Serenity 2005 sci-fi adventure
Serenity is the cinematic sequel to the short-lived 2002 science fiction TV series Firefly. I think it is safe to say that if you enjoyed the Firefly TV series, you will also like the movie Serenity. The actors, writers, director are same in both, and provide the essential blend of “Space Cowboy Si-fi” elements so stunning in the TV series. I also think that Serenity can be enjoyed as a stand-alone movie without watching the TV series, but being a big Firefly fan – I recommend binge streaming it before seeing the movie.
A brief review of the Firefly backstory goes like this: A giant civil war between the major planets erupts due to the Alliance forcing a “unification” of the free worlds, whereby they bend the knee to the Alliance. The Rebels or “brown coats” are defeated by the Alliance. The few surviving Rebels retreat to the wilder, remote “borderlands” of space that is under weak, or nominal, Alliance control. Certainly the most feared threat in the borderlands is the Reaver space ships. The Reavers are roaming packs of savage zombies who attack ships and raid settlements; torturing, and eating their victims, then paint their hideous ships with human blood. Don’t ask how stone-age cannibalistic barbarians can fly space ships. One of the mysteries left unsolved in the TV series is the origin of the Reavers. This movie provides the answers. The heroes are Captain Malcolm (aka Mal) Reynolds, a former Rebel commander, and the crew of his spaceship Serenity. Mal and his crew (also ex-Rebel soldiers) adopt the outlaw life as a means of survival by thieving and smuggling; yet they still maintain a chivalrous and disciplined code. The Serenity also discreetly hauls a few paying passengers; thereby, providing a steady stream of interesting new characters. Mal is a strong alpha male warrior and leader with a noble code of honor that values loyalty and social bonds. These bonds are often put to the test as the iron fist of the Alliance tightens and the crew of the Serenity is faced with higher and higher risk to avoid obliteration. Although Mal is a most wanted criminal by the Alliance, he is clearly the good guy of the story. End of Backstory.
Back to the movie (mild spoiler alert): The opening scenes revisit the escape of Simon Tam and his sister, River, from a secret, highly guarded Alliance medical facility. In the TV series, Simon and River are mere passengers and their backstory was shrouded in subplot mystery land. But in the movie, River Tam is a central character. We soon discover that she possesses psychic mental powers, e.g. reads people’s thoughts and can foresee future events. And when triggered by subliminal messages, she has remarkable hand-to-hand fighting ability. In other words, the quiet, reserved, bare footed River can suddenly transform into the ultimate bitch on wheels. Simon explains that the Alliance doctors selected River as a test subject for their ghoulish Nazi-like experiments to create superhumans and weaponized them. The Serenity crew, having seen River in action, is terrified to have her aboard. It also becomes clear that an Alliance task force is tailing the Serenity in search of River. The crew debates the wisdom of sheltering River and Simon, and decides it is time for the brother and sister passengers to leave the ship at the next port of call. Of course that does not happen with the Alliance battle fleet closing in on the Serenity. Mal refuses to turn over River to the Alliance and becomes increasingly determined to know the truth about River’s connection with the Alliance. Gradually bits and pieces of the truth emerge from River’s damaged, unstable psyche. The answers, River remembers, can be found on the planet Miranda. The pilot maps a path to Miranda and quickly discovers two big problems: the first being that Miranda is listed in the planetary database as a dead, or uninhabitable, rock; and the second being that the bulk of the Reaver space fleet is orbiting around Miranda. Mal has to make a tough call; pinned between Reavers and an Alliance task force, Mal decides to…
I will stop this review here. Highly recommended for fans of Space Cowboy films.
Written by Ben Clark. Copyright 2016-2023. All rights reserved.