Joss Whedon is just one of those familiar household names in the world of geeks. And even if you never heard of him, something that must definitely ring a bell is the tv series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It dominated the television back in the days for seven seasons, and also served as the platform for the spinoff series Angel. The man responsible for it? You guessed it, Joss Whedon. But he also created a show that had an altogether different fate, namely the short lived Firefly. In, what has to be one of the stupidest decisions in the history of television, this terrific blend of western and science fiction got the axe after just 14 episodes. The ratings for it were given the blame, but they also conveniently forgot that it was shown in a very unfavorable timeslot. But despite all that, Firefly lived on through an incredibly loyal fanbase. And even today there are still new books, games and other merchandise being released for it. Three years after the series got cancelled, Joss Whedon sort of took revenge by making a pretty succesful movie based on the show called Serenity.
Serenity while being a continuation of the original series, can actually be enjoyed even if you have never seen or even heard of Firefly. It takes place in the 26th century where most of humanity has left Earth because of it being overpopulated. With the colonisation of the Galaxy, there came the inevitable wars as well. In the end The Alliance was the faction that was left standing. But to say The Alliance is a friendly regime would be saying The Emperor from Star Wars is a fluffy teddy bear. River Tam is a young girl that is being conditioned by them to fight as an assassin and a psychic. This totally messes up her mind, but just before things get really bad her brother manages to rescue her. They both join a crew of outlaws and misfits lead by Captain Malcolm Reynolds, and have been on the run ever since. But The Alliance doesn’t give up River so easily as she knows secrets that she herself is not even aware of. A topsecret agent, known only as the Operative is tasked with bringing her back. Malcolm soon more than has his hands full with his ship The Serenity becoming the target of both the Alliance and the bloodthirsty cannibalistic Reavers. As people start dying around him he has to ask him self if one girl is worth all this trouble……
Serenity is a fun adventure filled science fiction romp. It’s a very unique take on your standard science fiction films, especially because of the setting. It really feels like a western at times which is something that really hasn’t been done much in the world of science fiction. But as usual it is the characters that make this film come alive, just like they did in the television series. Everyone from the original series reprises their roles, and it was great to see the beloved characters at work again. Malcolm played by Nathan “Castle” Fillion really steals the show. His character tries to act as tough as nails, but in between all that outward bluster, lies a heart of gold. Even though he doesn’t always show it, he really does care about all the people around him. River Tam, played by the lovely Summer Glau, is the most complex but also one of the most fun characters. I think it’s one of Summer’s best roles, as she manages to create a character that is downright scary, completely insane, but also very loveable, all at the same time.
The rest of the original cast have somewhat smaller, but no less important parts to play. I was also impressed by The Operative, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. His character always remains calm, never gets angry no matter what happens, and this makes it a very creepy and chilling man. Ejiofor’s performance definitely is spot on, and is one of the best roles from the film. The special effects are also highly worth watching this movie for. There are some great sequences both in space and on the ground, that would give bigger blockbuster movies a run for their money. Everything in this movie just looks very shiny (pun intended). The story, while certainly not the strongest point of the film, is still good enough to not just serve setting up the action, but also adds some nice twists and turns. In fact I can find very little that is wrong with this movie. If I were a bit of nitpicking guy, I could say that the pace of the film was a little bit slow in the middle. But honestly that would really be stretching things.
If you like Firefly, this movie is definitely a worthy follow up to the original series, and also serves to bring some closure to a few plotlines that were left wide open after the show got cancelled. It contains much of the same humor as well, although it does have a bit of a darker tone to it. But also if you are a sci fi fan in general this movie is highly recommended. It isn’t very often that you see a mix of two completely different genres work so well together, but Serenity manages to pull it off. And that’s it for the fourth part of the Countdown to the Last Jedi. To bring this feature to a close next up will be the Star Wars movie that started it all so many years ago: Episode IV, A New Hope. As always, thank you for reading, and boy is it good to be back to blogging again. See you all on the next post, but I will leave you with the original trailer for Serenity. Enjoy!
I give Serenity a 9 out of 10 score.