Serenity brought the crew from the short-lived television series Firefly to the big screen. The show was mishandled by the power that be at Fox and later developed a strong cult following when released on DVD. Hoping to grown the fanbase further, creator Joss Whedon was allowed to write and direct a feature length adventure continuing the action six months after the last time fans saw the crew. It’s a world that marries sci-fi shininess with the twang of Western charm. The characters are strong because they all unique connections to one another. Many ensembles suffer from having certain characters that don’t know how to interact with each other because their relationships are unclear, not the case here.
Whedon does a great job of introducing the central characters, having them interact enough to establish the relationships for those unfamiliar with them but not dragging things down with exposition too much for those who watched the series. The film opens with a flashback to how River (Summer Glau) was rescued by her brother from the Alliance. Again, a great way to let the new people know that River had been tortured by the government while still giving new information to the fans.
When a simple jobs goes wrong, Simon fears River isn’t safe on Serenity. Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) is more than happy to see the two go, but when a subliminal message cases River to transform into a weapon of mass destruction, it becomes clear some deeper is going on. They travel to a planet called Miranda and learn that River knows a secret the alliance desperately wants to keep hidden. The crew makes it their mission to spread the word, with a few along the way making the ultimate sacrifice.
Joss Whedon is famous for killing off major characters, reminding the audience that no one is safe. I don’t think I’ll ever fully forgive him for one of this film’s casualties in particular, in Whedon’s defense, he originally intended for everyone to survive, but there was a push from the studio to lock everyone down for the (at the time) inevitable sequel and anyone who couldn’t commit to the next film, did not make it to the end of the first. This was obviously painful for Whedon, especially since that implied sequel never came to be. Whedon has said if he ever gets the chance to make another movie, he will do his best to find a logical way to bring everybody back.
It’s a shame that Nathan Fillion hasn’t become a bigger star. He certainly has the looks and the sense of humor to play anything Harrison Ford is too old to do. And the man has chemistry with everyone! While he currently has success with Castle, he will always be the Captain at heart. It’s a great character and it’s interesting to watch him struggle with good and evil in the role. He’s a good man who has to do bad things to survive, but he’ll always put his crew first.
While I’ll admit, Serenity and Firefly the series has its flaws, it’s just pure fun for me with a cast that is a blast to watch. Something really magical happened when these eight people got together. Plus- space cowboys, people! I’ve already discussed in past posts how I like my sci-fi to have a sense of humor to it and this crew always delivered for me.
Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburn: I am a leaf on the wind – watch how I soar.