My husband and I first saw this movie after just reading these excellent reviews and not knowing anything else about the movie or characters. We are both sci-fi fans.
I must say, we were a little puzzled about the great reviews. We thought the one-liners were kind of cheesy, the acting a bit poor, and we weren't at all impressed (except for maybe the fight scenes with River). The cowboy theme music didn't sit well with us either.
However, I have heard only excellent things about the series Firefly and the following movie Serenity. Were we missing something? We even watched Serenity again giving it a second chance. It still didn't click with us. I was very confused.
We were going to give up when a friend loaned us the Firefly DVDs. OK, I'll give it another shot since clearly we *must* be missing something! And that did it.
After just a couple episodes I was really enjoying myself. When I re-watched Serenity again after seeing the TV series, I thought it was excellent. I really appreciated it. The characters were more 3D, the one-liners were amusing, the music didn't bother me a bit (I was starting to like it), and I really liked all the nuances from the actors (I changed my mind - not bad acting). I felt like I knew the characters and story so much better and I really loved how they tied some loose ends together. It was also nice to see the characters again after the series ended (even on DVD).
So bottom line - if you didn't watch Firefly, you probably won't get it, may not like it very much, and you might be confused why there are such great reviews. If you did watch Firefly first (and liked it), you'll love Serenity and you'll have a great ride!