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Serenity (2005)

PG-13 119 minutes

Directed by Joss Whedon
Written by Joss Whedon

 · Nathan Fillion
 · Gina Torres
 · Alan Tudyk
 · Morena Baccarin
 · Adam Baldwin

Review by Philter

Joss Whedon brings his short lived cult TV series Firefly to the big screen in a big way. Serenity came out of no where for me. I didn't catch the few episodes that aired on Fox. Fox made a game out of airing Firefly, airing episodes out of order and pretty much whenever they wanted, so it'scancellation, while tragic, didn't come as a surprise. Universal was classy enough to pick up the property rights and pretty much let Joss do what Joss does best. Paint the movie screen with beautiful visuals and a creative, original writing style. Backed by a full returning cast, plus my first glimpse of Chiwetle Ejiofor, and the minor part for David Kromholitz Serenity isn't just a movie for sci-fi fans, it's a movie for anyone who likes something new.




The ensemble cast for Serenity has more chemistry than any cast I have ever seen. Our Captain, Malcom Reynolds, is played by Nathon Fillion. Fillion was Cheri's boyfriend on the short lived Two Guys and a Girl series, he also played Caleb in the final season of Buffy. It took Firefly/Serenity for people to see his true potential as a leading man. Now it's hard to see him as anything else. Similar to Robert Downey Jr, Fillion has a particular swagger that makes you like him even when he's not doing nice things. He nails the role of directionless, think on the fly leader. Second in command Zoe (Gina Torres) and husband/pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk) provide the show with a touch of sensitivity. At the end of a gun fighting, reaver evading day these two are believable as a couple that never let anything affect their love for one another. Inara (Morena Baccarin) provides the movie with romantic interest for the Captain. Inara and Mal share the same unspoken romance/chemistry that Han Solo and Leia had in A New Hope and the first half of Empire Strikes Back. Resident tough guy Jayne (Adam Baldwin - no relation to Alec) provides an element of conflict within the ship. Jayne's morals, or lack there of, become a source of question. Kaylee (Jewel Staite) fills the spot of mechanic and sweetheart of the show. Kaylee is the character that can bring the movie to light when it's in dark place. Simon Tamm (Seah Maher) is the ships doctor; a spot he accepted in exchange to keep his sister turned science experiment, River (Summer Glau), out of the hands of the alliance. Summer is the glue that holds the movie together. River is awkward, telepathic, and sometimes psychotic, but Summer still makes you feel sympathy for her through her facial expressions and flawless dialogue delivery. Of coarse all of the actors benifit from having genius material written for them.




If you are familiar with Joss Whedon it goes without saying that the film industry needs more talent like him. Some examples of his work include Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, Angel, and Toy Story. He crafts dialogue that just flows from scene to scene. Serenity has a weird, kind of proper, way about the dialogue but it is so beautiful and so intelligent that it becomes second nature to the ears. Through his words he crafts scenes that can take you through an assortment of emotions effortlessly. Unlike fellow, genius, dialogue writer Kevin Smith, Joss will film his dialogue in the middle of a huge action sequence. There is not a moment in Serenity where you feel bored because the camera hasn't moved for 10 minutes.

Joss shows us a future that is reasonably realistic. After Earth becomes overpopulated we search other worlds to colonize. While we do see some more technologically advanced worlds in the show, Serenity keeps more to the outer brim, behind the times planets. It's very reminiscent of A New Hope's Tattoine in that sense. There are obvious advancements from toady's technologies, yet the whole world wasn't glossy and polished. It's these touches of reality that really connect you to the story. Firefly/Serenity marks the first sci-fi movie I have seen to not have sound in space. This made a huge impression on me. Movies like Star Wars, Star Trek, Independence Day and countless other space movies always include over the top, loud sounds while in space. This is not possible because there is no atmosphere or oxygen to produce sound. I must give credit to David Newman in this movie for giving the space scenes a warmth with his score. He really captures everything that we cant hear through the music.



Serenity isn't just a science fiction movie made for die hard fans of the short lived tv show. When I went into this movie I had no idea what Firefly was, and I didn't have to. The movie fills in any gaps that could have been caused by it's transition to the big screen. This movie not only stands firmly in the top sci-fi movies of all time, but stands firmly as a great film, with great performances, and great writing.

840 Words Published: 1 July 2009

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