Five word review:
Damn. That was just… Damn.
Whedon definately pulled off the transition from TV series to movie. One of the things I was worried about was the fact that a lot of the reason Firefly worked so well was the character development, which you’ve got plenty of time to do over the course of a TV season. But a two-hour movie? Not so much.
Whedon pulls it off with aplomb, though. There’s enough exposition so that people who haven’t obsessively watched the DVDs aren’t lost, but not so much that fans are bored by retelling the story. And man, what a story. The movie is basically a two-hour episode of the show, only about four times as intense. Intense enough that at times it feels a little brutal in a kind of “stop beating my brain!” kind of way. But it works. Really, really well.
I was also worried that with a big movie budget that they’d go overboard on the special effects to the detriment of the story. They didn’t The effects are damn good and used to good effect, but they don’t dominate the movie the way they have some recent sci-fi movies. (*cough*Revenge of the Sith*cough*) The effects are basically the same as the series (I’m pretty sure the same company did them), but more lavish and bigger. The planet-side scenes are impressive, The space scenes are just about perfect, with none of that “I’m watching a video game” feel that CGI effects often has.
Overall, it’s a great movie and one I’ll probably go see again. And I’ll definately buy the DVD when it comes out.
Spoilerific plot synopsys later when I get a bit more time. Let’s just say some people die, Mal’s a magnificent bastard, and River kicks ass. Seriously, her kung-fu is strong. And the movie pretty much ties up the “River is bat-shit insane” storyline. But it does leave it’s options open for a sequel. Or a new series.