Film Review – Serenity
Directed and written by Joss Whedon.Certificate 15.
ONE OF MY top five films of 2005. Darker in overall tone to its TV incarnation ‘Firefly’, it gives some indication, in narrative trems, to the direction that show might have taken, had the Fox network not prematurely pulled th plug in the US. ‘Firefly’ only finished its first run on the SciFi Channel in the UK.
‘Firefly’ fans will love it but viewers encountering Mal Reynolds and his crew for the first time won’t be left in the dark. That said, those expecting an extended episode of the old show will be a little disappointed, as cetain characters key to the show are somewhat sidelined. This, though, works to the overall advantage of the movie as it allows the plot to unfold unburdened by innecessary baggage.
In ‘Firefly’ Whedon reasoned that the far future won’t be that much different to today, and his spacemen – there are no aliens or bug-eyed monsters – are settlers, farmers and thieves. This view is extended here. What conflict exists in the film arises out of a bloody-minded will to oppose a well-intentioned but aggressively authoritarian government determined to impose its idealised view of the universe on its subjects using whatever means available to achieve it’s aims. It’s not a clear-cut attack on the moronic insular world-view of Bush and his cronies and their ‘War on Terror’ but it’s pretty close.
It’s also a film about culpability and responsibility in which the characters actually have characters. Nathan Fillian is in fine form as Mal Reynolds and Chewetal Ejiofor is an interesting villian. The stand-out performance comes, though, from Summer Glau as the disturbed savant, River. Sympathetic yet unsettling, she has a rare grace on screen – perhaps on account of an initial background in ballet – which makes the obligatory fight scenes (as complicated kick-ass gals - a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer - are something of an obsession for Wheldon) quite astonishing to watch.
There’s plenty of lovely extras on the DVD release which any Browncoat will really love.
Nathan Fillion – MalGine Torres – ZoeAlan Tudyk – WashMorena Baccarin – InaraAdam Baldwin – JayneJewel Staite – KayleeSean Maher – SimonSummer Glau – RiverRon Glass – Shepherd BookChiwetel Ejiofor – The OperativeDavid Krumholtz – Mr UniverseMichael Hitchcock – Dr MathiasSarah Paulson – Dr Caron