In the hallways of high schools, dorm rooms of colleges and the hearts of sci-fi fans around the world, Joss Whedon is a god.
The man who created TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly" finally took one to the big screen. Although little seen when on TV, "Firefly" was a critic darling and developed a cult following. When Whedon announced to fans he would bring his canceled show to the big screen, murmurs of excitement - and doubt - were heard around the world. Amazingly enough, studio heads and the powers that be allowed it to happen, with Serenity.
For anyone who is a stranger to Whedon's other shows and their attitudes (pop culture and sarcasm mixed together to form a powerhouse of witty banter), Serenity may open some doors to new things. With the original cast from the show, the plot entails a mysterious Fifth Element-like girl on the run and a crew of lovable misfits who pirate from the evil government, The Alliance. Mal, the ship's captain, played by Nathan Fillion and the mystery girl, River, played by relative newcomer Summer Glau help lead the cast in it's drive to truth - even if some of them have to go kicking and screaming the whole way.
The movie had its stars that stand out. But like every other Whedon production, the rest is cast so perfectly you can't help but love every character - even the guy in the background in Scene 23.
Serenity *** 1/2
You can see how "Firefly," Joss Whedon's ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") short-lived TV show that provided the basis for this movie, could have gotten addictive if given the chance. It's a spirited mix of the familiar and the futuristic, of fast-paced chase scenes and butt-kicking brawls, of witty banter and well-drawn characters.
Future classic lines come from every direction and make the viewer certain to take some of them home. The world created in the television show isn't explained very well in the movie. If you've got questions about the Chinese influence and why the Alliance is so bad, you'll have to do some reading or watch back episodes of the show. Without it, the story makes sense, but there's not as much depth to the plight of the crew of the Serenity against their enemies.
Though the back story is lacking, this movie is one fun ride the whole time. The characters don't seem scripted and two-dimensional. Their words are what you might to say if you were there. I can't help but think Whedon went into this movie hoping to bring back a TV show. All I can say is if Serenity can't revive Firefly, I don't know what can.