Serenity: not the best sci-fi movie ever

Democracy simply doesn't work. Want proof? Never mind American Presidental elections. What about the people who keep voting Serenity as the Best Sci-Fi Film Ever?

Serenity in the skies...

An online poll recently found that Serenity is the fans’ favourite sci-fi movie of all time, knocking Star Wars off the top spot. 61% of the votes, in fact, put Serenity in the top spot, out of the ten pre-selected movies on offer. But is it really the best sci-fi movie ever?

My vote is for ‘no.’

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a ‘Browncoat,’ as we Firefly fans have christened ourselves. I loved Firefly. I remember feeling gutted when it was cancelled, and elated when it was announced there’d be a movie to round the series off. I was equally elated when I saw the movie on the big screen…

But the elation soon wore off, because as wonderful as it was to see our Big Damn Heroes again, there are too many things wrong with Serenity. So many that it’s actually quite hard to know where to start, but let’s start with the way that none of the dangling threads from the dropped-before-its-time TV show were addressed. More simply: fans wanted to know who the men following River were, and what they’d done to her; and they wanted to know about Shepherd Book’s mysterious past.

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What did they actually get in the movie? Senseless slaughter of main characters, no hands of blue at all, and no explanation. We did get space zombies, in fairness, but even that was a let down. The offscreen menace of the Reavers was far more effective and terrifying than the dreadlocked freaks Serenity gave us. Dis-a-ppointing.

Even more upsettingly, perhaps, was the fact that the characters who had been so skilfully drawn in the TV series were reduced to mere stereotypes in the movie. Kaylee suffered most, being whittled down from her previous sweet, innocent, yet curiously sexually liberated tomboy role to… well, a yokel, not to put too fine a point on it.

But none of the main characters made it through unscathed; and to add insult to injury, the dialogue – usually Joss Whedon’s strongest asset – was a complete fucking mess. “I aim to misbehave”? Who talks like that? I’ll tell you who: no-one.

So how did Serenity manage to win anyway? Well, I can’t say for sure, but I would imagine there was some vote-stuffing going on. Online polls are notoriously unreliable, and Whedon fans are notoriously obsessive; two factors which, added together, equal some rabid clicking, and clicking, and maybe some more clicking.

Not shiny.

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