Saturday, November 05, 2005

Just Watched Serenity

The best gifts are the unexpected ones -- ones that become amazing. My friend Curtis gave me the Firefly series on DVD for my birthday. He had talked about this Western-meets-SciFi concept before where people speak bits of Chinese. It sounded novel but also sounded like it had high potential for gimmick. I also sat through more than several episodes of Buffy and Angel (created by the same writer that created/wrote Firefly), and found them over-complicated and snarky. So combined with a busy schedule, the DVD series laid unwatched for weeks.

Curtis doesn't let up easily though. "Have you watched it yet?" became his mantra. So I finally sat down to watch it. The first episode, then the second, and I think I might have finished the first disc of the 4 disc set by the time I came up for air. Astounding -- more than anything in recent history, he connected us with the characters. And though I had to endure the occasional snarky line and geeky feel, I was hooked.

The movie came out at a busy time in my life, so it's been a month or so, but I finally saw it tonight. I see some fledgling debates about whether the movie is only good if you've seen the series. I can't actually comment on that because try as I may, it's impossible to reflect on the movie as if I haven't seen the series. If you have seen the series though, DON'T MISS THIS MOVIE. It is not just a wrap-up.

Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith was supremely disappointing for me. I wasn't expecting a ton since the first two had fallen short of expectation already. But III was the worst of the three. Mostly because it was just a wrap-up -- a connector and nothing more. You knew were II left off and where IV need to start. So the writers or whoever guides the story just built _plumbing_ to connect the two. Short of Ewan McGregor's pivotal scene, I felt like most of the entire movie was a tragic waste.

I wondered though whether this was avoidable. There were so many questions to be answered, and the audience was demanding them, that it seemed the writers HAD to answer them. It was their last call. So they spooled them out.

Serenity manages to do what Sith did not -- PAINT us a story rather than type it out for us. Without spoiling the movie, Serenity does answer some questions and does give fans what they've wanted. But it does so in a story wrapped deeply in character and filled with surprise. Go see it Go see it Go see it. And preferably while it's in the theatres. So that's actually Go see it quickly.

By the way, Serenity doesn't answer all the questions. :-) Let's pray for a sequel.

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