Last night the little lady and i went out on a date to The Grove in LA. Its a really cool shopping area just south of Hollywood. They had this huge three story Barnes and Nobles that had huge escalators and then the whole store opened up on the third floor. it was a pretty cool place. then they had this big fountain near the entrance and little kiosks all around and a trolley that would run up and down the streets. When we got there we were able to see the sun setting over LA from the seventh floor of the parking garage. It was a pretty cool site.
Anyhoo, we went to a pretty well known Theater there to see the new Sci-Fi flick, ‘Serenity’. Now, I know, I know, many of you really don’t like Sci-Fi movies, but give this one a chance.
Over the last five or so years the Sci-Fi movie genre has been suffering. Hollywood has gotten obsessed over big budget, huge effects, and massive sets. The results have hardly translated into success on the big screen. We were left with over budgeted movies like I-Robot, War of the Worlds, nevermind the Sci-Fi movies that have just blown and no one ever saw like Starship Troopers, Event Horizon, Red Planet, or Solaris. The Sci-Fi movie has been endangered. It looked to be back with The Matrix, but the second and third of that series managed to mess that up. With all that said, I believe ‘Serenity’ is a sign of a resurgence with well made sci fi movies that worry more about story and plot and suspence than big explosions and endings that could never be predicted (which have tended to en absurdly just so no one could figure it out).
Serenity isn’t a big budget movie, infact the director, Joss Whedon, tried to cut corners to save money. He is the creator of shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer (of which i am certainly not a fan), Angel, which I understand to be a well made show that never got the viewers to satisfy the networks, and the show Firefly, on which this film finds its basis.
One refreshing thing is that this movie offers no huge actors. There are no ‘childish’ characters placed in the movie just to market at a further date (aka Jar Jar Binks). And there is no gratuitous sex scene to ruin it. There is no over the top swearing or gory voilence to make you feel dirty when your done watching the movie. Instead, Whedon focused on the story, creating a very imperfect world for the movie to operate in.
As I was watching this movie, I kept being reminded of this must have almost what it felt like when Star Wars first came out. It certainly wasn’t the biggest movie on the radar. It wasn’t the most publicized, but it was what the movie scene needed. The main character, Mal, reminds you of Han Solo, a guy who thinks he’s out only for himself, but really cares about what is going on. Similar to Star Wars, it has an empire that is in control, but unlike Star Wars, there is no official rebellion. It is more of a submit or get shut out of everything atmosphere.
But it is not a perfect movie. There is one particular scene that almost ruins part of the movie, but it was partially baled out with a one-liner. What it is, is a sign to come of a new way Hollywood will make movies. Not concentrating on big budgets, bit more on a good plot and story.
If anyone likes sci fi, I’d say set aside some time this weekend and go see this movie. It is just such a great blend of suspense, creativity, humor, and action. I know I’m going to go rent Firefly to get the background, and then sit back and wait for the next chapter in what is hopefully a great series to come.