Written and Directed
by Joss Whedon
Running Time: 1:59
for sequences of intense violence and action,
and some sexual references.
Serenity was a well made, well written sci-fi film with a good amount of laughs thrown in to keep it fun and lighthearted.
A group of rebels aboard the spaceship Serenity go from job to job (legal or illegal, doesn't matter) trying to keep the ship afloat. They pick up a brother-sister couple, who have a history. River is a psychic, and it's possible she's learned something that could destroy the Alliance. They send out a cold blooded killer to track her down, and he will do whatever it takes to bring her back. But the crew of the Serenity, while initially trying to protect themselves, realize that her secret could be more important than their survival, and they'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe, and make sure that secret is heard throughout the universe. With the Alliance on one side, and the bloodthirsty Reavers on the other, the crew of the Serenity has everything going against them, but the truth going for them.
Having never watched the show upon which it is based, I had no thoughts going into Serenity other than it was going to be a typical sci-fi film. Not being a big sci-fi fan I figured I'd lose focus after a few minutes and take a nap. Instead I found myself really enjoying this ragtag group of people. The cast was full of somewhat recognizable faces, which meant that you paid more attention to their characters rather than the actors and it helped you get lost in the story. The movie, while taking place far into the future, didn't feel like your usual sci-fi film because much of what happened didn't involve futuristic things. The weapons were all normal, the language was English (with a bit of Chinese thrown in for good measure), and while they flew around in spaceships across the universe, it really felt more like an old-school Western. Good guys vs. bad guys, with this crew being somewhere in between (but ultimately landing on the side of what was right.) The main story was probably the only thing that let me down. The secret that the Alliance doesn't want known was important enough, but without knowing more of the back story, it didn't feel that important, if that makes sense. If the secret was let out, how would it really affect the rest of the galaxy? Were there other rebels, beyond the crew of the Serenity, that would take up arms? Maybe if I had watched
Firefly I might have known more, but I didn't, and a lot of people didn't, so I think a little more of a back story would have been in order.
The special effects were well done, and in fact better than I expected. There are a few chase scenes that take place in space vehicles that can look cheesy, but were rather impressive. The creature makeup wasn't all that spectacular, but considering what the Reavers were, I guess it didn't need to be. The action sequences were fun to watch, especially when River got to go all Buffy/Dark Angel on the Reavers. I did think there could have been a bit more action but I never felt bored or anything, so that's always a plus when you're watching a two hour movie.
That being said, I found the movie rather funny. It takes a deft hand to hover between drama and comedy and not tilt too far into either realm to make it either too serious, or too spoofy. And when you have the creator (Joss Whedon) of arguably my favorite TV show of all time (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) at the helm, I should have known the movie was going to be good. It also makes me sad I never gave the TV show a shot. I should put more respect into Whedon's ability. And on that note, I would like to suggest for his soon-to-be Wonder Woman movie, that Jessica Alba play the role. Joss, feel free to call me if you'd like to hear my reasons why. But I digress. A lot of films take themselves too seriously, and you end up with a high and mighty script where people do things for the good of all mankind and they give long speeches and blah blah blah... Those are the kinds of movies that bore me. But Serenity was a very lighthearted picture that still touched on serious topics. It never got to the point where anyone was preaching, and if they did, there was still a joke tacked on to the end. And at the same time, it never got to a point where people were cracking jokes left and right so that it felt like a spoof of sci-fi films. The movie actually treaded the line very well and that was what drew me in and kept me hooked.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Serenity. It had good action, good comedy, and the cast was solid and entertaining. Definitely worth seeing.
Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home – Now from only a month!