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September 26 2005

(SPOILER) Review: Ken Tucker of New York magazine loves Serenity. Major spoilers for the film.

Choice quote: "The movie is suffused with a uniquely sardonic romanticism (humor and passion both tart and sweet). And it’s also an action movie that truly defines the term 'space opera'."

And: "...Serenity achieves a grandness—a heightened rapture—that few adventure films even have the imagination, or the idealism, to aspire to these days."

I fully expect that this review will be the source of a pullquote in any future ads. I'm figuring maybe something like this:

"More fun than you had at any bigger-budget movie this past summer. - New York Magazine"
I don't know New York magazine, is it big?
Oh yes, Caroline. It's big and very well-respected. This is one of the most encouraging reviews I've seen yet. Very, very good omen.
Very big, Caroline, in NY, at least. This could boost opening weekend in the nation's largest market considerably.

My money quote:

"Whedon proves once again that the storytelling and characterization featured by the best television writing are just as rich and deep—often more so—than anything in the cinema."

Just so, and, may I say, Finally! The TV-film dichotomy that some other critics insist on finding is, in this case, non-existent, to me, at least.
Well then, I'll be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine when I'm in New York two weeks from now.
Well then, I'll be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine when I'm in New York two weeks from now.

I think it's a weekly.
Ah well, I'll pick it up regardless.
Wow, that's a major rave from a major magazine. To be expeced though - wasn't Ken Tucker formerly Entertainment Weekly's TV critic? If so, he was always raving about Buffy. For me, the best quote is the one that compares Joss to both Preston Sturges and Howard Hawks.
Not quite a weekly, 46 issues a year. But this one will certainly be off the stands when you get there, Caroline. Perhaps someone you know in the city could pick one up for you and hold it till you get there?
Agree, bonzob...that's pretty rarified air Joss is being placed in.
Officially my favorite review so far, from a critic I really respect in a magazine I love dearly. I'm trying to pick out my favorite quote, but the whole review is just one money quote after another. I'm actually going to settle on this one:

"Whedon knows you never watched the original TV show, and so he makes that fact not matter."

If Tucker thinks so, I have to believe that a hell of a lot more people are going to think so.
*sighs* No one has picked up on the influence that Ice Pirates had on Serenity. No one at all. *sighs*

Very good review btw, we are in the endgame and we need as much of this publicity as possible.
What a terrific review. It just kills me that I won't be able to go see it in a theater. But today Amazon says my Serenity soundtrack cd has shipped, and I can hardly wat for it to show up.

I am counting on you fine people to discuss the film ad nauseum after it's release, so I get to hear all the details.

[ edited by wissxwe on 2005-09-26 21:18 ]
OH MY GOSH! I am so exicted. I was going to see the BDM on Friday, but my friend got advance screen tickets for tomorrow. I know it is only a few days difference but squee!
Ken Tucker was indeed a TV critic with Entertainment Weekly and has long been vocally in love with Whedonism. So it's not surprising that he adored Serenity. Never mind. What a fantastic and potentially very influential review! This is big, very big. May other, forthcoming reviews be just as good.....
wissxwe, please don't read the back of the soundtrack! It's spoiler-tastic. I mean if you've already read them or want to read them, that's up to you, but speaking as someone who has seen the film and din't read any spoilers, the film was so much better without spoilers. Of course on repeat viewings it will still be good, but the suprises should be experienced at least once unspoiled.

And yes, this is a fantastic review. I love that it is complimentary without being too fawning, and doesn't give any backhanded insults either. If we continue to see positive reviews in relatively highbrow publications then it will ensure that a whole other market segment will watch Serenity, that may not have otherwise.
Yes, this is a big breakthrough. All the Web commentary is great, but this is in a whole new realm of reaching the public.
oh, hey, haven't heard anyone mention Ice Pirates in a long time. Good on you, Simon. Smashing review :))
WOW! As people have said, New York Magazine is big and respected and read to see what is happening around the City. This is great. More. More.

Awesome review! I *heart* Ken Tucker! ;-)
I got a double thrill out of this review: a big rave for the film and the reviewer's superb writing.

Yes, spoilers, but Tucker manages to be general about it. (I got carried away and read the whole thing when I really meant to skim the top -- it was just so good though!) But, don't read this if you're the least bit sensitive about story info.
Mainstream media praise. How could anyone read that review and NOT go see our BDM?!
a sci-fi saga that manages to be at once stirring and screwball, gut-busting and gut-wrenching, and more fun than you had at any bigger-budget movie this past summer.

Love this review! And finally something that people other than Browncoats will be reading. Yippeeeeee!
How could anyone read that review and NOT go see our BDM?!

Sadly, box-office returns usually have very little relation to the strength of a movie's reviews... If they did, we might be spared the drivel that is most summer movies, and nearly all sequels (not counting the sure-to-be-greenlit Serenity ones, of course!).

Still, great to see such a positive review, from such a respected mainstream source. Curious to see how the rest of the reviews turn out. Almost all of them will come out on Friday, of course, but I'm guessing there will be a pretty big spate of them on Wednesday as well. Mods, how are you going to determine which reviews merit their own threads, as I'm sure there isn't room to link to all of them?

[ edited by acp on 2005-09-26 23:21 ]
Tucker -- particularly his reviews on "Fresh Air" -- were at least partially responsible for my discovery of this whole Whedon mishegas. He was a Buffycoat before being a Buffycoat was cool.
Chill bumps!
I think I'll go write Mr. Tucker a fan letter.
Now that's a review!!
You could fill a whole poster just with the positive quotes from this review. I just noticed the one about playing like the best sequel to Raiders that Spielberg never shot.
Thanks bobster -- was trying to remember where I knew Ken Tucker from. Love his reviews on NPR. Thrilling, fantastic review, to be sure. But I did think it pretty much spoiled all the big plot points that mattered, doncha think? Guess it wouldn't keep a newbie from going, but I'd be pretty bummed if afterwards, I realized that I knew what I knew from reading this. Hmm.
Re: spoilers. I think it's important to remember that the stuff he discusses really isn't much of a spoiler at all from a newbie's point of view, who are the intended audience here. I would say more, but I still haven't figured out how/am too lazy to invisotext!
For me, the best quote is the one that compares Joss to both Preston Sturges and Howard Hawks.

My favorite part too -- Sturges is one of my all-time favorite directors, and Hawks made like a zillion great movies in varying genres, and to have Joss put up in their company... and I've always had a feeling that Sturges and Joss' sensibility matched up. They are both good with the witty and funny but also the meaning of their words can be incredibly dense and layered in metaphor and meaning.

This is an awesome review.
Ken Tucker's review of Buffy in EW was one of the reasons why I checked Buffy out. I missed his reviews since he and EW part ways. This definitely is a huge review for the BDM. It may or may not sway people but with a review like that, it never hurts!
Great review!!! Thanks New York guy!

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