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Firefly - "Serenity" Movie DVD - Allmovie.com Review

Sunday 15 January 2006, by Webmaster

Serenity is based on Joss Whedon’s television show Firefly, in which interplanetary travel has brought about colonization of the planets, leading to a combination of sci-fi and Western tropes. The film picks up where the short-lived series left off, following the exploits of a crew of small-time criminals and outcasts who eke out a living on the edge of space, performing illegal smuggles and transports aboard a Firefly class cargo ship named Serenity. Led by a quick-witted veteran from the losing side of an interstellar war, Captain "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), the crew is comprised of a rag-tag assortment of characters who, despite having their differences, are mostly loyal to one another, the closest thing that many of them have to a family. The stability of the crew is challenged, however, by the revelation that two of the passengers aboard, a brother and sister, are fugitives, wanted by the Interplanetary Alliance with a hefty reward on their heads. The young woman, River (Summer Glau), who was held captive in a government facility, has since developed unimaginable combat skills and telepathic abilities. She appears to have been altered by some form of experimental technology, leaving her emotionally unstable and incalculably valuable. The ship therefore remains on the outskirts of space, keeping it under the radar of the Alliance but placing the crew in danger of being sacked by Reavers — savage men who traverse the edge of space, turning hapless goers by into food and clothing. They cannot run forever and now, the crew of Serenity must risk everything and rely on each other to keep River out of government hands and their ship in one piece. One question, however, haunts the crew throughout their ordeal: is River herself more of a threat to them than any of the enemies that pursue them? Serenity mixes action with humor and relies on the cast’s strong chemistry as portrayed through the characters’ steady rapport. — Cammila Albertson Preview [To Top]

Joss Whedon’s feature film adaptation of his much-loved television program Firefly marks his big-screen directorial debut. The film, however, not only draws in and enchants newcomers but remains familiar to fans of the series without indulging in the in-jokes that rendered the Star Trek: The Next Generation movie franchise too embarrassing for general consumption. Nathan Fillion, the only member of this ensemble cast that could arguably be described as a protagonist, delivers a likable and nuanced performance as Mal, the ragged captain of the freighter ship Serenity. Mal’s resilience is tempered with a sarcastic cynicism as well as with a humanity that only selectively becomes more than a subtle internalization. The fight, flight, and general action sequences are beyond engaging, and the resolution of each would cause any audience to erupt in applause if viewers weren’t paralyzed with anticipation. The plot itself is quite riveting, but more importantly, it brings each of the characters — all of whom are portrayed with elegance and obvious love — to a completely new place both personally and logistically. This is what makes Serenity so much more than an elongated episode of Firefly. In the event of a sequel, the landscape in which the story takes place will have been reformed, creating in many ways a new world for these much-changed people to explore. In the end, Joss Whedon triumphantly breaks new ground in the genre of science fiction, creating a universe that is neither utopian nor dystopian, characters who are both flawed and forgivable, and a sense of reality that, much like our own day-to-day perception, takes into account the sad fact that none of us are safe, but none of us will survive without hope that we will be. — Cammila Albertson