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PCR # 288  (Vol. 6, No. 39)  This edition is for the week of September 26--October 2, 2005.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Starring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ron Glass
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 59 mins

In the early 1960's, "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry pitched the show to NBC as "Wagon Train to the Stars." I'm not sure what creator Joss Whedon was aiming for when he created his own show, "Firefly," (which the film "Serenity" is based on) but he has conceived the ultimate Western in space.

As the film opens we are told that in the future the population of Earth got so large that new planets were discovered and colonized. While the new planets offered a chance for a better life, the various moons were places best left uninhabited. Of course, with all societies disagreements form and soon the planets are engaged in war, with the Alliance fighting the Rebels. If this sounds a little like "Star Wars," don't worry. That's a good thing. One of the ships with a history is the Serenity, with a captain (Fillion) who comes off a lot like Han Solo, only with better lines. And that is the great thing about this film. Between all of the explosions and spaceships is some of the wittiest dialogue ever seen in this kind of film. Malcom (the captain) has a way with both his crew and those he deals with. Even when he's stealing the local payroll he seems genuinely concerned when negotiating what kind of laser wound to leave on those he robs. "You don't want just a grazing wound," he tells one, "it will look like you gave up too easy!"

Malcom and crew take on a brother and sister as passengers, not knowing that the Alliance is looking for the girl, who has exhibited incredible psychic abilities. The Alliance has sent an "Operative" (Ejiofor, who was Kiera Knightly's husband in "Love Actually"). The Operative is a definite take no prisoner kind of guy. His numerous battles with Malcom and his crew provide some great moments, both in space and when it's hand to hand. But again it's the writing that lifts this film above most science fiction movies. After a high speed chase between speeders on land one rider calmly remarks, "I swallowed a bug." And any film that gives Adam Baldwin a rare chance to be funny gets an extra 1/2 star in my book!

A film that combines action and humor is always a welcome sight. With that being said, "Serenity" is more then welcome! On a scale of zero to four stars I give "Serenity"  Three and a half stars

This week's movie review of "Serenity" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2005, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.