I was able to fit in a late screening of Serenity tonight.
The film is everything that it is supposed to be. It shouldn't be that hard for a person unfamiliar with the series to follow, but it doesn't dumb down or soften any aspects of the series so that those who are familiar with this world would not be disappointed. It does a decent job of covering the backstory in a way so that everything is explained but nothing is redundant from the series. Excellent work on the part of Joss Whedon, I must say.
I have to warn anybody that hasn't seen it yet who knows the series; not everything that happens in the film is okay!!! I was really, really supershocked that they offed a main character in the way that they did; the gambit worked, though, because for the last fifteen minutes of the film I had no idea who would live and who would die. There's some rough stuff in here.
The special effects are top-notch, as they were on the program. The actors are clearly very happy to be playing these roles, and if the story is a bit telegraphed, the characterizations make up for it. They kept the whole no sound in space thing, but they are very sly about it... the theater is never silent, but there's no sound in space. David Newman's score is all right. I have to say that I thought Greg Edmonson's music on the series was a bit more interesting, but it's still pretty good.
I hope that we'll get another television series out of this...