‘Serenity’ the first real blockbuster of 2005


9 out of 10

Having just seen Serenity, a film that will probably go down as the best science fiction film of 2005 (beating out more-hyped fare such as War of the Worlds), I feel compelled to tell folks they must see this film.

This movie singlehandedly raises the humble space opera up from the paint-by-numbers audience expectations of recent Star Trek fare to an artform – a true opera – in the Wagnerian sense.

Under the direction of Joss Whedon, a story that could have been a run of the mill action-adventure flick tackles some of the grander themes in life; as we face them today. How much say should governments have over our daily lives? Who watches those who watch over us?

Deep themes like these infuse a movie that already works as a kick-’em-hard action thriller. But somehow, one is left with the sense that Whedon duped Hollywood bigshots into making a sci-fi flick with a brain – and a heart.

The script, which Whedon also wrote, is filled with cliche-busting dialogue. Dozens of times the audience laughed with glee as Serenity, which could have easily retread all-to-familiar territory for a spaceship-based film, takes an abrupt and human turn as characters react as only real people would in impossible situations.

I highly encourage all movie fans who feel underwhelmed by the quality of speculative fiction cinema this year to see this film without delay. Not only does Serenity prove science fiction can have brains as well as special effects, the movie also is an uproarious good time.

Some adult themes and violence may be unsuitable for small children, even when accompanied by an adult.

Overall: 9 out of 10
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre: Science Fiction
Sex: Some sexual situations, nothing graphic no nudity
Violence: Martial arts violence, blood, multiple deaths, reference to rape
Special Effects: Excellent, use of CGI was flawless
Other: Scary subject matter not appropriate for children prone to nightmares

Nathan Fillion … Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds
Gina Torres … Zoe Warren
Alan Tudyk … Hoban “Wash” Washburn
Morena Baccarin … Inara Serra
Adam Baldwin … Jayne Cobb
Jewel Staite … Kaylee Frye
Sean Maher … Simon Tam
Summer Glau … River Tam
Ron Glass … Shepherd Meria Book
Chiwetel Ejiofor … The Operative

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Joss Whedon, the Oscar® – and Emmy – nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family – squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.