Movie Review: Serenity

Posted: May 21, 2012 in Movies
Tags: , , , , ,

Bottom Line:

Watch it.


[No spoilers]

So, last week I shared my thoughts on the TV show Firefly. This week, I’m here to talk about Serenity, the follow-up movie that was made in 2005. As I mentioned before, Firefly only made it through the first season before it was taken from the air. Joss Whedon decided to make a movie to tie up loose ends and give loyal fans of the show some closure.

Whereas Firefly was a show about Mal and his crew, Serenity was very much a movie about Simon and River. River was the driving force behind the plot in Firefly in a lot of ways. It was because of her that the crew had to keep running from the Alliance – more than usual, anyway. But in the movie, River is the plot. She begins to act out, sometimes in dangerous ways, and Simon has to find a way to control her before Mal is forced to kick her off the ship. All this goes down while they have an intelligent and deadly assassin right on their heels.

So, how did this movie shape up against the show? Fairly well, actually. I watched it a few days after I saw the season finale of Firefly and I didn’t notice any major discrepancies. It felt exactly the same – just like an extra long episode. There were some things that threw me off a little bit, but I wasn’t sure if that was because I wasn’t paying attention, or because the movie didn’t do a good job of explaining it.

I definitely liked knowing a bit more about River and what it was like to be inside her head. She’s an incredible character with such a rich and complex personality. Summer Glau had a lot of time to shine in this movie, and she definitely delivered. Simon was also a bit more fleshed out, which was nice to see. I especially liked seeing some of the more lighthearted moments that they both brought to the table this time around.

I also liked some of the development with the other characters. Certain relationships came to a close. I’m happy with all of them, even if they all didn’t get a happy ending (and that’s as much as I’m going to say about that).  I’ve come to terms with it, and regardless of my personal feelings, it was good storytelling.

Also? Best tagline ever.

I also want to point out that River is not someone I’d want to mess with. She had some pretty action-packed fight sequences in the movie, and I was so, so happy to see that. Again, Summer Glau was just incredible and there was some beautiful choreography here.

So, what didn’t I like? Well, I didn’t like that it was over. These characters are so realistic and well thought out that you end up investing a lot of time and emotion into them. It’s sad to think that we might never get something new from this world.

It also left a few questions open. One in particular was Book’s backstory. It wasn’t a necessary thing to know, and maybe it was Joss’ way of leaving room open for a sequel of some sort, but I would’ve liked to have known who he really was.

Have you watched Firefly yet? What about Serenity?  What did you think of them? Was there anything in Serenity that didn’t sit well with you?

Please note that the comments section is NOT a spoiler-free zone. Feel free to talk about anything to do with Firefly and Serenity, as I’d really like to have a good discussion with other fans of the show. If you haven’t seen either one yet, proceed into the comments with caution!

  1. Marie Erving says:

    I think Book’s back story was actually addressed in one of the comics released by Dark Horse, but I haven’t gotten around to ready it myself yet.

    What I always loved best about Firefly was the character interaction. The characters were great on their own, but they were even better when they were playing off each other.

    • Karen Rought says:

      I was told that same thing earlier today, Marie! I’ll have to track it down and see what it says.

      Yes! Character interaction is wonderful, especially between the people that are so completely different, like Mal/Inara and Jayne/Simon.

  2. Kat Morrisey says:

    I love Firefly…and Serenity. I could talk about them forever . I re-watch both the show and the movie often (as in 3-4 times a year often, at least!) I was so bummed when they cancelled Firefly after 1 season–I’m still miffed with Fox about that -.- Of course, I am a huge Joss Whedon fan (and Nathan Fillion) too. I love the writing and the mythology Joss creates in most of his shows-and his characters are so well fleshed out and interesting. Ack! See I could go on forever (and just this past Thursday posted about a video Joss did with Felicia Day for The Guild web series!!) 😀 So glad you liked the movie!

    • Karen Rought says:

      I’m definitely going to have to rewatch both of them. I feel like it’ll be a great chance to pick up on some of the details that I missed when I was being sucked into the main plot of the story.

  3. Julie Glover says:

    I thought they did a good job with Serenity, but I didn’t like it as much as the Firefly series. Of course, maybe I was just cranky about the story being over. Still, I agree with you, Karen: It’s worth a watch!

    • Karen Rought says:

      I agree, Julie. I liked the scope of Firefly, whereas Serenity was pretty linear. There’s nothing wrong with that (and for a movie it’s actually a good thing), but Firefly had SO much potential. I think that’s the thing that makes me most bitter.

  4. this was actually my first introduction to a joss whedon creation – besides buffy, which i didn’t follow at all, and frankly if someone would have said, “hey, here’s a space western, check it out”, i would have said, “pass!”. now i would probably stalk mr. whedon anywhere and not just because he made me have a mad crush i can’t shake on nathan fillion. the dialogue alone won me over (i can’t go a week without saying to my husband that he’s seriously damaging my calm). firefly is so well written and whedon writes such strong female characters, what more could you ask for?

  5. […] you’ll know that I fell in love. And guess what I did right after that? I watched Firefly. Then I watched Serenity. I now literally beg people for suggestions for my next sci-fi fill (any recommendations??). And […]

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