Serenity
I remember when my first wife used to do this.

Theatrical Release Date: 09/30/2005
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Nathan Fillion, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin

Before I get to reviewing the movie, let’s get one thing out of the way. Geeks worldwide were salivating this weekend’s release of “Serenity”, which is based on the short-lived TV series, “Firefly”. Joss Whedon has built a cult fan base full of long-term basement residents and dungeon masters. People have followed him to the ends of the sci-fi earth thanks to his work not only on “Firefly” but with “Angel” and both the TV and movie versions of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.

While I am a huge dork and a bit of a nerd, I am not much of a geek. And as such, I viewed the release of “Serenity” with little fanfare and probably a bit of scorn as I hate when people get riled up over things that don’t matter to me. It automatically puts me on the sarcastic and cynical offensive. I had seen a few episodes of “Firefly” and I thought it was OK. It didn’t hook me in but it didn’t offend me either as I tend to like how Whedon balances out action and drama with sarcastic and ironic comedy.

All of that being said, I went into this movie expecting one thing … and completely getting it. The only surprise to me came before the movie, when only one trailer was shown. ONE! I tend to think the projectionist was lazy and didn’t get around to splicing on the new trailers for Friday, but I can dream.

Getting back to the point of writing this review, “Serenity” brings back the cast from the television series, which includes Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau and Adam Baldwin. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Another friggin’ Baldwin!?! Take heart, he is of no relation to the Hollywood royalty that is Alec, Stephen, William and Daniel.

Though I still assert that the greatest reality series of all time would be a series of physical and mental challenges between the Baldwins and the Arquettes. Or maybe, the two of them versus the Wayans family. Any way you slice it, ratings and comedy gold!

But I digress.

“Serenity” serves to try and answer some of the questions the television show never got to explain with its short run. It also is trying to introduce this hypothetical future to a brand new audience. Even without seeing the series, this film makes complete sense, although you may wonder if that really matters.

On the plus side, the cast has a natural, engaging chemistry and the action was fairly well done. But the movie never really sucked me in. It seemed like Whedon was more concerned with pulling off the characters’ likeability than crafting an engaging story. Even after many people are killed, I never stopped to care. But as faithful readers of this site know, I have no soul.

The villain, per se, is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. I am a big fan of his work, especially in “Dirty Pretty Things”, for which I thought he deserved the Best Actor Academy Award that year. His role as a government operative in this film could have been botched horribly by a lesser actor. Ejiofor played the role just right, adding nuance and intelligence to a character that could have been casually painted with broad strokes.

I’m beginning to lose my focus on this review, much like I began to lose my focus for the movie about two-thirds into it. The movie feels much longer than it is, as Whedon tries to combine many different elements that would normally be stretched out over the course of a season or two in television. I never really wanted to get out of my seat, but I wouldn’t have argued if my friends wanted to leave either.

So, as can be expected, I’m gonna give “Serenity” a 3 out of 5. I’d actually be afraid to bring a six pack of Old Style into the theatre, as I would be afraid all of the hobbits and orc-wizards in the audience might catch some bizarre contact buzz and start chanting or role playing while I was trying to watch the movie.

If you are a fan of the series, you will like this film. If you are a fan of Joss Whedon, you’ll do no worse than break even with this film. If neither of the above apply, save that ten bucks for the upcoming winter movie season.

Just a small peek at the releases coming over the last two months of the year would require a fair bit of coin, if I didn’t already have an “in” with the theatres in my area. As always, I leave the decision to you but try to keep in mind that I’m always right.