US sci-fi adventure written and directed by Joss Whedon. 500 years in the future, after a galactic civil war has united all the space colonies under the repressive Alliance, former rebel soldier Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) captains the Firefly class cargo ship Serenity, taking on odd jobs and scoring heists where he can to keep his ship and his crew in the air. When he picks up Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and his disturbed sister River (Summer Glau), Mal ends up with more trouble than he could have bargained for. On the run from the Alliance, River has been the subject of horrific government experiments to develop her latent psychic powers. Determined to get her back, the Alliance dispatches ruthless assassin The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), leaving Mal and his crew battling for survival as they race across the galaxy. However, when they then discover an even darker secret the Alliance would like to keep hidden, Mal and his companions finally have their chance to hit back.
is a film that, by rights, shouldn’t have been made. For starters, it’s spun out of the short-lived and quickly-cancelled TV series Firefly
, which has only itself got the full recognition it deserves on DVD. It then marries up two seemingly incompatible genres, the western and science fiction, has no major stars to speak of, and pretty much has ‘hard sell’ written all over it.
Perhaps that explains its modest box office performance back in 2005. What it fails to reflect, however, is that this is one of the most energetic, downright enjoyable sci-fi flicks in some time. Not for nothing did many rate it higher than the Star Wars movie that appeared in the same year.
It follows renegade captain Mal Reynolds and his quirkily assembled crew, as they work on the outskirts of space, trying to keep out of the way of the governing Alliance. That plan quickly changes when they take on a couple of passengers who have attracted the attention of said Alliance, and thus the scene is set for an action-packed, cleverly written movie that deserves many of the plaudits that have rightly been thrust in its direction.
What’s more, Serenity works whether you’ve seen the TV series that precedes it or not. Clearly fans of the Firefly show will be in their element, but even the casual viewer will find an immense amount to enjoy.
The only real problem is that given the film’s box office returns, further adventures of Reynolds and his crew look unlikely. Unless Serenity turns into a major hit on DVD, that is. It’s well worth playing your part in making that happen.--Simon Brew