Thursday, October 06, 2005

Serenity

You can't stop the signal, according to the lore of Joss Whedon's Firefly, but can his Serenity, the feature film reprise of the abruptly cancelled show, start the signal? Sporadically, it can. I should admit I've never seen an episode of the show, so maybe it's possible some of the problems I felt the film has are due to lack of familiarity. But, I don't think that's the case. Serenity does a pretty good job of introducing the world and its characters, so you keep up. But there are stretches in the first third to half of the flick where it sputters, where the story-line isn't quite working. Happily, the movie becomes more absorbing as it goes; it has one of the better bad guys of recent movies: his motivations are clear, understandable, even sensible, yet always monstrous in execution. He has a job and that job is bloody. So points for that. Otherwise, things are a mixed bag. An early action scene has laughably bad special effects at times, almost Playstation level; I'd be willing to bet it was added in late, in reshoots, to punch up the first act, hence the rush job on the effects work. Later shots are better but you somtimes still get the feel of TV movie. That's the chief challenge here: how to translate this to widescreen. Mostly, it kinda works, though if you saw it on TV you wouldn't inevitably think you were watching anything made for the theater. All in all, I quite liked Serenity, but I can't help but think Whedon's particular, peculiar genius is best suited for television. Which isn't a knock. His shows have a novelistic breadth and depth that a two hour movie just can't hope to contain.

2 comments:

Ali Davis said...

I think you would be a good stormy day, movie-watching companion. Popcorn?

Paul said...

C'mon over. It's raining and I've got popcorn.