Cautions: Adult Humor, Sexual Situations, Violence, Adult Situations, Questionable for Children
Running Time: 119
Movie Country of Origin: USA
Available Language: English
(Manufacturer # MHV61106554BR )
A band of renegades on the run in outer space get in more hot water than they anticipated in this sci-fi action-adventure adapted from the television series Firefly. In the 26th century, the galaxy has been colonized by a military force known as the Alliance, but its leadership has not gone unquestioned. The Alliance was once challenged by a league of rebels known as the Independents, but the Alliance emerged victorious after a brutal civil war, with the surviving Independents scattering around the galaxy. Also wandering the edges of the galaxy are the Reavers, who have won few allies due to their violent behavior and habit of ripping apart their enemies and eating them before they're dead. Capt. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), who fought as an Independent in the galactic war, is the head of Serenity, a rogue frieghter ship whose crew includes Mal's first mate, Zoe (Gina Torres), who fought alongside him in the war, her husband, hotshot pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk), sunny but dependable mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite), and hard-nosed gunman Jayne (Adam Baldwin). The crew of Serenity wander the galaxy, taking on whatever work they can get, from criminal activities like smuggling and stealing to legitimately offering transport to travelers. Passengers aboard Serenity include professional "companion" Inara (Morena Baccarin) and holy man Shepherd Book (Ron Glass), but the real trouble aboard the ship comes with the arrival of Simon (Sean Maher) and his teenage sister, River Tam (Summer Glau). In time, the crew discovers that River has remarkable psychic powers and was being held captive by Alliance forces until Simon came to her rescue. Now the Alliance is hot on the heels of Serenity and its passengers, with The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a sinister Alliance tracker, leading the chase. Serenity was written and directed by Joss Whedon (in his directorial debut), creator of Firefly, which only lasted 11 weeks on the air but gained a powerful cult following who rallied to get the show released on DVD after its cancellation, leading to impressive home-video sales and and an eventual motion picture deal. A couple of months prior to Serenity's theatrical release, reruns of Firefly were picked up by the Sci-Fi channel, adding even more fans to its cult following. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Movie Level Themes
Space Travel, Cannibals, Wanderlust, Misfits and Outsiders, Space Wars, Unlikely Heroes, Future Dystopias
Feature Commentaries with Director Joss Whedon and Cast Members
Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Joss Whedon
Future History - The Story of Earth That Was
What's In a Firefly
Re-Lighthing the Firefly
Joss Whedon Introduction
Talk A Walk on Serenity
A Filmmaker's Journey
The Green Clan
2005--Online Film Critics Association, Nathan Fillion-Nominee
Joss Whedon's feature-film adaptation of his much-loved television program Firefly marks his big-screen directorial debut. The movie may enchant some newcomers, but it was obviously constructed primarily for the enjoyment of the series' hardcore fan base. This can create a very sharp divide among viewers, as pre-existing fans will most likely remain enthusiastically approving of the film, while outsiders will probably find it less compelling, despite some backstory offered in the narrative to let its story potentially stand alone. This may be a simple matter of target audience, however, as Serenity unabashedly offers itself directly to its cult followers -- though it gracefully avoids 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 for which the movie is named. Mal's resilience is tempered with a wry cynicism as well as with a humanity that only selectively becomes more than a subtle internalization. The surrounding cast members offer nothing less than their absolute best performances as well, though fans may be disappointed that the time limits don't allow all characters extensive screen time.
The fight, flight, and general action sequences in Serenity are beyond engaging, and the resolution of each would cause any enthusiastic audience to erupt in applause. The plot itself is smartly written, exploring and explaining cliff-hanging elements of the series that would no doubt have been fleshed-out had the show not been canceled. It brings each of the characters -- all of whom are portrayed with elegance and affection -- to a completely new place both personally and logistically. This is what makes Serenity so much more than an elongated episode of Firefly: the landscape in which the story takes place has been reformed, creating in many ways a completely different world for these people to explore. In the end, Joss Whedon triumphantly breaks new ground in the genre of science fiction, defying all odds to tell his story. It's very possible that even some sci-fi fans who've never seen Firefly could enjoy coming along for the ride. It's refreshing to see a universe that is neither utopian nor dystopian, characters who are both flawed and forgivable, and a sense that none of us are safe, but none of us will survive without hope that we will be. ~ Cammila Albertson, Rovi
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