Wednesday

The Web Doesn't Need Another SERENITY Review

So SERENITY opened last Friday, as I’m sure you heard if you were within 100 feet of any film geek, TV geek, comic book geek, Buffy geek, Angel geek, Firefly geek, science fiction geek, or Joss Whedon Geek. If you’re on the mailing list of such person, you undoubtedly received at least a couple of e-mails last week reminding you to go to the movies last Friday in support of a film based on some show that got cancelled before it had a chance to find an audience.

The weekend came and SERENITY did pretty much what was expected. An opening above $20 million would have been like a fire-breathing giraffe…totally cool, but completely against the laws of nature.
And now in the aftermath, fans are writing about how they let creator/writer/director Joss Whedon down. Whedon fought melodramatic fire with melodrama by posting he will lose sleep if any fan blames themselves for the soft box office. SERENITY is currently the most discussed movie in the blogsphere, with #2 being “Firefly”, the series which SERENITY derived from. And I bet the only people not skipping these articles are the already converted.
So what does that leave me to say? For I am one of the Joss Whedon devoted. As far as writers go, he ranks only behind Quinten Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin, and on "Buffy" I watched him learn how to direct, eventually creating some of the most stylish, experimental and outright finest hours of television history. I like Whedon so much that I would watch a film based on his grocery list, and I spent most of last Friday counting down the hours until my pre-bought SERENITY tickets would finally yield Whedon-ey goodness.

Gee…you think I liked the movie? And if you have no interest in going, do you really care what I have to say?
You see, I went through this with Whedon’s masterpiece, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. (FYI, the only time in the history of man you will ever hear the words “Buffy” and “masterpiece” together in a sentence is in reference to this show.) You say “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and you get a lot of people rolling their eyes…unless they watched the show in which case they act like Xzibit just offered to pimp their ride. There are two kinds of people in this world, those who LOVE Buffy, and those who never watched the show.

SERENITY is the 2-hour series finale missing from my "Firefly" DVD box set. It’s a movie made by the mastermind, for the fans that adore him. And that’s really the only slam I need to make against George Lucas and his “I only make movies for me” new STAR WARS trilogy. (You’re wrong, George. So, so wrong.) Whedon took everything we love about the show, everything we love about his characters and his flair for sharp, witty dialogue and made a great fun, thrilling ride.

Am I calling it the best movie of the year? Honestly, even in my rabid geekdom, the answer is ‘no.’ BATMAN BEGINS is better. NORTH COUNTRY, OLDBOY, CRASH are all better. SERENITY pulls up equal with SIN CITY. The first third plays like a typical STAR TREK movie. The middle third, a superior STAR TREK. It is only in the final 40 minutes that Whedon really steps up his game as a director, delivers the big screen thrills, and becomes the great man we all keep talking about.
But that’s also when another thing happens. You see this ‘thing’…it’s kinda big. And it changes the way we feel about some of the characters. Joss likes to do this. His television characters always mix it up with some real big, nasty surprises. But the shows adapt and go on. This time, the ‘thing’ is great within the context of the movie, and it really ratchets up the tension. But it also taints my feelings towards the characters, and it will affect me when I go back and rewatch the show. There was another way to do what he did, and I wish he was mature enough to take a different path.

How’s that for some non-spoiler gymnastics? Of course, it doesn’t really matter. The only people who read this far are the ones who already saw the movie. Joss Whedon made SERENITY for his fans, and we made sweet, sweet love to it. At the beginning of the year I made the laughable claim that this could be one of the greatest directing debuts in film history. Us Whedonites are a fanatical bunch.

2 Comments:

Blogger Atomic Bombshell said...

I was never a fan of Buffy, but I am totally in love with the crew of Serenity. Hope their story continues.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunning movie. The effects were really nice and this movie has something for everyone. If given a chance I am sure people will love it. Watch it !
Serenity Photo

6:32 AM  

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