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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Nathan Fillion
Gina Torres
Alan Tudyk
Adam Baldwin
Morena Baccarin
Summer Glau
Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Directors
Joss Whedon.
Screenwriters
Joss Whedon.
Running Time
119 minutes

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Serenity
Smart, thrilling, sexy and beautifully realised; Joss Whedon at his finest.


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Plot
Mal Reynolds (Fillion) is captain of the space craft Serenity, home to a nomadic crew of mercenaries whose relative tranquillity has been disturbed by their taking on Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and his troubled sister, River (Glau). River is caught up in a conspiracy involving galactic superpower The Alliance, and they’ll stop at nothing to get her back


Review
Serenity

The multiplexes are already rammed with the fetid, mewling cinematic offspring of hit TV shows, so why on earth should anyone want to watch a spin-off of a series that failed to even make it through its first season?

Well, firstly: it’s the big-screen debut of Buffy god Joss Whedon, a man with more pop-culture funnies than Scream’s Kevin Williamson. Secondly: everybody knows that these days truly great shows rarely make it beyond a debut run. Thirdly: it’s a hell of a lot better than The Dukes Of Hazzard.

Genre obsessives will already be fully clued up on the seemingly doomed course of the good ship Serenity, which, in the US show Firefly, launched with great fanfare before being buffeted by network execs to such an extent that only the most dedicated viewer could find it on the schedules. But with its complex mix of Western, sci-fi, thriller and comedy, not to mention a sprawling cast and twisting back-stories that 14 episodes could barely touch on, it was Whedon’s most ambitious project, and a show of such wit and originality that naturally it refused to die. Thus, through the power of the browncoat (read: Firefly nerd) and stellar sales on DVD, the lawless cast was given a reprieve and Whedon $40 million to resurrect his project.

All of which should send anybody disinclined to conventions and mint-condition collectables running from a darkened cinema for the sunshine of the outside world. Fear not; herein lies black comedy, spiky romance and action adventure — without an alien to be seen.

You could question Whedon’s wisdom in making this his first foray into movie direction (he’s previously been Oscar-nominated for co-scripting Toy Story), with its demands to satisfy both the faithful few and the indifferent masses. Screw this up and he’s not only dashed the dreams of his die-hard following, but also called into question his big-budget future.

Thankfully, through pluck, talent and enormous imagination, Whedon’s done it, cheerfully Frankensteining the smart mouth of Buffy, the dust of Deadwood and all the fun bits of Star Wars. Which, in some ways, is the movie’s sole problem.Serenity exists on a plane somewhere between cinema and TV. For much of the running time it feels like an extended episode of the series, with televisual staging and a slow reveal strategy that seems to be saving something for next week’s show. A large lead cast (played wonderfully by the original TV actors, all stretching their comedy and action muscles with ‘may never get the chance again’ vigour) demands a great deal of screentime to draw in newcomers.

Whedon’s economical with his exposition,  but with the amount of story to be squeezed in, even a tiny lapse in concentration will leave some scratching their heads during a few of the plot twists.

Gloriously, though, around the halfway point Serenity blossoms, breaking free of its small-screen confines. Whedon lets loose a series of confident action sequences befitting any summer blockbuster, the cast step up to big-screen presence (all hail Nathan Fillion, the new Han Solo!), and the careful seeding of the characters and story bears the fruit of an ending in which nothing is certain, no clichéd outcome inevitable and no crew member safe from the jaws of death. Bring on Episode II.


Verdict
If you’re a novice, this is a plucky introduction to Whedon’s world and the most fun sci-fi of the year. If you’re a devotee, this is the magnificent return you’ve been praying for.


Reviewed by Olly Richards


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Serenity
Empire Star Rating

RE: Worrying...

Are you insane? ... More

Posted by theoriginalcynic at 01:02, 13 November 2012 | Report This Post


Worrying...

Empire, It really does worry me that you've given this film four stars. The idea that this film warrants anything beyond one star is a joke. For all those who've not seen this film, here is a round up of why you should (apparently to Empire) NO watch it; it features: -Very poor CGI (not that good CGI could have saved it, or the reason you should watch a film) -A completely non-existant story -Diabolical acting -Borderline sexist and racist messages -90 minutes of your life you'll never get ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by pablo94 at 14:11, 08 January 2012 | Report This Post


Great Fun

LOVED this movie. Fillion and Ejiofor were definite highlights. Really disappointed there isn't a sequel forthcoming. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Turd Ferguson at 19:46, 04 January 2012 | Report This Post


One of my all time favourites from start to finish. Shame that it was either this movie or a second series...why not both?! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Impartial15 at 21:18, 11 February 2011 | Report This Post


Good but not great!

I think it is deja vu for all of us. It's Star Wars plus Shaun of the dead!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by batbhai at 04:43, 11 May 2010 | Report This Post


loved every second. very finny, synical at times and exciting at others. Also very well made. Love and miss Buffy but this is very worthy from the legend that is Whedon ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by plum bob at 00:04, 07 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

Explain yourself or be quiet. ... More

Posted by dustprincess at 15:06, 30 August 2009 | Report This Post


The movie we were hoping for. Thank you, Joss Whedon. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dustprincess at 15:05, 30 August 2009 | Report This Post


Nathan Fillion should fire his agent for signing him up for this. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by D.J at 09:49, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


One of my favourite movies ever.

Love the movie, love Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher. Bring on series 2!!!!!! BY THE WAY- Don't make the mistake I did and watch the movie BEFORE Firefly. BIG MISTAKE, watch Firefly first! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by wolfstar229 at 17:16, 29 September 2008 | Report This Post


One of my favourite movies ever.

Love the movie, love Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher. Bring on series 2!!!!!! BY THE WAY- Don't make the mistake I did and watch the movie BEFORE Firefly. BIG MISTAKE, watch Firefly first! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by wolfstar229 at 17:16, 29 September 2008 | Report This Post


Lots of Fun

Really enjoyed this. humourous, beautiful and clever- just how I like 'em ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 13:47, 26 September 2008 | Report This Post


Lots of Fun

Really enjoyed this. humourous, beautiful and clever- just how I like 'em ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 13:47, 26 September 2008 | Report This Post


Firefly deserved a second series, it still does, but this excellent film just about makes up for it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by muchobenny at 18:57, 11 August 2008 | Report This Post


Serenity

What a great film! Humour, space combat, sci-fi, story, acting and humour! What a great film! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Rextter at 19:11, 19 July 2008 | Report This Post


Fiercely Intelligent, Frighteningly Good

If you don't like science fiction - don't watch. If you don't like Buffy or Angel - don't watch (oh - and you are one of THE most dull unimaginative people around... but I digress...) If you like these things then this is one of the best films you will ever see. Go watch it now - your life will better as a result... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Voice of Fate at 21:21, 26 June 2008 | Report This Post


Fiercely Intelligent, Frighteningly Good

If you don't like science fiction - don't watch. If you don't like Buffy or Angel - don't watch (oh - and you are one of THE most dull unimaginative people around... but I digress...) If you like these things then this is one of the best films you will ever see. Go watch it now - your life will better as a result... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Voice of Fate at 21:21, 26 June 2008 | Report This Post


Great!

Let it be known, I love Nathan Fillion. The guy could call me a heap of shite and I'd still love him. This film is amazing, funny and just fun in general. Joss Whedon is actually my hero, he's just so ridiculously talented. How anyone could hate this film I do not know, it's just, well, great! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by neurotically_yours at 16:39, 05 April 2008 | Report This Post


Oh dear God

This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, the plot if there is any, is pointless and confusing, the dialouge makes about as much sense as doing another Halloween movie, the action is exiting but short and nothing new, thank god I rented it. I don't think I could sit through this again and prey to God the sequle never happens, but its not as bad as say Battlefeild earth, that had John Travolta ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dgribble at 18:29, 20 February 2008 | Report This Post


AWESOME!

A truly exceptional modern sci-fi reminiscent of the Blade Runner days, but with added charm and action. Nathan Fillion gives a truly great performance, his likeability allowing the storyline to zip along unhindered. A great transition from TV to the big screen, possibly the best ever. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Pinguman at 23:40, 23 January 2008 | Report This Post


Bring on Serenity 2

I love this movie, and the TV show was awesome too. Could deifintley benifit from a sequel. And a second season aswell. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 10:00, 01 November 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Serenity

Great film. Thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish. A good Sci-fi flick. My favourite Genre. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shool at 16:44, 31 August 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: Marty5 L: darth silas L: Marty5 L: darth silas CRAP.This film is just a cheap looking made for tv movie that has no place being on a big screen.The plot is dull and while the characters are good,they fight a losing battle against the script.Firefly ws a great show but this movie does not do it justice.To say that this cheap looking garbage is better than the awesome Revenge of the sith is a joke. 2/5 Lol, thats your opinion mate but i think that the little money joss wh... More

Posted by darth silas at 18:44, 10 August 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: darth silas L: Marty5 L: darth silas CRAP.This film is just a cheap looking made for tv movie that has no place being on a big screen.The plot is dull and while the characters are good,they fight a losing battle against the script.Firefly ws a great show but this movie does not do it justice.To say that this cheap looking garbage is better than the awesome Revenge of the sith is a joke. 2/5 Lol, thats your opinion mate but i think that the little money joss whedon had he put... More

Posted by Marty5 at 18:38, 10 August 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: Marty5 L: darth silas CRAP.This film is just a cheap looking made for tv movie that has no place being on a big screen.The plot is dull and while the characters are good,they fight a losing battle against the script.Firefly ws a great show but this movie does not do it justice.To say that this cheap looking garbage is better than the awesome Revenge of the sith is a joke. 2/5 Lol, thats your opinion mate but i think that the little money joss whedon had he put it to better use th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 12:41, 10 August 2007 | Report This Post


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