Running Time: 119 minutes
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Ron Glass, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Summer Glau, Sean Maher
Directed By: Joss Whedon
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
A group of space smugglers try to evade a government bounty hunter as one of their crew carries deep rooted military secrets.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say fans of the television show Firefly will like this movie better than the casual observer. That is because the characters will connect more with plenty of back story and development. If you are unfamiliar please don’t count out watching this film as it is still a great entry into the world of Sci-Fi/Action. Serenity is based on the awesome and incomparable television show called Firefly (If you haven’t seen it than you probably have a significant other or are married but it is AMAZING.) It is the story of Captain Mal Reynolds and his crew of space smugglers. They are trying to make a living hauling contraband across the universe (In a ship called Serenity) and staying one step ahead of the government called the Alliance.
This film is just a great blend of interesting characters and a decent story. If you are unfamiliar with this franchise then prepare yourself for an odd mix for Sci-Fi. The characters all dress in western garb and can speak a fluent Asian dialect (usually when swearing.) It sounds odd but the unorthodox take on this futuristic genre actually adds to the charm of this movie. The film starts off and the viewer is treated to the evil Alliance as they perform evil experiments on helpless victims. It sets the stage quite nicely as you can see the length at which the Alliance will go to enforce the law. From there the film breaks down into following the crew as they travel the universe looking for their next smuggling job. I liked this film because I felt it is what the Star Trek movies should have been more like. The introduction to Mal’s crew and that one of them maybe carrying a top military secret only adds to the story and the instances for intense combat. This film has a little bit of everything and that is why it works so well. It has gun fights, space battles, alien creatures and a liberal amount of comedy that will keep most watchers entertained.
There are too many characters to review properly so I will pick my top three. The best character of the bunch is the Captain Mal Reynolds played by the always entertaining Nathan Fillion. The film wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without his wise cracking bravado and natural charm. The next best character in this is a bounty hunter chasing Mal’s crew. He is simply known as the Operative and is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. His calm and collected performance compliments Fillion’s perfectly and the two of them have an easy chemistry as they play a deadly game of cat and mouse. The last of my favorite notable performance is the character River played by Summer Glau. She portrays a troubled young woman but can kick ass with a wide array of high impact maneuvers. Her small stature makes her hand to hand fight scenes that much more impressive. Really though there isn’t a weak link in the cast, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite and the rest of the characters all bring something positive to the film in their respective roles.
The only real negatives I can point out are for people not familiar with this franchise as the story can seem rushed. The background development of the characters seems forced on the viewer as well. Lastly, the films lower budget will not be appreciated by all as some of the effects are not as crisp as one would like (see the spaceships.) But really these negatives are incidental if you truly appreciate Sci-Fi. The film continues on its way and the pacing is beautiful. You follow this smuggling crew as if you are part of the team and want them to get away from the authorities. When the film comes to a close it may upset some Firefly purists but to the everyday viewer it will be a perfect action climax on just a great overall watch.
Director and writer Joss Whedon, aka the King of the Nerds has added another gem to his impressive resume (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers, Dr. Horrible). He knows his audience and brings the brilliance of his television show Firefly onto the big screen. He has created characters you care about, he eases the sometimes dramatic story with a well timed joke, the action scenes are detailed and frequent, and lastly he has created a unique world that all Sci-Fi lovers will appreciate. If this is the end of the road for the crew of Serenity at least they go out on top.
I give this movie a recommendation especially to Sci-Fi lovers.
T Factor + If you watched the show Firefly this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like Sci-Fi than this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Star Trek, Star Trek: First Contact.