"I'm going to grant your greatest wish. I'm gonna show you a world without sin."
Serenity was Joss Whedon's first feature film after experiencing a series of success as a writer and a TV director. Whedon's recent success with The Avengers made me want to go back and watch his earlier work which has a pretty solid fanbase. It has become somewhat of a cult film and it is an adaptation of Whedon's TV series Firefly which was only aired for one season despite having a decent amount of followers. The events in Serenity take place six months after the last episode of Firefly and shares the same cast as well. I never watched an episode of Firefly but had no trouble understanding the plot of this sci-fi film, but I would guess fans of the series will take greater pleasure in this movie. It is pretty easy to follow and despite a very slow beginning the film does pick up and has a very climatic ending. I thought the film was ok, the characters were pretty funny, but I didn't really find anything that stood out in order for me to consider this a classic. It was a decent sci-fi film, but I didn't find anything special about it beside the great sense of humor it has about itself. The characters are pretty strong and well developed, but the effects are pretty weak. I enjoyed this film, but it didn't blow my mind. Whedon also does a pretty decent job with the narrative of the film and wrote a solid and imaginative screenplay.
Serenity takes place in the future, in the 26th century, after humans had to abandon Earth due to overpopulation and they discovered new galaxies where they were able to establish themselves. After a civil war between the Alliance and the rebels known as Independents, the Alliance came out victorious and colonized the entire galaxy. The surviving rebels continue to drift across the galaxy, and among them is the crew of Serenity. Their captain is Mal (Nathan Fillon) who fought for the rebels during the civil war. His first mate who also fought with him in the war is Zoe (Gena Torres), who happens to be married to the pilot, Wash (Alan Tudyk). Among the rest of the crew there is the mechanic, Kaylee (Jewel Staite) and the gunman, Jayne (Adam Baldwin). The crew wonder the galaxy trying to survive by doing jobs (including some illegal and criminal activities) or taking along passengers. One of the recent passengers they pick up are Simon (Sean Maher) and his sister River (Summer Glau). They soon find out that River has special psychic abilities and that she is being hunted down by the Alliance and one of their trackers (Chiwetel Ejiofor) thus putting in jeopardy the entire crew, and so the action begins.
Nathan Fillion is a pretty strong lead and he gives a very charismatic performance. He is better known now as the lead in the TV series, Castle, but fans of Firefly and Serenity will forever remember him as the tough captain with a clever mouth. The rest of the cast is pretty strong thanks in most part to the inventive screenplay by Whedon. He is a great screenwriter and is known for creating some interesting narratives and memorable characters. The action in the second half of the film is pretty strong as well but it really took a long time to get going. Summer Glau has some pretty interesting action sequences, but the highlight of the film is the face off between the tracker and Mal. This sci-fi film mixes some western elements to it as well. Despite all this Serenity wasn't quite the classic I was expecting, but I still had a good time. Whedon's The Avengers is a much stronger film and you can tell how much he has matured as a director.