Cast: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin,
Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, Summer Glau, Sean
Maher, Ron Glass, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Somewhere, there’s a ragtag band of misfits roaming through
space on the run from an interplanetary empire. Their ship is in
constant disrepair. The crew grows weary from scraping a scoundrel’s
existence, but each has a deep sense of family with the rest. The
frontier spirit of the crew of the Serenity is their only weapon
against harsh reality, a cruel operative of the Alliance, and horrific
space cannibals. That, and a creepy psychic girl with unparalleled
close combat capabilities (and a safe word).
Meet the crew. Mal (Fillion), the Captain of
the Serenity, has a checkered past with leadership. However, he’s
a hardened, clever, and focused captain, even if he’s just
a confused little boy on the inside. Zoe (Torres)
is the yin to Mal’s yang, giving him some thoughtful words
rather than questioning his leadership. She’s married to the
lovable pilot (Tudyk), who does little more than
care for Zoe and fly flawlessly. Jayne (Baldwin)
is the guy you hate to love, the kind of guy who needs to be talked
out of bringing grenades to a heist. He’s a step backwards
in spiritual evolution, being more ape than man in his heart. Then
there’s the mechanic, Kaylee (Staite), who
fails to evoke a classic image of a grease-monkey. I guess in the
future mechanics will actually be sexy, but won’t have their
asses falling out of their shorts. Simon (Maher),
the onboard doctor, has just freed his sister River (Glau)
from the clutches of a clandestine institute working the kinks out
of mind-control procedures. She’s a violently unstable psychic,
who seems to have little control over whether or not she’s
going to kick the hell out of everyone in close proximity. Deep
in her subconscious she holds a sensitive secret, and to make sure
that secret doesn’t get out, the parliament has dispatched
a nameless operative, a man with a mind and soul as cold and hard
as a frozen diamond.
Okay, that’s the skinny. We have a solid setup for a good
sci-fi adventure, and Joss Whedon delivered. Given
that he wrote this, I have to give him full credit for making a
good movie. The dialogue was cute, and the theme had a deep application
to our modern-day *meddling* society. But unfortunately, like any
and every action movie ever made, character growth was minimal.
Mal found something to believe in, but hardly talked to the woman
he was supposed to love, even though they had both just saved each
other’s lives. Simon learned to orally express his interest
in the nubile if not witty mechanic, and River learned to open a
can of whoop-ass when her brother’s life is endangered. It’s
all pretty shallow on that end, but hey, Joss Whedon has been working
with TV (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” anyone?) for the
past decade, so we can’t expect too much of him. I just wish
they had gotten a more recognizable cast, because I spent damn near
the whole movie thinking to myself, “Is that the dude from
“Sliders”?” Turns out it wasn’t. Nathan
Fillion had a part in Saving Private Ryan. He was Private
James Ryan, but not the one who had lost his brothers, but rather
the one whose brother was still in grammar school. Remember that
Those people who eagerly await this movie (self-proclaimed Browncoats,
you know who you are) will love it with all their being, but the
rest of us won’t be blown away, we’ll just be entertained.
So go be entertained, dammit! It’s a good thing when space
cowboys learn Chinese.
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
Itís worth a full-price ticket.
Itís worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...