Tuesday, September 27, 2005
"We may experience some turbulence ... and then explode."
This line from the movie "Serenity" pretty much sums up the film from start to finish. The ride gets extremely rough at some points, and at the end it spits you out feeling like a wrung-out dishrag. I'll try to avoid including any spoilers in this review.
I checked my closet for a brown coat to wear to the theater. No joy. Anyway, it's fantastically hot in San Antonio, so a coat would have been ridiculous. I pulled out my only clean shirt, which, appropriately enough, was Hawaiian (just like my favorite "leaf on the wind" wears).
When we showed up two hours ahead of the time that the advance screening started, I thought we'd be first or second in line. Instead, the line was already about 50 deep when we walked into the Regal Fiesta. It was interesting to note that the average age of the first six people in line hovered around sixty years old. Further back in line the age (as well as neatness of dress) dropped precipitously in places. It was an eclectic crowd for what I thought would be a rather narrowly-focused movie.
After the movie was over, we sat watching the credits and letting all that had happened sink in. I came to the conclusion that I enjoyed "Serenity" as much as I enjoyed "The Incredibles," and in much the same way. Both had characters that are very easy to get attached to, and both had many moments of humor and drama, and lots of edge-of-the-seat tension. One outstanding attribute they both share is an utter unpredictability. I was surprised countless times by twists and turns, and where Whedon was willing to go with this story. Don't get me wrong, the two movies are about as different as could be, but each delivered an outstanding ride in its own fashion. However, unlike "The Incredibles," which merely pays lip service to the old adage, in "Serenity," bad things do happen to good people.
I have a couple of nits to pick with the movie. "Serenity" occasionally had a slightly low-budget feel to it (exacerbated by some projection problems early on). And most irritatingly, for someone who takes firearms seriously, characters kept walking around with their fingers on the gorram trigger! It's rampant in 98% of Hollywood movies, and for those who don't know better, it's a recipe for shooting yourself or someone else, and not on purpose.
Aside from those tiny flaws, the movie is a great success. The audience laughed out loud in many places, and I saw lots of people sitting literally on the edge of their seats during critical scenes.
Here's my suggestion: This Friday or soon thereafter, take yourself down to a theater showing "Serenity," sit in the center of the back row, and hum softly to yourself, as the lights dim:
... Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't coming back.
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me ...