Serenity: Initial reviews from the blogosphere

September 28, 2005

Many bloggers (but not me, alas) have been able to score early tickets to see Joss Whedon’s Serenity, a movie followup to his excellent but short-lived, Fox TV show called Firefly (DVD available here). Here is a roundup of some of the reviews I’ve seen so far (keep in mind these are people who opted to go see the movie early and who most likely sought out tickets – i.e. fans – so they may be predisposed toward liking it, which suits me just fine since I’m predisposed that way as well). I tried to avoid all spoilers in what is posted here, but there may be some on the linked pages…so caveat lector.

Dan Drezner:

1)  Joe and Jane Moviegoer.  If you like action flicks with a dash of surprising levity, Serenity is definitely worth checking out.

2)  Firefly fans.  Hmmm… how to put this…. hell yes, it’s worth the coin.  Whedon brought his "A" game and Universal gave him just enough money to make it very, very shiny.

Mary Katharine at Right Wing News:

I wasn’t let down. Every time I thought the movie was veering into
tired, typical action-movie banter, Whedon would pull it out. I think
he was messing with me. Much more clever than the average Hollywood
action flick, and a cute leading man with a decent Southern accent to boot.

kmsqrd (who suggests not watching the TV show DVD before the movie):

Whedon effectively satisfies my four criteria for a good
action-adventure movie: I laughed out loud, there’s a reason for all
action, the connective tissue pulls the story together, and my
attention doesn’t waiver.

Agoraphilia:

This is sci-fi the way I like it:  gritty and realistic, not clean, white, and shiny.

Jocelyn’s Other Desk:

See this movie. Sell your firstborn and/or your parents if you must, but see this movie. At least twice.

Jacob Levy:

We went with one person who’d never seen the TV show Firefly,
and he didn’t have any problem following it at all and really enjoyed
it. Exposition and character introduction are handled surprisingly
smoothly and quickly, and the story manages to work really well as a
stand-alone movie-sized story that just happens to have had 14 episodes
of high-quality TV as setup, to get these characters to where they are
at the beginning of the movie.

Go see it.  Make Universal Studios lots and lots of money, so that they will give it to Whedon and let him make more.

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit:

I thought the acting was good, and the whole film had a human touch
that many science-fiction action flicks lack. The cinematography was
more TV-like than movie-like, but I actually liked that effect. And the
sound, often boomy and annoying in films of this type, was excellent.

G. Bob:

If you’re on the same wavelength as Joss
you’ll laugh, cry, be scared and be entertained. It’s a movie that will
shift its gears in a heartbeat, and if you’re not hanging on to the
concept it’ll knock you right off. Those people who stay on will be
rewarded. Serenity is shock and awe, and somehow it manages to be
something better than it really should be. Still, if you didn’t have a
love of both space battles and cowboys in the first place, there’s no
way you’ll make it to the end of the line.

The Ranting Raven:

Josh [sic] Whedon knows how to tell a story. The story drives this movie, not
the special effects. Not to say the special effects are bad—heck,
they are GREAT–but having them be part of what drives the story is
what makes it all work. For instance, in the previews, you can see a
big multi-ship space battle. What drives that battle, how it comes
about…well, there is a story! (And at the start of the battle,
there’s a good laugh.) There is romance. There is humor. There is
conflict. There is a great villan[sic]. Ah, love and warfare!

4 Boy Dad:

If you’ve ever watched and enjoyed anything else by Joss Whedon, then
you need to see this movie. If you felt let down by the Star Wars
prequels (i.e. you thought that the story, characters, pacing,
dialogue, etc., weren’t what they should have been), then you need to
see this movie. If you like movies that don’t rely on cheap gimmicks to
tell a great story (but that still have cool special effects anyway),
then this is for you.

Misplaced Keys:

The action is intense, the story intriguing, love (requited and
unrequited) lost and found.  Belief. Faith. Loyalty. Wrath.  Good.
Evil.  Whether you’ve never seen one bit of the Series That Was, if any
of those themes strike a chord, than see this movie.  You won’t be
dismayed.

Ga Mongrel:

I got everything I wanted out of this movie. Great story, fun ride,
awesome dialogue, celestial chase scenes, fisticuffs, some nookie, an
intact Firefly cast, one-liners, gun battles… and an underlying the
movie is a theme of individualism and freedom – of which "I’m a believer". It’s not a lost cause.

Unspace:

Was Serenity the best ever SF movie? For whatever meaning “best ever”
has (and I’m not sure it does — another topic I have to blog about), I
doubt it. But this was an incredible movie, and one you should see if
you’re an SF fan — and even if you’re not!

The Grich:

I can’t remember enjoying a motion picture
like this in a while.  This had all the originality of Star Wars and
other Science Fiction greats, with terrific writing, snappy dialog,
just the right amount of romance (that is, not too much at all, but
just enough to give them depth and make cute remarks) and tons of great
action sequences.

Gclectic:

And what of the plot?  Well, I’m not going to give away any details
beyond the tiny snippets you got above.  But it is certainly very well
structured, grand in scope, and kept me (quite literally) on the edge
of my seat for much of the movie.  If there are no more stories in the
Firefly universe, I will be quite satisfied that Joss told the story he
needed to tell, and told it in glorious style.  If there should happen
to be more, well, Mr. Whedon has established his credentials — he’s
just as good on the large screen as the small, and I trust him to do
right by us.

I also ran across at least one negative review, but it warned of spoilers early on, so that window got closed pretty quickly. In any case, the overall picture is looking pretty good, and I’m looking forward to seeing the movie this weekend. If you want more reviews, check out Rotten Tomatoes.

UPDATE: For all those Whedon fans who are having difficulty figuring out how to pass the time until Friday, why not take on a new obsession for good measure: Veronica Mars, season two premiere showing at 9:00 pm (8:00 Central Time) on UPN tonight. It’s approved by Joss!

UPDATE2: Instapundit links to more reviews, mostly very positive. It’s lookin’ good!

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3 Responses to “Serenity: Initial reviews from the blogosphere”

  1. Gclectic Says:

    Watch me soar!

    This is a followup for my previous postings about Serenity. It seems that there are a few loose ends that I neglected: I mentioned how much I like the original Firefly theme song. Michelle Dockrey of Escape Key has expanded

  2. kmsqrd Says:

    Thanks for the link. I just didn’t want people to feel that seeing the television show was required to enjoy the movie. I hope you enjoy it when you get to see it!


  3. OK — So I can’t spell when it’s late & I’m tired. It was pushing 11PM and I get up at 5 AM. (Sigh — I can’t spell period.)

    GREAT round up, and thanks for the link!

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