Tuesday, October 04, 2005

View Number Two: Movie Review: Serenity

The Operative: "Are you willing to die for your beliefs?"
Capt. Malcom Reynolds: "Yes."
[he fires]
Capt. Malcom Reynolds: "'Course that ain't plan A."
--Serenity

Serenity [****]

Over the course of this summer we have lived through the messy media chaos of hollywood mediocrity. So many films have been released with a promise of excellence that is never quite achieved. The Fantastic Four quickly became the "Enjoyable-But-Not-Quite-Fantastic Four." The Skeleton Key was creepy and moody, but lacked impact. Dukes of Hazard was expectedly dumb (but fun). Even the Corpse Bride, despite its cleaverness, did not live up to expectations. Between every weapon launched by Hollywood this year, few have hit the mark.

So let us give thanks for a little Serenity. While this sci-fi adventure may appeal centrally to cultist fanbase of the genre, I enjoyed the film immensely.

Serenity follows the colorful, slightly criminal crew of a starship called Serenity as they evade the dominating self-righteous machinations of the Alliance. Capt. Malcom Reynolds leads the group with a brazen, off-the-cuff style, while trying to balance honor with necessity. Essentially, the crew of the Serenity moves from job to job, scraping a living for themselves through legitament and illegitament means.

The story revolves around the ship's doctor and his sister River Tam, who is the prodigal subject of a secret Alliance experiment. The two have been travelling with the Serenity to avoid attention from the Alliance. Naturally the movie accellerates as the hunt for River begins.

Joss Whedon, creator of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was also the genius behind this movie. Serenity began its life as a sorrowfully, short-lived series on the Fox netork called Firefly. As with his success in television, the characters in Serenity are all treated with equal enthusiasm, while the events bring a pleasant mixture of drama, humor, and action. All of this is presented in a fascinating world drawn from both Western, Oriental, and Sci-Fi themes.

Personally, I consider this to be one of the more enjoyable movies this year, and I highly recommend it.

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