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FireflyFirefly - ’Serenity’ Movie - Austin Screening - Aintitcool.com Review - Spoilers
Sunday 8 May 2005, by Webmaster
We got enough SERENITY reviews to choke a whale! Ahoy, squirts! Quint here... I don’t pretend to understand the cult of Whedon. I don’t get it, so I’m just going to tune everything out until I get a chance to see this flick. I hope I like it, but as someone who doesn’t care about Buffy or Angel or Firefly or Alien Resurrection... I just don’t understand the worshipping Whedon gets. Good on him and good on you folks for enjoying him so much. I wish I did. Here are a ton of SERENITY reviews from all around the country. All save one are positive. The first couple are spoiler-free! Enjoy!
No spoilers - just back from the Austin Serenity screening.
Wow, pretty damn good...worth every penny I paid at eBay prices for this thing. We had Nathan Fillion (Malcom Reynolds) and Ron Glass (Shepherd Book) at our screening. They suddenly appeared as the Universal marketing guy was introducing the movie, place went nuts. They talked a bit, movie started with a introduction from writer/director Joss Whedon, then the movie rolled.
I really hadn’t watched the episodes since they aired on Fox, I was surprised how much I had forgotten about the show. The movie is dark, definitely darker than the TV show, a little darker than I expected. Not bad dark, just different. At the same time, it had a lot more laughs than you would expect from a movie of that genre.
I’m a little concerned about people who didn’t watch the TV show (and there weren’t many who did) getting the movie. I’m certainly not a fan of being pandered to, but I don’t know if they did quite enough to sell these characters to non-fans, to make them care about the people.
Having said that, I really enjoyed the movie. Unlike a lot of TV shows that make the jump to movies, it didn’t just feel like a glorified episode. They definitely raised the stakes and then some.
After the movie, Nathan & Ron took questions for 30-45 minutes (some of which were just terrible questions), then signed autographs for anyone who wanted one.
I’d love to see this movie do well, hopefully these screenings are a sign that Universal realizes they have a bit of a challenge to get casual fans interested in the movie.
Call me UFIA if you use this. This one is a little more in-depth.
I’m currently suffering from some major post-Serenity insomnia, and seeing as I wake up for work in four hours and I just spent the last hour rolling around in bed unable to keep my mind from racing all around the ‘verse, I figured I should do something to get the movie out of my system.
Now, don’t take that to mean I want to forget about the movie. On the contrary; I’d imagine the main reason I can’t fall asleep is because I want to prolong that blissful period where I remember every scene with perfect clarity, before the cloudiness of a good night’s sleep creeps in...
Where to begin? I saw the show in Boston. Despite the Fandango disaster surrounding the ticket sales for Boston (“Can’t Stop the Signal”, indeed), I was in the right place at the right time to buy a ticket off of someone who found himself with a few extras.
The Boston screening had some special guests, as I imagine all of the screenings did. Actually I kind of guessed that each of the ten screenings would have one of the main cast members, with the tenth getting Joss himself. But instead, Boston got both Sean Maher and Morena Baccarin (who, by the way, is every bit as beautiful in person as she is on the screen... she smiled at me; I grinned like a moron as I took crappy low-res pictures with my camera phone). Makes me wonder what the breakdown was in the other cities, since by my count there weren’t enough people left to go around...
Anyway, the movie. I won’t go into spoilers, because trust me you don’t want them. There are shocks in this movie - sudden, unexpected, disturbing, and depressing shocks with no foreshadowing and no remorse. There are some elements of mystery as well. Nothing all that earth-shattering as sci-fi goes, but again you don’t want to know about anything in this movie ahead of time.
In short, Serenity is a beautiful film for anyone familiar with Firefly. It is a true and worthy development of the characters. All of the humor is there and the dialogue is naturally spot-on. Much has been said so far about how certain characters get pushed to the back and how a film simply can’t support nine main characters. While it’s true some characters are less focal than others (notably Shepard Book and Wash, and Kaylee to an extent), every character is given several moments to shine. And when these characters are on screen, they are so well-defined - and there is so much truth to them - that the film would seem empty without them. However small their part may be, they are all integral. (Of course, this is according to a self-proclaimed Browncoat. It will be interesting to see how people will react to the film if they are Firefly virgins...)
The film just oozes with love. You can feel it. Even in its unfinished state, you know that every last frame is the direct product of the giddy, undying love of Joss Whedon, the cast, and the audience that got this movie made in the first place. Joss said as much in a filmed intro shown before the screening, and truer words were never spoken (the intro was hilarious by the way, and needs very badly to go on the DVD). He even ends the film on this exact note, with a very touching monologue by one of the main characters that sounds almost like it is addressing Firefly fans directly. It is an obvious and heartfelt “Thank you,” and one that brought tears to the eyes of many people in the audience.
Anyway, I’m finally getting too tired to form coherent thoughts (and now it’s only three hours until I wake up), so I’ll just say that Serenity is one of the funniest, saddest, most exciting, most tense, most hopeful, and most entertaining movies I have ever seen. If you are a fan, you will not be disappointed. I was nervous the concept and characters wouldn’t translate well to one Big Damn Story, as opposed to weekly Little Damn Stories that grow them over time... But after seeing the movie, when I stop to realize that I won’t see it again for almost half a year... well, it actually hurts. I would have been at the theater again first chance I got tomorrow if only the damn film were released already (as it should have been).
If you use this, call me Mugtwaine.
P.S. - I’m sure one of the major questions on everyone’s mind is “Is there sound in space?” Well, at this point the movie is inconsistent about this. Sometimes the space shots will be completely silent, but sound will slowly start in as the ship enters atmosphere. The reverse is true when leaving atmosphere. These two make sense. But then there are some scenes with explosions in space, and some - but not all - of those explosions DO make noise (although, I guess they were in some kind of nebula when there were sounds... so the gas could have theoretically transmitted sound waves... I don’t know. It’s a stretch.) Hopefully they figure it out before the film is finalized. And another...
Hey guys, I just got back from the Chicago showing of Serenity. I have to tell you that it is by far and away one of the best science fiction movies I have seen in quite some time. It blows away every single movie I saw last year, and is honestly the best movie that I’ve seen in a long time both in and out of the genre. Of course, I am a rabid Joss fan, but I also brought my brother, who is not a Joss fan (as in hates Buffy and Angel), and a friend who is into sci-fi but has never really seen much Whedon stuff. They both also loved it, and in fact both are now converts to the Whedon Way and will be picking up DVD sets on the morrow.
So, to cover the movie. First off, while I am a Whedon fan and have been since Season 1 of Buffy, I was also very worried about this movie. Shows and characters translated into the big screen can sometimes lose something in the process, either through studio intervention, or the pressure of making a two hour story that’s accessible to everyone while staying true to the fans can crumple the best of intentions. I prepped myself for this showing by watching the entire DVD set and finished the last episode just last night, so I was full on into the characters and look and feel of the show. As I look back on the movie I can honestly say that all the characters, themes, plots, right down to the exact look and feel of the Serenity sets, are all perfectly intact. I felt like I picked up right where the show left off, and I am insanely happy about that. There were a couple things in the beginning that were not quite the same as in the show, but it didn’t take long for it to find it’s sea legs and settle into the familiar rhythms of a well oiled cast doing their thing.
So, I won’t spoil the whole thing, but I’ll give a quick rundown. We start off with a bit of a backstory, explaining the concept of Earth-That-Was and what happened to it, and covering the war between the Alliance and the Independents. It’s more backstory than we’ve seen before, but it all fits perfectly into what fans already know and covers ground quickly for the newbies. Then we cut to Simon saving River from the acadamy that she’s at, and here there’s a little plot inconsistency, because on the show it was not Simon that actually rescued her, but others who do the rescuing and deliver her to him. There’s also a bit where he suddenly knows she’s psychic when he is rescuing her, while on the show he discovers it along with the rest of us. I didn’t mind this so much because it’s helping bring the new kids up to speed, and really in the big scheme of things it is a small detail. After that, we’re steaming full on forward with the plot of a government black ops agent tracking the Serenity crew in order to get River back. Apparently she was in a room with a bunch of high level Parlaiment types and they realized that perhaps having a psychic escape with whatever knowledge she got out of their brains was a bad thing. So now they have their man looking everywhere with River, and he finds her through a subliminal signal being broadcast across the ’verse. The signal sends her into killing mode, and the ensuing fight makes her quite obvious to anyone looking for her. After that, the crew spends most of the time trying to figure out what to do about River, while avoiding the man chasing her and trying to figure out just what it is that River knows. Suffice to say there’s a nice tie in with Reavers, and an amazing final battle that leaves no one unharmed, and has the best space battle I’ve seen on film since Return of the Jedi.
I don’t want to go into too much more detail because the movie was just such a great ride that spoiling it would be like telling everyone that Luke was Vader’s son. I will say that there are amazing moments of laughter, and quite a lot of them, that there is plenty of action mixed direclty in with the story, and that not all of our wonderful characters are going to make it to the end. Luckily, all of them get good screen time and none of them act as throwaway characters. Every single one of them had an important part to play in the story, unlike other sci-fi ensemble movies, and every one of them had funny and poignent lines to share. The humor was mixed directly in with the drama which was mixed in with the action, sometimes coming so fast that your head was left spinning with the wonderfullness of it all.
All in all, I give this movie 4 stars, and I think that most critics will agree. This movie had plot, action, character, drama, laughter, and all the ingredients a growing movie-goer needs to be satisfied. Universal has given us an amazing gift in this movie, and an even more amazing gift in that the movie I saw was almost complete. I saw no blue screens at all, and no music was just dropped in from what I could tell. All it really needs is some color correction and a better sound mix for some of the dialogue, but that was it. I seriously hope they don’t cut anything out of this movie, and everyone I talked to afterwords agreed. It is a masterpiece. Joss has outdone himself, and I think he can finally, once and for all, shut up anyone who says he can’t direct a movie. Oh, and as a special side not to Joss, I think us fans will let you take a little credit for this movie. I think you deserve it. Oh yeah, and please include your pre-show commentary on the DVD. It was awesome, funny, and dead on.
If you use this, please call me Leaf on the Wind And another...
What’s up, Harry? I just returned from the screening of Serenity in Boston and I am pumped. When I told friends I was going, the answer I expected was "Fireguy? Never heard of it." However, I was surprised to learn how many people are a fan of the show despite a certain major network’s best efforts to make sure nobody watched or understood the series. Tickets were in huge demand here. One fan walked up and down the line with a sign that read "Will Pay $60 for Serenity Ticket." He must have made good on that promise because he led a rousing rendition of the "Ballad of Jayne" in the theater.
After we were all seated, a security honcho addressed the crowd, warning us that anyone taking pictures would be "approached" and that they would be using "night-vision goggles" to monitor the audience during the screening. Pfft.
There was much anticipation that cast members might be in attendance. We held our breath as the camera crew set up in front of the emergency exit and sure enough not one but two cast members emerged — Sean Maher (Simon) and the lovely Morena Baccarin (Inara)! A massive standing applause ensued, which seemed to quite overwhelm Sean. He thanked us and said it the "best welcome ever." Morena explained that they had just flown from a cast party in London and were "jet-lagged and hungover." She also said that she and Sean were looking forward to watching the film as they had not yet seen a full cut. They stayed afterward to chat with the audience and sign autographs.
After an annoying Fandango commercial (those bag puppets make me want to claw out my eyes with my car keys), Joss himself appeared on the screen. The crowd erupted with cheers but then quickly quieted so we could hear what he had to say. He talked about how the people who made the show and the people who watched it (whom he said were pretty much "the same people"), couldn’t let go of the concept and the characters. Movies based on canceled TV shows and "without an identifiable premise" are rare, he went on to say. He thanked the fans for all the great support and told us that this was "our movie." Then he said that since it WAS our movie, if it "sucked" it was "our fault," which the crowd found quite amusing. Finally he told us to spread the word about the film if we enjoyed it — and if we didn’t enjoy it, then it was "quiet time."
Without further ado, Serenity began. Now, for me, it could have been the greatest work of science fiction ever put on film, but if it didn’t have Reavers in it, I would have felt short-changed. So I was quite thrilled to find out that, not only are their Reavers aplenty, but they are integral to the plot.
Without spoiling much, I can honestly say that this movie had everything I was looking for. The dynamic relationships among the crew carry over to the film perfectly and we get to witness some new developments. The unromanticized dialogue that was the hallmark of the show retains its snap and humor, and the cast delivers it perfectly. Special effects are top-notch, as evidenced by an early chase scene involving the replacement for the low-budget "futured-up ATV" that served as the crew’s planetside transportation in the TV series. The music leaves a bit to be desired, but Joss did mention that it was a temporary soundtrack.
Most importantly, events unfold in this movie that change the lives of Serenity’s crew in major ways. No one gets a pass in this story. Everyone suffers. Toward the end, I was wondering just how far Joss was willing to push it. I won’t say how much, but he pushes it pretty far.
Unlike some recent box-office efforts from Star Trek, Serenity is not a shameless attempt to squeeze more cash out of the fanbase. It keeps the qualities that made the network series great but raises the stakes about a dozen notches. So now I’m doing my part to spread the word, and I think we’d be lucky to see Hollywood produce more films without an identifiable premise.
If you use this, call me Sergeant Chuckles. Here’s the mixed one... And what the reviewer says below is not true... We posted a few mixed reactions to the film last week. I haven’t thrown out any SERENITY reviews... what you see is what we’ve gotten. What’s happening is Whedonites are seeing the movie and gushing and non-Whedonites (who are the majority of the mixed reviews) see it and either come away puzzled or converted. Anyway, here’s our untrusting friend with his mixed take.
You seem willing to post only fanboy exultation and anti-fanboy hate mongering since they are the only types of reviews which get your site hits.
Therefore, you won’t post this mixed review because it’s a reasonable opinion of a fun but flawed movie.
Anyhow, there are tons of spoilers which I won’t post (fans of the show will be glad to see that THINGS OF CONSEQUENCE HAPPEN! THINGS ARE REVEALED!). I never saw the show, so an emotional moment that brought much of the audience to tears never really meant anything to me, though, unfortunately. I think fans of the show will like the movie, though, but that’s not my perspective and not the perspective Universal cares about, I’m sure.
There is sound during the space battle, by the way since apparently in the show there is not. It works, though. Unfortunately, there’s only one and it’s cool but way too short. This movie lacks the budget for major action set pieces and you can tell. There’s a bit of a TV-feel to it (maybe Joss isn’t used to framing in anamorphic widescreen) but the effects are great. Some fight scenes are pretty weak but some are pretty good. He succumbs to cutting way too fast in way too wide a frame or not cutting at all. Some of the twirly camera movement around River just didn’t do it for me and not only pulled me out of the story, it made me dizzy. The opening many-minute long tracking shot was cool though and well done. Bravo.
The acting is relatively solid and the movie is really funny. Joss writes snappy dialogue and his wit is evident throughout. The beginning of the movie is handled by a dream sequence within a flashback within a tape recording within a history lesson or somesuch. It sums up a lot way too quickly and the mix of in-jokes to please fans mixed with far too much exposition all at once. The movie really does take its time getting going. It’s a bit of a meandering search narrative/mystery until it suddenly adds up (in an unfortunately unfulfilling way) at the first climax. After that, though, the movie takes a big turn in the good direction and is just good fun. The movie packs in lots of references to the show for fans, but this stuff is lost on viewers like me. It’s narrative baggage and that’s not good. Also, a few "cute" devices aren’t cute; they’re insipid. Well, also a little cute. Also, I hope a little recutting is done to clarify where the protagonists are sometimes. They seem to just go from planet to planet arbitrarily. It’s not so bad, but a few extra shots of a ship flying could really help.
I don’t want to give anything away, and since I haven’t seen the show, I don’t know what would be a spoiler and what wouldn’t. I also don’t want to condemn the visuals too much based on viewing a rough cut of digital rushes. Ultimately, though, the movie took too long trying to pander to fans while also explaining the series to newbies like me, but when it did get going it was a lot of fun. The bad guy is pretty bad and his motives are interesting and hint at some powerful themes the movie could have dealt with better, but character development and some motifs never totally payed off. In fact, the movie might have been better had it been longer and paced differently—like, say, a TV series! Honestly, Joss is a master of television and the movie doesn’t always work. It’s still pretty good, though, and fans will enjoy it very much. Those who aren’t fans should find something to enjoy if they stick with it, but I’m afraid they may not. Universal has a decent movie on their hands, and one with lots of great ideas, but it’s going to be a very, very hard sell. And here’s the last one, another from Boston!
I just got back from the Serenity Sneak Preview in Boston.
I wont be long winded and I wont get into spoilers.
The show started at 10 and we got there at 8 and there was already quite a line.
The Universal guys came out and warned us about cameras and video recorders and said they would be watching us with night vision (which got a good laugh from the crowd).
At this point, Morena Baccarin (Yes, shes that beautiful in real life) and Sean Maher came out and said a few words to the crowd. Much applause ensued and the movie began.
Before the movie, there was a short clip from Joss thanking everyone for coming, and thanked the fans for their devotion to the show and the universe. He essentially said that this movie was made by the fans, and that without them there would be no Serenity. He also said that the cut that we were about to see was not finished but that they were very close to the final product.
So, what wasn’t finished? Some of the score was a place holder, some special effects were not done, and the quality of the picutre varied. However, this movie wasn’t about the special effects. It wasn’t about the music. It wasn’t about anything flashy or showy. Infact, after coming out of the theater and thinking about it, there are really two movies in one.
There is the movie for the people who have never traveled to this universe. For those people, it starts out and gives them just enough background on what is going on to get them into the story. The “other” movie is for the Browncoats. I think mainstream reviewers will bicker over the fact that the “love” interests are shallow or maybe seem misplaced. But they’re there for the people who are already emotionally attached to these characters and the universe in which they belong.
The movie is pretty much nonstop from start to finish, with plenty of action and a lot of exposition that really lays things open and throws you into the world. The script is bar none one of Joss’s finest accomplishments ever. It’s witty. It’s sad. It’s intense. And above all, its funny.
In short, this movie was amazing even in its unfinished form. To summarize Joss at the beginning, if you see this move and love it, tell 100 people so they go see it. If you don’t like it, shut the hell up and quietly reflect on how you you’ve failed at life.
If you see this movie, and don’t get it...well, I feel sorry for you.
Sticky I lied... one more!
Long time fan of the site...3 or 4 years now. Very much appreciated your commentary on a variety of different subjects, movies, TV shows and such. I never actually written in before, but I figured this defiantly warranted a review. So down to the dirt of the issue! I literally just got back from the packed house screening of Serenity in Chicago at the RiverEast21 Theatre. Took me 3 hours...but I finally found someone with an extra ticket, and they gave it to me for free. The night only got better from there.
Before I dive into real spoilers or any such things, Ill give a basic lay out of how it went. There was incredibly tight security. I had to go through four different check points in order to even get into the theatre itself. Before the movie began, there was some footage Joss had filmed of himself for all those who were there. He talked about how this was because of the fans, and because we believed in him, in the cast and crew, and in ourselves enough to pull Firefly/Serenity out of death and onto the life of the silver screen. Belief was a huge part of this move...in its very creation...as well as one of the central themes of the movie itself. It was very fitting. He also commissioned us to go out and tell people about it. Not just so people would like the show, but to bring other people in to something special as he said. Because it is special for sure...anyone that can pull what was viewed by the world as a failure into a major motion picture...there is something to be said for that and Joss wants that shared with people.
The movie effects wise, was incredible. It is near completion as we saw and as Joss stated in the opening clip. There were obvious points where there was still work to be done, such as in the first five minutes of the film when the whole thing got fuzzy. You could still see everyone and 96% of what was going on, but because of the fuzziness, the lighting was off and it distorted the cockpit a little bit. The fuzziness happened periodically throughout the movie, but unless you were looking for it, after while most people didn’t even notice anymore. There were also moments of fragmented music and such, but nothing all that noticeable. It did not really take away from the movie itself. The intensity alone drives it the whole way.
The intensity of the movie was incredible. There is almost not a moment to catch your breathe, but it never feels rushed. The pace is so consistent that it worked through out the course of the whole movie. Even though it is fast paced, there is still plenty of character development. You see where each character has gone since the end of the series and see them continue to develop through out the course of the movie-all the way until all of the startling big reveals as the end.
There are a couple of HUGE things that happen through out the course of the movie. I’m going to go through and name a bunch, and I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who want to wait spoiler free like I did until I saw it, so stop now and skip the end if you don’t want to know.
River is an assassin type weapon being conditioned as such by the Alliance. The Blue Sun Corp. makes no appearance in the film, but their superiors are eluded too. They are basically a counsel of individuals, described as a Parliament, that act of the Alliance government.
There is large animosity between the Mal and Simon most of the beginning of the movie. All the conflict is in regards to River, as well as her earning her keep by using her special abilities to help the crew on jobs and heists. It is because of these special abilities that become exploited that the main plot of the movie, namely, why River is crazy and what secrets her brain holds that are making her that way.
You see major developments in areas that Firefly fans are SCREAMING for...such as Kay Lee and Simon. You also see some surprising developments between Inara and Mal...but to tell you what happens would give to much of the fun stuff away. I must say...that do have some very interesting conversations though and feelings are expressed in one fashion or another on both their parts.
You see the death of two predominant characters as well as the death of a new player, called Mr. Universe.
You see full fledged Reavers in all of their vicious glory-as well as some very incredible fight scenes...many actually...involving them.
You see the origin of the Reavers, the return of Rivers sanity and the Captain regain a little bit of what he lost back in the very first episode of Firefly.
*************End of Spoilers****************
The movie was superb. Opening day, I will be back again. To all those who said that this movie would be a bust...plain and simple...YOU ARE WRONG. I can say that in good conscience. I was not even a fan of the show until months after it went off the air. This is not a movie for just fan boys either. There were people of all ages in this screening, from young teenagers all the way up to senior citizens. It’s a movie that has got something for everyone. My friends, it was and will continue to be, until it is released in September, worth the wait. Defiantly get your friends excited for this one. I don’t think anyone will be let down by the flick.
To go by your scale Harry, **** hands down. No questions at all.
If you use this...call me Speedstream15