Spoiler-Free: A 'Pure' Review of Serenity
Thursday, May 12, 2005

Before I was lucky enough to get a ticket to what is now considered the first round of pre-screenings in Boston, I vowed to remain completely and utterly spoiler-free until I was fortunate enough to see the BDM. This meant that I refused to watch the trailer and avoided all message boards that even made slight reference to anything which it contained. My reason for doing so was the hope that I would be completely surprised by any and all events/ideas/plot which occurred in the characters and story. I found that this strategy was ultimately quite rewarding and I write this review for similarly like-minded fans.

What you should know about this film before going in is quite simple.

First, do not expect just another episode of Firefly. One of my fears going in was that Serenity would have the same feel as all the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies; meaning a longer story with some special effects, but, for the most part, just a rehashed and slightly more interesting episode of the series. Such was not the case with Serenity.

The BDM was just that...a Big Damn Movie. It far outshined anything that occurred in the series and clearly stood apart as a story in and of itself. Once you see it, you will understand why Joss Whedon has continuously stated that the movie is its own entity and not just a part of the series, which was one of his reasons for calling it 'Serenity' and not 'Firefly: The Movie'. Learn to accept this fact and you will be overjoyed when your time comes to see the film.

Second, the movie is fairly 'darker' than the series. This should not prove too difficult a concept to grasp, assuming you have read the first point. The TV series, while a little violent and gritty, still maintained an overall sense of calm reassurance and hopeful optimism. The film, on the other hand, takes you for an emotional ride that will have you laughing at times, crying at others, and just plain shocked on more than one occasion. Overall, the story is quite enjoyable; some fans just need to be warned ahead of time to anticipate a different feel for the film than they did with the series. Ultimately, if you refrain from expecting the same light-hearted presentation you experienced over the course of the TV show, you will be more than amply rewarded with a real spectacle of a movie.

Third, the movie might require too much back-story for non-fans of the series to completely appreciate. This is one of the more widespread concepts everyone seems to agree upon. It is quite difficult to accurately determine whether or not this is the case, however, simply because once you see an episode of Firefly, you become emotionally invested in the characters to a point where it is nearly impossible to purge your mind of their individual backgrounds and exploits. In addition, most of the people who are unfamiliar with the series, have seen the movie, and written reviews of it are of the correct mindset to appreciate sci-fi, let alone extremely well-written, acted, and filmed sci-fi, so their potentially positive reactions could be a reflection of this open-minded characteristic.

My concerns center on the rest of the Serenity’s potential audience. The ones who would not have gone to see the original Star Wars had it not been for its unique marketing and, let's face it, amazing story and special effects. The reaction these masses will have to the BDM is a question everyone is asking and no one seems to have an answer for. Personally, I think that a majority of them will be purchasing the DVD series not long after they leave the theater, but will they be passing the word for others to see the film as well? I guess only time will tell.

Until then, however, I plan on spreading my own opinions (in addition to my DVD's) to anyone who is interested, receptive, or just plain curious in seeing something new. I've got my ticket to the screening on the 26th and am bringing 3 Firefly 'virgins' along with me. I figure that while the future of the ‘verse may remain uncertain; we owe fans everywhere, both current and forthcoming, our full support in ensuring that it is as shiny as possible.



Friday, May 13, 2005 5:24 AM


Thanks for your non-spoilery review. I'd love to hear what your firefly newbie friends have to say about the movie after the screening. I couldn't get tickets to either Boston screening, but May 26th will see me and some friends road-tripping down to Providence to check out our big damn heroes.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 3:28 PM


Thank you so much for this. It's hard to get a read on what to expect from the BDM while avoiding spoilers but you have completely eased my fears.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 2:02 PM


Your comment about the film being darker shouldn't be much of a surprise for those who have watched the DVD with commentary. FOX wanted the lighter version of Firefly, not those involved in the creation of the series.

Your comments encourage me greatly.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 8:50 AM


Nice review! :)

I was at the Seattle screening, but I had read all the spoilers from earlier screenings. Let just say it didn't spoil the BDM for me at all and that this film pulled at my heartstrings, riped 'em apart, tickled 'em and played beautiful music with them all at the same time.


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