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Amy and I saw Serenity yesterday, along with $10m worth of other people. We loved it. This morning, while I was running over the Brooklyn Bridge with Matt Blumberg, I asked him what he thought of it (he saw it yesterday also). He was unambiguous – he didn’t like it. I probed a little, found out he hadn’t seen the TV series (amazing show, but cancelled after a dozen episodes or so) and it was clear that he didn’t understand a lot of the movie.
It’s a fantastic movie. However, I’m going to guess that you have to at least be familiar with the backstory to get it. And – like other movies that evolved out of TV shows (e.g. The X-Files) I’ll bet that you have to love and have befriended the characters already to understand all the jokes, bantering, and double entredres. If you haven’t seen the TV show, but want to see the movie, spend some time on the Firefly Wiki getting up to speed (c’mon – you’ve got to love a TV show that has its own wiki.) Or – try the fan blog if you want to keep up real time with the chatter. Or – go hardcore and watch the TV show Firefly on DVD in four days like Amy and I did.
Yes – Joss Whedon is a genius. Jayne caused me to fall out of my chair when he said – referring to River – “she’s starting to damage my calm.”