Serenity, at WSC
Hmmm, well tonight I finally saw Serenity. Am I right in thinking it Joss Whedon's first venture on to the big screen? Its certainly not Buffy, anyway. Definately a lack of cool, well groomed women in this one (I mean, River, the lead girl is quite hot, but in a waifish, largely pathetic way. And her face is always lined and her eyes are always baggaged) I guess some of the other peripheral women were kick ass. Anyway, fisrt thoughts were:
'She looks rough' (river)
'He's the guy from Kinky Boots' (Chiwetel Eijofar – when you've seen him in a dress, you just can't take him seriously)
'This is fun'
So yeah, the movie is fun. I wouldn't say its mind-blowing, or that its rocked a genre, or any other of the astonishing reviews it seems to have gotton. (See the filmsoc review archive for example). But it is fun. And some of the one liners got a roll-around laugh from the audience, which is always brilliant. The storyline is not original, but interesting, and the characters of the reevers are genuinely inspired – not only thier existence – they are creepy and pretty terryfying, but also their creation – I won't ruin it for you, but its a nice little nuggest added in towards the end.
Back to the cross dressing Chiwetal Eijofar (what a name!) who plays the Operative. The Operative is one of the most interesting characters – a danger because he is a true believer that what he is doing in right. Eventually, of course, he is 're-educated' but this is perhaps the greated tragedy of all. Like Javert, in Les Mis, The Operative has his entire belief system pulled out from underhim, although it is one of the greatest weaknesses of the film that he basically lives, makes friends with the rebels, and seems to go on existing in pretty much the same way as he has before. A symbolic death, 'falling on his own sword' was called for, and Whedon disappointingly didn't deliver.
RIver, as I have mentioned was a little disappointing – perhaps more of the human river would have been appreciated, although it would have been hard to achieve. The floaty dresses are also a bit much – whoever heard of an assassin dressed as a peasant girl?!?! Her brother had an almost abnormally masculine chin – a small marr on an otherwise remarkably attractive man :) The captain, Mal, while having most of the funny one liners was too much a 'tortured leader' to be truly interesting.
The real kudos however goes to the more peripheral characters – the other crew members. The death of the pilot (whose name I can't remember) is perhaps the most shocking that could have been devised. All the crew members were characters well crafted and well played, and they certainly deserve a round of applause for thier human portrayals of thier 'rebels'
Overall, I'd say enjoyable but not earth-shattering. A good action sci-fi, well written and directed, with some moments of genius, and some poor choices made. Engaging and good fun – and an excellent and smooth transition for Whedon to the big screen!