-fledged cult phenomena. I remember working at the video store, and talking it up all the time, and sending people hope with the first disc to get them hooked, and to learn what I knew from the get-go… that this show was amazing. Heck, I remember sitting through the atrocious John Doe just so I knew I would be home and able to watch Firefly.

Then, with the success of the DVD set, Universal picked up the theatrical rights (take that Fox) and let Joss give his crew the big-screen treatment. Wow, was I so ready for that… While the show was on, and the lead-up to the film, I swear that was almost all I watched…

The film had the unique problem of having to be broad enough to bring in the casual viewer to its space-cowboy-opera universe, while doing the story, and therefore it’s fans justice. And Joss pulled it off brilliantly.

The story sees the crew of the Serenity, captained by Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), confronting a nameless Operative (my first introduction to the very cool Chiwetel Ejiofor), who is pursuing two passengers on Reynolds Firefly transport, Simon (Sean Maher) and his psychic, and experimented upon sister, River (Summer Glau).

Each of the show’s cast, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite, Ron Glass, Adam Baldwin, and Morena Baccarin get there moments to shine, as they learn the secrets that Glau’s Summer is holding in her brain, secrets that have threatened to drive her mad.

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Whedon balances character, with his whip-smart dialogue, and action beats as we learn who the real monsters are in these new worlds, and the truth about why we, as a species, can’t have or live in a utopia.

I remember the excitement leading up to the film, the comic series tying in as a lead-up, the way I would get excited about hearing a new track from the yet-to-be-released soundtrack, and the fact that we would get to see that beautiful ship, and her amazing crew, that had, over it’s too short a season, become very dear to my heart, on the big screen.

It still means a lot to me, and I wish there were more people who hadn’t seen it yet, so that I could share it with someone all over again.

The series is one of the great should-have-beens, and the movie, well when things start happening in the final act, you start to worry that Joss is going to have everything go Wild Bunch and leave the viewer scarred and mourning…

And if you are one of the few who haven’t seen the series or the movie, treat yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

It was a helluva ride, and none of us, even now, are ready to let it go. Because we’re big damn heroes, and we aim to misbehave…

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