Had the opportunity to go to a preview screening of Serenity last night. This is my sort-of mini-capsule review. There will be no spoilers.
Let me open by saying that I was terrified going into this film. I had two very grave and opposing concerns. First, that the film would be too much of an "inside story," meaning that unless you were already a fan of the TV series, you Just Wouldn't Get It. In other words, that it wouldn't work well as a film, but more like a long episode projected on a bigger screen.
Second, that the opposite would be true: in order to make the movie play to a larger crowd, they would have to water down the Firefly universe to the point where it was unrecognizable.
I'm pleased to say, now that I've seen the film, I feel that my concerns have been addressed. It's a damn fine continuation of the Firefly storyline. The characters are clearly the same characters we know and love. At the same time, insofar as I was able to, I tried to watch it with a bit of detachment and an eye for whether or not it's a good film. And I believe it is. I think the filmmakers have done as good a job as one could reasonably expect to give people enough of a crash course in the backstory as they will need to get on board.
A few minor worries I had from watching the trailer turned out to be moot, as well. For example, I thought River's fighting looked a little too graceful, too languid and dancelike. Whether they used a different take, or sped the film up, or what have you, that's not a problem I had with the finished sequence.
The version of the film shown was not final, but it felt pretty close. A couple of the effects shots felt a little bit jerky. The print had not been, I think the industry term is "color-corrected" -- some shots, particularly the interior close-ups, were way too dark. Some of the music was not yet final. And there were no closing credits. But otherwise done.
I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished film in September. No, scratch that, what I really want is the DVD, with commentary . . .
Before the showing started, I took some pictures of the line and suchlike with my new camera phone. If any of them don't completely suck, I'll get them posted once I get home and can upload 'em.