The addition of quietly dangerous Chiwetel Ejiofor as an Alliance Operative provides a menacing new story arc. River's programmed badassery is brought to fruition but still mindfucky, and a couple characters receive heartbreaking yet honorable discharges. Jewel Staite as the plucky Kaylee and Adam Baldwin as the mercenary Jayne seem the weak links in this reunion - somewhat phoning in their once naive and sociopathic charm, respectively.
While you could see this without having knowledge of the show, it is better to already come to it with some prior knowledge. So, just for the sake of fairness, here's a brief bit of back story: It's the 26th Century, and due to overpopulation, people on the Earth as we know it (Earth that once was) have branched out to colonize other places. Our protagonistys are a motley crew of petty thieves who perform jobs legal and illegal aboard their transport ship called Serenity. Besides trying to avoid the totalitarian government, they also try to avoid a group of animalistic human cannibals known as Reavers. To add to the crew's problems, they pick up a doctor and his sister, a psychic wanted by the government due to the fact that she might possess dark and dangerous secrets.
I tried to simplify that as best as I could, but it's hard, because the whole concept of the show and movie is just really deep, and really cool since it's quite literally a sci-fi western.
I loved the show, and I dug the movie quite a lot. It answers any of the lingering issues of the show, and offers a nice scenario of how the show might have progressed with the various storylines of the 9 major characters. Joss Whedon's writing is crisp, sharp, and the dialogue is just a blast to listen to.
The characters are surprisingly well developed given the circumstances (I really think the movie should have been at least 30 minutes longer), and non-fans will be able to pick up the basics of who these people are quite easily. Yes, the screen time each gets is limited, but the best is made with what they are given.
The core cast return, and they once again play their parts marvelously. They are joined by two new characters played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Krumholtz, and I liked those two a lot. I could have used a bit more of the latter, but that's a minor thing. Everyone has a great rapport with one another, and it's nice seeing these people in action again.
The film, like the show, is a good blend of wit, drama, action, and intrigue, and there's some great set pieces here as well, including finally getting to see the Reavers in action, which didn't get to happen during the show's run.
All in all, this is mainly for the fans, but it's not purely off limits to outsiders. I recommend the show before seeing this, because it's worth it in general, but also because it gives the viewer a better appreciation of things.Give this one a watch, it's quite something.
This movie should not exist. By all rights, it should not have even been conceived as a thought of making this film. How often is it that a TV show which had jack all in the ratings scale, was cancelled in the middle of one season and was filled with a cast of unknowns gets made into a film? Never, is the answer. It NEVER happens. But thank the heavens that it did, because the result is spectacular.
Serenity begins with a fantastic dream within a recording within a flashback sequence which sets the tone for the rest of the film brilliantly; a slightly neurotic, slickly versed action sci-fi which is a roller coaster ride from the start to the fantastic finish.
As we follow the story of River Tam, the empire on her tail and the rag-tag crew with whom she resides, we meet a fantastic range of characters and some fantastic action sequences, all written and directed flawlessly by Joss Whedon. The relatively unknown filmmaker shows us a flair for action and hand for writing which most people would kill for. He displays an ability to include his audience in both aspects, bringing you in on all the in-jokes and putting you squarely inside the intense action sequences like a seasoned pro. It's a testament to great things which are most certainly to come.
Each member of the cast seems to know their character inside out, a benefit from having done a TV show as 'practice' But it is Nathan Fillion who you will remember most here. His career creating role as Capt. Malcolm Reynolds Is fantastic. He embodies his character at every turn, showing a fantastic grasp of the humour which permeates the film as well as showing the unpredictable, hard-nut, not-quite-honourable space pirate as well. His is a very layered performance which isn't something you would usually expect in an action/sci-fi/western. He's this decade's Han Solo for sure.
The script, as I mentioned before, is amazing. Effortlessly blending comedy and drama, it manages to streer clear of cheese and actually effect you in some cases. It is written perfectly for each character as well, not just in their different phrases but to do with their states of mind and their beliefs. The actual plot line is great too. Instead of being a forgettable excuse to have these great characters onscreen, the plot will actually have you thinking by the end.
The CG is fantastic. On a par with Iron Man in terms of camera work and photorealism, blending seamlessly with the directorial style of Whedon in the first place, making it feel a part of the film and thus more real, which should be the aim of all CG. The action sequences are incredible. I may have mentioned this quickly before, but they truly are spectacular, especially one sequence in which River takes on a bar full of people by herself.
Serenity Is a fantastically entertaining film which should, if all goes to plan, propel much of the cast into instant fame. And all hail Nathan Fillion.
Mal investigates Inara's cry for help, and gets more than he bargained. That or the climactic scene with River and Mal and the crew all fighting different enemies.
Wash: "This landing is gonna get pretty interesting." Mal: "Define interesting." Wash: "Oh God, oh God we're all gonna die?" Mal: "This is the captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then - explode."
Mal: "You all wanna be looking very intently at your own belly buttons. I see a head start to rise, violence is going to ensue. Probably guessed we mean to be thieving here but what we're after is not yours. So, let's have no undue fussing."
The Operative: "Do you know what you're sin is?"
Mal: "What was that?"
Wash: "I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar."
Mal: "Do you want to run this ship?" Jayne: "Yes." Mal: "Well... you can't."