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Another SERENITY Review -- From A FIREFLY Virgin!!

I am – Hercules!!

Is “Serenity” playing even better to non-fans than to the “Firefly” faithful? Maybe!

I was talking to my Jedi Council pal “Frosty Skywalker” – as big a “Star Wars” booster as you’ll hope to find and a man who doesn’t know from “Firefly” – and he loooooved “Serenity,” and is probably even now standing in line to buy the DVD set.

And, yes, I can see how the film would play better to someone who didn’t know how great “Firefly” was.

When we posted early Wednesday, we had two raves – one from a “Firefly” fan, the other not. Here’s the word from another nonfan who caught the Tuesday screening in Chatsworth.

“MagicDGK” is not on the fence:

I read the reviews of Serenity that you posted, and even though one of them spoke of how non-viewers of Firefly would react, he was a viewer himself. So I thought you might be interested in my point of view.

When I saw Serenity at Winnetka on Tuesday I had not seen Firefly, Buffy, or Angel (in other words knew nothing of Whedon). So here it goes (keep in mind I originally wrote this review for a message board, so it has references to that site in it):

Until last night I most definitely could not have called myself a Firefly fan, a browncoat, or a flan (see how fast I’ve caught on? hehe); mainly because I had never seen the show (a very good reason I might add). I had many reasons for not watching the show at the time of airing, the main reason being that the commercials plain out sucked. They made it look like a stupid Star Trek knock-off and completely misrepresented it (as I’ve now learned). Another reason for not watching it was that I simply have had no interest in television in a long time. The only thing that has kept my attention for the past few years has been The West Wing, and even that has gone to garbage now that Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme have left. It was during these years of CTV (Crap Television) that I started to put my Dvd player to great use to start exploring the world of movies. I have since become so obsessed with movies that I have chosen to make them my life and become a filmmaker. Granted, I’m still in high school; but I’ve got my goals pretty squared out.

So - and this is where I will make my point - although I did not walk into the movie theatre last night as a Firefly fan, I most definitely walked in as a MOVIE fan (especially of good ones).

As a movie fan I had read much hype online about Serenity from and and other movie news sites; so I was definitely excited to see what all the hype was about. While waiting in line I didn’t know what to think. Witnessing such a fan following boosted confidence in my upcoming movie experience, but earlier during the drive to the theater DamnitGirlie had said that Firefly was better than Star Wars, and that is one heck of a high standard for me (I believe in the force - if that is any indication of my dedication to Star Wars).

So to be honest; I was skeptical. I would not believe for one second that a movie could actually be on par with, or be better than, Star Wars. I was WRONG.

I can’t and won’t say that Serenity was better than Star Wars, because they are way too different for me to compare them. But let me put it this way: All my life I’ve envied most adults for having had the experience of watching Star Wars in the theater before it was big. To have had that moment of “Oh my god, this is f**king amazing. Oh my god, this is gonna be huge!” Well, frankly I was jealous - until now. I now feel like I’ve had that kind of experience, and I’ll be able to tell my children that I was at the first public screening (after which they will shoot me confused expressions and whisper “daddy’s a geek” to each other).

Now what did I find so amazing about it? I think the winning factor for me was that it was character driven. Instead of an action packed movie with people, it was a movie about people and how the action affects them. I loved all the characters, and the actors who played the - wait a minute - forget that, I didn’t even remember they were actors till it was brought to my attention afterwards. These characters were so real to me that I genuinely feared for their lives when danger came about. When the reavers came a’knockin I squeezed my girlfriend’s arm tightly.

My one complaint about the characters would be that Mal was too much like Han Solo. Although I think it could be argued that he’s more of an affectionate nod to Han Solo than stealing the whole idea of the character. But for god sakes he had the same gun holster, and he even “pulled a greedo” (for anyone familiar with the Special Edition crap in Star Wars). That’s not to say that I didn’t like the character, I LOVED Mal.

I can’t say much about River without spoiling so I won’t. I will simply say that she is by far my favorite character from the film, and when you see the “money shot” near the end of the film (you’ll know what I mean when you see it) you’ll piss your pants (or something of the equivalent in shaking or gasping motions). I think the true proof that this movie’s characters can hold their own is that I loved this movie with barely any special effects done.

Oh yes, which brings me to a side note. Before the movies started, a focus group woman made a disclaimer speech to the audience about how many effects weren’t done, etc. She actually used the words “When the movie actually comes out, it will be effects driven.” She couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t think she even knew what “effects driven” means. “Effects driven” would be something like The Matrix Revolutions where there is a 45 minute battle between all CG machines. Serenity is very much the opposite. Yes there are fights. Yes there is a space battle (and quite a fantastic one at that - even though we had to use our imagination for most of it because of unfinished effects). But the effects and action don’t drive the movie; the characters do. I think that is Serenity’s greatest triumph.

Back on the subject of characters; let’s talk about the villain. I absolutely LOVED the villain. I won’t talk much about him because, like most things involving this movie, if I talk about it too much I will spoil. The one aspect that made me absolutely love this villain is that there was an actual explanation for why he did evil things. Most villains are just plain evil and do things for the heck of it. This villain had real motivation and I loved every word that came out of his mouth.

I don’t think I can say much more, my fingers are getting tired and I fear that if I delve any deeper into the movie that spoilers will come about. I would like to mention that as much as I loved this film, there are still a few minor plot problems. I was also part of the focus group, however, and it looks to me like everyone was unanimous on most of the important problems - so they should be fixed by the time you see it. But overall: you will be dazzled, you will be frightened, you will be excited, and you will be out of breath. I sure was.


Gotta say, I too loved Mal, loved River, loved the bad guy in this. All three get great lines and HUGE laughs this time around, and they’re by no means the only ones. Miss this movie at your peril.

Looking for bumper stickers, plush toys and girls’ underwear covered with cartoon double-amputees? Visit The Herc Store!

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 16, 2004, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Can't friggin' wait...

    by Johnny Smith

    First, gorramit.

  • Dec. 16, 2004, 11:44 p.m. CST


    by Devz0r

    i'm getting the firefly box set for xmas, so if another firefly virgin loves the movie, i'll be waiting for it with baited breath.

  • Dec. 16, 2004, 11:44 p.m. CST

    At Last

    by Kentucky Colonel

    The fucking what?

  • Dec. 16, 2004, 11:49 p.m. CST

    What is it with these Serenity reviews dissolving into "My thoug

    by TheGinger Twit

    Seriously, Is Whedon himself writing these reviews?

  • Dec. 16, 2004, 11:59 p.m. CST


    by Anlashok

    Damn, I'm gettin old.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Me = non-Buffy/ Angel fan. Huge Firefly geek. Anyone else in t

    by Tall_Boy

    Or am I the only one?

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 12:16 a.m. CST

    Tall Boy, me

    by Ribbons

    That said, I haven't really exposed myself to much "Buffy" or "Angel," although without context I find a lot of the characters in "Buffy" to be pretty grating. Umm, so yeah. I was introduced to "Firefly" in DVD form earlier in the summer, and without having an opinion about Joss Whedon one way or the other, fell in love with the show, especially its pilot, which made the Western thing make sense. Eagerly anticipating 'Serenity,' although I have to say the iffiness that surrounds the movie has got me wary.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 12:47 a.m. CST


    by AnnoyYou

    I don't know about you guys, but when a movie is "pushed back to a better time," isn't that usually shorthand for "it stinks" (particularly when the new release date is the no-man's land between summer and the big Thanksgiving/December push?). And what's with the focus group and this very plant-like "glowing" review (I immediately discredited it when he started gushing about how the film was like seeing the first run of Star Wars. WTF?)? Sounds to me like a ton of spin for a stiff -- a stiff that has no recognizable stars and a miniscule cult following. Does anyone remember the fate of "The X-Files Movie -- Fight The Future?" Yeah.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 12:56 a.m. CST


    by Key_Card

    I agree with your assesment. I though the shows were without merit, but then I watched them They click incredibly well with a pop-junk vibe that works. But I agree with others in the fact that there is some serious felatio of Whedon going on when it comes to this stuff. I hate to tell you guys this, but the guy isn't infallible. Need I mention Alien Resurrection or even the Buffy movie, which was pretty horrible.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 1:01 a.m. CST


    by KneelBeforeZod

    who the fuck is actually going to see this movie besides the 2 millions whedon fans? this site covers "serenity" more than oscar winners! what kind of title is "serenity" anyway? joss whedon should stick to astonishing x-men

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 1:14 a.m. CST

    For the record, Herc hated the "Buffy" movie

    by Hercules

    I liked the first two-thirds of Alien: Resurrection, but thought everything after Ripley fell into the alien nest was pretty uninvolving. But of course Whedon didn't direct those. "Serenity" is better, trust me.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 1:39 a.m. CST

    This sucks, that sucks, what is wrong with people!

    by aBoris26

    STOP the hate, the frequent and incesant gay bashing. People on this site can be so close minded that I suspect they could quite possibly be all 13 year olds. This movie will do well, how well? Who knows. Why does this site cover underground geek-flicks? Hmmmm.... Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man, STAR WARS, ALL before they were released were underground geek ideas, and went on to make tons of cash. Serenity will be so fresh, so engaging that it will do well. I have seen everything Joss Whedon has ever made. He's one of the most original writers in tv history. Sometimes he takes plot lines to places that really aren't necessary and has a attachment to all pain and no gain, but when you put it all together its great. Firefly was by far his cleanest, most original, best written and yes, best acted series or movie idea. He captured lightning in a bottle, and FOX threw that bottle against a brick wall because it was diffrent. Sounds like something the posters on this site would do.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 2:06 a.m. CST


    by KneelBeforeZod

    alright, i can let everyone get away with calling whedon a good or even great writer. but he's not original. if anything, he's highly derivative.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 2:23 a.m. CST

    I'm with you Herc about the Resurrection...

    by Anlashok

    seventy five percent of that rocked as far as I'm concerned."I am not the one with whom to fuck!" Have to disagree about the Buffy movie, for me it was quirky fun, "toaster caked em!" As for the Joss worship I loved all three shows, but he is FAR from being perfect(especially since theres no such thing) in my opinion. For instance, I sure as hell didn't watch the shows looking for "definitive vampire" interpretations in fact whedon vamps are pretty weak compared to the ones I hold up high. I also found the fight choreography deteriorated not improved as it should in Buffy (Angels was much better) and Buffys powers (strength) was inconsistent and ebbed and flowed based on what was convenient for the script at the time. Course these are nitpicks and the CHARACTER interactions more than compensated me for these pet peeves. I'll give the man (and his TEAM) this much they made me give a crap about characters, they felt real (to me) if you watched the show enough you knew just what one would say in a certain situation, that's how solid the developement was. Lastly, I find it very odd how a person could like Firefly and hate Buffy and Angel...That's just BIZARRE, but oh well, unlike most fans I'm not into that recruitment shit. Don't like the shows, whatever, what the fuck do I care, I'm still pissed he "dialed down" elements trying to attract you pissants.WTF!?!?!?

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 3:09 a.m. CST

    If this guy's in high school...

    by Zardoz

    ...then I'm a shy freshman all over again! Seriously, this guy's more literate than me...and the writing's seemingly sO-oo familiar. I either smell a plant or a prank. Still, I've enjoyed all of Whedon's work very much so far, this show included. The movie's probably not gonna comPLETEly suck...heh!

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 3:38 a.m. CST

    That's The 7th Extremely Positive Review I've Read So Far & I'm

    by The Outlander


  • Dec. 17, 2004, 4:44 a.m. CST

    a high school student???

    by speed

    "I've been waiting, watching; for a momentary glimpse of your face. my dreams are filled with you; my innermost thoughts engulfed by your beauty. and then, you look at me. a tender smile. my heart is shaken. an earthquake of love has hit me. a fleeting glace etched into my memory. i shall treasure it for the eternity of life." ............... THIS is the type of shit high school students usually write! gooey love letters to chicks. BUT i am actually interested in serenity. i have never seen it or any other whedon TV (apart from one horrifically bad episode of angel) but used to like star trek and i'm having withdrawals.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 4:57 a.m. CST

    For those missing good sci fi on TV

    by richard1025

    If anyone out there is missing good star trek watch the new Battlestar G when it comes out in the states. Here in the UK I have found it the perfect replacement for a once great sci fi show that is even better (dare I say it) than most star trek out there! Dont know about the firefly movie tho.......lets hope my doubt is proved wrong.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 6:45 a.m. CST


    by vikingkitty

    I can't believe this site is still shilling for this crap movie! How many members of the general public are going to get excited about this? Fucking nobody!

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Yeah, we remember The X-Files Movie...

    by DefyThis

    It did pretty damn well domestically and internationally, was considered the peak of the series (from season six onwards it was downhill thanks to Duchovney's insistance that the show move to California, which killed the look/atmosphere that BC lent it), and there's a sequel on the way in the next few years. Oh and it did a pile of DVD sales and was a solid film. Serenity could turn out to be an excellent flick. Or it could suck. But Joss has a pretty fine track record IMO. Then again, maybe you're waiting for Survivor: The Motion Picture or some of the other fucking pathetic drivel that's on TV to make it to the silver screen.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 8:58 a.m. CST

    As much as I despise Buffy, I dig Firefly...

    by California Split

    Who woulda thunk it? Buffy and Angel always irked me to no end, and I've always been annoyed by the "Whedon-esque" breathlessly over-written, one-liner-infested, forced cutesey WB horseshit. But even from my ironclad anti-Whedon stance, Firefly won me over with one episode (watched virtually by accident). That's how good it is. I'm still not sold on that Buffy stuff, though.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Buffy Movie?????

    by BlankGeneration


  • Dec. 17, 2004, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Get a fucking grip, people

    by funnyboy

    "Oh! These guys talk about Serenity too much! Ooooh! Joss Whedon sux! Ooooh, talk about something else!" Why the hell shouldn't they talk about Firefly. IT'S THEIR SITE! If you want to talk about the next Mary Kate and Ashley opus, start your own fucking site.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Whedon got credit for Alien: Resurrection and the 1992 Buffy mov

    by MGTHEDJ

    The scripts for the Buffy movie in 1992 and Alien: Resurrection were thrown out once filming began. I repeat both directors on those movies let the cast ad-lib (fucking Method acting at it worst). Now, some things did survive and if you have no experience with Whedons

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 11:04 a.m. CST

    to those who like one whedonverse but hate another...

    by smackfu

    My advice is to re-approach them with more open mind. I hated Buffy at first but was then forced to watch it because I lived with a Buffy fan. After I'd watched about 5 episodes in a row I was hooked for life. Once can easily been thrown off of buffy by the first 3 seasons, it really only acheived it's greatness in seasons 4-6. Same can be said with Angel, seasons 1 and 2 were mediocre, but 3 and 4 were fantastic.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Characters and dialog will sell this movie...

    by Damitol

    He hits the nail on the head. Firefly/Serenity is primarily about characters you like and care about - as is Star Wars, Star Trek, LotR and all of the genre films and shows that really succeed and stick around. The action and the effects are fun, but hundreds of projects with huge effects budgets (and little else) have come, gone and long been forgotten. I loved Buffy, never got into Angel and saw a few episodes of Firefly in its original TV run. I wanted to like it, but the time slot and with FOX not showing the *real* first episode setting everything up, it all left me a little cold. Potential, but no real meat. God bless Suncoast Video. When I read they were accidentally taking $20 pre-orders on the Firefly box set a year ago I decided to take a chance on it (hey, I've spent $20 on much less) and rediscovered a really great TV show. If you watch Firefly in order, I can't believe anyone who really likes the big genre franchises wouldn't at least enjoy the show. Some episodes are much better than others, but the overall series contains all of the core elements that make someone love good genre. I

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 12:02 p.m. CST


    by War_Tourist

    I can't wait to see the haters when Serenity blows up! They'll be all like "No, I never said Farscape was better than Firefly! That was some other internet troll!" LOL@U morons!

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 12:05 p.m. CST

    never mind, i remember now

    by BlankGeneration

    the kirtsyswansonlukeprry shit pile..i'd forgotten...Whedon pretty muched wiped that from my memory with the broadcast excellence that was sue me.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 1:05 p.m. CST

    Yeah, I'm on the "Buffy sucks, but Firefly rocks my socks" wagon

    by Lenny Nero

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 1:06 p.m. CST

    I just want this to spin off into an HBO TV series

    by GypsyTRobot

    then I will shell out for cable TV and start watching something besides Simpsons reruns, SNL, and my old MST3K tapes (yes mine is a sad existence). Ever since PJ molested my adolescence, escapist genre stuff doesn't do much for me. Only entertainment left is humor. Sometimes Whedon makes me laugh.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 2:05 p.m. CST

    Joss Whedon = HBO

    by Sean38

    If ever a writer/director and a network were made for one another it's Joss Whedon and HBO. Whether he were to spin the Firefly movie into a new TV series on HBO or do something totally new (I wouldn't mind seeing Joss take a crack at something non sci-fi based) it would be a match made in heaven. And yes, the fact that the studio has moved Firefly to no-man's land does concern me but I can't imagine Joss suddenly fell on his head and made a bad movie out of this after creating what I firmly believe to be one of the best shows in the history of television. Maybe it'll be bad, but I can't see how. -- Sean

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 2:44 p.m. CST

    The late September release isn't the kiss of death.

    by Barry Egan

    It's September 30, which is a day away from being October 1. Many $100 million films have been launched on this weekend. Look 'em up.

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 3:57 p.m. CST

    GypsyTrobot is right . . .

    by ProzacMorris

    I have been saying that Joss needs to go to HBO for a long time now and a few of my friends look at me like I am a monkey tasting my own turds. Really, could you blame Joss? With HBO you get a solid commitment of at least 13 episodes to tell your story. You can swear and gett deeper with violence, sex and all that business, and not to mention the fact that they will stand by and promote their series. Jesus, even the Mind of a Married Man got two seasons. I think Joss need to bo HBO and with what that station pays David Chase and Gandolfini, hell, the money to lure and pay Joss is there two. Serenity NOW, HBO later!

  • Dec. 17, 2004, 6:37 p.m. CST

    All plants

    by Razorback

    I am not buying these reviews.... remember the preview reviews for Riddick? Sky Captain? AICN has some vested interest in this movie and are using their propaganda machine at full power. There is no way that this series is this good. As good as Star Wars? This movie won't even be as good as Matrix Revolutions!

  • Dec. 18, 2004, 12:46 a.m. CST

    Hmph. Just read Whedon's "Fray" mini, liked that as well.

    by Tall_Boy

    I think I stay away from Buffy cuz there's way too much backstory and history to get into. Also, while Fray had monsters, it still had that sci-fi tinge I so desperately crave. Anyway, not quite sure where I'm going with this but hey, then I guess this post is kind of like my life like that.

  • ... you're gonna rub your dicks raw until they fall off while chanting "joss, joss, joss" in the corner of your dark room.

  • Dec. 18, 2004, 2:24 a.m. CST

    there's worse things in life than rubbing your dick raw until th

    by Tall_Boy

    Yah, I would say that's about right.

  • Dec. 19, 2004, 2:10 a.m. CST

    Don't be afraid of other opinions

    by Vision

    When one is young and has no selfconfidence, most often try to put down other ideas, because they feel other ideas are a danger. They think that if someone else is right it means they must be wrong, but it doesn't work that way. Taste is taste, its not mathematics. You can be the only one to like something and thats quite allright, others do not have a right to put it down - but then neither do you have a right to put down what others love.

  • Dec. 19, 2004, 9:25 a.m. CST

    alas trek is probably toast, so you retards better get behind "s

    by atomheartbrother

    because the male fandom that used to prop up trek has entirely deserted enterprise in favor of pud pulling, resurrection in show quality notwithstanding. and yes i think this guy is a high school super geek and not a plant, and no the retards haven't gotten their hating right (referring to mutilated screenplays as evidence of anything at all = no knowledge of the process of creating cinema). but keep on trying wieners!

  • Dec. 19, 2004, 8:13 p.m. CST

    Mal shot first

    by punto

    "All three get great lines and HUGE laughs this time around". So the villan is a returning character as well? I hope it's the black guy from 'objects in space'.. that was a cool 'villan'.

  • Dec. 21, 2004, 1 p.m. CST

    Jewel Staite

    by Philsy

    I walked past Jewel Staite the other night here in Vancouver. She was all dolled up and looked amazing. She smiled right at me and my heart stopped for a full 17 seconds.