August 26th, 2010
Most probably know that Serenity was based on a prematurely-cut TV series called 'Firefly'. Loved by fans, the show was turned into a feature-length film. This is a great sci-fi movie with a lot of spirit and style. Unfortunately, there is no real aim in the scattered, detached story, an incurable criticism to someone who has yet to watch this show.
River is a telepathic young woman, brainwashed by the galactic government known as the Alliance. Rescued by her own early on, the ship Serenity and her crew try their best to safely escort the unstable girl out of harm's way.
Serenity should be applauded for its magnificent photography. The action is terrific and exciting. The landscapes are picturesquely intriguing. The special effects aren't tremendous or ground-breaking. But from what is easily interpreted as a low-budget picture, they are beautiful.
The climactic battle scenes and some earlier moments show great potential for a sci-fi classic. The pacing and rising tension are perfectly calculated and executed. As is most films, there are shining moments of greatness.
Also, as in most films, there is an underlying problem. And my criticism will be easily explained away by fans of the show. Watching it, I was instantly convinced of how well this would work as a TV series. There seems to be multiple climaxes and far too many characters for a film. The premise is not well defined. In a show, you have an underlying goal that each individual episode works towards. In this movie, there is a lot of work, but it is all for a seemingly minimal goal. Instead of making one huge adventure, it seemed like one giant episode of a very workable series.
I'm sure that fans of the show will love Serenity. It is a very good science fiction picture. I was trying to figure things out more than I was enjoying its momentum, but the show probably cleared up much of my confusion. I admired and respected this film's look, spirit, and style. But there is just too much going on in what should be a broader adventure.