Despite appearances, I am NOT a sell-out

As I noted earlier, I was able to attend an early screening of the new film SERENITY. It’s based on the cancelled series FIREFLY, which I was unfamiliar with.

The trailer was particularly unimpressive, and I wasn’t really expecting much, to be honest. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised.

Not only is SERENITY better than your typical sci-fi flick, it is in fact quite good.

Don’t get me wrong. This is sci-fi all the way, and the storyline and subplots aren’t exactly great. But it’s two hours of good entertainment and certainly more enjoyable than the vast majority of science fiction out there. Fans of the FIREFLY series, I’m sure, will enjoy it immensely, but even as one outside the cultish fan base I not only have no complaints but heartily recommend the movie to any sci-fi fans out there.

With two notable exceptions, the comedic lines are all in the trailers, which was a disappointment. Even so, they scored quite a few laughs. Being unfamiliar with the television series, I cannot really comment on how the characters develop or how the events in the movie will alter the landscape of the world the characters inhabit, but let me say that the story pulls no punches.

This is the sort of movie-based-upon-a-TV-series that fans deserve, or at least the type of movie I’d like to see based upon a series I like. Although I doubt I’ll go see it in the theater again, I admit that I’ll probably buy the DVD at some point.

As for the “Serenity Blogger Bonanza” event put on by Grace Hill Media, however, I must state that they need to work on it. While I commend their idea and believe that the blogosphere provides a great opportunity to market your goods to the audience you’re looking for in many cases, they really didn’t run the show very well. Probably just first-time mistakes, but they’re pretty glaring. And you can bet that criticism would have been pretty significant if not counter-balanced by the fact that the movie was quite good.

I noted the harsh tone general poor quality of their non-confirmation confirmation in my earlier post. On top of that, I sent two emails to the contact address, one with a question about my application for passes. Neither one got a response.

While that might be understandable, what happened at the theater is not. I arrived 45 minutes early as directed, but the Universal rep we had been told to see was not there. Not only that, but the theater, Studio 28, seemed to have no idea that there was any sort of “Blogger Bonanza” going on at all. The majority of the crowd had won passes through radio stations, and they arrived with slick passes and were shown right into the theater. The bloggers all stood around fuming in the lobby, identified by our computer-printed confirmations.

There ended up being about 25 bloggers from the Grand Rapids, MI, area for the show, which was sort of cool. One guy came all the way from South Bend Indiana, but most of us were locals. And as the minutes dragged by and more and more folks with radio station passes walked past, our collective patience began to evaporate. Don’t think we weren’t standing around talking about the “buzz” this act was going to generate.

When the rep finally showed up, he was just some guy in a sports jersey and a little legal pad with a list of names. He didn’t really know what was going on, and it took another 10-15 minutes for him to straighten things out with the theater and get our tickets.

I’d be curious to know if any bloggers attending other screenings had similar experiences.

That being said, the film was good and Murdoc gives it a strong “thumbs-up”.

UPDATE: Another Grand Rapids area blogger I ran into at the show, Justin, has two posts up on the experience, one on the film itself and one on the confusion before the show.

Todd at Amateur Megalomania:

I urge you to avoid other reviews like the plague if you have any intention of seeing this film. Moreover, take two hours and go rent the first disk of the TV show and at least watch the pilot. You only get one ‘first reaction’ at this movie, and you really should get a feel for it. Sure, it is watchable without the TV experience, but it won’t have the same impact.

I didn’t know the first thing about the series, and I was buying the whole thing. But, as is usual with these things, long-time fans will certainly have different viewpoints on many things.

Conversations from the Green Room:

And this post on the event.

WHAT EVENT!?!

That sums it up, organizational-wise. But in the end, fortunately, a good time was had by all.

I’m going to keep tagging other Grand Rapids reviews onto this post if/when I come across them. If you were there at Studio 28 and blogged it, drop me a line.

Comments

  1. The series suffered from the fact that Fox did not show the pilot, showed various episodes out of order, pre-empted the show at the drop of a hat, etc. What’s really funny is that they are developing a new space show (which no doubt will be treated as shabbily as their other space shows). I recommend the DVD, I did not like the series on TV, but loved it when I saw it as it was supposed to be. You’ll also see a couple of episodes that never made it to broadcast. Good show, one of my favorites along with B5 and the new BSG. Star Trek? Wasn’t that cancelled in the 1960’s?

  2.         My experience with the ‘blogger freebie’ was quite different.  I never got an acknowledment, or heard that I was supposed to get one.         I showed up at the theatre, and the guy in charge didn’t have me on the list.  I started to expostulate, and he just shrugged and said ‘Go in.’         So I did, enjoyed the show, and will see it again Saturday with the wife and some friends.

  3. There was a whole lot more comedy than what was in the trailer. When I arrived for the screening, there was no list. Most of the people there had free passes from some comic book shop, so you can imagine the crowd. Of all the people I spoke with, James (Hell in a Handbasket) and I were the only two bloggers. I was very pleased with the movie. I saw it again this weekend with a couple of friends. One friend had not ever seen the show, yet she did enjoy the movie. It simply is not a sci-fi movie; just a story that uses sci-fi as a vehicle. Joss Whedon has done a fine job.