Saturday, October 01, 2005


Being the gigantic nerd that I am, I went to the first available showing of Serenity yesterday.  Ever since there were rumblings about a potential movie based off of Firefly, one of the best sci-fi creations of this millennium so far, not so much because it blazed any new trails, but because it went down the same trails in style.  Serenity does much the same thing.

It is basically a chase film at its core, but what makes such a simple plot fun is Whedon’s characters and his trademark dialogue.  As opposed to some of the more well loved sci-fi of the last 10-20 years (Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Stargate), the good guys in Serenity aren’t really all that good.  There is no clear cut definition of hero and villain, but instead a stratification of villains.  Our protagonists are simply less antagonistic than the antagonists.  

Mal, the captain of the ship struggles with his sense of morality while living the life of a thief on the run. He is loyal to himself, and only to a lesser degree, his crew.  In any mainstream movie, sci-fi or other, you know the good guy’s MO and how he’ll react to every situation.  Throw those preconceived character stereotypes out the window before you see this movie.  The crew of Serenity will shoot first, will play dirty, and won’t hesitate to take advantage of someone for their own gain.

It’s this moral ambiguity present throughout the film that makes it seem so much more grounded and real than the majority of the other sci-fi films out there.  True, no sci-fi movie can really be “real” in a realistic sense, but it can be real when it comes to characters and character interaction.  So when you see this movie, if you do (I highly recommend you do), don’t go to it for the special effects or sci-fi atmosphere, do it for the characters and the dialogue. They’re what really make the film.

On a side note, I was quite intrigued by two of the trailers I saw before the movie—Jarhead and Stay.  Jarhead looks to be a tremendously deep and gritty look at the insanities of the Gulf War.  With Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead and the director of American Beauty onboard, you won’t be able to keep me from this.  Stay, starring Ewan McGregor and Ryan Gosling looks to be a psychological thriller full of angst and confusion, the only way a psychological thriller should be made in my book.  You can bet my ass will be in the theater when both of those come out.

Now I just have to find time to take in A History of Violence.  All the reviews make it sounds just as good as I imagined it might be.  Maybe I’ll try to see it today.  If not, I plan on catching it sometime this week.

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