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August 24 2005

(SPOILER) CHUD.com reviews Serenity. A positive review from someone who liked, but didn't love the show.

Spoilers in the review are very minor, too. Nothing more than revealing a little about Ejiofor's character, really. But better safe than sorry.

"Ejiofor is “The Operative”, an assassin of the highest order hired by the villainous Alliance to hunt down one of the passengers on Serenity [it’s a ship, see], freaky young girl named River Tam who somehow might be the secret ingredient the Alliance needs in executing their goals. I’m a little sketchy on that, because aside from being a very efficient ass kicker, she doesn’t have much to offer."

How could you watch the film and not know why the Alliance wanted to get to River... Not going to say why for fear of spoiling, but this guy must have been distracted during some key parts of the film. IMO :)
I got the impression that he's actually questioning the effectiveness of the kind of government weapon that it's assumed the Alliance was trying to turn River into.

[ edited by MattM on 2005-08-24 22:02 ]
I'm with SpookyRiverFan...won't comment too much for fear or spoilage, but even in the trailer, it's clear that The Operative is hell bent, consequences and human lives lost be damned, on getting River back to the Alliance.
I'm with SpookyRiverFan...won't comment too much for fear or spoilage, but even in the trailer, it's clear that The Operative is hell bent, consequences and human lives lost be damned, on getting River back to the Alliance.

And where does he question that?

Nick's making a joke about someone who's very good at karate not being very effective against spaceships. I wouldn't read too much into it.
Fillion is a nice modern day Han Solo but with better hair. I felt he didn't have the leading man capabilities when I saw the television show, and I enjoyed the nourishment as I ate my words while watching him here.

That's awesome to hear. I feel vindicated. Fillion is a star! I could totally see him becoming an A-list Hollywood actor. He's got the chops. If it comes down to that, I hope he's ready for it.
Seems like faint praise to me, but compared to all I've read in the past at CHUD concerning Jossian efforts, it's a rave. Not much Joss love there.
I felt it was a very good review, I mean other than saying he didn't like the TV show, he seemed to give high grades to nearly every aspect of the movie.
I felt he [Nathan Fillion] didn't have the leading man capabilities when I saw the television show, and I enjoyed the nourishment as I ate my words while watching him here.

I would go see this movie if all I read was this review.
I read a bit of tongue in cheek there. Again, I rather read a honest review at this point and CHUD.com has been straight with Joss' work in the past. I'm good with it.
MattM:

I'm with SpookyRiverFan...won't comment too much for fear or spoilage, but even in the trailer, it's clear that The Operative is hell bent, consequences and human lives lost be damned, on getting River back to the Alliance.

And where does he question that?

Um, it was your observation I was responding to MattM:

"I got the impression that he's actually questioning the effectiveness of the kind of government weapon that it's assumed the Alliance was trying to turn River into."
I meant the reviewer, not the Operative.
Good, honest, tongue-in-cheek review. Nicely done and what I expected from CHUD.
Yup, CHUD can be a frothing brew of bitter and contentious fandom in its forums, but the site's official reviewers are fair, knowledgeable film/culture geeks. Nick says quite a lot of things in this review that are amazingly appreciative of the film:

"There’s something about it that feels more confident and genuine to me as if perhaps this saga was always more suited for the big screen."

Interesting, considering he's seen the series and doesn't think the movie is too small-screenish like a few other critics.

"There's a certain swagger to Serenity that is infectious. It has no fear of relying on convention and tosses caution to the wind in its approach and as a result the film is a breath of fresh air amidst the overblown vacant spectacles we've been fed these past few years."

"...that quest sets the stage for a solid science fiction story whose best moments are the quieter ones, the sign of an enduring film."

From Nick, that's practically a love letter!

[ edited by punkinpuss on 2005-08-24 22:53 ]
I have to admit, I agree pretty strongly with this review. Unlike the reviewer, I love Joss, but like him, I am not crazy in love with Firefly (the show). I have the DVDS and enjoyed the show, but had quite a few problems with it (slow pacing, not enough humor, too literal in its Westerness). When I saw the film, I felt nearly all these problems had been fixed. So, although I did feel the film looked a bit cheap, I would agree that this story worked better on the big screen overall.
There’s nothing in the visual presentation that will grab the eye of people weaned on big budget science fiction flicks...

Yet there is an awesome money shot that will stay with me forever!

I preferred the visual presentation and special effects in this movie (though I have seen the final product) were much more preferable than Star Wars III, which was overdone (as the presentation of the actual story was underdone).

It's not about the look. It's not about the special effects.

It's about the story.
Just got back from the Manchester screening and OMG what a film. It totally lived up to all my expectations and I can't wait to see it again. I took 3 friends with me, all of whom I'd converted into Firefly flans and they all agreed.

We were fortunate enough to have Adam and Gina for a short Q&A afterwards but I don't think anything was said that hadn't been covered before.
Glad you enjoyed it Paul_Rocks! I can't wait to see it again too. I haven't been this excited about things in a while now. I told an old friend today I'd take her to the film (she saw some of the series on tv and loved it, but had no idea there was a film) and she got all excited. I can't wait to see her reaction to the film.

Hmm, topic..
I walked home with my friends and just didn't stop babbling all the way. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm extremely laid back and don't normally get excited about much, however Serenity certainly got me going :) I'm now making it my mission to convert more people before the official release, need to get to the $80mil mark so we get us a sequel!
CHUD is one of my favorite sites on all of the net, so seeing Nick's positive review made my day. The site usually isn't too full of Whedon praise (loved Nick's comment about the hate mail he received for his Firefly review), so this was refreshing.

The other review I'm really excited for, though I'll probably have to wait till release day, is Roger Ebert's. I respect his opinions, and hope he gives this film the recognition it deserves.
I totally understand the babbling syndrome, Paul_Rocks! When I drove the two and a half hours home after the May 5th prescreening, all I could say over and over was, "Wow! I want to see that again! Now!"
I know what you mean, m'cookies. I couldn't stop thinking about the movie for weeks. It's rare when a movie affects me that way.
For comparison purposes, some recent CHUD film review ratings, including Serenity's:

War of the Worlds 9.2 by Devin
Inside Deep Throat 8.8 by Devin
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 8.5 by Devin
Team America:World Police 8.2 by Nick
Sin City 8.0 by Nick
The Devil's Rejects 7.8 by Devin
Revenge of the Sith 7.7 by Nick
Serenity 7.5 by Nick
Fantastic Four 7.1 by Devin
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 7.0 by Devin
Batman Begins 6.5 by Devin
I just realized I listed Team America, OK, not so recent.
I'm sorry, Revenge of the Sith rated more highly than Serenity? Is that a mistake?
I've seen it twice, and I'm beside myself at the prospect of seeing it again soon.

This doesn't happen often to me. Well, almost never. Henry V back in late 1989, most recently...saw it about 12 or 13 times in the theater...I can see that happening again with Serenity, especially as I drag people to the theater!
SNT: It's a mistake, no matter what the reality of it is.

Good grief.
I'm sorry, Revenge of the Sith rated more highly than Serenity? Is that a mistake?
They also have War of the Worlds at 9.2 and Batman Begins at 6.5, which is below Fantastic Four at 7.1, so I think I think the mistake here is that these people are allowed to review movies.
Most of those ratings seem like mistakes to me. I'd put Serenity, Batman Begins and Sin City well above everything else, especially War of the Worlds which I think I would just outright swap with Batman, sloting Serenity above it.

ETA: Seems we are on the same wavelength.

[ edited by Paul_Rocks on 2005-08-25 02:05 ]
SNT, they had four different reviews by different people. I listed Nick's because he's the one who reviewed Serenity, and it's not a typo. Most of the ones I have listed are by Devin 'cause he does the bulk of the reviewing. The other three Sith reviews were:

7.1 Steve
7.0 Devin
5.0 Russ

I think Russ is a perceptive fellow.
Thanks, jlv, I didn't really believe you had provided wrong info. It's just . . . well, I couldn't come up with an appropriately caustic and witty response to those ratings. I mean, I think I have a few more reservations about Serenity than every other Whedonesque member to have posted about it, but even I can see that it rolls ROTS into a tiny ball and slam-dunks it into the ash-hoop of history . . .

That's a viable metaphor, right?
SNT, that's a beautiful metaphor (in fact I may steal it--watch the threads carefully for a while). I didn't take it that you were questioning my accuracy, but I wouldn't have minded anyway, I question it myself. Due to a poorly-healed broken hand, I'm prone to typos, so I tend to triple check anything I post that's supposed to be factual.

As far as CHUD goes, I like that they have multiple reviews for what they consider the biggest movies, but some of the reviewers don't review enough movies for me to gauge their predilections; consequently I don't know how to weight their reviews.
Just got back home from the London screening. I love this movie!

If this is a $50M budget then every last dime is up there on screen, it looks fantastic, but the SFX never overshadow the story, the characters, the plot. Many, many laugh out loud lines and some shocks.

Plus, we got Joss and Summer! They both came in at the end and had a half hour or so Q+A. The place was so small (126 seats) that they didn't need the microphone.

I even managed to ask a question. I have spoken to Joss! (I asked what he thought the reason for the box office slump this year has been.)

Sadly a guy with a camcorder was mostly blocking my view of Summer. Don't worry Joss, he DIDN'T video the actual movie...

And a big, big thank you to everyone at Whedonesque for keeping spoilers safely tucked away. It made the experience far better.
And a big, big thank you to everyone at Whedonesque for keeping spoilers safely tucked away. It made the experience far better.


Heartily seconded. I was soo glad I wasn't spoiled as I'm sure it would've lessened the impact of certain unmentionable scenes and therefore the overall experience. Not that I don't forsee equal enjoyment on my next viewing (roll on October!) but it's always slightly different the 1st time, especailly with something written by Joss.
I was at the Birmingham screening. We got Nathan Fillion and Morena Baccarin! They watched the movie with us and then stayed to do a Q and A. The movie was wonderful, and so were they! :D
I totally understand the babbling syndrome, Paul_Rocks! When I drove the two and a half hours home after the May 5th prescreening, all I could say over and over was, "Wow! I want to see that again! Now!"


m'cookies, I'm still thanking you for the tickets to the May 26th screening in Portland. And, Paul_Rocks, although I didn't start 'babbling' about the movie for about 16 hours, we did discuss it throughout the seven-hour drive home. Then I babbled to gorramit for three hours - without spoiling him!! and continued to babble for several days. I did the same thing after we had our own screening in June. It takes me several hours to get over the emotional impact of this movie before I can start talking about it - and then I can't shut up :). Since I plan to see it several times the first weekend and then a few more the next couple of weeks, I'm not sure whether I'll be talkative or not during that period :).
This is the kind of review I hope we get to see more of - favorable without sounding fawning or fanatical.

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