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Wednesday, April 15, 2009:
Sad to see it end..."Serenity" (2005)

Beloved television cult director Joss Whedon (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANGEL) makes a spectacular first foray onto the big screen with SERENITY, the cinematic adaptation of his wildly popular but short-lived sci-fi series, FIREFLY. A mix of space western, comedy, and drama, SERENITY follows captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and his ragtag crew as they trade their way around the edges of civilized society. Of particular interest are two passengers they take on, Simon and River Tam (Sean Maher, Summer Glau), a brother and his telepathic sister on the run from the corrupt governing Alliance. As notorious former members of the anti-Alliance opposition, Mal and his crew make it difficult for Simon and River to stay hidden.

Everything goes completely awry when a government assassin is sent to retrieve River. As Mal is forced to choose between his close-knit crew and the brother and sister newcomers, it becomes apparent that River harbors both a dangerous secret and astounding fighting powers, and Mal decides that discovering the truth about what she knows might just be worth his time.

Many of the film's action sequences revolve around Summer Glau's martial arts skills in her portrayal of River. Glau prepared for her role with Hong Kong stuntwoman Ming Lu, as well as stunt coordinators Chad Stahelski and Hiro Koda, and as a resulted performed nearly all the stuntwork herself. In addition to the stellar stunts, realistic graphics, and an often haunting score, the film's actors display a rare chemistry that brings viewers both into their lives and into a possible version of humanity's future.
I've been holding onto this DVD for about 3 weeks now because I just couldn't bear to watch it, knowing once I did, it would really be over. I wanted to watch it, very badly, but at the same time, I knew there was no more, and that made me sad. Yet I finally took a deep breath and pushed "play".

I think the movie does a great job of giving backstory for those who've never seen the t.v. show, but having watched "Firefly" will only enhance your viewing experience. All the original characters are here, which was a true delight to see.

The movie starts pretty much where the series left off, although it's a bit darker. Things are getting tougher and tougher for the few Independence survivors left, as the Alliance closes in and tries to tighten the screws. Always one step away from complete disaster, Captain Mal Reynolds takes a job, hoping to secure suitable pay to fix Serenity enough to hold it together, and to put food on the table for him and his crew. He's faced with bitter resistance from Simon, who's concerned about sending his fragile sister River along with Mal and the part of the crew going out on this mission.

As always, the Alliance hasn't given up on looking for River, whom they believe knows a terrible secret the Alliance doesn't want known. With an assassin who truly believes in the Alliance at any cost, he will stop at nothing to find River, even going as far as to kill innocent people.

Mal, who has always lived on the edge since the war ended, has never really had anything to believe in until now. With all that is in him, along with the loyalty of most of his crew, at times grudgingly given, he will fight. He is not willing to surrender and let an innocent girl be destroyed for an ideal that can never really exist anyway....

Wow. Poignant, charming, funny, this movie went straight to my heart, just like I knew it would. The passion and love that went into making both it and the t.v. series is extremely evident throughout, even if you don't watch the bonus features, which include interviews with creative genius Joss Whedon. It was just such a touching tribute to a little series that didn't last even a season, but which wormed its way into the hearts of so many. I don't know if you would love this movie as much as I did unless you were a fan of the series, so I strongly encourage you to check out "Firefly".

What little known movie have you seen that you would strongly recommend?

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  1. Well Put Stacy!

    This is why I don't watch television series anymore because the end up cancelling the ones I love!!

    I haven't seen Serenity, but did enjoy the "Firefly" series, and now will have to pick it up.

    I know there are a couple of movies I've loved and are little known, but I'll have to go home a peruse the "DVD bank", and see if there are any I would dare to recommend! lol

    Have a great day!

  2. I've never watched it before. I dont' watch much TV though.

  3. Oh! Have you seen Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day? Tiny, independent movie that was just lovely. Short and fun and brilliant chemistry between Frances McDormand and Amy Adams. I highly recommend it.

    I love Serenity too, in fact, I own in on DVD, even though I didn't love Firefly? Strange? Yeah, I know.

  4. I loved Firefly and Serenty. I'm just so glad Nathan Fillion is still on TV! YAY!

    You need to try Where The Heart Is with Natalie Portman. Such a feel good romantic film. I love it.

  5. Lea, I don't watch much t.v. - now. I used to be a total addict LOL. But I did watch Firefly and loved it. Watching Serenity was wonderful, but also very bittersweet. I was in total denial about it being over.

    Kelley, you are too busy writing. And that's a good thing!

    Kati, I remember you talking about that movie. I'll have to add it to my list. I admit when I saw the previews I had no desire to see it, but you raved about it, so I think I'll have to reconsider now.

    Hey Sayuri, I LOVED that movie. Watched it many, many times. I don't know why I don't own it. The guy, I can't remember his name from the movie, he's in The Tudors now. Hasn't really aged well, imho.

  6. I was a big "Firefly" fan when I went to see the movie (which I thought was the perfect adventure as the last for the Serenity crew), but I know several people who had never heard of "Firefly" and went to see the movie because it looked like a cool, sci-fi adventure, and they loved it. I'm such a Whedonverse fangirl. :)

  7. Thanks for the recommendation. I didn't know about this movie and had to check the trailer - it looked nice :)

  8. Stacey, have you watched Dear Frankie?

    [And Firefly is not over--it's in hiatus / denial]

  9. KarenW, I just love Joss Whedon. Though I haven't watched Dollhouse. Have you been watching?

    Maija, it's a wonderful film. I highly recommend it.

    AL, I have seen "Dear Frankie". My review:

  10. Yes, I'm watching "Dollhouse." FOX had Joss "dumb down" the first five episodes, but since then, the show is Joss's vision, and it's really hitting its stride. It's worth checking out.

  11. [And Firefly is not over--it's in hiatus / denial]What azteclady said :)

    I loved Firefly and Serenity...and the opening sequence of Serenity IMO completely captures the show :)

    I just finished watching Memoirs of a Geisha...WOW! It was just beautiful!

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