Movie Review – Serenity


Directed by Joss Whedon

Starring Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Ron Glass, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and David Krumholtz.

So I’m a latecomer to this whole Firefly thing.  When the show was having its incredibly brief run, I was teaching English in Japan, and making due with geeked-out online reviews of every episode.  I didn’t get to sample it until a little over a year ago, when Space: the Imagination Station started showing it in reruns.  And you know what?  I liked what I saw.  It took me a while to pick up on the whole concept of “a western in space,” but once I did, I got into it.  Granted, I’m not a ravenous fan, but I was enough of a fan to go check out its rebirth as a feature film, Serenity.

500 years in the future, the human race has colonized a neighbouring solar system, and its ruled by the Alliance.  Now, the Alliance has done some nasty experiments to people, trying to create super-soldiers and all that, and the result was one very messed-up girl named River Tam.  River was eventually rescued by her brother Simon, and ever since, they’ve been hiding out on the cargo ship Serenity, headed up by Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his ragtag group of roughnecks.  They do all sorts of jobs to make their living in the universe – most of it illegal.  But, this movie tends to focus on River.  See, one of her powers was that she’s now telepathic, and as she was being shown off to some higher-up government officials, she accidentally read some minds that she shouldn’t have, and now she knows too much.  And now, the Alliance has dispatched a shadowy figure known only as “the Operative” to find and silence River Tam once and for all.  And before you know it, Malcolm, his ship, and his crew, and thrown into the midst of a galactic conspiracy that threatens the very fate of the universe.  Can they uncover the conspiracy and escape from the Operative before it’s too late?

First, the bad news.  As a sci-fi film, this really offers up nothing new and dramatic in the way of a plot.  It’s a fairly routine conspiracy-type thing that we’ve seen before.  But the good news is very good news.  The dialogue is incredibly sharp.  There is a very wicked sense of humour to these characters who always find a way to crack wise in the darkest of situations.  (One of the best parts of the show, too.)  A friend saw the trailer and remarked that the dialogue was little more than “geeks in space,” and I guess that’s a fair description.  The movie also moves amazingly fast. (Whedon mentioned that this film does encompass the broad mythology he had planned for the show – compressed into 2 hours.)  It’s just so frickin’ fun.  And quotable.  It’s also surprisingly scary in some points.  (The Reavers, cannibalistic savages who roam the spaceways, figure prominently in the plot.)  But this is a very enjoyable, very fun movie.  You don’t have to have seen Firefly to enjoy it…but it helps.

3 Nibs


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