Serenity

Serenity_One_SheetWill Shetterly penned this review.

This is the Serenity review for people who haven’t seen the movie: Go!

That’s all you need to know. If this review was posted on a general interest site, I’d have to warn you that Serenity is a science fiction adventure story packed full of quips, bullets, and heart, but you’re reading this on Green Man Review. You may like your fantastical elements in quieter forms than Joss Whedon offers, but even if you do, smart dialogue and quirky characters will please you.

This is the Serenity review for people who have seen it: Mr. Universe is a generic creation, his lovebot really ought to be more sophisticated than something Disney could’ve been built in the ’60s, I would’ve liked more of Firefly’s folk sensibility in the score, the Hands of Blue should’ve appeared, even if briefly to be defeated, and the storylines for Inarra and Shepherd Book would’ve benefitted from more screen time. So what? It’s a fine, fun film.

It’s also a fine moral movie. Killing has consequences, but, more importantly, so does not killing, and all greatness comes from knowing your true nature. In the Whedonverse, redemption is possible for anyone.

My favorite line? Mal telling Inarra not to be surprised that he’d read a poem.

My saddest moment?

(Warning! Here be spoilers!)

The death of Shepherd Book. We’ll probably never learn his history now. Wash’s death was sad because the Wash-Zoe relationship is one of the few adult relationships in the whole realm of adventure stories, but Wash had a Good Death. The Shepherd was shortchanged. When he died, he didn’t get to accomplish anything significant: He didn’t pass on a secret, or sacrifice himself for another’s sake. He was just killed. He was effectively reduced to a character whose only purpose is to make the audience hate the bad guys for killing him. He deserved more than that.

I’ll see the movie at least once more on the big screen, and I’ll buy the DVD when it comes out. Maybe that’s all I need to tell anyone about the movie.

But I have more to say about the comic book prequel.

(Universal, 2005)

Addendum: Serenity, the DVD

After reviewing a collection of essays about Fireflythe comic book prequel to Serenity, and the movie itself, you might think I would have nothing left to say about the DVD.

You should be right.

But you’re not.

If you get the DVD to see the movie, you’ll be pleased. It’s an action flick for people who are happy to think while they watch.

If you get it to increase your understanding of the craft of shaping stories, you’ll be even happier. The DVD includes:

  • Commentary by writer-director Joss Whedon
  • Joss Whedon introduction
  • Re-lighting the Firefly featurette
  • Making a Scene featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer

They’re all worth your while. The most interesting section is the deleted scenes. Watch them once with the commentary off, and you may wish for a director’s cut that includes them all. Then watch them with Whedon’s commentary, and you may think he was right to delete every one.

There’s a quiet Mal and Inara scene that I think should’ve been kept. Whedon says it didn’t advance the main story, so he cut it. I think the Mal and Inara subplot could’ve used more screen time, and this scene increases the sense that no one on Serenity may survive, so it serves both purposes.

Some DVDs should be rented. Buy as many as you can of this one. The better its sales, the greater the chance of a sequel.

About Diverse Voices

Diverse Voices is our catch-all for writers and other staffers who did but a few reviews or other writings for us. They are credited at the beginning of the actual writing if we know who they are which we don’t always.

It also includes material by writers that first appeared in the Sleeping Hedgehog, our in-house newsletter for staff and readers here. Some material is drawn from Folk Tales, Mostly Folk and Roots & Branches, three other publications we’ve done.