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Firefly - ’Serenity’ Movie - Darkworlds.com Review

By Amy Berner

Tuesday 3 May 2005, by Webmaster

SCOOP: SERENITY screening report

It’s been four months since the last time I saw a test screening of SERENITY, and part of me expected some significant changes. There was actual worry. But I’m happy to report that I had nothing to fear. Some scenes were cut - mainly having to do with Inara, as well as a wonderful line of Mal’s about an “inevitable mutiny” - but the movie is almost completely intact compared to the earlier version. The primary plot and all major occurrences remain, and trust me when I say that is a very good thing.

As before, I’m nowhere near willing to explain why that is a very good thing. Go to your local theater on September 30 and see for yourself (or, if you were lucky enough to nab a ticket at one of the ten previews happening around the U.S. this week, you’ll find out a lot sooner). It has the same FIREFLY blend of humor and action, but everything is just.... bigger. Which makes sense with the whole big screen thing.

They’ve been busy with improvements. The visual effects, although still incomplete, are far more finished and polished. There are still some sound issues, but far fewer than there were in December. The music, which was temporary the first time around, sounded much more fitting. SERENITY is approximately two hours in length, and, for the most part, it looked to be close to a finished product.

Is it a film for non-fans? That is a difficult call to make. There are some segments and interactions between characters that would not be fully understood without knowledge of FIREFLY. Some conversations may be confusing for the uninitiated. However, walking the line between the intensely loyal fans and newcomers without a clue is near impossible without making it a five-hour opus with Cliff Notes to go along with it. The main plot, the core of the piece, is accessible to any moviegoer. That is, unless you turn up your nose at any sort of science-fiction fare (and if you do, why the heck do you read my column?).

SERENITY bears a great many hallmarks of its writer-director, especially his emotional blender style: mixing humor, drama, and action and then hitting the "puree" button. I admit that I was smacking my head for missing some bits of foreshadowing the first time. But Joss Whedon went and made us a damn fine movie. Much obliged.

Look for the books FIVE SEASONS OF ANGEL and THE ANTHOLOGY AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE at your favorite bookseller or at http://www.benbellabooks.com, which include essays by DARKWORLDS.COM columnist Amy Berner. Additional essays will be available soon, as ALIAS ASSUMED: SEX, LIES AND SD-6 will be in stores in August, 2005 and FARSCAPE FOREVER will be in stores in September, 2005.