When did we actually start offing major characters in movies? There was a time when – cliche as it might have been – nobody important ever died. Hell, Indiana Jones was faced with imminent and unavoidable demise ten times every fifteen minutes through three films and he never even lost his hat!
I blame reality TV.
I read some commentary that said Serenity was made only for the cultish fans, that unless you were some sort of mega-fan of the old Firefly TV show you wouldn’t understand or enjoy the flick. Being a fan of the old show, I can’t comment without bias but I think Serenity is possibly the best science fiction flick since Star Wars. It’s the answer to the question, “What would happen if you let Han Solo carry a film?”
I have only one complaint. I think the success of Star Wars is due to the creation of the entire universe. The filmgoer saw the whole vast scope of “a galaxy far, far away” and was drawn into the events therein – caring as much about the causes as the characters. Most sci fi since then focuses on the characters and expects the viewer to invest heavily in the personalities rather than the broader picture. I suspect it’s because Serenity came from TV and its creator is used to that medium that it is more susceptible to this fault than most. I’ll still go see it aqain.