While watching the new film &#8221Serenity,“ I kept feeling like I was missing something. It was like I came into a film about midway through with no concept of a back story or who the characters were.

And there lies the problem with &#8221Serenity,“ a film clearly made for the fans of the television series &#8221Firefly,“ on which the movie is based. Those fans are sure to be pleased, but if writer/director Josh Whedon is looking to develop a new fan base, &#8221Serenity“ isn't the way to do it.

Whedon (who also created the &#8221Buffy, the Vampire Slayer“ television series) chooses to dive right into the plot, which involves the crew of Serenity trying to protect a young psychic named River.

The cast, which includes Nathan Fillion as the rogue captain Malcolm and Summer Glau as River, is amiable and seems to be having a good time.

Still, I never could get fully involved with &#8221Serenity“ - mainly because I couldn't tell you the difference between &#8221Firefly“ and &#8221Firestarter.“ There is a slight attempt to fill people in with some background information early on, but it is feeble at best.

That left me scrambling for two hours trying to figure out how the characters connected. I'll admit this isn't a film that requires a lot of thought, but if you want to get people involved in what your characters are doing, it would be nice to get to know them before diving into the meat of the plot.

Perhaps if I had seen an episode or two of the TV show beforehand, I wouldn't be so critical, but the fact is, this is a film that should stand on its own merit and not require viewing previous works beforehand. If I wanted homework, I'd go back to school.

DVD dandy of the week

This week's dandy is &#8221Me and You and Everyone We Know.“ (A) -

Writer/director Miranda July's exquisite romantic comedy is one of the most original and unique films of recent memory.

July tells the story of Richard (John Hawkes), a lonely shoe salesman struggling to put his life back together after a recent divorce.

His life becomes more complicated when an eccentric performance artist named Christine (July) takes romantic interest in him.

While Richard and Christine's relationship is the center of &#8221Me and You,“ July does a great job of fleshing out supporting characters, particularly younger members of the cast.

There are great subplots involving Richard's two boys. The oldest gets involved with a couple of neighborhood girls looking to use him as practice for their future romantic endeavors and the youngest gets involved in a risqué Internet romance. Both subplots deal with budding sexuality in a frank, honest way that 99 percent of today's films lack.

&#8221Me and You“ isn't for everyone. I'm still not sure if I'm OK with the film's final shot, but I couldn't help but be entranced by its mesmerizing approach. It is among the best films I've seen in 2005.

&#8221Me and You and Everyone We Know“ is rated R for language and sexual content involving children and will be available on DVD on Tuesday.


Starring: Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk

Director: Josh Whedon

Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action.

Playing at: Great Escape 12, Highland Cinemas (Glasgow)

Grade: C

- Sportswriter/ movie reviewer Micheal Compton doesn't hate science fiction, but he knows that some of the readers will think otherwise after reading this review. Go ahead and drop him an e-mail at mcompton@bgdailynews.com, but remember - he is unable to translate Klingon or Wookie.