Friday, September 30, 2005

Serenity, ...Wow! Unique, New, Intelligent, Exciting!

Movie Review: Serenity, ...Wow! Unique, New, Intelligent, Exciting Posted by Picasa

Last night, we went to the Pre screening of the new Universal release, Serenity. I was expecting a Battlestar galactica, Sci-Fi, movie with R2D2, 3 headed aliens, laser beams and very little story.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Serenity was a surprise for several reasons, but the biggest surprise is that Hollywood is capable of creating something new. This movie was refreshing for its avoiding all the clichés of past space movies. When you get so lost in the story that you forget that it is a space movie, then it ceases to be a space movie and becomes just what it is, a riveting story with interesting characters.

Captain Reynolds’s ship is his final refuge after losing a war to a big brother style empire that is imposing its utopian model on its neighboring planets. The infighting and dissention amongst his crew of freebooters takes a turn when one of the passengers becomes a target of government assassins. Reynolds’s crew questions his decision to protect the young girl and even the audience might ask the same question, but you begin to realize that Reynolds may not have been looking for a fight, but a fight found him.

The result is an intelligent storyline surrounding the desire of some to create the perfect state at the expense of free will, individuality, and love itself. This philosophical debate does not occur on a PBS roundtable, it happens at high speed in incredible fight sequences, well-timed comic relief, and in the context of relationships between the rich characters.

One thing I appreciated was the richness of the female characters. It was not interstellar T&A and it was not Females filling less than credible male macho roles. The women were well-developed personalities that existed wholly on their own merits, not because of the men they were attached to, yet all of them were vulnerable as well.

The word that kept running through my head as we left the theater was "balance". Serenity is not a space movie, nor is it a western dressed up like a space movie, but the cowboy metaphor is touched on just enough to create some entertaining sequences. I enjoyed the homage to Woodcock from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the man on the train that protected the vault and said, "Butch, you know that if it were *my* money, there is nobody that I would rather have steal it than you. But, you see, I am still in the employment of E. H. Herriman, of Union Pacific Railroad." The audience roared with laughter as Reynolds was robbing a bank and debated with the bank security man about how to explain it to his boss. The comedy was balanced in that it did not take away from the action or seem out of place. The characters were balanced. The story was evenly paced and pulled you a long. The only pause I had was wondering how the story could resolve itself and the loose ends did come together in the end in a number of clever twists.

My wife had told me before we went that she didn't like Science Fiction. So as my wife and I left the theater, she said, "What a surprise! That was a great story". She said, "That movie was not at all what I expected. It was Exciting and thoughtful". She said, "It was very balanced". I thought what strange word to apply to such an action packed movie.

If you are tired of Hollywood's endless sequels, Grisham/Clancy, Cartoon remakes, 70s spin-offs, and the copycat knock offs, try something new. Don't wait for the Video. Go see Serenity this weekend. If you think Serenity is just a space movie, then a Kurosawa film is just a samurai movie.

This movie is Unique, Refreshing, action packed, Funny and one of the more literary and intelligent messages I have seen in years. I highly recommend this movie.


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