That is, hands down, the best movie I’ve seen all year.
If you want to get cliche about it, Serenity is the story of a group of ragtag rebel smugglers who do their best to stick it to the man and barely scrape by on usually illegal jobs. The crew has a particular member on board, though, who is pursued by the government, so the crew has to always stay one step ahead of the law.
But that’s so cliche, and it doesn’t remotely do the film justice.
Serenity is the film continuation of the [very unfortunately] canceled television series Firefly. You don’t have to have watched the show in order to love this movie, though - the movie carries itself, and while it has a few special rewards for the watchers of the show, folks who haven’t seen it will still get it… and maybe even a desire to see the rest of the story by picking up the DVDs.
The style of the show (and the movie) is sort of a “Western in space.” When I say that, you’re going to think of something like Star Trek or what-have-you, and that’s not entirely accurate. Think more Western - like, with horses and such. Yeah, that sounds really weird, doesn’t it? It works perfectly, though - a lot better than you’d anticipate - and it fits in with the way the universe is laid out (where the interior planets in the system are highly populous and built up, but the planets in the outer rim are still being settled, so they don’t have as much technology and so forth).
The film has the perfect mix of action, humor, and emotion, making you totally care about the characters and their adventures, which is well more than I can say about most movies. There are happy moments, there are sad moments, there are funny moments, and there are moments where you just think, “Wow, that was so cool.” The funny stuff had the entire theater laughing out loud, which not only made it more fun (because the group was into it), but it also showed that humor can be successfully pulled off in a sci-fi or action film without having to resort to terrible one-liners. (Not to say that there aren’t some one-liners, just that they’re able to pull it off in this movie.)
I’m reluctant to give too much more than that lest I spoil the plot and the surprises. Suffice to say the cast did a fantastic job, the effects were spectacular, and Joss Whedon not only did his standard fantastic writing job but also proved he can direct. I absolutely cannot wait for a sequel, and rumor has it that if Serenity does well, we may even see that sequel.
It was second in the box office this weekend, which is unfortunate - I’d have liked to have seen it #1. But #2 isn’t bad, and hopefully this will send some sort of message to the powers that be that people do care about good story and characters, even if the ‘verse is a little eclectic. Go out and see this - it’s worth the big screen money - and when it comes out on DVD, get a copy for yourself and one for a friend. It’s that good.