Who knows how Joss Whedon managed to get his short-lived FOX T.V. Series “Firefly” (you may recall it was
one of the 26 series mentioned in the pre-theme Family Guy list on the episode “North by North Quahog”) to become
one of the latest big-budget productions out of Hollywood, but the series known as “Firefly” is now the movie
“Serenity,” and it paints a beautiful picture of the future. “Serenity,” set 500 years in the future,
centers on Captain “Mal” Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), captain of the space ship Serenity, and his crew,
Zoe (Gina Torres), Wash (Alan Tudyk), Jayne (Adam Baldwin), and Kaylee (Jewel Staite). Together, they take on any jobs that
will pay, whether or not they are legal. When the ship takes on two new members, River Tan (Summer Glau), an unstable telepathic
17-year-old and her older brother Simon (Sean Maher), a doctor, they get into a battle with the Alliance,
the corporation that controls the galaxy, over possession of River. River, who can be an extremely powerful weapon, is hard
to control and can be set off randomly and without warning. Serenity’s crew wants to keep her from being used and the
Alliance wants to keep her from becoming a danger to the galaxy
and in order to do so, they want her to be in their possession, therefore in their control. And so the struggle begins, mainly
between the crew and a big member of The Alliance, The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor). This struggle, however, is not so much
a struggle between the Alliance and the Serenity, but the
movie’s trouble to let you know what exactly is happening.
To Whedon’s credit, he does not fool around
and jumps into the plot immediately. His job of pacing should be recognized, as he evenly distributes scenes of action, dialogue
and moments of comic relief, and although some of the humor is a bit cheesy and not too clever, it’s enough to help
keep the watcher entertained with what is happening. The only real problem is that since this is based on Whedon’s T.V.
Show “Firefly,” there already has been a plot in place, and those who are not familiar with the show that got
yanked by Fox after only 15 episodes will likely be confused.
going into the plot so quickly, writer-director Joss Whedon spends no time for introductions and hopes that his audience will
simply go along for the ride, but that’s hard to do when set 500 years in the future with inter-galactic travel being
as common as white on rice (assuming you don’t like brown rice). For example, Morena Baccarin’s character Inara
is introduced with almost no explanation or backstory, and while you can understand her character’s relation to Captain
Mal, there is so much unanswered between the two that the way they interact cannot tell anything because no one knows what
hidden interactions one should be looking for. There is a tension and compassion between the two that goes completely over
the viewer’s head because Joss Whedon takes his two hours of the film called “Serenity” and turns it into
the 16th episode of the “Firefly” series. This goes on throughout the whole film so that the time you
spend in the cinema watching it feels either too short or too long because it seems like so little is happening since the
dialogue is heavily plot related.
Overall, the movie does give one some interesting
things to see. Some of the humor is quotable and there are some cool moments, whether or not you can understand what is going
on. One can see that beneath the surface, Joss Whedon has created something brilliant, if only he would let us watch it. If
you were a fan of the show when it was on, go and see this movie. If you saw the preview and thought it looked good or at
least decent, you should find something to enjoy about this movie. If you don’t understand it afterward, go out and
get the DVDs, they clear up quite a bit. If you didn’t like the preview, don’t bother with this and go do something
else. I give Serenity 6.5 out of 10.