Serenity (2005) Poster

(2005)

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10/10
Extraordinary
manosdvd17 August 2005
The others do a good job gushing about the movie. Sure we're fans and bound to like the movie more than the usual fare, but those looking for an original and thrilling movie experience, this will shock and amaze. The Firefly world introduced a fantasy home for many of us, with characters we truly cared about and dilemmas we could get behind. The best way to describe it is to take the best aspects of the Han Solo elements of the original Star Wars, and build a world around that. There's no grand theme or clear cut good and evil. There's just a band of fugitives trying to make their way in a dangerous sky. It's something folks can relate to, although most of us won't be in a space battle or fighting psychotic creatures anytime soon. The point of the name Serenity is the name of the ship, though in a deeper sense that's what our characters are in search of. Finding freedom and a home, and that's what the ship represents to them, and to the fans. So you understand why so many are so excited about this dinky little scifi flick.

The movie captures that beautiful feeling but takes us on a ride that there's no turning back from. In my opinion, the one thing that makes for a truly GREAT movie is if you walk out of the theater a different person than when you walked in. This movie takes you on such a journey I didn't know if I would leave the theater at all. Sure the visual effects are stunning, but even the unfinished effects I saw meant nothing to me because it was the characters I cared about (and note that the digitally created ship itself is one of them, and I cared just as much for that than any of them). The humor is probably better than anything in the theaters this year, and the action is even greater. My screening actually came a week after Episode 3 was released, and I immediately washed my hands of Mr Lucas, and months later when I saw Fantastic 4... well let's not even talk about that one.

This movie really does have something for everyone, and even in the core of the geek fandom, the range of people is total - men and women split it at least 50/50, uber-geeks and "cool" types, and a surprising amount of attractive people of all ages. Seriously though, don't trust the rants of the fans. Check out the movie for yourself. Give it an honest chance and I promise you will be taken on a journey that will turn you into a fan as well.
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10/10
Intense
jmoffitt21 August 2005
From start to finish there are no wasted moments. All your emotions will be engaged. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll gasp in shock. What you won't be is bored. Don't plan on being able to take a bathroom break or get more soda and popcorn. You won't want to miss a second of this one.

There's plenty here for everybody: Good writing, humor, excellent acting, plot, action (that actually makes sense in terms of the plot), excellent cgi, eye candy. And it's a movie that needs the big screen for the full effect. Watch it in theater; don't just wait for the DVD.

If you saw Star Wars (the original) in the theater way back when, then this movie will evoke a similar feeling of awe. Once you see this movie, your perceptions of the movie-going experience will be changed. No other movie I've ever seen has hit me with the intensity of this one.
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10/10
Oustanding adaptation
jmkelly0320 August 2005
Instead of going into a long, drawn out review, let me sum up "Serenity" by saying that 1) no fans of "Firefly" will be disappointed, and 2) Whedon does a good enough job laying out the backstory that newbies to the Firefly universe will have no trouble figuring things out and enjoying the heck out of the movie.

The film is split more into halves than the standard three acts, which works just fine in this instance. The plot may be confusing at first, but when the second half of the film starts there are no lingering questions and a pantload of great action bits and one-liners. Frankly, the last 45 minutes are absolutely outstanding. The first half takes a bit to really pick up, but it's the second half of the movie that will leave old fans and new yearning for a sequel.

There are some sad moments, some gut busting lines, and some rousing actions sequences that make "Serenity" a wonderful film that really, really deserves a sequel and, perhaps if we're lucky, a second chance on Sci-Fi.
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10/10
Joss Whedon works his magic and succeeds wonderfully!
George (GVH0)21 August 2005
Before you start reading this, you have to know where I'm coming from. I'm a huge fan of Joss Whedon's work, was a loyal follower of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel' and really got into 'Firefly' (on which this movie is based) and the whole browncoat phenomenon as well. So I was, you might just say, pretty much predestined to like this movie. But, not so. Whedon-fans are a pretty critical bunch, most of the time, and no one went into this thing with higher expectations than us. And to have those expectations be met in such a way as Serenity does, is very special indeed.

The movie itself has all the elements that make Joss Whedon's work so very unique. The sense of humor, the wonderfully realized characters and their strong interpersonal bonds, masterful dialogue and emotional pain, everything is present. I laughed, I cried, I pretty much went through the entire emotional spectrum watching this movie, and that's not something you might expect from 'just another sci-fi movie'.

While I'm writing this, the release of Serenity is still a few weeks ahead, but I got to see the finished version of the movie with a selected group of Dutch Firefly fans in an exclusive pre-screening. Afterwards, the atmosphere was strange, subdued. It was almost as if everyone had survived some kind of big disaster together and we were too stunned to really say much. And I say that in the kindest possible way. Honestly.

If you're not into Whedon's work, or even if you're not into sci-fi in general, this is gonna be a movie worth watching. Ignore the whole 'geekmovie' hype that'll undoubtedly surround the release. Ignore the hype created by Whedon-fans such as myself. Simply go see it with an open mind and be prepared to be blown away. Because when Whedon works his magic, everyone has to pay attention.

This movie is truly a leaf on the wind. Watch it soar!
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9/10
Not exactly like the TV show; judge it on its own merit.
ccoshow-112 August 2005
***NO SPOILERS*** I saw the movie at a sneak preview in Houston, TX on 6/23/05. I was just happy that we were getting more of these characters and this setting.

Visually, it was stunning. The extra budget for effects was well spent. The characters and their relationships were recognizable, but there had been changes from the show. I think this was necessary within the movie, and part of an evolution from the TV show to the big screen (the movie takes place 6 months after the last episode, "Objects in Space"). Things have changed.

There is a higher action and violence level in this (duh, it's a movie, not on TV), and we get some major revelations about the world (which some who saw it with me already don't like). There are some MAJOR events that affect the characters, and I wasn't totally happy with them - shocked is the word. But this is Joss's world, and his characters, and he tells the stories he wants to tell. He doesn't get bound up in hurting our feelings; he just tells it like it is. I believe he did say that this was the hardest thing he'd ever had to write.

At least one person at our screening was a "Firefly virgin," and he said that he liked it. I hope people who have no exposure to the show will be able to see this and enjoy it. Our big damn heroes come across well, and I hope this will get them some well-deserved exposure. This is a no-holds barred, big-time action/adventure sci-fi story, bold and raw, and set in a world unlike anything portrayed in SF before (well, except for "Firefly"). And I hope it does really, really well, and we get to see the sequels.
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8/10
Watch "Firefly" first to really appreciate it!
kari_d21 July 2006
My husband and I first saw this movie after just reading these excellent reviews and not knowing anything else about the movie or characters. We are both sci-fi fans.

I must say, we were a little puzzled about the great reviews. We thought the one-liners were kind of cheesy, the acting a bit poor, and we weren't at all impressed (except for maybe the fight scenes with River). The cowboy theme music didn't sit well with us either.

However, I have heard only excellent things about the series Firefly and the following movie Serenity. Were we missing something? We even watched Serenity again giving it a second chance. It still didn't click with us. I was very confused.

We were going to give up when a friend loaned us the Firefly DVDs. OK, I'll give it another shot since clearly we *must* be missing something! And that did it.

After just a couple episodes I was really enjoying myself. When I re-watched Serenity again after seeing the TV series, I thought it was excellent. I really appreciated it. The characters were more 3D, the one-liners were amusing, the music didn't bother me a bit (I was starting to like it), and I really liked all the nuances from the actors (I changed my mind - not bad acting). I felt like I knew the characters and story so much better and I really loved how they tied some loose ends together. It was also nice to see the characters again after the series ended (even on DVD).

So bottom line - if you didn't watch Firefly, you probably won't get it, may not like it very much, and you might be confused why there are such great reviews. If you did watch Firefly first (and liked it), you'll love Serenity and you'll have a great ride!
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10/10
Definitely a Must-See More than Once
chickenbird22 August 2005
I saw this movie twice in preview screenings in May and June, and I cannot emphasize enough how rewarding it is to see this movie more than once. The first time through is such an amazing ride that it is impossible to soak everything up. Subsequent viewings really give you whole new levels of appreciation. There's SO much going on here, and it's amazingly good.

There's never been a movie quite like this one. It defies easy genre categorization, and has so many beautiful moments, comedic moments, and fantastic action sequences that it has got to appeal to a much wider than just a "scifi" audience. It really manages to deliver an important message while still being enormously entertaining -- a rare feat.

Joss Whedon has crafted one of his tightest, most masterful scripts ever, and his directing is masterful. For example, he surpasses even some of his own legendary "one-ers" of Buffy and Angel in the introductory sequence on the ship.

Plus, the actors are talented, and damn pretty to boot.
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7/10
Disappointing
davek2819 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I watched the whole DVD set of Firefly a few months ago and was hoping that this movie would be an improvement in terms of scale and effects. Sadly, I was disappointed. Firefly (aka Serenity) is a TV series and should remain a TV series.

The first hour was so slow and uninteresting that I nearly walked out. Fortunately, the second hour developed some excitement so I actually started to care what happened next.

Knowing all the original characters, I was disappointed to see so little of Inara and Kaylee. In fact, the presence of Inara and Book seemed to be incidental and could have been left out altogether. I'd expect Zoe to be stoic when her hubby got his, but she was just impassive and apparently entirely unfeeling.

Firefly made a nice space western on TV where you could serialise the crew and their relationships over time, but the big screen is far too big for it. Respect to Mr Whedon, but I think he has overstretched himself on this occasion. If there was any trademark snappy dialogue in there it got lost in the mêlée.
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10/10
Like Firefly, Serenity just plain rocks.
greg robinson22 August 2005
When Firefly was canceled, a small part of me died. With Serenity, I'm feeling wonderfully whole again. Serenity is a grand, sweeping finale to Firefly and with any luck, the beginning of a new film franchise. Like Firefly, Serenity just plain rocks. Intense storytelling, amazing visuals, sharp-as-a-tack dialog and the prettiest darned crew ya ever seen. These are Big Damned Heroes for sure! The Operative is a fantastic new character in this wonderful verse. Serenity answers many of Firefly's lingering questions while leaving others wide open for the next adventure. And I for one can't wait for that. Watch Firefly, see Serenity, tell your friends. Lather, rinse, repeat. Any questions? Shiny.
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5/10
Disappointing
sunraider2 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I first became interested in FIREFLY, the series, and SERENITY, through the early trailers shown back in May. AFter seeing the trailer I rented the series, loved it, and since purchasing the DVD have seen it many times. I really looked forward to the movie. Unfortunately, the movie didn't live up to the trailer and was mediocre at best. None of the elements that made the series so enjoyable are present. Gone are deep character development and the lively interaction among the crew members. Book and Inara are really just cameos,while Kaylee, Wash, and even Simon have little to do. The heart of FIREFLY was the relationship between Simon and River, but it's little explored here. Humor and hints of romance are, for the most part, absent. The plot is action-heavy and really is just the crew trying to escape from Reavers. The entire rationale behind the Alliance's desperate need to eliminate River Tam is uninteresting and the explanation for the existence of the Reavers is truly lame. It was much more interesting to have the Reavers be humans who'd gone wild on the outer rim. I kept waiting for the "two-by-two, hands-of-blue" creeps to show up but they never did. Finally, the operative's bizarre about-face at the end makes no sense. Seeing this poor feature film makes me love the FIREFLY series even more. I was hooked at the end of the first half, when Mal opens up the crate carrying River. There will be no trilogy here.
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5/10
Promising but ultimately disappointing
JRmf9 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Maybe this movie makes a lot more sense if you have spent many hours being entranced by the series. Seeing a few trailers, the obvious quality and imagination of the CGI, and being a sucker for Sci-Fi, I had high hopes for this movie, but as my Summary goes...

The CGI, the look of the ships and environment is interesting. But the basic story I found incoherent and relatively uninteresting. Is it the current tendency to "cleverness" via incomprehensibility and incoherence? We mustn't be too logical. Give me a Spielberg epic any day: solid coherent smart storytelling with intelligent surprises (generally - WOWT was an exception). Mumbled lines by some of the main actors didn't help in grasping any plot.

"River" Tam - sound like "Reaver" - to the uninitiated, and given her fighting skills, I found my self wondering if she were one of "them". The Reavers are cannibalistic monsters, apparently a minority result of the PAX - which is thrown in almost as an afterthought, a solution to a question of which one is only vaguely aware. The Reavers like all monsters are only hinted at - but one never gets to see them in their full hideousness either, a lost opportunity IMHO.

Serenity's red paint job so it could slip unnoticed through the reaver ships clumped in a small section of space doesn't make a lot of sense. Space is vast.

River is obviously the key to some great and terrible mystery - if only it were clear what that is.

Just a few random comments. Really a movie for the fans.
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5/10
Why are people going ape for this?
CageBerry4 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Just to give warning, I know nothing of the television show. I didn't even know it was based on a show until a co-worker of mine told me it was. On to what counts: I really don't know what people found so fantastic about this movie. I mean... it sure wasn't as bad as The Ring 2 (don't get me started on that one), but apart from some decent visuals and a fair share of comic relief, there was nothing at all I found to be the slightest bit enjoyable about this movie. For starters, it was WAY too long for it's own good. They could have probably compressed it to about an hour and 15 minutes and it would have been a little better. Every five minutes I found myself tilting my head back in my seat and sighing/grunting due to complete boredom. I constantly sat there asking myself "how are the people I'm here with staying awake?".

The story really didn't seem like anything new.

****Semi-spoiler**** (Not sure if this gives anything away about the general plot. Again, not familiar with the television show) To be honest it reminded me a lot of Equilibrium. The whole alliance/rebels thing, paired up with the "perfect society" and brainwashing idea is seeming a little played out for me now I guess. And what's the deal with having these somewhat super-human dudes that know all the kung-fu nerve killing pressure points and crazy stuff like that? I know it's sci-fi, but really... it's not that cool unless its... well, a kung-fu movie. ****End semi-spoiler****

Quite literally, the only reason I didn't fall asleep was the constant little bits of humor. Those "Well... you can't" type jokes were going off left and right. They showed up even in the tenser scenes which will definitely catch you off guard. One second you'll be waiting for a firefight you know is going to happen (another downfall, it was pretty predictable), and they'll toss in a pg-13-friendly sex joke out of nowhere.

The big final "oooooooh didn't see that coming" wasn't too horrible. Quite frankly I never even gave the slightest bit of thought that that was what's going on (but that could be 'cause I was dozing off). It kind of gave the movie a little bit of substance so it's not one of those "what the hell was the point" movies like the Blair Witch Project. But overall, it's insane resemblance to the movie I mentioned in the semi-spoiler just made it a bore-fest for me. It definitely wouldn't be #118 on my top 250, that's for sure.
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5/10
Coming from a big fan of the show, this movie pretty much sucks...
truedis10 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this after being skeptical, but seeing the high rating on IMDb. I've now come to realize this is most certainly what is known as the "fanboy" effect. This movie has a meandering plot, a less-than-stellar conclusion, and is filled with goofy, pointless dialog. Something I enjoyed about the show was how varied the plot lines were and how the characters interacted differently in every episode. In this movie, everyone was very one-dimensional extremes of their characters in the show, and they didn't develop at all throughout the whole thing! The plot just sort of went nowhere until you found out the big "oh no" about the alliance (which didn't seem all that big to me...). Overall this movie was a total bust, and I'm embarrassed that I took my girlfriend with me to see it, in the hopes that I could quell her constant mockery about the fact that I wanted to see it, and clearly I failed in that regard.
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6/10
Disappointing
brianberns9 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a fan of the original Firefly series, and had high hopes for Serenity based on the reviews. Sadly, it was not nearly as good as I expected.

What rubbed me the wrong way? * Waaaaay too much emphasis on combat, starting with the opening scene. The fun of Firefly was always in the decisiveness and determination of Mal and crew in the face of a hostile universe. The movie reduced that spirit to a series of action movie clichés -- the worst of which being the revelation that River is not just a troubled psychic, but is also Jr. Kickboxing Champion of the galaxy. By the time the "climactic" battles rolled around, I was thoroughly bored with the fighting. River single-handedly slaughtering a horde of Reavers was just silly. Mal against the assassin was marginally better, but still clichéd and unbelievable.

* Actions were too hyped-up and extreme. I understand that the characters have to be punched up a bit to make the leap from TV to a movie, but it was taken too far. Mal threatening to kill his crew if they don't help him travel through Reaver territory? River kicking her brother in throat because she thought he might "deactivate" her? Please. And Wash's death was just ridiculous (and unnecessary). Even the special effects were overdone -- they would have been better off just burning half the FX budget for this film in a big bonfire.

* Plot holes galore. It's easy to overlook plot holes if a movie is good enough, but in this case the holes threatened to unravel the whole ball of yarn. The Alliance knows that Mal will seek shelter with Book or at other safe-havens, so they wipe them all out... but they don't stick around to greet Serenity when it arrives! How stupid is that? No, really. The Reavers all live in a small clump of ships in the middle of nowhere, but Mal can't detour Serenity a few kilometers around them in order to get from A to B? Space is a big place, folks, but the makers of this movie don't want you to think about that.

* Half the plot elements that weren't full of holes were just incomprehensible. Can anyone tell me what exactly killed Wash? It seems to be the remains of a Reaver ship, but there's no way to tell. Or is it an Alliance ship? I had trouble caring. When Mal brings the entire Reaver fleet to Mr. Universe's planet, is he doing it on purpose? Did he expect to find the Alliance waiting for him? The answer to such key questions seems to both yes and no. Much of the movie was in such a frenetic hurry to move forward that it couldn't be bothered to make sense.

* Simplistic. After the failure of Firefly, the movie was obviously dumbed-down for mass consumption. The revelations about River, the Reavers, Miranda, etc. were all disappointingly straightforward. The interesting relationship between Kaylee and the Doctor was reduced to a series of sex jokes. The only character who held up well through the entire movie was Jayne (since he still works well in a straightforward shoot-em-up like this). The build-up of the secret of "Miranda" was matched in lameness only by the too-easy revelation of the same secret about 15 minutes later.

I really wanted to like this movie, but I walked out feeling that I had watched something that was 1 part Firefly mixed with at least 2 parts conventional Hollywood movie.
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10/10
Shiny
nikajan11 April 2007
I love this film. I'm not a huge fan of Sci-Fi, but Serenity blew me away. The characters are engaging, there's great humour in the script, and the storyline kept me interested. Just wish I knew what they were saying when they speak Chinese! Watching this got me into Firefly. It's such a shame it was cancelled. Love the crew, the universe joss Whedon created and the little details like their slang. The ship is not too slick and perfect, which adds a great deal of character, and really enables viewers to identify more with the crew, a group of underdogs in a tumbledown ship trying to evade the authorities. The Reavers are frankly rather scary. Overall, this film comes off very well, you really feel the chemistry between the crew as well. Brilliant!
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9/10
A Movie For Intelligent People
lunker-130 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have to say, while reading all of the negative reviews here, I was merely confirmed in my observation that most people are idiots. Quite frankly, if you don't get this movie, good on yer, go back to watching the standard mono-syllabic fare. What this movie provided was a non-standard, shades-of-gray character study. The focus was not on big-budget effects, or glitzy bits of teeny-bopper fluff. It was about a story. It reminded me of how I felt when I watched the REAL Star Wars (not the fake stuff that is out now). People have different ways of handling things that challenge them mentally. Some are able to incorporate the new perspectives into their lives, while others call it "boring" or "seen it" when all they are doing is protecting their two fragile brain cells from expansion.

How can I make such bold, perhaps even abrasive statements? Well, let's look at the movie itself. It starts off with a brief recap to get those people that had not seen the TV series up to speed. This was brief, and incorporated a look at River's past, which was well done. It then moves on to show the rescue, seen from the perspective of the Operative. I will concur with those that argue he is not a cookie-cutter villain. He is not a "black and white" archetype. He is a "believer," but is also exceptionally self-consistent with his beliefs. He is doing what he does for an altruistic (in his mind) goal, completely devoid of ego. There is no room for self-aggrandizement, we see no hubristic monologues, just a single-mindedness of purpose to create what (he is told) will be a perfect world.

That brings us to the crew themselves. Let's get one thing straight, though many have said they are by default "good" because of their eventual choices, what makes them interesting is that they are, for the most part, amoral. They are Privateers, ex-soldiers from a cause that was just, true, and pure- and that lost to the "good guys." Each of them is a part of the crew because of their past- Mal, who used to have something to believe in, now just believes in his ship and his crew. The vacuum of space is cold, and there is no room for anything that does not keep his crew alive. Some have argued that he is good because he did not kick River and the Doc off on some backwater in the beginning, but I think it was mostly pragmatic. Here he has a doctor that can patch his crew, a valuable skillset, and a girl that is obviously worth something to the Alliance (worth keeping on general principles). This is not to say that he is not conflicted. Mal is someone who WANTS to do the right thing, and we see that when he can, he does. But he is not some goodie-two-shoes paladin bunnies-and-duckies character that will ALWAYS do the right thing.

The interactions of Mal and the Operative are interesting because they ARE both very similar. They are both living in the interstices of society- the Operative realizes that he has no place in the "polite" "fairplay" world that he is striving to resurrect while Mal is a scofflaw- neither are fighting or living for "normal" motivations. It also shows that both are capable of change, which pretty much knocks the normal Hollywood plot line off the tracks- in most movies, people will never change, and good defeats evil, then comes home and snogs the prom queen. Mal, and his crew, are given a choice, and have to each come to terms with what they are really fighting for. It requires them to strip off the veneer of being privateers, and allows them to recapture their original selves. I am simplifying greatly here.

Ultimately when Mal defeats the Operative, he spares his life, showing us that Mal is not the typical hero, and that he also recognizes the bigger picture- the Operative is not the villain, merely another dupe of a huge machine that wants to control people because "it knows better." This is another non-typical outcome, and delves into another level of complexity.

In closing, I want to acknowledge that this is not intended to sway those that don't like this movie. Barring a serious shift in perspective, they never will like it. And that is fine, wonderful actually. This movie did not compromise its core message to appeal to a wide audience, it did not focus on flash over substance. It simply told a story that makes you *think.*
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8/10
a must-see for sci-fi fans
Andre27 June 2006
First off, I want to say that I loved this movie. It's got intense action sequences, a good plot,some humor, likable characters, fantastic special effects, hardly ever a dull moment,and oh yeah... it's a total babe-fest!!! I must confess I'm new to the whole Firefly universe.I don't watch much TV so I'd never even heard of the TV show. So until watched this DVD, to me,Firefly was nothing but a dumpy little American made car. I rented this movie with no expectations whatsoever; maybe that's the reason I enjoyed this movie so much. I can't speak for the fans of the series, but if you enjoy well-made sci-fi, then you'll love this cool little movie.
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10/10
Just Amazing
Jeremy Hynoski22 August 2005
I was lucky enough to catch one of the pre-screenings of Serenity in Spring (thank you Universal!). I let the cinema with a lump in my throat and a feeling that I had just witnessed something special. A phoenix from the ashes, if you will. Serenity is simply an emotional roller-coaster, especially given its ilk in the sci fi genre. Joss has truly created something special for the fans of the show, and for fans of clever storytelling. The movie is an analogy of the show as a whole and can best be summed up by the infamous quote from Mal in the TV series, "We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty." See. This. Film. Watch Firely first if you want to get the maximum effect.
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10/10
Over 1500 reviews and still not even a 10 score?
A_Different_Drummer28 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
.. which is some sort of a record. Makes you wonder what the armchair reviewers are saving the "10" for ...? A sign from above? Godfather XIX? Here are the unvarnished facts, purely for the historical record. Joss "Long Arc" Whedon was doing his thing, happily building a show (Firefly) that, typical of Whedon, was getting better and better and better. Then they took his show away. Now, Joss has a history of dealing with people who take his toys away (see the first horrific Buffy feature, and his reaction thereto). Somehow, using the Whedon magic, he was able to gather all his notes for the 10-year arc of Firefly and use them surgically, in this film on a single strike. Ah, what a film. Understand that Joss is one of the greatest living writers of our generation, and for him this was "personal" -- he wanted to show the world what they almost missed. From the opening sequence to the last frame, this is a perfect movie. Citizen Kane watch your back. This is flawless. It should be studied in film school and buried in a time capsule with the original Brylcreem formula. The recycling of an already perfect ensemble cast from Firefly was expected, but the addition of Chiwetel Ejiofor, who steals every frame of every scene he is in, was inspired. As as I hinted before, if you did not give this a 10, you need to seriously rethink whether Talking Pictures is your preferred form of entertainment.
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10/10
Awesome movie
umb6920 August 2005
I saw this at a sneak preview, WHOA. Joss really outdid himself here, this movie is funny, has tons of action and has several great layered characters, oh and the special effects are pretty good too. There is even a brief intro that catches up those who haven't seen Firefly. Great movie. What I really liked about this movie is that the characters are all so colorful and textured, I believe this universe that Joss Wheedan has created could become the next big franchise like Star Trek. My recommendation is see it at least three times and take all your friends with you each time, that way we can get the trilogy made.
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7/10
Not brilliant, but entertaining and consistent with the series
mstomaso1 October 2005
I tried desperately to avoid getting my hopes elevated beyond reason, but it was to no avail. I have watched the entire Firefly series twice over the last two years, and had always hoped that it would somehow return. Firefly was one of the most recent examples of an intelligent, challenging, sci-fi show getting mismarketed and canceled by network TV. Firefly was a western adventure set in space with a compelling plot and bold, very likable characters. Serenity is its reprise in a full-feature film. Still, Serenity endeavors to introduce non-fans to its characters and major story arc in a very clever and subtle way, so that fans and non-fans alike can appreciate it completely. Those familiar with the saga of River and her alliance pursuers will enjoy the consistency with which the characters are portrayed and the development of her character into what she could have realized had the show been permitted to fully mature.

Before I go much further, I should state that I am no Joss Whedon fan - as I have found most of his TV work trite and over-hyped. Firefly earned my respect for Joss within a few minutes of the first episode, and I now watch him in my peripheral vision - just in case he does something this original and clever again.

Serenity is a Firefly class space transport ship operating illegally on the outskirts of Alliance civilization - the lawless edges of a solar system with many inhabited, terraformed, planets. Captain Malcolm Reynolds is stuck between reavers - cannibalistic semi-human sociopaths who prey on unsuspecting ships in this outer realm, and the alliance, from which he and his crew have been running for months.

The focus of this movie is the resolution of a story arc first developed in Firefly - that of River Tamm and her brother, Serenity's ship doctor, though it focuses on the entire ensemble cast in much the same way the TV show did - allowing each to fully and complexly develop. I will give a bit of the back-story here though you don't need it to appreciate the film.

Mal is an internally conflicted man with a strong sense of justice and a big warm heart which he shields with a frigid philosophy and an attempted stoicism. He and his first officer Zoey were part of a defeated rebellion against The Alliance (a federally organized empire of fascist urbanites reminiscent of the society of Gattaca). With the war lost, Zoey married to his pilot (Wash), a thug (Jayne), a young prodigy engineer with limited social graces (Kaylee), an aristocratic prostitute (Inara), and a few mysterious fugitives Shepherd Book, Simon, and River, he has set out to smuggle and thieve his way through the outer territories, disrupting and avoiding the alliance all along the way. The crew of Serenity have given up civilization as the cost of freedom.

River and Simon had begun as passengers, but Simon's medical skills and the fact that the Alliance seemed to have an irreversible interest in either killing or kidnapping Simon's sister River gave Reynolds reason to become interested in them. After a while it became clear that River had been the subject of a variety of experiments involving violence and telepathy conducted by The Alliance. First appearing to be dangerously insane, River became more and more recognizable as a weapon.

The characterizations in Serenity are very strong, and the cast is top-notch. Although I was never entirely thrilled with her in Firefly (though I always respected her talent), Summer Glau (River) really steals the show with her powerful, evocative performance. The script and story are excellent, though I felt the pace of the dialog could have been slowed a bit for the sake of dramatic quality. There is plenty of action in this film, though it does not fall into the trap that most recent sci-fi has of losing its plot, intelligence and characterizations in boring and absurd action sequences. The cinematography, though not as revolutionary as that used in Firefly, is excellent.

My only disappointments - and they are mild at worst - are that I thought the plot could have been a little more complex, original and intelligent, giving the film the intense drama that some of the best episodes of the series had (such as Bushwhacked) and the fact that excellent original theme song for the show did not appear anywhere in the film.. The villain of the film was interesting and well developed, but I would have preferred a few minutes less action and a little more character development for him.

Nevertheless, I recommend Serenity highly to sci fi fans - particularly those who want more of a human story than Star Trek has offered lately, and might be looking for something less soapy and intense and more fun than the excellent new BSG. it really does not matter if you have seen the series. This film stands on its own.
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10/10
Amazing Film
lord0faiiusion16 January 2007
I first saw a preview for this film at Wizard World Chicago a few months before it came out. Prior to this I had never seen Firefly or even heard anything about it. I might have seen it on the preview channel or something, but I never got around to it. After seeing the preview however, I turned away from the little pirated copy on the little TV, turned to my cousin who was with me and said, "I have no idea what that film is about, but I want to see it." Unfortunately I was a little busy that summer and didn't get around to seeing it until a good while later. I saw the first 10 minutes of it on Youtube and was hooked. I was obsessed and so excited to see it I could have used a change of shorts.

I Netflix'd it immediately and got it a few days later.

From beginning to end it's not only amusing and entertaining, but it is a beautiful film to look at. It's a flawless little bit of visual stylings that you believe. The style and world, or rather, universe is created so perfectly that you believe that in the future people will live like it's the wild west.

This frontier lifestyle just makes so much sense and is a fresh new look at the future. With the regional colloquialisms and lingo Joss Whedon really has created an entire universe for us to enjoy.

The story follows Malcom "Mal" Reynolds and the crew of the Firefly class ship called Serenity. Mal and his crew of questionable reputation (Especially Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin) who is more or less a mercinary) who will take any job they can find throughout the 'verse both legal and illegal.

The government (refered to as The Alliance or Parliament) sends an "Agent" with no rank or name to hunt down Simon, Serenity's resident Doctor and his sister, River, who is the real target. Why is River Tam, the 16 year old sister of a Brilliant alliance Doctor gone fugitive such a threat to the worlds of the alliance? What could this little girl have that's so important that they'd ruthlessly kill anyone in their path? The story is just filled with unpredictable twists and turns. Every time you expect them to go in the usual direction that action movies go, they turn tail and run the other way.

One of the men Mal works for put it best, "You're unpredictable Mal. You run when you ought to fight, fight when you ought to deal." While this may be a spoiler, I'll leave you this hint. The amazing thing about Joss Whedon is he's not afraid to cripple, maim, or kill off characters. With the entire alliance fleet after this one unarmed cargo ship, how many of the Serenity crew will make it out alive? Fans of Firefly will love this Sci Fi western and people new to the franchise had best get their copy. When you're done with the movie there's a whole series you didn't know about called Firefly which I also highly recommend. Hell, pick up the series and then watch the movie, as it was meant to be! It'll not be time wasted.
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9/10
Serenity: My Introduction to a Marvellous 'Verse
Justin Crann20 May 2007
I was, upon first viewing of this film, completely oblivious to the existence of any of the characters, concepts, and etcetera featured within it: I was, as some of us Firefly fans refer to it, a "Firefly virgin".

Of course, things have changed since that momentous evening. I have since become enthralled by Joss Whedon's brilliant creation, have thoroughly enjoyed each of the many Firefly episodes-- and the film-- half a dozen (or more) times, and have fallen in love with several of the regular (and a few irregular) characters. Whoa.

My only criticism for the film-- and the only reason why it did not get the perfect ten-- is the downscaling of Ron Glass' role (for those who aren't as obsessed as I, Ron Glass portrays Book). Book was, and remains, one of my favourite characters in all sci-fi universes.

9/10
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10/10
The proof that cinema isn't dead.
fruityoatybar9212 May 2007
If there is any reason that i still want to direct when i grow up, its because of this movie.

I had watched the firefly episodes a week before the movie came out, and i knew-this show might be something special. i had seen some episodes of Buffy before and loved them but didn't understand why they were great. this Joss Whedon guy..the critics love him and hes funny in interviews and he's pretty cool. Thats all i really knew.

WHat Joss brings in Serenity is a vision of the future not quite like any other. I mean, we've all seen the evil-future-government-versus cool rebels plot, but what he haven't seen (or realized) is that in the future, people will still have the same struggles, particularly emotional ones. Maybe we wont have aliens, or teleportation, or lightsabers. Maybe people will still have trouble telling the people that we love how we feel, or trouble with marriages, struggles with faith, maybe even have the same personality quirks/traits. The dialog is beautiful and crackling, and the characters are extremely well developed. The film shows how genre bending can be done, and if you saw the series, the film is likely to make someone cry like i did the first time i saw it.

I think that if i hadn't seen this movie, which confirmed my status as a serenity fanatic (called a brown-coat), i would be a completely different person. I would look at movies i watch or write very differently, look at drama and acting very differently, speak very differently, and would just be a different thinker and person. Kinda like what the muppets did to my imagination and sense of entertainment and life.

This movie is one of the coolest, smartest, wittiest, most exciting movie in a long time, and will appeal to any fan of movies or the TV show, but you might want to watch the TV show first.
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1/10
Very disappointing
Utlkn2me31 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
No, it's not an 8 out of 10 stars movie. Why?

1 - It's not true to the series. Just because you bring the same characters together and some of the same plot elements, that doesn't equal the same level of quality as the series. Where's the western/cowboy theme? Where's the relaxed banter and genuine feelings of friendship between characters? The series didn't depend on lots of high-powered special effects - unfortunately, they felt the movie needed to, at the expense of everything else. There could have been a better balance of the two.

2 - Too many plot holes, too much didn't make sense. For example, I kept thinking, as I saw at least one other reviewer say, how on earth did these vicious, crazy Reavers have the ability to maintain space travel? What was all of this with River - nothing at all concerning her was logical at all? And, at the end, The Operative just told the Alliance troops to "stand down"? How did he get loose so quickly and why would he let them go?

3 - Not true to your characters. For example, The Operative had the Shepherd and Mr. Universe killed (among many others), but Mal just let him walk away. Why would Mal do that, other than The Operative's potentially being cast in a sequel. The Mal of Firefly wouldn't have.

4 - And, if they (or Joss) dreamed of a sequel, why kill off, unnecessarily, two of the best ongoing characters? On the DVD commentary, Joss said that Wash was killed just because somebody needed to die to prove everybody was in jeopardy. Apparently, nobody else got much more than a hangnail from the final gruesome battle. Why bother? And speaking of the final battle, it was so muddled and dark, it was nearly incomprehensible. All I could really distinguish was River's super kung-fu antics, which were somewhat laughable.

All in all, not a movie worthy of the Firefly series. Too bad, because I would have enjoyed a series of movies as they did with Star Trek.
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