[Movie Review] Serenity

00240_001Starring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk
Director: Joss Whedon
Genre: Sci-Fi
Cert: 15
Released: 2005

After losing an inter-galactic war to The Alliance, a crew of rebels, captained by Mal (Fillion), drift through space in their spaceship, Serenity, making money from occasional robberies. Since aiding their doctor, Simon (Maher), rescue his psychic sister, River (Glau), from The Alliance they have been keeping a low profile. It soon becomes apparent that River knows something The Alliance don’t want anyone else to know and, led by a mysterious operative (Ejiofor), they will go to any lengths to get her back. The code word “Miranda” unlocks part of the mystery but Mal must put a value on doing the right thing.

“Serenity” could have gone unnoticed given its humble beginnings of a cancelled TV show – “Firefly” – with low ratings. Writer/director Joss Whedon stayed loyal to the show’s characters, hiring the nine main actors for the movie version. The downside of this is that the transition to the big screen does not always work given that the cast is largely a stereotypical ragtag collection. Having said that, it’s no worse than other films of this ilk (“Alien Versus Predator”, “Aliens”, “Event Horizon” etc).

Whedon should be praised for maximising the relatively humble $40m budget that Universal gave him (indeed the movie barely broke even). The space scenes are believable, the cinematography is a triumph and the pacing of the script (which he wrote) is just about spot on. The plot won’t tax you but the payoff is satisfying and in Nathan Fillion Whedon has a surprisingly strong main character who grows in stature as the movie goes on.

Probably one of the better Sci-Fi movies of recent times.


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