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Firefly - "Serenity" Movie - Nzherald.co.nz Review

Francesca Rudkin

Sunday 20 November 2005, by Webmaster

Herald rating * * *

Serenity is a sci-fi adventure flick from Joss Whedon, who created cult TV classics such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. Serenity is also based on a TV show, the short-lived series Firefly, but unlike Buffy and Angel, the action doesn’t happen in pleasant suburbia but in a vast civilisation in space.

More Starship Troopers than Star Wars, Serenity is part space western, comedy and drama, with a touch of slasher horror. Like many sci-fi films there’s a Universal Alliance run by a corrupt government, and those who work against the alliance. And there’s some weird misfits called Reavers - they like to rape their victims then eat them alive - who, forgotten by the alliance, live at the edge of the universe.

Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Fillion) and his team of rogue independence fighters find themselves having to fight both the alliance and the Reavers when they come to the rescue of a young telepathic girl River Tam (Glau), who has extraordinary physical strength, and her brother Simon, who are on the run from the alliance.

In possession of knowledge that could ruin the alliance, an assassin is sent out to destroy River. After much deliberation, the crew agrees to help the girl discover the awful truth about a mysterious planet called Miranda on the edge of the universe.

Serenity sensibly avoids trying to compete with the big boys (probably because of the budget) and doesn’t attempt to over-cook the special effects, yet still presents a slick film, interestingly designed outer space worlds, well-conceived space fights and characters with personality.

There isn’t one well known name in this cast, and this does contribute to Serenity coming across as a glorified TV show at times. Whedon, however, reminds us with his on-screen humour not to take this flick too seriously, and although there’s bound to be a sequel you get the feeling he’s not planning on turning this into a 30-year odyssey.

CAST: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Ron Glass, Summer Glau

DIRECTOR: Joss Whedon

RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes

RATING: M, contains medium level violence

SCREENING: Village, Hoyts and Berkeley Cinemas