Firefly : Serenity review

2005 / cinema

spin-off film from Firefly TV series

SF elements

cowboy thieves in space


[strange desert gear]


Now that's how to turn a TV series into a spin-off movie (ignoring the fact that the TV series itself was shamefully pulled after only a half season). Minimal backstory -- barely enough to clue in the newcomers, and new enough to intrigue the fans -- plunging straight into the action -- with a good strong plot to carry us along.


The film follows on immediately from the TV episodes, and has all the characters from there. The eeeevil Alliance has discovered that River might know some uncomfortable secrets about them, so have sent a very creepy assassin after her. Of course, River doesn't know that she knows the secret, until the assassin tries to find her, at which point she turns into a major killing machine. So the race is on to expose the secret, with lots of fighting and explosions and bodies along the way. And also lots of moral dilemmas and interesting character interactions amongst the crew, all still leavened with Joss Whedon's trademark snappy dialogue. [assassin to Mal: "You can't make me angry, you know." Inara "Try spending an hour with him."]

[the gang]

And it looks as though this has been a wider hit that just with the loyal fan-base -- which augers well for a second movie. It's deeply ironic how the myth of plucky pioneers fighting off evil overbearing big government interfering in their freedom to live the way that they want seems to strike such a deep approving resonance.

Rating: 2.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 15 October 2005