My spoiler-free assessment of Serenity since its release in cinemas here in Britain:

I’m honestly surprised that no-one has brought up Serenity up to now… and the only reason for that is because not nearly enough people are going to see it! I’d highly recommend that you rectify this deficiency and speed to the cinema post-haste, because if there’s one science-fiction film that deserves to be a success this year, it is most definitely the sublime Serenity.

We all know who Joss Whedon - most famous for Buffy the Vampire Slayer - is. Whilst both that and Angel won him great praise, another of his franchises, Firefly (what can be loosely described as a “space western”), was less successful. This wasn’t for a lack of quality on the programme’s part - it received critical acclaim - but rather the cold feet of executives at Fox Television who panicked when the show didn’t shoot straight to the top of the charts within five minutes. Ever since then, Whedon has been labouring painstakingly and relentlessly to revive Firefly, and the end result that is Serenity is nothing less than a labour of love, and that shines through in a truly sterling production.

Whilst Serenity is a continuation of the Firefly storyline, newcomers need not fear of being hurled into the deep end - the backstory is painlessly dispensed with inside of a couple of minutes, and rather than have a dull Mister Exposition droning on, it’s elegantly woven into the thread of the narrative itself. A superbly-constructed tracking shot of the chief protagonist, Malcolm (Mal) Reynolds walking through his ship as the crew prepare for a less than smooth landing establishes the crew within the next three or four, so you’re immediately up to speed with all the salient details.

This superior sense of refinement to filmmaking continues as Serenity unfolds. The villains are compelling, whether it be the animalistic savagery of the feral Reavers or the cold politeness of The Operative (who, unlike most antagonists, isn’t self-serving or psychotic but a genuine believer in his mission - and competent to boot!). The action sequences are also vicious, tense and varied, ranging from good ol’ fashioned manly brawls and barnstormin’ chases to a slinky elastic assassin ducking, diving, weaving, rolling, flipping and kicking entire mobs into submission in an eye-wateringly speedy display of astonishing gymnastic prowess. The big space battle isn’t just a humdrum five minutes where two groups of CGI-polished polygons sling special effects at each other, but a rip-roaring and furious affair as the camera spins, ducks, screams, twists, barrels and careers through a bewildering and incandescent firestorm with exhilarating speed (if anything, it’s too quick - it’s difficult to focus on, and I wouldn’t have minded a couple of wide-screen shots in order to appreciate the scale of it. That’s not to detract from it being gripping as it is, though). Whilst there is one rather tall section when Mal gets skewered but fights on as if someone’s just nicked him, these sequences also succeed in feeling like genuine combat, not merely as a vehicle for the Hero to show how indestructible he is.

That’s an important distinction to make, because a place where Serenity excels is characterisation. Despite Serenity having a healthy dose of action-adventure, the cast isn’t merely a cipher to unlock an SFXtravagaza, but each of them have definite personalities, with their own genuinely palpable emotions, ideas, ambitions and motivations, all painted through their speech, dress, interactions, and even their accents and the doodads they put up in their quarters! Pleasingly, it also dabbles in that underused concept of the anti-hero.

One unfortunate problem, though, is the size of the cast. With ten named characters at the fore, it’s impossible to flesh all of them out in exhaustive detail in 119 minutes, which is why when drastic measures are taken at a couple of sections it might only cause an emotional frisson in the fans of the original Firefly who already know the cast well. Nonetheless, the superior script allows even those other characters who spend more time on the sidelines than the main core of the Serenity’s crew to feel like complete humans, their limited lines still encapsulating them as genuine people.

Whilst the script is highlighted, I can say that it is another positive factor that burnished Serenity. It is very tight and focused, dispensing with sub-plots to tell one concentrated tale. Whether that’s a preferable thing or not is a matter of opinion, but it succeeded in keeping my attention and was well-paced, jetting from one place to another to keep up a sense of progress and throwing in a radical plot-twist along the way that shocks and disturbs marvellously. The ending is left open - Serenity is intended to be the first instalment in a trilogy - but the adventure within is purely self-contained and reaches its own climax and denouement. It’s also a lively affair, not only with the slang and vernacular bandied about in the dialogue, but also through the injection of humour. Nothing is kidney-rupturingly hilarious (although you wouldn’t expect it to be - it isn’t a comedy), but when the whole audience was guffawing at several points in the film you appreciated just how well-balanced Serenity is.

Serenity deserves to succeed. Not only has Joss Whedon sweated blood over it, but his sponsors, Universal, have also willingly taken a risk over something that might not necessarily rake in the ticket-dollars - and we don’t want film studios to be scared off non-blockbusters any more! But it’s wrong to buy a ticket to this film as a favour for either of those two bodies - do it as a favour for yourself. Serenity is a marvellous film which has a soul and heart as well as all of the modern gubbins we expect these days, and an enriching thing to watch. :slight_smile:

After seeing the kind of dialogue present in the movie (I saw the trailer) I know I’ll definately won’t see this movie.Not to mention it looks pretty popcornish.

Bah. Judging the movie’s dialog off a trailer is like saying Lord of the Rings sucks after reading one of Frodo’s songs as an excerpt.

All I know is:

Firefly/Serenity > All

You can’t stop the signal.

I know the lines I heard.They will suffice.(I actually don’t remember them but I remember the impact they had)

I was the same way, but then when the movie came out it got surprisingly good reviews. I never followed Firefly but I may see the movie this weekend if I have the time.

While all the friends who went to see Serenity with me that hadn’t seen Firefly said they thoroughly enjoyed the movie, watching Serenity without first watching Firefly severely lessens the experience, I think. Serenity is in and of itself a solid sci-fi movie, but when given the familiarity that you will have with the characters, and the weight that gives their actiosn, after watching the series, it will raise the experience to a whole new level.

Firefly is, hands down, the best written show I have ever seen (from a character development point of view).

Everyone should see this film! It manages to have both an intelligent plot whilst still keeping plenty of action into the mix. On a personal level, I was very pleased that there were no Buffy leftovers here - the dialogue is without a doubt 100% Firefly, and portrays sadness and real emotion without descending into the angsty mush that killed my interest in Slayers.

Well the film scored No.1 at the UK box office so it isn’t doing too bad. I guess it will do better on DVD,though.

I saw Serenity just last week and I found it highly enjoyable, despite never having seen Firefly.

The characters and the action sequences were excellent, the universe in which it was set was very interesting, and the story was a lot deeper than I expected from seeing the trailers.

The Reavers were also very cool. They reminded me of the Dark Eldar from Warhammer 40K.

I just watched Serenity and I can agree with all the positivity. There’s virtually nothing wrong with it taken for what it is. And judged as a drama it’s exceptionally well executed relative to the Sci-Fi/Action genre.

I only caught a few episodes of Firefly, and I don’t remember enough to greatly matter. I remember liking it and that’s about it. I also half remember hearing something about the circumstances surrounding the show however.

I think Firefly may have been the victim of some preexisting bad karma at Fox. For some peculiar reason it’s very existence seemed to be contingent on the end of existence for Dark Angel. Presumably the Network didn’t want to maintain two higher production Sci-Fi series. But I think there was also some deal about a connection between Joss Whedon and the Fox programming exec at the time, though don’t quote me on that.

I think Firefly found itself even more on the bubble for having basically transplantined Dark Angel, a show that had only just finally found it’s audience. Ain’t politics grand?

Hi guys! Sorry, if I hadn’t been hypnotized by the evil GameFAQs boards, I would’ve been hyping this movie like none other.

Firefly absolutely rules, and while Serenity isn’t quite up to the standards of the series, it still kicks huge amounts of ass. Go see it. You won’t be disappointed.

I also highly highly recommend finding some way to see the Firefly series (in order, preferably) if you haven’t. I know Sci-Fi was airing it before the movie came out, not sure if they still are.