Friday, September 30, 2005

Serenity - Movie Review

Serenity 2005

Pity writer / director Joss Whedon. He helps put the WB on the map with seven wonderful years of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and what does he get? He gets his Sci-fi horse opera, “Firefly” batted around like a tranny Brazilian hooker at Carnival. For those of you who are not “Browncoats” – “Firefly” was another entertaining TV fantasy that sprung out of the impishly clever Mr. Whedon’s fertile mind only to smother slowly and painfully under some accountant turned “Network Executive’s” ass. But there was life in the old girl, yet. Turns out, the DVD release of the complete series sold. Sold incredibly well. “Firefly” appeared to have a fanbase. Oh, yeah. A well organized, rowdy, and stubborn bunch. Sparking rumors that there would be a film version rising out of the broadcast ashes. And so, it has.

Thousands of geeks are popping their pimples over the release of “Serenity”, which is . . . well, it’s the feature film version of “Firefly”. Aren’t you even trying to pay attention, you twats? Kerr-riist. And guess what? It’s pretty damn good! Okay, so it ain’t “Metropolis”, “Citizen Kane” and “Deep Throat” all rolled up into one . . . ohhhh, that’s kinda good, we gotta make a note and start pitching that idea. It has legs. The good news is that it’s clever, imaginative, and sparkling with that old patented snappy Whedonesque dialogue.
Serenity” tells a tale set in the future, (It’s Sci-fi, like we said – PAY ATTENTION!) of a rag tag crew aboard a dilapidated space buggy called “Serenity”. Okay, Joss – try not to be so literal next time. Anywho, aboard this tiny ship, the fearless crew . . . pause. Wait for it. Alright, there is a skipper, and a professor type, and a farmgirl type, and a movie star type . . . no, no, no. We don’t really believe Joss could be having us on like that, could we? Okay, there’s a marshal type, a hooker with a heart of gold, an old preacher . . . For Fuck Sake’s, Frankie! Is every plot borrowed or outright stolen nowadays?

Well, yes. They are. And if you haven’t figured that out by now, you should just stay at home. What Mr. Whedon has done, is rely on the old reliable. “Stagecoach in Space”, it might as well be called. And it would still work. For years - critics, cinemaphiles, and bitches like us have been saying that sci-fi is merely an excuse to trot out the old standards and give them a big, fat, new canvas to sprawl out on. Grandaddy Geek George Lucas did it with reinventing the Samurai flick into a little something he liked to call “Star Wars”, so why not let Joss have his moment in the sun and allow him to rip off John Ford and get that old stagecoach a-soaring! Okay, let’s.

What makes this film work, you ask? Well, for starters, it has a fine cast who got to rehearse their hearts out on the aforementioned cancelled TV show. They are completely comfortable in their character’s skins. And it shows. Kudos to those familiar faces that will have you saying: “Hey, it’s that chick from “Alias”! “Hey, isn’t that the guy from “A Knight’s Tale” “That old guy, wasn’t he on ‘Barney Miller’!” (Okay, not many of you will be saying that) Plus, it has ADAM BALDWIN!!! Now, before you all start hissing and booing, I said ADAM, not Alec, or Billy or Stephen. ADAM BALDWIN!!! Who luckily for him, is absolutely no relation to the infamous Baldwin clan. Adam has been around Hollywood, tossing off some wonderful performances that have sadly remained under the radar. And this is a crying shame, since he’s blisteringly H-O-T!!! Adam, you had us at “My Bodyguard.” Oh, go look it up. Here, he gets to be all hunky, manly and endearingly dopey all while sporting a five-o-clock shadow you could run barefoot thru. Sigh.

It also features Nathan Fillion as the leader of the hearty rebel band of smugglers, and with him Joss Whedon has found an actor perfectly molded to deliver one liners, sport a gun convincingly, and still able to make our hearts flutter. Sigh. Here’s a pic of the boys with their very large gun.
Plaudits also to the casting of the criminally unknown Chiwetel Ejiofor as the villain of the piece. We’ve adored him since “Dirty Pretty Things”, a wonderful flick that must simply be in everybody’s Netflix® queue.

The one drawback we could find is that apparently and most unfortunately, in the future we are still wearing spandex. It isn’t a major plotline, thank God! But sadly, it made it past the film editor’s scissors. Well, we can’t have everything. But what you can have is a rollicking good time at the movies, provided of course you take our advice and go see “Serenity.”

What the fuck are you waiting for? We said GO!!! Bless you all!

Nathan Fillion as Mal
Gina Torres as Zoe
Alan Tudyk as Wash
Morena Baccarin as Inara
Adam Baldwin as Jayne
Jewel Staite as Kaylee
Sean Maher as Simon
Summer Glau as River
Ron Glass as Shepherd Book
Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative
Written & Directed by Joss Whedon
Film Editing by Lisa Lassek
Costume Design by Ruth E. Carter
Cinematography by Jack N. Green
Production Design by Barry Chusid
Set Decoration by Larry Dias
Original Music by David Newman