There are bad movies… and, then, there are terrible movies; complete cinematic disasters that force you to question whether they were made on a cocaine-fueled dare, or simply because the writer is in love with every thought bouncing around in their ‘brilliant’ mind.
The best thing Steven Knight’s SERENITY has going for it is a mindnumbingly asinine plot twist that’s causing most audience members to quickly forgive M. Night Shyamalan. Yes, the twist here IS outrageous (in the absolute worst way possible), but, unfortunately, SERENITY is also too far from it’s so bad, it’s good territory to be enjoyable. Instead of expecting an insane dumpster fire of a movie, you should wisely prepare yourself for one of the slowest moving trainwrecks in quite some time.
In a performance painfully reminiscent of those Lincoln ads, Matthew McConaughey is Baker Dill; a oft-inebriated and naked fishing boat captain who is obsessed with capturing a giant CGI tuna named “Justice”… when he isn’t busy sleeping with Diane Lane for, yes, gas money. He also has a computer geek son with Karen (a blonde Anne Hathaway), who left Baker for Frank (a beautifully over-the-top Jason Clarke). Like nearly every character who shows up, Frank is also a rise & shine alcoholic — but with the added bonus of being an abusive husband and stepfather. Oh, and ‘Baker Dill’ is an assumed name.
There’s simply no way to discuss SERENITY without revealing the crazy plot twist for two reasons: 1) Not a lot happens throughout the first hour of the movie, and 2) The ingenious twist is thrown at you with 45 minutes left in the runtime.
Remember SERENITY’s incredibly mysterious trailer you’ve probably been seeing since the beginning of last summer? Well, it was short on details and intentionally vague because — surprise, surprise — Dill’s computer geek son, Patrick (Rafael Sayegh), created a FISHING game (!) in order to escape the abuse at home… and Dill is actually the main character being controlled by his son in said game.
You see? It was all a FISHING VIDEO GAME a son created about a drunk father who prostitutes himself out in order to pay the bills when he isn’t busy trying to catch a giant tuna. And, in that game, the boy’s mother is a different type of whore who offers dad $10 million (!) to commit murder. Oh, and ‘Baker Dill’ (not his real name) is not in Patrick’s actual life anymore because he was killed in combat. That’s right… Matthew McConaughey was dead the entire time!
Between inconsistent camera work and, apparently, purposefully awkward dialogue and acting (once again, everybody is a character in a FISHING VIDEO GAME), SERENITY is an unappealing mess that needs to be seen only if your movie theater serves alcohol. The reveal comes way too early; leaving a lame third act to slowly play out until the credits start.
It’s not a total loss, though, because watching two Academy Award winners truly not give a damn is strangely inspiring.
One and a Half out of Five Beers.