Serenity is the big screen debut and big bang finale for the ship and crew of the Firefly TV series. I originally watched this film a few years ago with no idea what it was about and found it a bit difficult to get in to and understand. After watching the series (see my review here), Serenity finally made a lot more sense and was a whole lot more enjoyable.
An Operative is commissioned to pursue Simon and River Tam while Reynolds and the crew find out a disturbing secret about a world named Miranda. Reynolds takes it upon himself to get the secret out - no matter the cost.
There is a feeling that some time has passed in between the series and Serenity, although I have read it's only supposed to be a few months - this film makes it feel like it might have been longer. The ship is in more need of repair, some of the crew have gone on to other things, namely Inara and Book, while Simon is now ship's Doctor and River is a more accepted member of the crew, prompting Mal to have her accompany them on a 'routine' mission.
Simon decides to leave Serenity after he believes River's life was put in danger when Reavers showed up during that mission. But when River reacts to a message in a TV commercial and floors everyone in a bar, the Tam's find themselves back aboard Serenity once again and soon on the run from the Operative who uses Inara and all of their past associations to get to Mal.
What follows is a dark and action packed story involving death, Reavers, space battles, secrets and eventually finding a purpose in life. Serenity keeps the chemistry between our characters from the series with the interactions and humour intact.
Serenity manages to take us on a feature length adventure with our characters with the higher production values and a storyline that was probably more in line with what Joss Whedon wanted to do with the Firefly series. There was much to appreciate including an opening sequence that included an amazing single cut as we walk through the various areas of Serenity. This scene alone was great, but the movie, the story and action to follow continued to impress.
Even with the darker scenes involving the ruthless Operative and his quest to find the Tam's at any cost, the usual level of humour from all our characters and no doubt under Whedon's guidance remains. I particularly liked how the relationship between Simon and Kaylee was realised in the climax of the film - even after the loss of some of our other beloved characters.
Mal is tested like he has never been in the series by the Operative's methods. This drives him to think differently and lead us (and his crew) to wonder if he's actually lost it. It all leads up to how the Reavers came to be and an epic space battle near the movie's end (I love space battles!)
It's a shame there will be no more adventures of the Serenity and her crew. This film does a decent job of tying things up while still leaving some options open. I never thought I'd get into the series - but I'm definitely saddened now that I've watched through it all and there's no more to come. Another blog that I perused in the creation of this review (and borrowed some images from) makes a valid call.
We don't need more episodes of Firefly, but we definitely need a sequel to Serenity :)
Rating: 4.5 stars, 9/10.