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EW review : "Serenity" has character

Dalton Ross

Friday 23 December 2005, by Webmaster

(Entertainment Weekly) — I should begin with a disclaimer: I’m not that guy.

I’m not that guy who squealed, whined, and wept when "Firefly" was taken off the air. I was far more furious when other sci-fi entries like "Harsh Realm" and "Farscape" were criminally canceled.

Still, I did enjoy the show’s space-Western premise. The good news is that follow-up film "Serenity" is as accessible to newbies as it is to hardcore fans. The bad news is that the film’s story line — good guys (Nathan Fillion, back as Capt. Malcolm Reynolds; his crew) protect a woman (Summer Glau’s ass-kicking psychic River) whom bad guys will do everything in their power to capture lest she reveal a secret diabolical plan that would unmask them as superbad guys — seems taken straight out of a bottom-shelf Schwarzenegger flick ("Eraser," for those of you scoring at home). It also doesn’t help that most of the film’s antagonists amount to little more than souped-up space zombies.

Still, the wild, wide-open universe that Joss Whedon has created is freewheeling enough to keep things interesting. The director mentions in one of three featurettes that a book about the battle of Gettysburg led to his sci-fi Western epiphany, as he would "become obsessed with the idea of life on the frontier, and that, of course, makes me think of the Millennium Falcon, because most things do."

The EXTRAS make much of "Firefly’s" resurrection onto the big screen, but the most amusing moment occurs during Whedon’s introduction for an advance screening of the film, when he credits fans for bringing the show back to life.

"It is, in an unprecedented sense, your movie," he says. "Which means if it sucks, it’s your fault. You blew it." In that case, we give all of you a B.

EW Grade: B