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About the film
Serenity is a space western film that takes place after the end of the TV series, Firefly. The film was released in 2005 and has a run time of 119 minutes. Serenity is rated 15 due to scenes of violence and action as well as sexual references.
Set in the future, a spaceship called Serenity is harbouring a passenger with a deadly secret. Serenity is home to six rebels, led by Captain Mal Reynolds, on the run but now an assassin is in pursuit. When the renegade crew of Serenity agrees to hide a fugitive on their ship, they find themselves in a battle between the relentless military might of the Alliance, who will destroy anything - or anyone - to get the girl back and the bloodthirsty creatures who roam the uncharted areas of space. But, the greatest danger of all may be on their ship.
Nathan Fillion as Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds
Gina Torres as Zoe Washburne
Alan Tudyk as Hoban "Wash" Washburne
Sean Maher as Simon Tam
Summer Glau as River Tam
Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra
Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb
Jewel Staite as Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Frye
Ron Glass as Shepherd Derrial Book
Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative
David Krumholtz as Mr. Universe
What I thought
For those of you who don't know, Serenity was made after Joss Wheedon's TV series Firefly was cancelled after only one season. The series was left with many loose ends so after fans wanted answers, a feature length film was made. After only recently watching the TV series, I felt exactly the same way and I was desperate to find out what was going to happen next.
Even though this does take place after the end of the series, you don't need to have seen any of Firefly to enjoy this film. The backstory is explained extremely well so everyone will be able to follow the story and what is happening. I was really happy with the way that the film started too as it didn't take off straight from where the series ended. Time has passed and characters have had time to change and develop but obviously, only people who have seen the series will be able to notice this.
Set in a mix between space and random planets, Serenity has a great mix of scenery. It is different to see how characters act and react in different situation depending on where they are at the time and this is where the different settings become a great thing. On the Serenity, characters are more relaxed, more themselves, compared to being on edge when on land. As I said in the plot summary, the crew are on the run from someone hunting down River so they have every right to be on edge. I really liked the diverse range of emotions that these different settings brought to the plot.
When it comes to characters, these are even better in the film than the TV series. For me, this was mainly because I already knew a lot about them before watching the film and I knew what they had been through in the past. While you don't need to have seen Firefly to enjoy this film, I do think you will get a lot more out of it if you have. Captain Mal is at the forefront of the crew, leading them in a race against time across space. Played by Nathan Fillion, Mal is one of the best characters. He's a bit mysterious, a hard ass and a great captain. Mal has an edge to him that makes him hard to relate to but due to his job and position, it fits him really well.
Two of my favourites from the TV series were River and her brother, Simon. The basis of this film centres around River and what has happened to her in the past, which is explained at the beginning of the film. Summer Glau is amazing as River and by far gives the best performance in the whole film. River is not quite all there due to the experiments done to her and has very erratic behaviour because of this. These traits make River an extremely interesting character and I loved her. Her brother Simon, played by Sean Maher is a good partner for River. As an older brother, the love for River is spot on and also how he cares for her is clear to see. There is a sibling tenderness between the two and it was lovely to watch.
Other characters are just as good as these. Cast members Kaylee and Jayne were very entertaining while newcomer, Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative is quite scary. The cast is very diverse, just like the characters they play. While there are quite a lot of characters to follow, there is someone for everyone to relate to and also someone for everyone to both love and hate. Watching this film did make me quite sad that I won't be able to see them in anymore episodes though.
The plot is fast paced and exciting. The film starts off with a real bang, explaining River's past and why everyone is on Serenity. The story is interesting and different, unlike anything else I have seen before in a film. All plot aspects were explained well and nothing jumped from one thing to another without explanations. Even though the story is quite complicated at times, it is still easy to follow, even for people who haven't seen the TV series. I liked that small aspects from the series were added in to the film and this is where fans will get more out of watching it. Serenity also has a hell of a lot of action in it which I loved. The Operative brings on a great chase for getting River back and so many exciting things happen throughout the film.
Serenity is the only space western film I have ever seen, and probably ever will, but I loved it. I think I would have liked it even if I hadn't seen Firefly beforehand but that only made me like it more. A great watch.
Stating the obvious the film is called Serenity. It is a follow on from the amazing TV show that was Firefly (for those unaware of the awesome show feel free to see my review or Google it).
This film is a 15 and is shade under 2 hours long and is Directed and Written by Joss Whedon. I hope I don't give everything away as this is a great film.
Set before the start of the TV series of Firefly we begin out journey by seeing how Simon (see later) managed to get his sister back from the alliance and that an evil alliance operative is chasing after the Tams due to fears that she might be holding one of their biggest secrets (she is :-O)
Set five hundred years in the future shortly after the ending of the TV series Firefly the crew are descending into the atmosphere of a planet in preparation to rob a bank. As usual things aren't going swimmingly for the crew, the ship is falling apart again (see Firefly episode Out of Gas) and Inara and Shepard Book has left the crew for pastures new (don't worry they do feature). Right on to the characters before I get into the story.
My character descriptions might seem a bit brief, if this is the case again see my Firefly review as I didn't want to repeat myself too much.
Serenity - Again I am going to start by naming the ship as a main character, the film revolves around the ship, the characters love the ship and are horrified at both what they have to do and what happens to the ship throughout the film.
Malcolm Reynolds (Mal) played by Nathan Fillion and is fully exposed for what he is in the film. He shows true character and leadership skills in getting the secret that River holds to the 'verse, taking them through a trip that was almost guaranteed to get into fatal situations. Not shy of a fight Mal often uses his resilience and determination to do what is right (that's right despite the fact that at the start of the film you see him rob a bank and effectively leave someone to die) but sometimes sacrifices have to be made.
Zoe Washburne played by Gina Torres is a warrior women whose emotional side does come out towards the end of the film.
Hoban Washburne (Wash) played by Alan Tudyk is the husband of Zoe and the ships pilot and "is a leaf on the wind" (for those who have watched it  ). In complete contrast to Zeo he is the clown of the group but as we see will do anything to get the job done.
Jayne Cobb (the Hero of Canton) is played by Adam Baldwin. Basically a mercenary, his brute force and fighting skills come in useful even if he does get beaten up by a teenage girl.
Kaywinnit Lee Frye (Kaylee) is played by Jewel Staite. Kaylee brings happiness to the ship. We finally get to see her feelings for Simon explored and she shows her fighting spirit. As you find out 5 seconds into the film she is the ships mechanic and does a good job of keeping it in the air.
Inara Serra is played by Morena Baccerin. Inara is the object of Mal's affections. She has left the ship for a companion training house but is kept in the crews heart and is thrown back to them by the previously mentioned operative. (A companion is basically someone who sleeps with someone for money but they are high class, trained and get to pick who they do things with).
Shepard Book is played by Ron Glass. Shepard Book is a religious man who we hardly get to see, he does get the chance to convince Mal of a few important things though.
Simon Tam played by Sean Maher. He plays the doctor on the ship and is taken through an emotional rollercoaster throughout the film but ends very much on a high. He is very protective of his younger sister but has fallen head over heels for Kaylee, he is torn between the 2 and it looks like the situation is taken out of his hands when he leaves the ship....
River Tam is played by Summer Glau. Now River, where to start with sweet caring, little, dance loving, genius and all around super fighting machine River. River is a genius, of that there is no doubt, that she was made crazy by the alliance and has a few um, violent moments, again no doubt. River is the character who I guess really this story is based around, her secret and her problems are what drag the crew into this.
...::: The Plot :::...
As you may have guessed the story revolves around an operative of the alliance chasing after the crew of Serenity in order to try and detain the fugitive, River Tam. The secret involves the Reavers, Reavers are, a subset of humans who has turned insane and basically not for fun but for their existence they go round and rape, skin and eat people alive (nice huh). Anyway we follow the crew in their battle to expose the Alliance secret, along the way they have to fight against the operative and most of the alliance army but at the same time the Reavers are ever expanding their air space and have to be watched out for.
The crew rely on their friends and Rivers fighting abilities and knowledge in order to get through this, some of them however end up making the ultimate sacrifice.
...::: My Best Bits :::...
"I swallowed a bug"
"Fruity Oaty Bars make a man out of a mouse, fruity oaty bars make you bust out of your blouse"
"I'm OK" With the emotion behind it, for fans of the TV series it is what they wanted to hear.
Really there are so many great bits, the film has a great plot and the story is told so well, it has great characters and such as great back story set up by Firefly that the foundations were in place for a fantastic story which I have heard people rave about without having even seen Firefly (which everyone should).
There aren't really any, it is just a shame that the TV show got cancelled as this could have made a brilliant series finale to Season 2.
This is a great film that I am sure most people would like, maybe even recommend, if however you have seen the TV series Firefly you will surely think this is great and it is. 5/5
I remember seeing this film advertised a few years ago and being very interested in seeing it. However for one reason or another i missed it at the cinema. One night in uni i'd popped down to a friends flat and they were half way through watching this film. I sat down and knowing nothing about the story or even what happened previously happened in the film i started watching. I thoroughly enjoyed what i saw so when i found out this was based on a tv show i knew i had to go back and watch it. If you havn't then check out my review for that show Firefly.
I came back to this with the full knowledge of that show behind me and my opinion had gone from liking the film to absolutely loving it. Not many cancelled shows get another chance to wrap things up let alone in a feature film but Joss Whedon took the opportunity and ran with it. Tying up loose ends and closing out characters stories. In one particular instant a favourite character of mine dies and i felt genuinely sad. Some are left open however, including the back story to our favourite Shepard. Fans of Firefly will know what to expect, this is bigger, better and more amazing than the tv series. Even if you havn't seen Firefly this is still an incredibly enjoyable film. The worst part is seeing the promise in this film and knowing there probably won't be any more.
Serenity is a sci-fi movie released in 2005 and directed by Joss Whedon. I don't always go in for these sort of films but rented this movie on DVD recently and it's not too bad really and I quite enjoyed it.
The story of Serenity is set 500 years in the future. It is a time that may one day happen in real life when Earth could no longer support it's population which had got out of control. Therefore with no resources to speak of and the population grown out of all proportion, humans moved to a whole new solar system having destroyed our own planet over the years. Of the planets in this solar system there were some of the main ones that were under Alliance control and some that resisted this control like rebel planets. Those that resisted the Alliance control were called Independents.
As you can imagine peace didn't last long as is the case nowadays and eventually war broke out between the two separate groups, which the independents lost. Alot of them, including Malcolm Reynold and Zoe continued to oppose their rulers despite losing the war. Malcolm buys a ship and names it Serenity and together with his crew journeyed through the galaxy finding jobs while constantly trying to avoid detection by the Alliance forces.
Against overwhelming odds they have to enusre their safety on board their vessel against vicious forces out to kill them. And the tensions grow amongst the crew as their chances of survival decrease.
When I watched this I found the movie interesting enough and meant that I wasn't bored at all. It is unique and original and does a good job in my opinion of combining the past and the future and a look at how the world in the movie has come about. The whole movie has a real futuristic feel to it and makes it believable that it is set so far in the future. There is a big difference between those planets under control and those that are not in that the ones that are out of Alliance control are wild and untamed full of desserts and no laws to speak of.
I felt the acting was good too from actors and actresses that are not perhaps household names and not as familar as some. But they did a great job nonetheless.
I would recommend this movie if you like Sci-fi movies as it's not a bad movie at all.
I actually missed the Firefly series first time round, like many people who blinked and missed it, as it was cancelled after 14 episodes. However, when this film came out I thought I should check out Joss Whedon's latest work, after being a huge 'Don't even think about trying to ring me on Thursday night' Buffy fan. The film follows the crew of Serenity, a space cargo vessel which my other half described as being 'a bit like a clapped out Ford Fiesta' It's filled with a rag tag group of space pirates who are led by Mal Reynolds (played by the likeable Nathan Fillion).
Onboard are also passengers Simon, a doctor, and River, a wacked out fruitcake (ok, that's maybe not PC, but it is was it is) with some strange abilities of the Psychic kind. It turns out that River is wanted by the Alliance, the regime who run the main planets: A dictatorial organisation who Mal and his first mate fought in the rebellion but lost against - mirroring the American Civil war. And the Wild West ties don't end there. This is Steam Punk of the highest variety, with future gadgets that look like they've been sat in someone's garage for a few decades and may just fall to pieces half way through using them. The film explores the Wild Black- the planets where the inhabitants battle the environment to settle against the odds.
The movie takes up where Firefly left off and neatly ties up the story arc, where I guess Whedon would have taken us eventually over a few seasons, had Firefly survived. As you expect from Whedon, it's full of likeable characters, witty one liners, quirkiness and no shortage of seemingly innocent girls kicking butt. The concept of brain programming touched upon here is explored further in his series Dollhouse, but it's an interesting one and the twist of it being set in the future makes this compelling viewing. Little touches like all the swearing being in Mandarin give this imagined universe authenticity, but the story line is predictably Whedonish- at one point I actually proclaimed out loud "Ah, don't you just love a good Joss Whedon Going into Battle Speech"
Overall, a good film if you don't mind going over old ground with the set types of characters that Joss likes (the geeky but cute one, the mean one who says it like it is, the bad a$$ teenage girl). It's good fun, but boy do I wish it wasn't the condensed version of Firefly.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
In 2002, a little known TV show emerged called Firefly, written by Joss Whedon, who created the hugely successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, due to FOX messing around with the scheduling, it had poor viewing figures and was cancelled, but because of its huge cult success on DVD, FOX comissioned a film, much the adulation of fans, in Serenity.
Serenity takes place some time after the series concluded, with River Tam (Summer Glau) being held captive by the Alliance. Her brother, doctor Simon Tam (Sean Maher) manages to break her out, but the Alliance send a Terminator-like Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to hunt them down and get River back. Back on board the ship Serenity, with Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), Jayne (Adam Baldwin), Hoban Wash (Alan Tyduk), his wife Zoe (Gina Torres), and Kaylee Frye (Jewel Staite), they attempt to outrun the Alliance, but thing get more complicated as the Alliance have fitted River with a suggestive trigger that turns her into a psychopathic killer. Also, they must contend with the deadly Reavers on their tail at every instance.
Impressively, Whedon manages to knock-out a crowd-pleasing bookend to the series that has great humour, some great low-budget action, and an emotive plot that has a few of the loveable characters end up dead quite shockingly, but it works and doesn't seem overly sentimental or tacked on. This is undoubtedly what the film the "new trilogy" of Star Wars should have been. Serenity is fun, exciting, well acted, and action-packed, as well as an excellent continuation of a TV series that fell far before it had time to shine. Brilliant performances all around, and an excellent script makes this a rousing space farce.
Space cowboys with a hint a rebellion from fascism. That is how I would describe Serenity. The movie that is based on television programme called 'Firefly', a short-lived television series from a few years ago. In it, the crew a rag tag bunch of mercenaries on the run from the central government. It is a Western type set up but in space!
Captain Malcolm Reynolds is our reluctant hero who is excellently played by Nathan Fillion. The whole characterisation of Reynolds was done very well and shows a conflicted man who wants to survive and do his own thing but also has to keep an eye out for his crew.
The plot is a bit weak in places but if you have watched the show then a lot of the things that were being done were explained. It feels as if the movie was a condensed version of what they wanted to do in the show. This is good in that the weaving plot lines all merge into an amazing finale but it can also be extremely frustrating to have nothing properly explained. More on Summer Glau's character would mean that I would have greater empathy for her instead of thinking she was an annoying child.
The film's length isn't too long and not too short so you do watch the movie and come out with a feeling that everything has been concluded nicely. And a nice lead off into potentially reactivating the series or having another movie. Obviously that's not going to happen now but it would be nice for a fan like me!
So it's a good movie to watch, not a ground breaking piece of must watch entertainment but good enough to sit there for a few hours for a bit of escapism.
Well, after watching all of Firefly the missus and I sat down to watch this movie.
Now I thought that Firefly itself was pretty average but I had high hopes for this because I had heard it was pretty good. Boy was I dissapointed. Don't get my wrong, this is not a stinker, but I didn't reallty feel in progressed the TV show much and I couldn't make any sense of some rather pointless character deaths, particularly for one TV show regular who only gets a few minutes on screen in this one before he is rubbed out.
I finished this movie with so many unanswered questions and that dissapointed me greatly. I didn't feel any of the characters were particularly developed further, save perhaps for River, and so I still had a desire to find out more about their backrgound when the credits roled. Its a shame that this movie in itself was something of a fluke and we'll not see a sequel where all is revealed. I also noted that the movie seemed to bin the space western theme somewhat.
Overall a mediocre end to a confused TV show.
Serenity, the genius of Joss Whedon was an answer to all of the Firefly fans' desperate pleas.
It begins by sharply introducing each character for those who have never enjoyed the series Firefly, with admittedly less finesse due to constraints of movie lengths. But what it does aptly capture is the terror of the Reavers, these poor vicious and destructive creatures and their surprising creators.
So we are taken on this short journey which discovers the beginnings of these creatures, and in doing so, Captain Reynolds and his crew deal a fatal blow to the rule of the Alliance. Captian Reynolds is somewhat surprisingly the heart of this movie, determined to do what is right despite fatal consequences.
Whilst fantastically action packed and delivering all the unique wit of the original series, the film still fails to tie up many loose ends.
We now know some of the mystery surrounding River Tam's past, she is clearly shown in the movie as designed to be a weapon - but a weapon for what purpose?
And what of Book? What exactly is his story? As one of the most originally mysterious characters, extremely little of his background is revealed.
These and many more questions are left unanswered for those who have watched Firefly. However, as a standalone movie it does extremely well with incredible CGI and unique characters and story.
In my opinion, Serenity must be watched, preferably along with its series, in order to fully understand the fan's enchantment and glee with this wonderful creation.
As a fan of the Firefly series which was unfairly canceled, I had been waiting for this film to arrive ever since it was announced. Yet even as a Firefly fan, I found this film wasn't quite as good as I had expected it to be.
This may have been because I had hyped up the arrival of this film so much that it would never live up to my expectations of it or maybe it just failed to deliver on certain aspects of the storyline. Nevertheless it is still a very good film and I have watched it multiple times, and would recommend it to anyone who even vaguely likes their science fiction.
The plot is based around the character River and the Alliance trying to get her back as she carries sensitive data in her head. One specific piece of data stored in her head is the knowledge of an outer rim planet where essentially the whole population was killed by a scientific experiment gone wrong.
Joss Whedon is a good writer and made a name for himself making the Buffy series; there is a very 'glossy' feel to those series, which is okay as the issue of death wasn't so pronounced in them. Whereas in Serenity there are parts where death is a big part of the film, none more so when they discover the dead planet, and I feel the impact of death in the film is slightly diminished by that so called 'glossy' feel that he has hung on to.
There are some very good action scenes and it is good to see the characters from Firefly returning with all their charms. I will also mention it is pleasing that they used same actors from the series, despite being relatively unknown, as it would have been a real shame if they hadn't.
The film in general is very good, my bad points simply put are just because I have matured as a viewer since the series was aired and expected more. Despite my nit-picking it is an enjoyable film that almost the entire family can enjoy as it's not full of swearing and needless violence - 4 stars.
One really good thing has come about from this movie is that more people are watching Firefly, who knows one day the series may return (we can hope).
The most perfectly acted and wonderfully written entertainment was taken from us when Fox foolishly cancelled the television show Firefly, a sci-fi/western created by Joss Whedon who is best known for being behind the phenomenon that was Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Finally, after years of constant campaigning from cast, crew and fans alike, with the release of Serenity we got it back again. I could not have been more excited as I stood in line waiting to collect my ticket for that first showing. And I was not disappointed.
This film takes place in the distant future where the human race have moved out across the stars. This is not the future that sci-fi tends to deal with, life is tough out in the black, especially when you're a Browncoat, a member of the losing side of a war, the people who wanted to stay free from the rule of the Alliance. The rich planets are filled with technology, beauty and wealth, but those on the outer rim are barely surviving, living on dusty worlds with broken down equipment and often being forced to resort to crime to feed their families.
We reunite with all of the most beloved characters from Firefly; Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), ex-sergeant Browncoat, just trying to live his live free from the control of the ruling Alliance and keep flying, married couple Zoe (Gina Torres) and Hoburn 'Wash' Washburne (Alan Tudyk), she an ex-soldier who served with Mal during the war and he a pilot of incredible skill, Kaylee Frye (Jewel Staite), the ships genius untaught mechanic, Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin), the mercenary thug who will do almost anything for money, bar betraying Mal, and finally Simon (Sean Maher) and River Tam (Summer Glau), brother and sister who are on the run from the Alliance after he broke her out of a supposed school her parents sent her to at 14, where she was being experimented on, where she was driven mad and programmed to become an assasin. They all live together aboard Serenity, a rundown Firefly class space ship owned by Mal, taking on any work they can get, legal or otherwise. But now the Alliance will stop at nothing to get back River Tam, she knows a secret that they do not want revealed.
We also see the return of Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin), a companion now teaching girls to become so, and Shepherd Book (Ron Glass), a somewhat mysterious priest now living on Haven, both of whom resided on Serenity during the run of Firefly. A companion is a legalised prostitute, but in this 'Verse they are considered highly in society, respected and well educated in a variety of areas. Inara is clearly very intelligent, graceful and wealthy and men and women pay her for more than sexual activity, but also conversation and company.
Also we see the return of the Reavers, the monsters of camp fire tales, men who are no longer men but savages who know nothing but violence and rage, mutilated and covered in blood as they go from world to world, murdering, raping and eating the flesh of men. The Alliance denies their very existence but those in the black know that they are there and they are terrified. Even Jayne, the most butch man imaginable, would rather be shot than be caught by them, Adam Baldwin truly gives an excellent portrayal of the fear they instill in the bravest souls.
We also have a new character, the Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), our main antagonist, an assasin sent by the Alliance to get back River Tam by any means neccesary. But he is the most dangerous kind of assasin of all; he believes that what he is doing is the absolute right thing to do. He is trying to create a world without sin, but not for himself to live in. He will kill anyone that gets in his way, men, women and children.
The 'Verse that Joss has created for these characters is a tough one but an intensely interesting one too. The characters slip easily between speaking English and Chinese, the idea that the two biggest super powers on Earth, America and China, merged before we spread across the stars, which can also be seen in the costumes and sets.
This film is everything Firefly was and deserves to be a much bigger hit than it was upon it's theatrical release. Wonderful and true performances from all of the cast, a perfect script, perfect story, amazing effects and beautiful, chilling, heart-warming, heart-breaking music make this far superior to a lot of other films of it's kind. Not for a single second was I not in awe of what was on the screen, and its the first film to ever make me both laugh out loud and cry real tears. There were tragedies that cut me to the bone and moments that made me smile with joy, and it all blended together to make one incredible film that really did justice to those who stood by Firefly, never accepting that it was over. Basically this film is, in a word, perfect. Joss, quite frankly, is our master.
Serenity (2005) is based on Joss Whedon's TV series Firefly. Sadly, Firefly did not last long, and I do not see why. Whedon proved himself as an Emmy-nominated writer/director with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, and Firefly and Serenity both retain his writing wit and intense storylines.
500 years in the future, Captain Malcolm Reynolds, on the losing side of the galactic wars, finds himself transporting a special passenger on his ship, one who is holding a secret. Pursued by a deadly government assassin and under constant threat from the Reavers, Reynolds and his crew, already fugitives, find themselves fleeing and fighting harder than they ever have done before.
The Cast and Performances
For the film Serenity, Whedon has used the same actors and actresses as in Firefly. Nathan Fillion is the Captain, Mal, and gives a witty and powerful performance as the unwilling hero on the run. His crew are well acted, but there is nothing special here. The acting is very much as you would expect of a Star Trek film, for example, with series actors giving similar performances as they do on the small screen. This gives the 114 minute filma TV show feel about it, and possibly too long.
The assassin chasing them is known as The Operative, and is payed emotionlessly by Chiwetel Ejiofor - the perfect performance for an assassin who is so cold and clinical. The star of the shoe is undoubtedly Summer Glau as River, the telepathic passenger whose secret is her power.
There are many aspects of this film that I really liked. The majority of the special effects and the scenery in a future ravaged by time and employing futuristic technology is handled very well, and the choreography of the fight sequences is amazing, particularly where The Operative and River are concerned.
My only problem with this film was that it did seem like a really long episode of a TV programme. However, it did not detract from my enjoyment of what is essentiall a very good film, well made and acted. Whedon at the helm has nurtured his creation onto the big screen in a very clinical manner, with the right balance of wit and action.
A well made film that runs like a really long TV episode.
I rate this film at 4 stars out of 5.
The DVD is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.98.
This review may aloso be posted on ciao.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.
Set 510 years in the future. Humans have left Earth in mass exodus to a far distant planetary system. Unlike Earth government is based on alliance from several planets. Those living on inner ring of planets live a good life; outer planets have civilization similar to the old west in America. Serenity is a ship. The senior crew members are veterans of planetary wars and now out of loop they would take on any job to make money (serenity is a cargo ship). One job lands the crew in an inter-galatic conspiracy that will take them on a ride of their lives.
This film is an out of this world blockbuster. Emotions, action, splendid scenery and images are all in this film.
It has to be watched to be believed. For an extremely low budget film it has everything.
I think of Serenity as a science fiction film with cowboy western elements added to the story.
Fascinating film with glimpse of nasty future that awaits future generations.
Amazon price £13.48
You must view the American TV network Fox as a double edged sword. On the one hand it has produced some of the best science fiction and comedy shows of recent years including The X Files and The Simpsons. However, it has also got a bad reputation for cutting off shows before they even have a chance of becoming hits e.g. Keen Eddie or Arrested Development. One such show was the critically acclaimed Firefly, written by Joss Whedon, the man who had successfully brought Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the small screen. However, even his strong track record was not enough to keep this expensive science fiction show on the air and after just a few episodes it was gone. However, the story does not end here as the DVD sales for the limited episodes proved so successful that Whedon was able to get funding for a feature film. A feature film that, in my opinion, would become one of the best science fiction films of recent years.
Captain Mal and his misfit crew are on the run from the alliance, a group that control large parts of the known universe with military and financial might. As one of a minority of people refusing to bow to conformity Mal has taken aboard a Doctor and his strange sister. It seems that there is more to this young woman than meets the eye when on a routine drop off a TV screen triggers her to beat up everyone in the room. However, this is the least of the crews problems because this has also set of a chain of events that will see them being chased by an emotionless killer, go up against a clan of rabid people and with the odds stacked up against them, not all of them are likely to survive.
I decided to sit down and watch this film again for the third time with my partner as it is one of her favourite films. I remember seeing it at the cinema around the time that Episode 3 of Star Wars was released. Unlike that film Serenity still holds up as being excellent to this day and this is for a number of reasons. Firstly, the script and story are excellent. Not only is it exciting, easy to follow, intelligent, but very funny. Whedon has proven himself to be a great writer throughout Buffy and Angel and it continues here. The fact that the story makes perfect sense is not always a given in science fiction and the dialogue is amongst the best you will hear, full of witty asides and pithy remarks.
The intelligence and humour of writing continues in the characters. You do not have to be a fan of the original Firefly to enjoy the company of these well rounded individuals. They are superbly written and fantastically acted. It is easier to list those parts that are not great; the doctor (Sean Maher) is a little flat and I find his sister (Summer Glau) a little annoying too. However, the rest of the cast are excellent. Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin stand out as great comic characters that also have their own agenda, but the best created must go to Nathan Fillion as Mal. His performance in the film is as well acted and as charismatic as Han Solo in the original Star Wars Trilogy.
Special mention must also go to the actors who have been brought in to appear in the film. David Krumholtz as Mr Universe has a great extended cameo, but for me it is one of my favourite British actors who shines. For a film about good versus evil to work you need a great bad guy. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays The Operative a man sent out to ruthlessly hunt down the crew of the Serenity. He is completely indoctrinated into the life of the alliance and would do anything for them, including killing hundreds of innocent people. Ejiofor is a wonderful actor full of presence and style. He has become one of my top people to watch and this role highlights what he can bring to any film.
I can not actually think of any real flaws to the film. It is very science fiction based so non-fans of the genre will not enjoy it. One area that could have proved an issue with a limited budget would be the special effects, an area that is very important on space films. However, this did not prove the case as the limitations actually made Whedon and co. concentrate on using what they can to the fullest. The special effects guys even add a sense of shaky cam to the CGI that makes it so much better a triumph.
The great writing and rounded characters gives Serenity an emotional depth that the last three Star Wars films would have loved. There is no crap CGI chases here for the sake of it, but gritty action sequences that, although unreal, have a sense of physics about them. I had a far greater time watching this film about characters I do not know that much about, than the turgid borefest of Episode 3. It is a shame that the film was unable to make enough money to warrant a sequel as there are plenty more tales about Serenity that can be told.
Director: Joss Whedon
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Chiwetel Ejiofor et al.
Price: Amazon uk £4.98
There are numerous extras on the DVD, but probably not enough to sate fans of the film and show. There are several featurettes on the making of the film and a very interesting directors commentary. Add to this some deleted scenes and outtakes and you have a lot its just that I wanted them to go on forever!
Once upon a time there was a TV show that was a western in space, called Firefly (for which I have also done a review). It was created by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) and unknown to the majority of TV viewers, aired on Fox. Unknown because Fox did not promote it, and kept moving it about to fit around other shows. Fox then did its usual bit, and canceled the show due to poor viewing numbers. It was the show with big damn hereos that refused to die, however, for those who had managed to watch it, were the die hard sort of fans that refuse to let go. Whedon, spurred on by his vision, and with the fan base in tow, attempted to get other networks to pick it up. They declined, only to have a Whedon succeed in getting the series continued with a cinema release that became a blockbuster which gained new fans for the original series, which was already released onto DVD. Incidentally, this film also has the recent distinction of winning best sci fi film by fans, beating out Star Wars, which had held number one for decades.
Set 500 years in the future after humankind has used up all the earth's natural resources and moved out to colonise other terraformed worlds, Serenity focuses on thecrew on the old banger of a freighter named Serenity. The terraformed system of planets is ruled by the mostly benevolent right wing Alliance, which is mainly comprised of a historical alliance between the US and China and their allies. They have the tightest control on the inner planets which are closer to home and more built up and "civilised", with the outer planets being frontier worlds where their grip is not so tight, and with whom they recently fought a civil war with. Being from the outer worlds, and the captiain and his second in command having fought on the losing side of the war, the crew try to scrape together a living on the fringes of soociety. This is not without danger, as Reavers have entered the equation over the past several years, preying upon the worlds out on the Rim. These are crazies who mutilate themselves and alter their ships to emit dangerous radiation. Cannibals, they prefer living flesh and are known to strap trophies onto their hull. It is also complicated by the fact that hidden factions within the Alliance, wishing to tighten their control, began experimenting on gifted youths, exploring their minds surgically and psychologically with the idea of exposing psychic talents and training them to be the ultimate warrior.
This complication is personal, as one of their little experiments got loose, thanks to her brother, Dr. Simon Tam, who took passage on Serenity, with both becoming crew. Needless to say, the Alliance want their project back. Not just to hide their secret research that created what she is, but to hide an even bigger secret that could bring down their government. Unfortunately, sending out a man known only as the Operative, they trigger her hidden knowledge of this secret, and it becomes a race tfor the crew of Serenity to expose it for what it truly is or die trying before the Operative succeeds.
I absolutey hate it when a movie is made from a TV series and they decide to replace all the actors when it is not necessary. No problem withthat here, thank goodness! The movie features the original TV series cast, and a few new ones as they are new characters that are only in the film. The main cast are:
Mal ....Nathan Fillion
Zoe ....Gina torres
Wash ...Alan Tudyk
Inara ....Morena Baccarin
Simon ....Sean Maher
River ...Summer Glau
Shepherd Book ....Ron Glass
The Operative ....Chiwetel Ejiofor
Mr. Universe ...David Krumholtz
A fine cast they are too. The cohesion and inherent antagonisms within the crew shine here, with the viewer feeling as if they are standing just over there>>>>> watching them. Summer Glau especially deserves kudos. Not only does she portray the disturbed River exceedingly well in a chilling yet wholly sympathetic manner, but she did all her own stunts and there are fight scenes that make you want to hit the rewind button to see her in action. The climax scene with her in it towards the end had me on the edge of my seat. I did not hit the rewind button just then, however, I admit I watched all the way til the end, THEN hit the rewind and watched her big hand combat scene in slow motion, which got especially Matrix like where they already had slow motion in play. Wow!. Ejifor as the Operative was suberbly cast as the fanatical villain of the piece. I have to say that he genuinely scared me with his reasonableness as he did his "duty". It was like having two sides of an unstable coin, River the heroine with her genius and telepathic poweres and other gifts, and the Operative, with his tactical and fiendishly imaginative and murderous skills, providing the perfect foil foreach other. Mal, a sort of Han Soloish type character with his gallant but slightly shady captain of a tatty cargo ship role, actually adds an unexpected seasoning to their mix when he steps into the fray and takes the Operative on. We get to see just how devious the captain can also be, and it goes a long way to explaining how he got away with his livlihood so long with the Alliance on the prowl for smugglers.
In a sci fi film, no matter how good the cast is, the sets and special effects can limit their believability. Though shot on a budget, I have to say they were not let down here at all. The scenes involving space were done using CGI, but the CGI is so seamless that you would really beleive you were looking out a window. The other scenes all take place on Earth type planets, so those posed no challenge to the filmmakers. The sets of the interior of the craft and stations are meticulous. The Firefly class Serenity itself is the same to scale set used in the TV series, and actaul buildings on a campus were used for scenes on the mystery planet (I will say no more as it would be a spoiler). I have to give two thumbs up then for sets and special effects, once again proving that a lower budget does not need to mean terrible sets and special effects that look as if they came from Clash of the Titans.
Not only do you get the movie in widescreen, but it is packed with extras. These include:
Joss Whedon Introduction
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Director Joss Whedon
Future History The Story Of Earth That Was
Whats In A Firefly
ReLighting The Firefly
A Filmmakers Journey
I will not go into these overly much, but suffice to say, if you are a fan, these are pure gold. Otherwise, you probably will not be overly interested in the extras. I will admit to only having watched these once, but then again, I do not own this movie (yet), I merely rented it. I do plan to add it to my next Amazon purchase however, as it is excellent value in the big Sci Fi sale, being marked down over £15 to less than £5 despite holding the number 15 spot for overall UK DVD sales on Amazon. The money will be well spent,; the picture is clear, the sound crisp, sounding great in our surround sound system. Unfortunately I will say the crisp sound did not enhance the moment when Mr Whedon sang the theme song himself. Ouch.
So, the short and sweet of it is, buy or rent this film. To make it slightly less confusing though, buy or rent the Firefly tv series it is based on first! You will enjoy a cracking adventure if you do. I also found that I got a lot more from the film, understanding nuances I had previously missed (yes, I rented this more than once lol)after watching the 14 episode series. Just do watch it.