Do you remember my objective review of the series “Firefly” (“In case you don’t remember, you wrote the review so ‘objectively’ and ‘professionally’ that everyone thought someone paid you… which is even sadder for you, no one pays you for this embarrassment on your blog…” – note of the subconscious)? Well, we’re just going to continue from there with a review of the movie “Serenity.” 😁
“Serenity” simply had to happen. After its cancellation, the series “Firefly” quickly gained cult status. However, gaining cult status is not the same as making a ton of money and having high viewership (one of the main reasons for the cancellation of any series), so the film’s budget wasn’t substantial. Well, it was nice that the bigwigs at Universal Studios acquired the rights to the film from FOX and decided to place their trust in Joss Whedon… but like all big-shot executives, they easily give their trust, they’ll even give you a family member if necessary, but they’re tougher with their money… so in the end, the film received only 2/5 of the intended budget (which was much smaller than what the series had). Well, with some restrained CGI, a bit of glue, some shopping for props at local Chinese store, a mule instead of an engine that you attach to the spacecraft, a few prostitutes instead of extras, catering from Mexican fast food restaurant, and the mechanic Bob … the film’s budget somehow fell into place.
What’s happening now?
Several months have passed since the events of the last episode. Our five-member crew… oh yeah, now there are five of them! Pastor has settled on a poor planet where he helps the local population, and the beautiful goddess of tenderness, the angel of goodness, and the talented businessman Inara has distanced herself from the crew because of her falling out with “Captain” Malcom Reynolds, for which it’s pretty obvious that this scoundrel of a “captain” is to blame, and they separated because this idiot of a “captain” couldn’t understand the presence of such a wonderful angel on his dilapidated spaceship that seemed more rundown than the neighbor’s Fiat with both rear tires slashed, to the heartless motherf****r ( “Ahem! I think it’s clear to everyone that you have a crush on the actress, but did you forget who she played in the series?” – note of the subconscious)… uh… Mal and Inara drifted apart due to a misunderstanding…
Well, Mal believes it’s a good idea to take our little oddball River on a bank heist (which her brother and doctor, Simon, strongly oppose) because they’ve realized that her skills of reading minds and body language of other people can be of great use. It turns out that River did indeed prove to be valuable to our little band of robbers as she managed to foresee the sudden Reaver attack on that part of the planet, allowing the team to escape at the last moment. Yes, dear readers, you read that correctly. We finally come face to face with the mysterious cannibalistic Reavers who kidnap people and then rape, torture, flay, kill, and eat them (not necessarily in that order).
After the team barely escapes with their lives, Simon becomes infuriated (a mild word) because they jeopardized his sister’s life, and after a brief argument (again, a mild word), he decides that he and his sister will leave this crew and go their separate ways, just as long as they share the loot from the heist and land on the first safe planet (Bomond).
However, despite going their separate ways, they accidentally run into each other again at the same bar. At the moment when Mal and Jayne are discussing how to divide the loot with their clients, our River becomes fixated on a silly animated commercial jingle for some fruit bars (or something like that). What happens next is quite intriguing: it’s as if an evil spirit possesses our River at that moment, which appears to be a combination of a frustrated ballerina, Bruce Lee, and a berserk machinery. This allows the skinny girl of about 40 kg to (gracefully and ruthlessly at the same time) beat up everyone in the bar, effortlessly and without a scratch. Keep in mind, this isn’t a bar full of children; these are adults, many of whom could break every bone in your body faster than you could spell your own name, even if your name is Joe. Just as she’s about to shoot Mal, her brother rushes in and exclaims, “Eto kuram nasmekh” (not English, not Chinese, but Russian, of all languages), causing River to collapse as if in a coma. What does our reunited crew learn from Dr. Simon? The Alliance has “programmed” key words and signals into many young people they trained to be killers (including River), turning your friendly cashier from the local store into a vengeful demon, something that even Terminator would probably have nightmares about having.
And things get complicated from that moment on (“Thank God, so far it’s all been fun and games” – note of the subconscious). The “Alliance” has discovered River after months of searching and now wants to capture her at any cost, sending their enforcer about whom we have no information, except that he’s a fanatic and a rather troublesome opponent (in the head especially). And this mysterious enforcer reunites the lovely goddess Inara with our crew.
What is the final mission of our crew? Well, from River’s babbling, they learn about the existence of “Miranda.” Soon, they discover that it is none other than a planet whose existence the “Alliance” has been hiding all these years. And they set out for that planet. The journey to that planet will reveal some very important answers. But will there be a happy ending for our crew? Who knows…
Although the budget was definitely smaller than what it was for the series, the people who worked on the film “Serenity” managed to do quite well in maintaining the quality in terms of the audio-visual aspect. Don’t expect a masterpiece just because it’s a film, but you won’t notice much (maybe not at all) of a difference compared to the series.
Whedon’s original script covered a lot, but a lot had to be “cut” and removed to fit into the runtime of an average movie. So many will feel like they’re watching a longer episode of “Firefly,” which is not a drawback at all, as time will fly by incredibly fast. And most importantly, the film attempts to explain an aspect of the “Alliance” and the Reavers that was only briefly mentioned in the original series.
The acting and actors… no complaints here, and I won’t dwell on this topic much (you can find everything about the actors here). The only thing I would add is that there’s a greater emphasis on Malcom Reynolds here (we’ll have the opportunity to see a bit more of that other, more ruthless and colder side of his personality, which he tried to keep buried in his past, i.e., during his time as a rebel fighter) and River (who gets her moment to shine… or maybe it’s better to say, beats up everything in her path), and even the new mysterious unnamed enforcer exhibits some pretty interesting behavior (and the actor who later became famous for this film… in fact, this gentleman has so many awards and nominations that he had to have a special Wikipedia page dedicated to it!).
All in all, this turned out to be a very good film that fans of the series will enjoy. As for the others… well, I recommend that you watch the series first, you can even read the review, and then dive into this film. 🙂
Will “Firefly” and “Serenity” have a sequel? Maybe someday in the future. If someone is willing to invest, Whedon and company would surely come together again.
Will “Firefly” and “Serenity” get a reboot? This might also happen sometime in the future. But here, the choice of actors would definitely have to be carefully considered because the chemistry among the original cast is perhaps the best aspect of the series and the film.
And to you, dear reader, how did you like the movie? 🙂
(Originally reviewed: 01/03/2020)
MDb | Rotten Tomatoes | Metacritic
Release Date: 2005
Duration: 119 minutes