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Another SERENITY Review -- From A FIREFLY Virgin!!

I am – Hercules!!

Is “Serenity” playing even better to non-fans than to the “Firefly” faithful? Maybe!

I was talking to my Jedi Council pal “Frosty Skywalker” – as big a “Star Wars” booster as you’ll hope to find and a man who doesn’t know from “Firefly” – and he loooooved “Serenity,” and is probably even now standing in line to buy the DVD set.

And, yes, I can see how the film would play better to someone who didn’t know how great “Firefly” was.

When we posted early Wednesday, we had two raves – one from a “Firefly” fan, the other not. Here’s the word from another nonfan who caught the Tuesday screening in Chatsworth.

“MagicDGK” is not on the fence:

I read the reviews of Serenity that you posted, and even though one of them spoke of how non-viewers of Firefly would react, he was a viewer himself. So I thought you might be interested in my point of view.

When I saw Serenity at Winnetka on Tuesday I had not seen Firefly, Buffy, or Angel (in other words knew nothing of Whedon). So here it goes (keep in mind I originally wrote this review for a message board, so it has references to that site in it):

Until last night I most definitely could not have called myself a Firefly fan, a browncoat, or a flan (see how fast I’ve caught on? hehe); mainly because I had never seen the show (a very good reason I might add). I had many reasons for not watching the show at the time of airing, the main reason being that the commercials plain out sucked. They made it look like a stupid Star Trek knock-off and completely misrepresented it (as I’ve now learned). Another reason for not watching it was that I simply have had no interest in television in a long time. The only thing that has kept my attention for the past few years has been The West Wing, and even that has gone to garbage now that Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme have left. It was during these years of CTV (Crap Television) that I started to put my Dvd player to great use to start exploring the world of movies. I have since become so obsessed with movies that I have chosen to make them my life and become a filmmaker. Granted, I’m still in high school; but I’ve got my goals pretty squared out.

So - and this is where I will make my point - although I did not walk into the movie theatre last night as a Firefly fan, I most definitely walked in as a MOVIE fan (especially of good ones).

As a movie fan I had read much hype online about Serenity from and and other movie news sites; so I was definitely excited to see what all the hype was about. While waiting in line I didn’t know what to think. Witnessing such a fan following boosted confidence in my upcoming movie experience, but earlier during the drive to the theater DamnitGirlie had said that Firefly was better than Star Wars, and that is one heck of a high standard for me (I believe in the force - if that is any indication of my dedication to Star Wars).

So to be honest; I was skeptical. I would not believe for one second that a movie could actually be on par with, or be better than, Star Wars. I was WRONG.

I can’t and won’t say that Serenity was better than Star Wars, because they are way too different for me to compare them. But let me put it this way: All my life I’ve envied most adults for having had the experience of watching Star Wars in the theater before it was big. To have had that moment of “Oh my god, this is f**king amazing. Oh my god, this is gonna be huge!” Well, frankly I was jealous - until now. I now feel like I’ve had that kind of experience, and I’ll be able to tell my children that I was at the first public screening (after which they will shoot me confused expressions and whisper “daddy’s a geek” to each other).

Now what did I find so amazing about it? I think the winning factor for me was that it was character driven. Instead of an action packed movie with people, it was a movie about people and how the action affects them. I loved all the characters, and the actors who played the - wait a minute - forget that, I didn’t even remember they were actors till it was brought to my attention afterwards. These characters were so real to me that I genuinely feared for their lives when danger came about. When the reavers came a’knockin I squeezed my girlfriend’s arm tightly.

My one complaint about the characters would be that Mal was too much like Han Solo. Although I think it could be argued that he’s more of an affectionate nod to Han Solo than stealing the whole idea of the character. But for god sakes he had the same gun holster, and he even “pulled a greedo” (for anyone familiar with the Special Edition crap in Star Wars). That’s not to say that I didn’t like the character, I LOVED Mal.

I can’t say much about River without spoiling so I won’t. I will simply say that she is by far my favorite character from the film, and when you see the “money shot” near the end of the film (you’ll know what I mean when you see it) you’ll piss your pants (or something of the equivalent in shaking or gasping motions). I think the true proof that this movie’s characters can hold their own is that I loved this movie with barely any special effects done.

Oh yes, which brings me to a side note. Before the movies started, a focus group woman made a disclaimer speech to the audience about how many effects weren’t done, etc. She actually used the words “When the movie actually comes out, it will be effects driven.” She couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t think she even knew what “effects driven” means. “Effects driven” would be something like The Matrix Revolutions where there is a 45 minute battle between all CG machines. Serenity is very much the opposite. Yes there are fights. Yes there is a space battle (and quite a fantastic one at that - even though we had to use our imagination for most of it because of unfinished effects). But the effects and action don’t drive the movie; the characters do. I think that is Serenity’s greatest triumph.

Back on the subject of characters; let’s talk about the villain. I absolutely LOVED the villain. I won’t talk much about him because, like most things involving this movie, if I talk about it too much I will spoil. The one aspect that made me absolutely love this villain is that there was an actual explanation for why he did evil things. Most villains are just plain evil and do things for the heck of it. This villain had real motivation and I loved every word that came out of his mouth.

I don’t think I can say much more, my fingers are getting tired and I fear that if I delve any deeper into the movie that spoilers will come about. I would like to mention that as much as I loved this film, there are still a few minor plot problems. I was also part of the focus group, however, and it looks to me like everyone was unanimous on most of the important problems - so they should be fixed by the time you see it. But overall: you will be dazzled, you will be frightened, you will be excited, and you will be out of breath. I sure was.


Gotta say, I too loved Mal, loved River, loved the bad guy in this. All three get great lines and HUGE laughs this time around, and they’re by no means the only ones. Miss this movie at your peril.

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