The crew of the Serenity is getting desperate. They have lain lower and lower to protect their doctor, Simon Tam, and his telepathic traumatized little sister, River, from the alliance, whom he rescued her from a year earlier. This has made getting jobs harder and now they are desperate. When they take River on a robbery during which Reavers (humans who have gone crazy and turned into cannibals) attack, Simon decides that its time to leave the crew of the Serenity for his and River's safety. She then mutters "Miranda" and goes berserk and nearly shoots Capt. Malcolm Reynolds, until her brother says the safety word to put her to sleep. Reynolds decides to take them back on board for safety, only now an alliance operative is on their tracks and making Reynolds determined to find out what "Miranda" is and what the Alliance is hiding.
Directed by: Joss Whedon
. Starring: Nathan Fillion
, Gina Torres
, Alan Tudyk
, Morena Baccarin
, Adam Baldwin
, Jewel Staite
, Sean Maher
, Summer Glau
, Ron Glass
, Chiwetel Ejiofor
, David Krumholtz
, Michael Hitchcock
, Sarah Paulson
. Music by: David Newman
Prior to watching, I'd read some of the non-spoilery reviews by both Firefly fans and non-fans alike, who spoke about the quality of the film -' ranging from some who were disappointed at the story, but praised the quality, others who were mildly surprised and entertained, and some who were all-out gushing and falling all over themselves with praise. Now I'm trying to come up with more accurate words than "WOW" to describe my experience, but even after having seen it now seven times, I'm still indescribably appreciative of what Joss and this truly outstanding cast has accomplished.
I know, having seen this multiple times makes me appear like a rabid fanboy. But any supreme praise I give also respects the gravity of the content, and what it means for these characters we have come to know and adore over the series Firefly. It is something that is hard to verbally do justice. I can say that this IS one of the best films I have ever seen. Not just sci-fi or action. One of the best FILMS. Period.
The movie starts as soon as the Universal logo appears. I mean it STARTS and grabs the audience from the get-go. I was enthralled for the next 2 hours. I swear to God. The setup is artfully done -' a very nice recap for the Firefly fans, but also a superb succinct introduction into this 'verse for the Firefly virgins. The average moviegoer can watch this film as a self-contained plot and be thoroughly entertained -' as was proved by comments I heard from no less than 5 or 6 non-Firefly watchers after the film -' and that's just what I heard.
The pacing of Serenity is spot-on, as the circumstancesrelationships of each of the crew members are established, and the overall plot for the movie gets introduced. Again, I won't give spoilery information away, but Joss's ability to tie in what we should know about the characters of River and Simon, and their place among the rest of the crew, to the big, big mystery behind what really happened to River and what she knows is just amazing. Some of the shooting of the sets and actors -' with some hand-heldsteady-cam -' is reminiscent of the series, but with a harder, edgier tone. And the lighting of the charactersscenes marks the biggest differences between the show and this film, IMO. There is a blue-ish hue to many of the indoor scenes, and the contrasting of light and dark is stark at times. It makes for an impending-doom vibe that works well to establish the "here-and-now" immediacy of the danger all of these people are in. It's hard to accurately explain, but easier to understand if you see the film. And also, Joss makes damn good use of his less-than-$50-million budget. Some of the space flightbattle scenes are as good as anything to come out of Lucasfilm or ILM. There are less of them, naturally, but each one sure counts. I was simply blown away by how integral to the story all the visual effects are. Nothing is wasted here just for "the pretty".
I'm not going to summarize the story or what happens to the characters, but I will definitely say that the outcome of this film will profoundly affect the way you view these characters, and reminisce upon Firefly as a series forever. There is almost a sort of paradigm-shift in the way these characters will view their world from now on, and how they will respond to the threats posed to them. Joss goes for the jugular as well as the heart-strings, and he succeeds wildly -' more than I even suspected he might. There are moments that keep you on the edge of your seat with the action; moments that make you laugh out loud with the sharp wit and sarcasm that permeates all of Joss's dialogue; moments that make you nervous with anticipation of "what can possibly happen next?"; moments that will make you gasp and cringe with delight, surprise, shock and horror; and moments that will make you cry, with a feeling of your emotional center being completely ripped out of your chest, turned upside down, and stomped on a few times. At least, for the Firefly fans, I think this is how you may feel. Knowing these characters as well as I do, I commend the confidence and just plain guts that Joss shows in where he chooses to take this story.
And I would be remiss if I did not mention that I cannot give enough credit to the cast. None of these players are major film stars, and few of them have ever even had much success on television. But you would never know it by the nuances shown here. There are steady progressions and evolutions that viewers of the series will be able to see in each of them. Their respective journeys on and off Serenity have culminated them all into the people we see here, and all of the roles are brought to the larger-than-life silver screen with heart, and a true emotional investment into what happens to each of them.
When Joss has said in interviews that this is the hardest thing he has ever had to write, I completely believe him. He is essentially condensing a couple of television seasons' worth of story arcs into a jam-packed 2 hour feature. That kind of task is monumental, in order to satisfy the die-hard Firefly fans, while at the same time initiating a brand new audience, not getting them lost in this 'verse in the process. For everything that he was able to accomplish on both of those fronts with Serenity, I think this is just about the best work -' film or TV -' that he has ever done.
Even after multiple viewings, I still get stunned with awe.
Review by clarkkent179 from the Internet Movie Database.