My emotions may be running a bit high at the moment, but I absolutely loved Serenity. It is rare that I go to a film with high expectations and have them exceeded. Joss Whedon and crew have successfully created a stunningly original vision of the future. Serenity melds westerns with sci-fi, drama with comedy, action with adventure, all with such ease as to make them all work together in harmony.
A little background is in order. Serenity is the film spin off of the short lived television series Firefly. Firefly lasted for 9 episodes on Fox a few years back before it's plug was unjustly pulled. Anyway, the episodes were aired out of order, destroying the continuity and never allowing a fan base to truly develop. This film brings that universe to the big screen in glorious fashion.
The world of Serenity involves a new galaxy, colonized by the ever expanding numbers of humans. There are the central planets which form the Alliance, a government of sorts, while the outlying planets rebelled against their control. These outlying planets are more or less cut off, and lack any technological develop, creating a wild west style frontier.
This is the world in which our heroes live. They take jobs transporting freight, or people, with the occasional side trip to steal the Alliance's money. They are a group of outlaws, causing trouble and hiding from the authorities. Our story follows them as they do all they can to protect a young girl, River (Summer Glau), and her protective brother, Simon (Sean Maher), from those who seek her harm, namely, the Alliance.
Out team is made up of the captain, Malcolm 'Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), his right hand man (woman?), Zoe (Gina Torres), her pilot husband, Wash (Alan Tudyk), the tough guy, Jayne (Adam Baldwin), and the engineer, Kaylee (Jewel Staite). Also along for the ride are Inara (Morena Baccarin) and Shepherd Book (Ron Glass). Opposing them is The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and the forces of the Alliance. Then there are the Reavers, creatures that were once human and enjoy the flesh of man.
Serenity is epic in scope, yet personal in nature. These characters are real, they all have their defining moments, moments which draw you in and make you care about their fate. While you become personally involved with them, they are in the midst of a story that spans a galaxy and has repercussions for each and every person living in it.