“Serenity” is directed by Steven Knight, who also directed “Locke” starring Tom Hardy, and this film stars Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past), Anne Hathaway (Colossal, Ocean’s 8), Diane Lane (Inside Out, Man of Steel), Jason Clarke (Terminator: Genisys, Everest), Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Guardians of the Galaxy), and Jeremy Strong (Zero Dark Thirty, Molly’s Game). This film takes place on an isolated piece of land called Plymouth Island. Matthew McConaughey’s character of Baker Dill lives on the island, having a quiet life to himself. However, things become more obnoxious once his ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) comes to town with the hope that Dill would leave her current husband for dead in the ocean.
I saw this film over a week ago, and I know it is a January flick, but I still couldn’t help but feel somewhat excited for this film’s arrival. As strange as this thought may come off, I was kind of giddy because it starred Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Not only are the two good actors, but they starred alongside each other in “Interstellar,” one of my favorite films ever made. So in a way, this is almost like a reunion. It would be cool if Christopher Nolan were directing, but still. I remember going to see “Peppermint” back in September and kind of being intrigued by the trailer for this film. I wouldn’t call “Serenity” my most anticipated film of the year or anything, in fact it’s hard to give that title to a January film anyway, but I was undoubtedly looking forward to it. I don’t know why I thought this was going to be a disaster movie walking into it (I rewatched the trailer to see if the marketing was deceptive, which it wasn’t), but still, I had expectations. Aaaaaaand they were shattered.
To quote the YouTube channel RedLetterMedia,
That’s right! While this post is being done in the just as crappy month of February, I have been exposed to the true cancer and filth of a January movie! Feelin’ the spirit!
What makes this January movie so bad? For one thing, the characters are just not likable. I was somewhat curious as to seeing what Matthew McConaughey would do with his character, and it pains me to say that the first impression I’ve gotten with such a character was just abominable. I have been thinking a bit lately about first impressions, and now that I am thinking about them, I have been reminded on how much they matter and how much of an impact they can leave on people. I have a friend who went to go see “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” when it came out who thought they were in for a wild ride once they heard one of the film’s early jokes. They walked out of the film hating the damn thing! I remember when I saw “La La Land” in the theater for the first time, and the first number comes on. It was a true masterpiece in terms of choreography and cinematography. That impression carried on through the rest of the film to the point where I left, did my review, and gave the film a well deserved 9/10. FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER.
Granted, my first impression of Anne Hathaway was that she was kind of stunning in the film, but the reality that this is not a porno, it is a movie. I am not watching an x-rated video where I go “Look at this lady! Five out five stars!” As a character however, she wasn’t the worst on screen. There was nothing I loved about her. Although there was nothing I really hated about her either. She’s just kind of “eh.”
Speaking of sex, I was actually thinking a bit to myself about that during the film, because there is some of that in this film. Granted, I imagine there’s a good chunk of women out there who think Matthew McConaughey is a national treasure, even if he is soon turning fifty years old. There are a couple of themes where I looked at Matthew McConaughey and compared him to a selfish, overwhelmed, depressed guy who must be great in the bedroom. And sadly, there are moments that I think the sex in “Serenity” is more entertaining than the film’s actual plot.
Out of all the uninteresting and unlikable characters in “Serenity,” not one really got on my nerves more than Jeremy Strong’s character of Reid Miller. This guy displays just about every unlikable quality you can think of in a door-to-door salesperson. I won’t go into complete detail, but he is pretty annoying, and he’s basically in the movie whenever it is convenient for the plot. It’s not to say that his character was entirely pointless, but it also not to say that said character wasn’t horribly written and maybe made me want to ignore every aspect of having a consciousness a couple of times. Just… why is here? Why?
“Serenity” as bad as it is, could have been a really awesome movie, but the characterization is sloppy enough to make me hate it. After all, I won’t go into detail, this movie kind of reminded me of “Interstellar.” Granted, it has both Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway as recently mentioned, but that is not the main point. Plot-wise, as the movie develops, the story goes into a direction that somewhat has an “Interstellar” feel. Granted the film is not in space, I didn’t feel anywhere as much emotion as I did during “Interstellar,” and the overall lack of quality this movie seems to provide made me ultimately not care for whatever it was I was watching. I felt like I had two brains in my head operating at once. One brain was completely bored while the other was enjoying itself. Granted, that notion about the second brain is sort of an overstatement based on all of the other s*it I said about this movie, but still. I thought to myself, there is a good movie somewhere in “Serenity,” and the filmmakers are seemingly trying to unlock the door to let this good movie out, but the sad fact is the lock is hard to undo. I sort of feel bad, while simultaneously disappointed.
I will give kudos to this film on a technical perspective though because there are times when it did have a nice atmosphere. The island did feel like something that would actually exist from the way it looked on camera, and a lot of the water shots provide a breathtaking vibe. I don’t know what it is about movies and water. Somehow a camera taking shots around water just makes movies better. Even with a film like “Adrift,” which made my top 10 WORST last year, still looked dazzling because of the atmosphere provided with all the shots containing water. I’m not saying I like being on the ocean in real life. I’m a little more urban, I even think the beach is overrated. I just think that on camera, watery oceans can look very appealing, there’s something about them. Perhaps a personal thing, I don’t know. Whatever, doesn’t save this movie from being a dumpster fire though.
In the end, part of me was screaming this at the end of the film…
“Serenity” really is a somewhat intriguing, mysterious flick, but it is ruined by its story and characters who managed to underwhelm and disappoint me. When your movie starts off and Matthew McConaughey (at least in my eyes) treats his pals in a dickish manner, it’s gonna be hard to leave me impressed. As I was writing this review, I found out that this was apparently the worst opening of Anne Hathaway’s career. I can see why. As much as I loved seeing McConaughey and Hathaway reunite for another movie, it would have been cooler had the movie been worth my time. I’m going to give “Serenity” a 3/10. Thanks for reading this review! Next week I’m going to be releasing the kraken! The dragon! The man! The myth! The legend! The Jackoff Awards! This is going to be one of my longest, jam-packed, most ambitious posts that I have ever done. If you frequent my blog and are actually curious to know about this, I should have you know this is not going to be something NEARLY as short as what I’m reading to you right now. There’s going to be segments where I digress, segments that go on for some time, videos, etc. I’m filling this post to the brim with epic entertainment for all to enjoy, so I hope you all enjoy it! If you want to see this upcoming post, or more great content from Scene Before, be sure to follow my blog either with an email or WordPress account! I want to know, did you see “Serenity?” What did you think about it? Or, since it is kinda sorta maybe relevant, what are your thoughts on the TV series “Firefly?” Do you think it should be brought back? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!