Living in Edinburgh has its advantages. August is great. The city buzzes with the fun of the festivals, and a walk down the Royal Mile is well worth it to catch some of the street performers plugging their shows. Plenty that are best avoided, but some high quality entertainment alongside.
My favourite advantage right now is the Edinburgh International Film Festival, which offered me the chance to see Serenity last night (if you’re not in the know, it’s the big screen follow-up to Joss Whedon’s tragically short-lived Firefly).
Without spoiling (however much I’d love to), the movie holds a full measure, pressed down and overflowing, of main arc goodness. You get the feeling that Whedon is trying to get as much of his story out there as he possibly can, in case it ends here. There probably would have been a couple of movies’ worth, but you can see why it was done this way. Yet it hints at a whole lot more still to be told, with the scope to expand into something properly epic. Maybe it helps that I’m reading Iain M Banks at the minute - that man does epic right.
Serenity jumps straight in, and doesn’t let up for a whole two hours (although I suspect it might shed a few seconds before it goes on general release, if they want a 15). Some of the action is beautiful, and it has an intensity on the big screen that isn’t often there in Firefly.
If you liked the show, you’ll like the film. The good bits are all present and correct - heart, humour, quirky dialogue - with some extra darkness. Firefly ranks among my favourite TV shows, and Serenity lives up to it.
No, it’s not perfect. The first five or ten minutes feel a little self-conscious until it gets into the swing of things (although there are some very nice visual touches to connect with the series), and some of the exposition for the benefit of anyone who isn’t familiar with Firefly is quite clumsy. Actually, I wonder how well it’ll work if you don’t know the show; it just relies too much on previous knowledge. Fine for me, but maybe not for you. I also wonder if too many loose ends have been tied up. Is there anywhere left that it will really go? Perhaps something to fill in the narrative between the series and the film, but probably not. This feels like it will probably be the last shout of a great universe. There is wisdom in that - go out while it’s still good.
And it’s great. As Firefly writ big, it does the job and does it well. I love it.
Yes, I am such a fanboy. But then, I don’t have a ‘Joss Whedon is my master now’ t-shirt. Yet.