Four Gunfights And A Funeral
When most of the household (Hilde, me, Michelle and Caty) went to the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall where the early screening of Serenity was being held, we got there a bit over an hour before the 7:00 PM showing. SFS is a pretty big enclosed shopping mall, and we found that the line of other people who'd gotten passes to the screening went from the top of the escalator just above the theatre entrance over to the side of the mall, all-l-l-l the way down the long side of the mall, back across to the other side of the mall, and halfway back down the other long side.
The chances of getting into the screening looked iffy. And it turned out that the line was cut off about a dozen people short of where Michelle and Caty were. But since Hilde was in her wheelchair, she and I got to go to the head of the line and were actually the first people into the theatre. (Michelle and Caty took the disappointment, and having to wait around for two hours until we came out, with grace and good nature. True, I could have stuffed Michelle's ears with rice and steamed it, but...)
So how was the movie? Slam-bang action, a good story, with amusing/intriguing characters. The "science" of Whedon's frontier planetary system is actually science-fantasy, and takes a deliberate effort for suspending disbelief. Once over that hump, though, it's a heck of a ride.
Pretty impressive, considering that Whedon had to try and achieve four things in writing the script: 1) Continue the story of Mal and the rest of the Serenity crew, to the satisfaction of people who've seen the original series, 2) Make the story self-sufficent and stand-alone enough to satisfy people who've never seen the show or characters before, 3) add new developments that will leave room for future stories in the Serenity universe, if the current movie proves popular enough to call for sequels, and 4) tie up the main plot threads securely enough that if the movie doesn't have further sequels, it will be able to stand as a fitting coda to the Serenity saga.
I thought Whedon did pretty well on three out of the four. Trying to look at the movie as if I'd never seen the series, some of the relationships seem a little vague. This doesn't hurt that much in regard to Shepherd Book, who's always been rather a mystery man, but the relationship and feelings between Mal and Inara felt as if they needed a bit more backstory; I didn't feel that a newcomer to this universe would get a real feel for why Mal and Inara have such an... odd, and mostly unsaid... relationship.
As for the new developments... well, I'm trying to avoid any major spoilers...
...but remember that Whedon's universe is a rough and dangerous place. Things happen in the film that are going to make a lot of the series' fans very unhappy. (On our way out of the theatre, Hilde and I passed by a young man who'd had to sit down on a bench while he cried himself out.)
Oh, and I will mention that we finally get an explanation of why the Reavers have that little attitude problem. (It's not hemmorhoids, after all.)