Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Obligatory Serenity Review -- no spoilers

This is gonna be short. I caught the 7:50 pm show - rode my bike the mile or so from work, which avoided a lot of traffic foo, got in line an hour before showtime, and there were only about a dozen people in line ahead of me. By the time the doors opened, there were about 50. Argh. Saving places for people on that scale is Just Plain Wrong.

But I got a super seat, anyway. Also, the show was not sold out when I arrived, so that Fandango service fee was wasted.

I'd seen the trailers, heard the hype, seen the entire Firefly series, so I guess I'm a fan. I had high expectations, and most of them were met. I expected to not be able to understand half of what Mal (Nathan Fillion) said, and I was not disappointed. He mumbles a lot, and his lines in this script often sounded forced. The writer was going for Space Rustic, and it didn't quite fit in his mouth. I expected to see more of River (Summer Glau) and saying I was not disappointed is like saying it rained some in New Orleans recently. If this movie doesn't make Summer's agent one of the busiest people in Hollywood, then there's something very wrong with Hollywood. Ditto her stunt doubles.

Joss Whedon has shown he can take a small screen production and scale it to big screen, and lose very little in the translation - and gain a lot. What was lost were some of the special effects. There were a couple of times when models were obviously models and atmosphere was bits of cotton or stucco spray. But mostly, they rocked. There were some images which were sheer poetry - watch for River's "Moment™" near the end. Jewel Staite out-Kayleed herself, she was wonderful. Zoe (Gina Torres) took her acting up a notch too. Sean Maher as Simon confused me. In the opening scenes, he looks fit, handsome, mature and what I would have expected him to grow into after some time onboard. But in many scenes he looks pale, thin, juvenile. I wonder if he had been ill during some of the shoot. Time has definitely not been kind to Ron Glass or his character Shephard Book. I was disappointed in his very small role, and in his acting. He was only good, not his usual superb. Adam Balwin continues to be Jayne. I sure hope the casting directors notice that besides his flair for being the ultimate dumb jock, he has incredible comic timing. And of course I'm still in love with Inara (Morena Baccarin), and wish we saw more of her, but the nature of her character just doesn't allow this. Alan Tudyk was Wash. Ho hum. None of the new minor characters were anything to write home about.

The Bad Guy is played by a fellow with the unusual name of Chiwetel Ejiofor. He just didn't do it for me. His script was great, but he just was not convincing. There was a guy in one of the Firefly episodes who sneaks aboard, ties up Kaylee, and almost grabs River, and he's the one I wanted to see in this role. I don't remember the episode or the character name - someone know who I'm talking about? Anyway that guy had the grace, charm, class and utter ruthlessness which this part called for.

Two more negative comments, then I'm done with bad news. I was shaken by the level of violence, especially towards the end. And the rest of the audience joined me in being very let down that there were no out-takes or other snippets during the closing credits.

Summary - I liked this movie very much. I'll get it on Netflix so I can turn on the subtitles, rewind and replay the bits I missed the first time, and pause on some of those beautifully framed images.

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