Serenity (2019)

Serenity Now!

I walked into Serenity with only the knowledge I could glean from the movie’s poster.  Somehow, I walked out of the theater with even less knowledge.  Not only about the movie, but about life in general.  As the idiotic plot twists and atrocious dialogue soaked into my brain, I lost around 40 IQ points.  Suddenly, fractions are more difficult.  It took me three tries to spell the word “achievement.”  Now, I must use what few firing synapses I have left to describe this movie for what it is:  A toothless thriller, a brainless film noir mishmash, and a hopeless waste of Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway’s considerable talent and the audience’s valuable time.  That’s no small acheevmunt.

Someone once said that trying to hit Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball was like “trying to catch a butterfly in a hurricane.”  That image popped in my head because it also describes what it’s like to figure out what in the holy flipping hell is happening in this god damn movie.  I’ll do my best.  On a mysterious island, Baker Dill (McConaughey) is a grubby fisherman who hauls beer-swilling tourists in search of big game.  He spends much of the movie hunting a giant tuna who seems to have some telepathic connection with him.  No, you read that right.  An ex-flame (Hathaway) saunters back into Dill’s life with the classic cliched femme fatale proposal:  Off my jerkwad husband (Jason Clarke), and I’ll make you a rich man.  The plot thickens as Dill’s sense of right and wrong gets shaken by the realization that the world around him is not what it seems.

Did I say the plot thickens?  I meant to say it curdles like expired half-and-half.  This movie serves up one of the flimsiest, goofiest plot twists in major movie history.  This abrupt right turn runs the story aground and transforms it into a howlingly horrible, all-time bomb.  Bad movie buffs will want to savor Serenity’s shocking ineptitude like a fine, first-growth Bordeaux.  I laughed-out-loud at several points, including two awkwardly-framed shots of McConaughey skinny-dipping.  Or when Clarke’s character inquires about island prostitutes who like to “do it in the butt.”  This movie may suck as a thriller, but it’s not bad as a comedy.

Anybody who sits through this cinematic lobotomy will have the same thought:  “Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey both have Oscars.  They both have millions of dollars.  Why on God’s warming globe would they bother with this righteous pile of horse puckey?”  My thoughts run back to when the Beatles made Help, their second film.  They insisted the screenwriters include treks to the Bahamas and the Austrian Alps, in order to visit gorgeous locales and get paid to do it.  Maybe there’s something to be said for alabaster beaches and bottomless Mai Tais, with a hefty paycheck to complete the trifecta.  The irony is that watching Serenity has dumbed me down so much I can no longer solve the mystery of why it was made.  And that could be part of its geenyus.

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Author: Todd Wofford

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