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Overall Rating
4.18

Awesome56.99%
Worth A Look: 21.32%
Just Average: 11.03%
Pretty Crappy: 4.41%
Sucks: 6.25%

15 reviews, 182 user ratings


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Serenity
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by EricDSnider

"Better than at least two 'Star Wars' films I can think of."
5 stars

"Serenity" proves what many of us have always believed, which is that given the chance, Joss Whedon can write and direct better than nearly anyone in Hollywood. And he's ... gasp ... a TV guy!

His shows "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly" inspired much geekiness, to be sure, but no nerdery is required to enjoy "Serenity," a ridiculously smart and funny sci-fi Western space adventure that picks up where the short-lived "Firefly" left off.

I come at the film almost as a novice, having watched only the first few episodes of "Firefly." I don't know whether that series' hardcore fans will love the movie, though I suspect they will. What is certain is that admirers of great stories of heroes and semi-heroes who do battle with evil while engaging in witty conversation will find much to enjoy here. Picture "Star Wars" mixed with, I don't know, something really intelligent and witty and you've got "Serenity."

A few hundred years hence, the galaxy has come to parallel the American Old West. You have your central planets that all operate under the Alliance, a well-intentioned organization that has become corrupt and bureaucratic; and you have your outer planets, the lawless ones on the frontiers of space, barely settled and resisting Alliance efforts to bring them into the fold. These planets, to bring home the comparison, are full of futuristic saloons and decorated in sagebrush. Outlaws, of which there are many, carry laser guns as well as the old-fashioned bullet kind.

One of these outlaws is Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a Han Solo mercenary type with a rickety spaceship, a small crew, and a staunch position of self-preservation. The ship is called Serenity, and there's no word on whether it came by that name ironically. Despite the best efforts of mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite) and pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk), most landings are borderline crashes -- not helped by the fact that they're usually on the run from whomever they've just robbed. (All for clients, of course. They don't steal for their own purposes.)

Wash's wife Zoe (Gina Torres) is Mal's first mate, and the muscle -- Mal's Chewbacca, I suppose -- is Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin), whose mouthy insubordination is indicative of the level of respect the captain gets from his crew. Jayne is particularly vocal against the two freeloaders currently onboard: Simon Tam (Sean Maher), who has some training as a doctor; and his sister River (Summer Glau), a 17-year-old psychic who has begun to display psychotic tendencies.

Simon rescued River from an Alliance-run facility, and anyone who annoys the Alliance is a friend of Mal's. Still, it means Mal must add the Alliance to the list of people who are constantly chasing him. River's presence is a burden, in other words, made worse by her sudden and seemingly unprovoked whirlwind of butt-kicking in a saloon.

Meanwhile, there is a nameless assassin (Chiwetel Ejiofor), smooth of voice and cold of demeanor, who has slain many people in his quest to get to River. There is something in her mind, perhaps stored in her memory, perhaps dealing with whatever the Alliance was doing to her in that facility, that is of importance to him.

The Serenity crew tend toward the cowardly, with running and hiding as a frequent game plan, and no qualms about fighting dirty when fighting is inevitable. This is plenty funny, of course, and for as thrilling and action-packed as the movie is, it's pretty hilarious, too. (One thing we Whedon fans admire about him is his ability to combine heroics, adventure and humor, even in the same scene.) But the movie's arc for these characters has them slowly developing a sense of justice and rightness, an acceptance of life's uncertainties coupled with the realization that just because they don't have all the answers doesn't mean they can't believe in something.

It's Mal, as the protagonist, whose psyche is most at center-stage, and it's a little troubling. He's so single-mindedly selfish and mercenary that his eventual slight change of heart may be too little, too late. When the film's over, you may remember him as a jerk -- an entertaining one, sure, and a cool character, but ultimately a creep. I get the feeling that's not what Whedon intended.

What Whedon surely did intend are the many touches that remind us of "Star Wars," "Star Trek," Whedon's own "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" -- heck, one scene is straight out of a zombie flick, as our heroes are besieged by a posse of bloodthirsty humans called Reavers. Yet nothing in the film feels derivative. Where it is reminiscent of other sci-fi icons, it seems to be in homage, always enlivened by Whedon's wit and astute visual sense. "Serenity" is completely fresh, perhaps the best sci-fi film this year, and one of the better ones of any genre.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12621&reviewer=247
originally posted: 09/30/05 02:58:57
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival For more in the 2006 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.
TV to Screen: For more in the TV to Screen series, click here.

User Comments

11/30/13 KALUNAKIMO SERENITY ROCKS! BROWNCOATS UNITE!! WHEDON RULES!!! 5 stars
10/04/12 mike miller A must see for any Firefly fan(like myself.) 5 stars
3/08/12 fuzzylizard Intelligent without being highbrow: characters discover simple but powerful message 5 stars
9/23/11 psychoillogic expressing anything positive about this flick exposes ones lack of movieviewing experience 1 stars
8/08/11 WENDY Not quite the ending I wanted but better than nothing 4 stars
1/09/10 Ben C Big fan, saw the movie without having seen the series went out and got the seriies 5 stars
11/03/09 Kurtis Serenity is a great conclusion to the short-lived series. Touching and exciting. 5 stars
9/12/09 Miriam This film is absolutely brilliant! It's funny, slick, emotional, and awesome! 5 stars
7/19/09 Leonis Boring and overrated! 8 on IMBD! Nerds/Buffy fans need to get a life or get laid! 2 stars
10/09/08 man huh? 1 stars
6/22/08 J Black OK, like the series better. Wish Firefly hadn't been cancelled 4 stars
5/06/08 Neil Foster If only everyone who saw it had watched ALL the Firefly eps first ! 5 stars
3/29/08 Chiya Recently discovered firefly. serenity was mostly just mal &river, but brilliant. Shiny. 5 stars
12/09/07 Russell Liscomb Note how everyone giving it one star has poor grammar skills and no valid argument? 5 stars
11/26/07 dude boring and confusing 1 stars
11/21/07 fools♫gold I agree with all who like this. And only people who give it 5 stars like it! :P 5 stars
10/04/07 Akbar For Firefly fans only, otherwise boring soap opera tripe 2 stars
10/01/07 JohnnyFaye Melcom Renolds is a great caption you, a man you can follow. 4 stars
7/21/07 ben dover amazing fuck off lucas you fat cunt 5 stars
7/16/07 Andy Just brilliant, and shiny to boot 5 stars
7/02/07 Transid Great admiration for Firefly, but dissapointed in this 2 stars
6/16/07 Tom Lifelong Star Wars fan, but sorry folks... Firefly/Serenity takes the cake! 5 stars
5/16/07 Letter Liked It, but loved the series so something was lacking 3 stars
5/15/07 Dave Didn't like it 1 stars
5/01/07 Dude Sith was way better 1 stars
5/01/07 Tracey Chambers great movie 5 stars
4/02/07 Guido Sanchez Not the show, but pretty damn good nonetheless. 4 stars
2/09/07 -Cruden- I saw only one episode before the times started switching around and still loved the movie. 5 stars
1/31/07 Jeff Anderson A great valentine for fans of FIREFLY(long live them)& a blast. JEWEL STAITE ROCKS!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/28/06 Veritas Anyone who doesn't like this movie ought to be fed to Reavers 5 stars
11/27/06 Bella awesome awesome romp - very funny and touching. Bring on the sequel or bring back Firely 5 stars
11/26/06 sirina the story line sucked and it was way dum!! 1 stars
10/24/06 Drew G I probably have to see it again, but I wasn't blown away 3 stars
10/23/06 Browncoat If you have any brains,you loved it.If not, you don't count. 't 5 stars
10/17/06 AJ Muller in my Top 5 Best Flicks Ever.(seen 1 ep. before this)simply KILLER 5 stars
10/14/06 Ron Newbold There should be penalties for Fox cancelling the TV series! But the movie is fantastic 5 stars
9/06/06 Booksworm SPECTACULAR! CAN BE ENJOYED BY FIREFLY FANS AND BRIANORNDORF ALIKE! 5 stars
8/25/06 michael just wish it was still on TV 5 stars
8/21/06 fozzybear loved the series,loved the film.if you don't get it,you never will!! 5 stars
8/13/06 Sharon pretty good I didnt expect much but it was awsome 5 stars
8/05/06 nicklor24 great movie, great action, they need to make a second one or bring back firefly 5 stars
5/22/06 sarah h can be made better 1 stars
5/19/06 UnpluggedCrazy Pretty much the best movie ever made. I may be biased, yes, but it's still impressive. 5 stars
5/03/06 ES Didn't make it thru this one. Bad acting, strained humur and no one worth mentioning in it 1 stars
4/19/06 Becky I love this movie!! Go browncoats!! I have it on DVD and it really gets better every time 5 stars
4/01/06 john smith would return of the jedi worked as stand alone? Serenity is a great sequel be satisfied...! 5 stars
3/31/06 Steve Newman Not sure what to make of this - would not watch again but glad I watched it 3 stars
3/28/06 mike turned it off after 30 mins. forwarded to cool fight scene in end 2 stars
3/19/06 Marlon Absolutely endearing, engrossing and entertaining--must have more! Sequel please... 5 stars
3/08/06 daveyt bought the box-set dvds, just watched film... blown away. Cheers Joss 5 stars
3/07/06 myzzy A must See movie!! its worth every penny 5 stars
3/03/06 Kris Hall stereotypically Western and Sci Fi setting allow to sit back and enjoy the ride 5 stars
3/01/06 kaz rawked my sawks 5 stars
2/20/06 Sonja Nikolic Whedon > Lucas. This from a Firefly virgin. 5 stars
2/14/06 Perry Mason At least one space opera filmmaker puts some thought in his work. 4 stars
2/06/06 Jim Snappy dialog, good plot and special effects, lots of Buffy and Angel villains 4 stars
1/20/06 Reklc Great sci fi movie! 5 stars
12/30/05 GBFH fantastic background noise 5 stars
12/22/05 gummy Serenity is the best SciFi movie i've seen in a LONG TIME!(i nevr saw a episode of firefly) 5 stars
12/21/05 Steve Does the series justice 5 stars
12/19/05 Dan Awesome movie! Loved it. 5 stars
12/15/05 Rob Proctor This and the series from TV are incredable. 5 stars
12/02/05 Blair K. Ivey This is a good movie. Not a four-star classic but certainly worth more than "Worth a look". 5 stars
12/01/05 Marty Welll thought out and well crafteded piece of work. 5 stars
11/22/05 Guy The best space opera since...well, it's actually the best of its kind! 5 stars
11/18/05 Indrid Cold Why are all these Babalon 5/Andromeda/Farscape things exactly the same? 3 stars
11/13/05 Jade Loved it!!! Need I say more? Well, I could actually go on for pages, but I'll refrain! 5 stars
10/30/05 TRACY WILLIS IT WAS TRULY AN UNEXPECTED TRIUMP OF A MOVIE. I WAS REALLY SURPRISED. I LOVED IT. 5 stars
10/29/05 Jared excellent 5 stars
10/23/05 Pale Dim brianorndorf is a moron. Intelligent fans can have a blast with this. 5 stars
10/22/05 Lord Chu AWESOME. The best movie ever, suckers. 5 stars
10/22/05 momacress Smart and action-packed. If it starred Brad Pitt it'd be a blockbuster by now. 4 stars
10/21/05 Suzz unrelenting gore, violence, noise, bad acting and idiot dialogue 1 stars
10/20/05 Ole Man Bourbon Star Wars meets Judge Dredd meets Jason X. IT SUCKS! 1 stars
10/20/05 marajade29sm FINALLY! This is what sci-fi adventure is supposed to be! Whedon is my master now! 5 stars
10/19/05 Rob G With DVD sales this will be in profit easy. Helloooo sequel! 5 stars
10/18/05 mike brianorndorf lacks ability to follow fast plot points. Never seen firefly, loved the movie. 5 stars
10/17/05 Bradley Timm Sci-fi is once again legitimate cinema. 5 stars
10/15/05 Walter Hillman The reviewer must be getting paid under the table. 2 stars
10/15/05 mirasol eagerly anticipated and not dissappointed! 5 stars
10/14/05 Pooly Pretty decent movie for a space drama. Check it out. 4 stars
10/13/05 Roy Smith How is this movie not making money? Fuck! 5 stars
10/13/05 Eula excellent film - I'd wanted more backstory on Book and Inara but it was still just fine! 5 stars
10/12/05 R White Best Sci-Fi for years! 5 stars
10/12/05 James K Chambliss Nice comeback for a series sadly mistreated. Send in a sequel! 5 stars
10/11/05 Elizabeth S Extremely entertaining! Cast is marvelous! 5 stars
10/10/05 jimbo CGI isn't as good as star wars serenity sucked 1 stars
10/09/05 Meritaten Pure Whedon - a breathtaking roller coaster ride from beginning to end! 5 stars
10/09/05 S Gyles THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN! 5 stars
10/09/05 DMF Not perfect, but miles better than the competition! 4 stars
10/09/05 CA Goosmann I love the crew...sign me up 5 stars
10/09/05 ajay wasn't laugh-out-loud funny, but an enjoyable esperience. 4 stars
10/07/05 Titus I vote we eliminate Star Wars I-III and replace it with Serenity. This ROCKED. 5 stars
10/07/05 Bob Roberts absolutely f*cking awesome 5 stars
10/06/05 Jef Stellar. Great action, emotional, fearful...wonderful. 5 stars
10/06/05 S McBurnie Best SF movie I've seen in years. 5 stars
10/05/05 Amy Long One hell of a ride! Really cute guys! 5 stars
10/05/05 RevRob More TV Eps Please! (plus additional movies...) 5 stars
10/05/05 Jack Handy This movie was lacking plot, acting, plot, humor, plot, script, plot. 1 stars
10/04/05 Jeremy Absolutely the best movie I have seen all year. 5 stars
10/04/05 Mark This movie sucks 1 stars
10/04/05 Vince Outstanding 5 stars
10/03/05 Jonathon Holmes Half Outlaw Star, half Cowboy Bebop, all fun 4 stars
10/03/05 Elizabeth S Great fun! Stands alone for those unfamiliar with "Firefly" 5 stars
10/03/05 Brenden Rogers The best Sci-Fi I've ever seen 5 stars
10/03/05 bob Loved it, better than most stuff lately 4 stars
10/03/05 mwr Superb movie! 5 stars
10/03/05 strider3700 Great, when's the next one comming? 5 stars
10/03/05 Lynn Huls Joss Whedon at his best! 5 stars
10/03/05 Duckman Freckin' Sweer 5 stars
10/03/05 Mike Haggar It's Like Cowboy Bebop? More like Outlaw Star. I smell a Rip Off. 1 stars
10/02/05 Bob Roberts excellent 5 stars
10/02/05 McNab any sci-fi fan should enjoy it... bring me more 4 stars
10/02/05 Chico Dude Great movie, go see it 5 stars
10/02/05 Tamara Bycroft fantastic 5 stars
10/02/05 Wally Conger I couldn't have been happier with this FIREFLY "sequel." 5 stars
10/02/05 Surfaday Totally entertained - see it!! 5 stars
10/02/05 J. Marra The best in a long, long time by a far, far piece 5 stars
10/02/05 Susan A terrific movie - more, more! 5 stars
10/02/05 Michael Y. Better than Star Wars Episodes 1-3 combined! 5 stars
10/02/05 E. Milo witty, clever, original, and as far from stifling Star Trek morality as you can get! 5 stars
10/02/05 bullit16 Joss Whedon is a god. Best movie of the year, easily. 5 stars
10/02/05 KingNeutron I was really looking fwd to this, but OMG THEY KILLED KENNY! 3 stars
10/01/05 Dan Absolutely awesome and stunning sci-fi movie! Right up there with Star Wars! 5 stars
10/01/05 michaelb14 smart, witty, dialogue; characters you care about; great action; best scifi in a while 5 stars
10/01/05 Wildcarde1 more than mindless sci-fi action, real feeling 5 stars
10/01/05 KGWyly Long overdue successor to "Star Wars" 5 stars
10/01/05 Norma awesome is the right word! watch firefly though! 5 stars
10/01/05 J. O'Brien great sci-fi 5 stars
10/01/05 dj hanson the best sci-fi adventure ive ever seen!!! 5 stars
10/01/05 Heath This has all the elements of an excellent movie no matter what the genre. 5 stars
9/30/05 Green Gremlin Great sci-fi movies don't need CGI !!! 4 stars
9/30/05 Wyatt Allbright Leaves Lucas in the dust. Stunning, brutal, funny, intense and compelling Sci-Fi. 5 stars
9/30/05 what the fuck is wrong with you this movie is the most overrated peice of shit of all time the show sux and so does this 1 stars
9/30/05 Nick Smith Trek what? 5 stars
9/30/05 Jessica Guilford "Roller-coaster" pretty well sums it up. 5 stars
9/30/05 Trevor Hanson Excellent, shocking and unforgettable, there are scenes that are simply staggering 5 stars
9/30/05 Ashley C. The space battle beat ROTS. Fan gold. Action fun. Being a fan, I rate it 5. 5 stars
9/30/05 Keely333 Thank you, Joss! 5 stars
9/30/05 BrianWilly Pure, unadulterated awesomry. 5 stars
9/30/05 Jakub Wow, better than MENACE and JEDI?!?!?! THERE'S an accomplishment!!!!! 1 stars
9/30/05 Frank Lynch Best Gorram SF flick! 5 stars
9/30/05 cat It blows you away the first time you see it and is somehow even better the second time. 5 stars
9/30/05 GUSH!! OMG AWESOME OMG AWESOME OMG AWESOME the bestest movie ever...not. 1 stars
9/29/05 ellie totally amazing! 5 stars
9/29/05 Paul Rocks Such an awesome film, see it if you get the chance, you won't be disappointed 5 stars
9/29/05 Chris Original and Genera busting Action and Humor 5 stars
9/29/05 celticfeminist Fantastic and fun! 5 stars
9/27/05 Heidialyssa I have to agree that it was similar to the series. 4 stars
9/26/05 Mig Alonso About the same as the TV series 2 stars
9/16/05 kk Fantastic. TV show expectations were changed by JW, now he does the same to movies. 5 stars
9/14/05 Anthony Toledo Absolutely worth a look 4 stars
9/06/05 Chris Munoz Average....a big fan but dissapointed with certain aspects of the film. Missed oppurtunity. 3 stars
9/01/05 Igneous Triffic! A mantlepiece! 5 stars
8/30/05 Anthony Mangiarciana Awesome movie , we had a great time it was funny , sweet , exciting , scary and more 5 stars
8/25/05 robert murray absolutely brilliant 5 stars
8/25/05 Michelle It is incredibly amazing heart-stopping breathtaking movie 5 stars
8/25/05 jt best movie of the year so far 5 stars
8/25/05 Surzel outstanding 5 stars
8/25/05 J.A.A. Awesome. I've found Serenity. 5 stars
8/25/05 tony excellent 5 stars
8/25/05 sorcha silver Incredible - exceeded high expectations 5 stars
8/25/05 dorrie6 This movie surpassed all my expectations, including ones I didn't even know I had. 5 stars
8/25/05 Ste Amazing. Great action, great characters overall great film. You'll laugh you'll cry. See it 5 stars
8/25/05 Stephen Fletcher Fantastic, emotionally charged film, best I have seen in a long time. 5 stars
8/25/05 Ed Smith Saw it at the premiere on Monday. Was worried about the hype. Needn't have been. Fantastic. 5 stars
8/25/05 Douglas Hutcheson Must-see film! A roller coaster of emotions running up and down with humour and excitement! 5 stars
8/25/05 DSK Sometimes dark action packed sci-fi with heart and humour. Laughs and tears for all. 5 stars
8/25/05 Jane Burnett Surpassed expectations. A dynamic blockbuster with true (unschmaltzy) heart 5 stars
8/25/05 Jem Absolutely blew me away. Not what I expected... far, far better! 5 stars
8/25/05 jabby Wonderful Movie. A fast paced, exciting, intelligent and funny sci-fi movie. 5 stars
8/25/05 Jay Starr Wicked Awsome! 5 stars
8/25/05 Hannah It gives the world if SciFi just the kick its been needing. 5 stars
8/25/05 Earl Ferguson Real characters, compelling story, non-stop action, memorable music. Great entertainment. 5 stars
8/25/05 Angelique This movie is so much better than all the crap Hollywood has been coming out with! 5 stars
8/25/05 Duy Dinh Not just a good Sci Fi movie, but a good movie in all regards 5 stars
8/25/05 Diane G. fabulous, a great film 5 stars
8/24/05 Edith Simpson Awesome! Best movie this year! 5 stars
8/24/05 Shiny Very Very Shiny 5 stars
8/24/05 Denise M. FANTASTIC film! 5 stars
8/24/05 Geoff Roberts Hands down the best space SF movies in over 10 years 5 stars
8/24/05 Richard Kenneth Lenseth The best movie of 2005 if not this decade! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Sep-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Dec-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Joss Whedon

Written by
  Joss Whedon

Cast
  Nathan Fillion
  Gina Torres
  Alan Tudyk
  Morena Baccarin
  Adam Baldwin
  Jewel Staite



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