Popcorn movies. We’ve seen them all…everyone knows how they work. You get the hero to rescue the girl whilst fighting off the bad guy who has plans for world domination. A staple of movie-making for years, sometimes they work, mostly they fail.
What you don’t often get is Serenity.
Based on a failed TV show, Serenity comes from the creative mind of Joss (Buffy) Whedon, whose genius shines through in every moment. Whedon, who has been famously shafted by Hollywoood on many occasions, (his screen credit for Speed is not in the final cut, despite him writing most of the dialogue) takes up the role of screenwriter and first-time director, and pulls it off impressively. Serenity is a pop culture gem. Its dark, often very British, ironic humour is something that Whedon has always done well.
What helps the movie flow along is that the actors are already familiar with the roles, Whedon having brought back the entire cast of the show. Hence there is none of the wooden acting that is all too familiar in popcorn movies these days.
The script is funny and original, and Whedon has more than one nod to Buffy herself. Another saving grace is that unlike most new movies, Whedon keeps the visual effects in line. The action pieces are well directed, and keep that subtle humour as a constant undercurrent to the main piece.
To give too much of the plot away would spoil the movie; all I can say is that this is what the new Star Wars movies should have been like.