Film – Serenity

If you have been a long time reader of mine, you will know I started out by ranting about really bad films.  Well I am reviving the Cranky in my name to write about this abomination of a film.  Let us not get this confused with the sci-fi 2005 film written by Joss Whedon, no no, this is a film that was released this year in February.  I am not sure I can get across how ridiculous or terrible this film is in this article, but I am going to give it a real good go.

As ever there are spoilers, but to be honest, it would be a hard push for me to ruin this film for you, as I think it does it all on its own.

Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) is a fishing boat captain living a quiet and sheltered life on Plymouth Island which is just off the coast of Florida. For a living he takes people out on tours on his boat, and is forever hunting for a giant Tuna fish called “Justice”.  He seemingly also goes around drinking rum (vanilla rum at that) and sleeping with a women for money (which leads to a horrendous hooker/fishing joke which sinks quicker than this film does).  Dill is grumpy, broke and miserable, which sounds like it should make fairly good watching, but he isn’t even an entertaining drunk which just makes the character a dull watch.

One day, his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) tracks him down with a desperate plea for help. She begs Dill to save her and their young son, Patrick (Rafael Sayegh) from her new, violent husband, Frank (Jason Clarke), offering Dill $10 million to drop her husband into the ocean for the sharks to eat. There is some flimsy story about Dill’s real name, as he is in hiding at this point.  She tells Dill that Frank will be arriving later in the week and that they have booked Dill for a fishing trip, the perfect opportunity for Dill to drop him overboard.

Torn between what is right and wrong, Dill is thrust back into a life he’d tried to forget, as his world is plunged into a new reality that may not be all that it seems.  Or so the writers would like you to believe, in reality when watching this, you see Dill wandering around moodily, still taking his boat out, on a premise that he is going ever so slightly mad and referring to a doctor that never appears.

This is where it goes from bad to completely and insanely implausible.

It becomes apparent that Dill is a character in a computer game, that has been designed by his son, Patrick. Dill, whose real name is John Mason, was killed in Iraq in 2006. Patrick had based the character on a memory of his father taking him fishing when he was three years old. They didn’t catch any fish (which is why Dill isn’t able to catch Justice), but when Karen, a widow, remarries, Patrick later introduces his mother and abusive step-father as new characters in the game, and changes Dill’s task from catching tuna to murdering his step-father.  Hopefully you are with me so far, because dead Dad’s soul being in a computer game is right up there on great plot twists.

There is a character call Reid Miller who acts as the rules of the computer game (or the actual presences of Dill’s conscience, you decide), who at some point delivers the fontain sonic fish finder, which is delivered so that he can find sharks (I know… YAWN), but looks like a bakalite radio, which for a kid who is writing possibly the most boring computer game on earth on a Mac and an ipad, is pretty outdated.

Dill soon begins to realise that he and the other inhabitants of Plymouth Island are merely characters created by his son.  They each have a game… like “catch the cat” or “find the car” making this an island of never ending dull and pointless games. Nevertheless, he decides to go along with the objective of killing Frank.

At this point, computer dad gets his end away with his ex wife, in a confusing scene, which makes me think that Patrick was probably hitting puberty, and has some very disturbing thoughts about his parents getting it on, which could have been rectified by someone just buying him a playboy magazine, or maybe he could have just googled women in underwear.

As Dill carries out the objective, Patrick summons up the courage to confront Frank in real life and stabs him in the chest with a knife that used to belong to his father, because it is fine to let a kid have a hunting knife… that never ends badly at all. Frank dies and Patrick is charged with murder but he is released into his mother’s custody while awaiting trial. He designs a new computer game in which he and his father are reunited.

Now… I really want to know who read the script first and thought… “This is a brilliant idea”, because I am pretty sure that Hathaway doesn’t need the money that badly, or maybe it is that they just have no artistic integrity left, that they thought it was fine to churn out a flop of this epic proportion.

It probably isn’t a shock that this was written and directed by the same person… Steven Knight, who seems to waiver between sparks of brilliance (Locke and Peaky Blinders) to total disasters (Pretty Dirty Things), but this has to be his worst attempt yet.

The story just doesn’t flow, it is slow, and dull and preposterous.  The cinematography is a bit like an over saturated Caribbean nightmare and the actor simply look like they are turning up for a paycheck.  The plot twist is frankly terrible and I spent the whole of this film judging myself for watching it.  Please, please, please save yourself from his utter bilge water film and watch something more entertaining, like paint drying.

The worst thing is a really good friend set me up to watch this, probably on the premise that I would write this wholly slanderous review.

Have you seen “Serenity”? Why not tell me what you thought in the comments?  Like this post?  Why not share it?

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