REVIEW: Serenity (Joss Whedon, 2005)

The first two thirds of Serenity are, plainly stated, messy. Aside from the grand opening, each shot is but a glimpse of the material it tries to encompass. The scenes mimic the shots in brevity and overpower them in nonsense. Bits of storyline (which are in fact interesting) that are important come across with stunted, choppy dialog that you have to repeat to yourself in your head before comprehending.

I did see a whole crop of potential in these first two thirds. The scenes have all the power a better movie might have in its foundations but seem overloaded and played in fast-forward.

After the crew leaves, however, to discover the truth behind the planet that supposedly rejected the terraform attempt that is at the center of the storyline, things really kick off. The ship's new, macabre appearance is exciting enough. Then the shots and scenes take more form and generate loads of excitement. Also, we begin to understand what the heck is going on a whole lot better. Yes, there is actually a story behind all the clever Whedonisms! I easily invested in this final act. Specifically, everything about the battle in outer space accomplishes precisely what it sets out for. There are even hints of great artistic and classical flair.

Set construction and wardrobe are huge pluses in the world of Serenity. The aforementioned opening shot is not only one of the most impressive long takes this side of Paul Thomas Anderson, but it exhibits a fully constructed interior of the ship - and oh, how sweet-looking it is in there - while everyone's outfits, for the most part, present shades of what may someday be iconic sci-fi uniforms.

On a majorly positive note, the future presented in Serenity sure does at times seem like a probable one. This is so important in a film of this sort. The politics certainly connect to what one may predict as the evolution of our chapter in the universe. I quite respect how many of the details connect in some way to a current actuality.

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