She Said: No thanks to ‘Serenity’ | PostIndependent.com
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She Said: No thanks to ‘Serenity’

KIMBERLY NICOLETTISummit County Correspondent

Maybe I’m trying to delve too deep, but I wanted more out of “Serenity.”The sci-fi, computer-graphically-enhanced movie revolves around River (Summer Glau giving her best shot at being a freaky little psychic girl). River is a 17-year-old who knows too many secrets of the Alliance parliamentarians.Like any good (or bad) sci-fi flick, “Serenity” journeys both into the depths of the mind and the far reaches of space. Parliamentarians don’t want the universes (yes, there are multiple) to know the secret of one outer-reaching universe, so they need to control River. Thing is, River has a heroic brother named Simon (Sean Maher) who saves her from the bad guys. But, alas, Simon cannot save his sister from her own mind, so when a televised show triggers River’s repressed memories, the adventure begins.And, oh, how producers litter the adventure with bad dialogue, bad acting and superficial treatment of profound ideas.The dialogue ranges from emotionally overwrought soliloquies about love and horrid metaphors (for example, the captain asking a crew member who just survived a trauma about the state of their ship: “Do you think she’ll hold together?” Her answer: “She’s pretty torn up, but she’ll fly true.”) to juvenile comebacks (example: the captain asks, to his disgruntled crew: “Do you want to run this ship?” and a member answers, “Yeah, I do,” and the caption replies, “Oh (pause). Well, you can’t!”)And the acting belongs in a B-rated movie, at best.But what really bothers me is how “Serenity” missed developing a profoundly larger idea. I can’t tell you what that idea is because it would ruin the movie for all of you sci-fi lovers who think I’m just an anti-sci-fi snob. But I can tell you it has to do with messing with people’s minds and their basic instincts. I just wish someone would do the subject justice, similar to how the 1998 “What Dreams May Come” with Robin Williams artistically explored suicide and life after death.Instead, “Serenity” remains on the surface with a hodgepodge of borrowings from specific films and genres. Someone shouts, “Get out, get out now” and a television shows static – a rip off from “White Noise.” Actors speak almost exact lines of Jedis when they do mind tricks, only the actors don’t mimic the Jedi hand signal. In fact, the whole movie blends the original “Star Wars” vibe with the ornate decor and special effects of the new millennium prequels. The captain of the ship (Nathan Fillion) even looks like a young Harrison Ford.People sitting behind me in the theater laughed aloud during “Serenity,” and I tried to see it from their point of view – maybe take it as a straight-up parody. But while “Four Brothers” succeeds as a parody, “Serenity” just left me ready to snooze.


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