I went and saw Serenity this afternoon. Serenity, for those of you who don’t know, is a movie based in the world of, and starring the characters of, the TV show Firefly. Firefly was the brainchild of Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy and Angel. It never really worked as a TV show, as I once commented, partially because Joss took too long to set up the world and characters, and never gave the viewer a payback before the show was cancelled. (I read an interview with Joss the other day who answered the question of contrasting Serenity with Firefly by commenting that TV shows provide questions, movies provide answers, because movies have to wrap up, but TV shows that wrap up are done. It actually explains a lot about his approach, I think).
Fortunately, the show retained a cult following, and when the DVDs with unaired episodes were finally released, they sold well. And continued to sell well. Even today, the DVDs are ranked 3rd in sales at Amazon. So this huge expression of interest, and Joss’s desire to continue telling stories in the universe, got him a movie deal. And Serenity is the result.
And it kicks butt. Forced to tell a story in two hours, Joss gets back to his roots, stripping the story down to its essence, and not wasting a single shot. He sets up the world, sets up the characters, and lets things rip, with a number of hilarious one liners along the way to break the tension in that oh-so-distinctive Joss way (all the most dramatic episodes of Buffy also had the funniest scenes). I think it works even if one has never seen the TV show, but knowing the characters definitely adds poignancy to several scenes.
So go see it. Now. Pump up the box office receipts so we get more Serenity movies! Heck, I’d be psyched to go see the movie again – I’d been looking forward to it for a long time, and it was excellent. A fine sci-fi action/adventure flick, with a grrrl kicking butt. What more could you want?