Serenity was a 2005 Sci-Fi/Western film and first feature film from director Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Born from the ashes of cancelled TV show Firefly, Serenity was a climax to the series.
Set in 2517, the galaxy is under the control of The Alliance. Years after a war between the Alliance and the Brown Coats, one ship is still working under Alliance radar. Taking odd smuggling and theft jobs, the crew consists of Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion – Super, Saving Private Ryan), Zoe Washburne (Gina Tores – Hannibal, The Matrix: Revolutions), Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne (Alan Tudyk – Dodgeball, Tucker and Dale vs Evil), Kaylee Frye (Jewel Saite – Flash Forward, Higher Ground), Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin – Independance Day, Full Metal Jacket) and fugitives Simon Tam (Sean Maher – Brian’s Song, The Drive from Clausen’s Pier) and his younger sister, River (Summer Glau – Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Batman/Superman: Apocalypse). After Simon rescued his younger sister from the Alliance’s experiments and joining the crew of Serenity. An Alliance agent, known only as The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor – American Gangster, Salt) is on the trail of the fugitives with the intent to kill River. When the crew discover the hard way of what it was that the Alliance did to River’s mind, they discover a horrible secret hidden away on an abandoned planet which could put an end to the Alliance.
The film is balanced well between action, drama and comedy. Any fan of the original series will adjust well to the silver screen outing of Captain Reynolds and his crew. Much of the comedic value comes from Jayne just as it did in the series. Due to the nature of the film being a close-all to the story, the drama hits harder than it could in the series. The visual effects also are greatly improved from the series due to the higher budget.
The cinematography of the film is beautifully done, especially in the wide shots of space and opening credits sequence; a long take which follows Mal calmly walking through the ship, speaking to various members of his crew as they prepare for a harsh landing. Stand out performances come from the vast majority of the cast, most notably when compared to the series is Summer Glau who plays River Tam. During the original run, Summer never had her full 15 minutes of fame. Though there were odd moments, the film shows Summer’s true potential. Alan Tudyk also provides much drama and comedy in the film as the ships pilot which shows him in a light that many have possibly never seen him in. But if anything can be said about the cast as a whole, it’s that they “aim to misbehave”.