Kudos to Joss for making such a good transition to the big screen. Vikki and I went to Serenity yesterday, and we were both impressed. I thought they did a great job of preserving the best parts of the show, while coming up with a story that could be self-contained in two hours.
Several reviews I saw complained about the lackluster special effects. To them I say: that’s not the point. The effects were comparable to what was in the show, and that’s all that was required. If you spend all your time on effects, you end up with something as crappy as Episode II. The whole point to Firefly/Serenity is the character development.
I do think that if you haven’t watched the show you won’t quite grasp some of the subtler bits of the film, but probably not so you’d notice.
Overall, well worth seeing whether you’ve seen the show or not. If only they’d stuck with more of the banjo music…