Friday, April 15, 2016


Year 8, Day 105 - 4/14/16 - Movie #2,305

BEFORE: I feel I'm at something of a disadvantage tonight, because I never watched the show "Firefly", which this is a continuation of.  So I have to play a little catch-up.  My reasons for watching this are three-fold: 1) because I keep hearing about it at Comic-Cons and such, 2) I got a copy to fill up the 2nd slot on a DVD with "Snowpiercer", and 3) it helps me link the Batman and Superman chain to the next set of films, with Summer Glau, the voice of Supergirl in yesterday's film, carrying over.

THE PLOT:  The crew of the ship Serenity tries to evade an assassin sent to recapture one of their number who is telepathic.

AFTER: I was so clueless about "Firefly", I thought there were puppets in it - I think my mind confused it with "Farscape".  Live and learn, I guess.  This is more straight-forward sci-fi, if that term even applies - but like the "Star Wars" series, it seems a lot like a Western film set out in space.  Set far in the future, after mankind has left Earth and gone through centuries of exploration and terra-forming worlds to sustain human life, there's an alliance among the inner planets (inner part of the galaxy? unclear...) who have won a war against the more independent outer planets.  One of the weapons used by the Alliance is a number of conditioned psychics who are also assassins.  

One such assassin is River, who ends up as part of the ragtag crew on the Serenity after her brother rescues her from the training facility.  The crew is made up of smugglers and part-time bank robbers, who survive on the fringes of society while trying to evade the cannibalistic Reavers.  They also encounter another assassin named The Operative, who's willing to kill them all just to get River back - it turns out that she might have read the minds of political figures and could be carrying state secrets, even if she can't remember them outright.  

But the best scenes are probably the fight scenes, where River goes into "advanced combat mode", and this is something that's popped up in several films already in the past month, most recently "Batman v Superman", and "John Wick" and "Kingsman: The Secret Service" before that.  All featured scenes with individuals taking down 40, 50, or 100 combatants while performing near-impossible fight moves, as if in a personal version of hyper-time or the "bullet-time" seen in the "Matrix" series.  All these years later, and that's still a thing?  I think maybe it's just a trend where each movie tries to one-up the last one by ramping up the difficulty factor. 

The Operative is a strange character, out to "rid the world of sin" - umm, that should be "worlds", I guess.  But to achieve that goal, he's willing to kill people - but isn't murder a sin?  So he's out to create a better society, just by killing all the bad people?  I guess he regards the killing of evil as somehow good, but that must be tricky if the definition of what's evil keeps changing, and things aren't always that black and white.  

I do like how there's an assumption that in the future, even after leaving Earth, humans will still have guns that shoot bullets, weird animated commercials and a desire to have sex with robots.  Ah, you crazy future kids. 

Also starring Nathan Fillion (last seen in "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters"), Gina Torres (last seen in "The Matrix Revolutions"), Alan Tudyk (last heard in "Big Hero 6"), Morena Baccarin (last seen in "Spy"), Adam Baldwin (last seen in "The Patriot"), Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Chiwetel Ejiofor (last seen in "Amistad"), David Krumholtz (last seen in "The Judge"), Ron Glass, Sarah Paulson (last seen in "Mud"), Michael Hitchcock.

RATING: 5 out of 10 crash landings

1 comment:

  1. I am a bit embarrassed that I hadn't introduced you to Firefly, as I assumed you already knew of it. (I mean, had watched it)

    I too originally avoided watching this show, because I only knew the name of it and thought it was about the Batman villain Firefly, which was a ridiculous assumption on my part.

    This movie is a pretty good wrap up to the TV show, which was canceled suddenly and prematurely (after only half a season). The show is better than the film, but the film provides the much needed closure after the abrupt ending of the TV series.

    This movie resolves and explains the overall story arch that was just introduced in the TV show.

    The concept is based on Star Wars, with the captain based on Han Solo. The creator of this show blended in several elements, which made for a bit of a odd mix. The cowboy elements are more pronounced here, but when I saw Star Wars as a kid those cowboy roots(people holstered guns) went over my head. As you may recall, there is a Ralph McQuarrie drawing of the confrontation between Greedo and Han, which is clearly a showdown.

    In this universe, the two remaining superpowers, China and America got together, which is why there is a predominance of Chinese letters and the characters occasional say things in Chinese, which are mostly profanity, which allowed them to avoid censorship issues.