Friday, January 22, 2010

#383: Serenity (2005)

Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Sean Maher, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite, Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin & Chiwetel Ejiofor

The crew continues their adventures on the outer rim of Joss Whedon’s visions of the future, where China and the United States merged to become the powerful Alliance. The mentally unstable and psychic River Tam is being hunted down by The Alliance because she might have obtained top-secret information from while she was being studied in the government’s laboratories. Luckily, River has been under the protection of Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew, who have evaded both The Alliance and the mysterious, murderous monsters known as Reavers. The ship directs its ways through the ‘verse to discover what dark secret is being hidden by the authorities.

Whedon’s imagination of the future is so colorful, it’s got so much to take in. Aside from the fusion of Western cultures with Chinese, the lingo used is witty and smart with a great dose of comedy. No character overlooked – each has a highly distinct style in appearance, speech and attitude.

Whedon’s style is very distinct, using a very high level of contrast in color. For example, the characters will be plunged into shadows until a brilliant white light is shot directly on to them. Not only was there contrasts in the color used on set, but it’s clear that they raised the contrast during the editing process as well, making the characters appear in a comic books style.


As far as plot, there is not much that I can complain about as far as the film goes. However, there were some disheartening choices when seen in the context of the entire franchise. The Firefly series hinted at a very colorful history to Shephard Book, but not only did he have an extremely small role in the film, but he was killed off while there is so much more to answer. Another major character, Wash, was killed off almost unnecessarily at the end of the film as well. It makes me think that Whedon was running out of time, had too many ideas, and tried to squeeze it all together.

A must see for all Firefly fans, nonetheless, and probably one of the best films to be made based on a television series.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):

  • There is an inside joke printed on some of the crates in the cargo bay. Some of the crates have the message "Reusable Container: Do Not Destroy" printed on them (they are visible behind River after the Reaver has been shot). The original set for the ship, from the show "Firefly" (2002) was destroyed (even though creator Joss Whedon swore he'd make use of it again), and therefore could not be reused for the movie (the set had to be rebuilt from scratch).
  • This is the first film to be released by Universal on HD-DVD (High Definition DVD).
  • Among the buildings shown in the opening sequence (where voice-over narration describes the "terraforming" process) are the Emirates Towers, key features of the skyline of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. A skyscraper in the foreground of the same shot is based on designs by Sir Norman Foster (Lord Foster), including the Commerzbank headquarters in Frankfurt and the HSBC building in Hong Kong.
  • The key phrase, that Dr. Simon Tam uttered to put River to sleep, "Eta Kooram Nah Smech!" in Russian means literally "this is for hens to laugh", meaning "this is very ridiculous".(presumably also as it is so random a sentence as to never be spoken by accident)

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