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Firefly - "Serenity" Movie - Ifctv.com Review

Friday 23 December 2005, by Webmaster


Directed by Joss Whedon

I didn’t set out to get quoted in the ads for "Serenity," but I’m happy to support such a fun, exciting film. "A rousing adventure!" every arts section screamed for several weeks. So what if I’d actually called it "a rousing and unabashedly manipulative adventure" in The Village Voice. The film, new to DVD, is still worth your time.

So, for that matter, is the television show it is based on, "Firefly." The story of a band of space outsiders on the run from a corrupt government called The Alliance, who are trying to recover River Tam (Summer Glau), a psychic teen with supernatural fighting abilities (director Whedon was also the creator of "Buffy"), the action picks up where the prematurely cancelled Fox series left off. River’s protector, Captain Malcolm Reynolds, was one of the year’s most endearing cinematic characters - helped, in part, by the fourteen episodes he spent honing the character on television. He’s brave, but not stupid; his willingness to run from a fight he knows he can’t win is refreshing in a genre that typically adheres to the William Shatner School of Heroics (i.e. overcoming any obstacle while banging half the alien babes in the universe without even mussing your toupee).

Though I appreciated the film’s generous wit, "Serenity," like much of Whedon’s television work, balances its humor with a disturbing dark side. One thing I didn’t mention in my Voice review (due to space considerations, and mild spoilers, which still applies here) was "Serenity"’s eerily prescient anticipation of the horrors of Hurricane Katrina. Part of River’s value to the Alliance is her knowledge of a mysterious place called Miranda, where the government’s attempts to drug the populace into docility resulted in a hushed-up disaster of unspeakable horror (Calling all Bush administration critics!). Whedon visualizes Miranda as a ghost town with decaying corpses rotting in the streets, making "Serenity" the most resonant post-Katrina horror this side of "Land of the Dead."

The "Serenity" DVD comes with a Whedon commentary and introduction, deleted scenes, outtakes and several featurettes on the production. The DVD of the complete run of "Firefly" is still in print as well.