Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I never watched ‘Firefly’, and truth be told I don’t watch a lot television, mainly because of time restraints.  Hell, I have a Tivo which is constantly taping stuff I’ll never have a chance to watch.  When ‘Serenity’ was released to theaters, being as I never watched ‘Firefly’ I had no interest in seeing it, at least not until it was released on DVD.  This guy I work with though, whose opinion on all things entertainment I have zero respect for, tells me I should watch the series first since it’s out on DVD as well.  Why don’t I respect this cat?  This is a man who couldn’t stomach ‘Hero’, but highly recommend ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ to me.  See, now I’m sure you don’t respect this guy either. 

Some months later I see Amazon has a sale on the complete ‘Firefly’ series for fifteen bucks.  Well hell, you can’t beat that with a bat, so I order it, pad my order 10 bucks by getting the ‘Serenity’ feature film so I can get free shipping and soon it is delivered to my door.

Still, time is forever an issue and the DVD set sat for months.  I’m not too familiar with the show other than I know it was developed by Joss Whedon of Buffy and Angel fame who has become sort of a cult legend.  Nonetheless, to the surprise of no one, those are two television shows I have never seen a single episode of.  One day a couple of weeks ago I threw in disk one of the four disk set of ‘Firefly’ and any spare time I thought I had for the next two weeks was pretty much done.  ‘Firefly’ was simply outstanding ranking among my favorite TV shows ever, along with ESPN’s tragically truncated ‘Playmakers’, The Chris Noth / Richard Brooks (Jubal Early in a Firefly episode) seasons of ‘Law and Order’, the new ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and the first three seasons of ‘The Soprano’s’.  People who know the show, know the show so there’s no reason to go into what it’s about other than to mention the strength of the character ensemble, and old west space

faring concept which is very unique and works to perfection.  The cast is an outstanding one, but special note to Gina Torres as Zoe who has possibly the most amazing athletic figure in the history of the world.  And don’t get me started on those lips.  Oh Larry (I knew you before you were Laurence) Fishburne, you are one fortunate bastard.  Also, and probably most notable is Adam Baldwin as the man called Jayne.  If there was a worst, wooden, emotionless actor this side of Adam Baldwin not named Van Damme, point him out to me please.  Or so I used to believe.  Without Baldwin’s funny, hostile, confused, slow witted Janye, the show just doesn’t go.  Baldwin practically steals the whole series and he’s the character I miss most now that series is done and the movie is over.

This brings us to ‘Serenity’ the movie.  One of the great things about watching an entire television series on DVD and the climactic movie in just under two weeks, as opposed to waiting a week for an episode, and then a couple of years for the movie to be released is that everything is fresh in my alcohol pickled brain.  Thus the movie picks up swiftly where the TV show left us, and the characters are just as we left them with the exception of Shepherd Book (Ron Glass) who’s off somewhere, but will be picked up later.  The movie actually plays like an extended series ending episode, only bigger, louder, faster and better.

Whedon does a fantastic job keeping the tone and feel of the television show intact, but manages to effectively expand the narrative so that it fills the big screen perfectly.  The fight scenes are more spectacular, the heroics are more heroic, the space battles a bigger and sadly, the tragedy is pronounced.  A lot of the questions that puzzled us going into the final film are answered, and some are left dangling as they should be.

I can’t recommend the series ‘Firefly’ and the feature film finale (whoa.  Alliteration for you ass) ‘Serenity’ enough for anybody who has a liking for Science Fiction, Westerns, or war movies, because this is what Joss Whedon has masterfully concocted.  It’s a shame that there won’t be any more from the Firefly crew, but in a sense, its short life seems just about right.  Still, they will most certainly be missed.

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