Friday, October 07, 2005


Serenity is a movie that should never have been made. In 2002 it was a doomed television show called Firefly that was allowed to make only 12 episodes before getting the axe. Never mind it had a rabid following, critics loved it, or Joss Whedon, the man behind the popular shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, created it.

In a way, Serenity is a landmark kind of movie because fans of Firefly were so fanatical about the show—they wanted justice. They wanted the story to continue whether on another channel or the big screen. They called themselves “Brownshirts” and immobilized themselves on the Internet. Three years later Serenity arrives in theatres everywhere. Can it please the already on board Brownshirts and new people as well? The answer is a resounding yes.

I was a fan of Firefly but had my doubts regarding the movie. I was worried it was going to be a rehashing of the series plot just ramped up to “movie” size for people who hadn’t seen the show. Early on in the film, these concerns were gone and I got to just enjoy the story and the characters I wasn’t expecting to see again.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, that’s kind of a space western” or something similar? Serenity is that space western. Even though it’s set hundreds of years in the future—this is a western. Serenity has that same pluck and spirit of westerns of yore and use slang, speech mannerisms, technology and weapons that have a direct connection to the old west.

The story concerns a rag-tag group of individuals who scrape along by doing petty robbery and illegal freight running to isolated outposts at the edge of a planetary system’s frontier. Their ship (named Serenity after a defeat in a war that several of the crew were involved in and are still haunted by) is a bit dodgy and rundown. Their survival depends on the success of their next job—legal or otherwise.

They bring along passengers from time to time and they happen to have a doozy with them in a young, damaged girl named River. River can read minds. River is also a killing machine who the ruling planetary government wants to get rid of. A ruthless assassin is dispatched to slaughter the crew and anyone who stands in the way of getting to River.

That’s the gist of the story but Serenity is so much more. Serenity deserves to be seen. It’s leap years better than the over-hyped mess that has become of the Star Wars franchise and other middle of the road science fiction releases.

Serenity is interesting, funny, smart, surprising and exciting science fiction and should please anyone whether you want lots of action and space explosions or if you want great characters. It’s just a great story that was a great television show and now it’s a great movie. Thanks Brownshirts, I owe you one for letting us see more of the crew of the Serenity.

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