This movie has been the source of more mixed emotions than any other theater experience to date.
Let me just say that I am a fan of Firefly. I watched it from the beginning, I bought it on DVD, I've seen every episode more times than my second college roommate bragged about his Russian girlfriend, and I have a small shrine in my closet where the satellites can't see it.
I would like to thank Joss Whedon for his gift of Serenity, and I would like to curse him as well. I loved this movie, and I hated it. Firefly gave the fans of good science fiction something to love again (since the absolute destruction of "Star Wars" at the hands of its own creator). Serenity took that beautiful gift and changed it right before our eyes. It's not the same and never will be as far as I can see. My one reassurance is that Joss Whedon always makes things okay in the end. Always.
Let's look at the movie with objectivity for the real review. Acting and scripting was better than most recent films I've seen, and miles ahead of any science-fiction that's come out in years. This was good stuff. Characters were introduced and built in the same movie, the plot flowed well and kept me entertained, and there were laughs and jolts right alongside each other. Brilliant stuff.
My one problem is that I never like movies that start off with exposition-dumps. I realize that it's hard to draw an audience into your universe without explaining it a little, and Serenity certainly does one of the most tactful dumps that I've ever sat through. However, I personally enjoy being dropped into the middle of a movie and figuring things out as I go along.
So here are my ratings:
Repeat viewings: Absolutely. Even if I had never seen the show, I'm still a sci-fi junkie, and this is top-shelf stuff.
Bring a date: It's a little dark, but if you're fortunate enough to be dating someone who likes Firefly then by all means.
And now, the Simile Scale:
Violence: Like an episode of Buffy if it didn't have to worry about prime-time watchdogs.
Sex: As prevalent as the Alaskan penguins. I think there's one. And it's in a zoo.
Humor: As funny as Firefly in it's darkest hour, which is still pretty funny.
Language: As thick as Peter Gallagher's eyebrows. If they were on a man who only spoke Mandarin.