Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Movie: Serenity

Libertarians have been getting pretty excited over Serenity, a movie by writer/director Joss Whedon based upon the television series 'Firefly' (which was cancelled by fox after episodes that were aired out of order proved unpopular). Julian Pistorius and Not PC have both blogged about the movie and there are plently of quality reviews avaliable online.
For example,
Scott Holleran at Box Office Mojo
Julian Sanchez at Reason Magazine - Out to the Black: The existentialist libertarianism of Joss Whedon's space western
Science Fiction Writer Orson Scott Card calls it "the best science fiction film ever"

These reviews mostly stress the libertarian/individualist themes of the movie. As someone who has seen the movie, I do not think that these qualities would be able to redeem it in the eyes of those who do not enjoy science fiction and adventure movies. This movie will especially appeal to those who enjoyed Star Wars or anyone who enjoys futuristic and action-based movies. As the Roger Ebert review says:
"I'm not sure the movie would have much appeal for non-sci-fi fans, but it has the rough edges and brawny energy of a good yarn, and it was made by and for people who can't get enough of this stuff. You know who you are"
While I agree with Not PC that Buffy (Whedon's most famous creation) the Vampire Slayer is just plain silly I do think we shouldn't be taking it too seriously - after all Whedon himself doesn't ("It insults me that people take my work seriously. I just wanted to meet chicks." ). The only real similarity between Buffy and Serenity is Whedons characteristic style of dialogue. This witty dialogue helps make Serenity fun as well as intelligent. When compared to the banal scripts of the recent Star Wars films, Serenity is refreshing. The slang (including Chinese words) that Whedon has created is intelligible and fits the film well. It is just one area where Whedon is being unique and inventive.
As someone who has also seen some of the television show, I am impressed by how well this translated into the big screen (unlike this reviewer - Joss Whedon should stick to TV). The television show was just too slow for my tastes and I can't really recommend it. The movie runs at a much quicker pace and contains plently of action hence is worthy of a larger audience.
Overall grade, 7/10.

Of the films I've seen recently, I can say these 2 were superior. I highly recommend them.
The Insider (1999) - Russell Crowe, Al Pacino
Platoon (1986) - William Dafoe, Charlie Sheen, Johnny Depp (I consider this to the best anti-war movie ever.)