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Serenity (2005)

With their ships spewing pollution like active volcanoes, and their shredded faces able to give a zombie nightmares, Reavers are probably among the nastiest creations in science fiction. Creator and director Josh Whedon certainly uses them to wicked effect in the movie of his TV series Firefly. The series was cancelled, to the wrath of fans, so Whedon made his debut as a movie director to bring them a story that starts six months after the events of the last episode.

As in the series, the Alliance bad guys, led by The Operative (2012’s Chiwetel Ejiofor) are still after the strange River, who alternates between being spookily psychic and ferociously psychotic. She and her brother Simon are being sheltered by the crew of the Serenity, a Firefly class spaceship on the run from just about everyone, including the Reavers.

The crew still consists of Mal, the captain; Zoe the ‘warrior woman’; her husband Wash, the pilot; Jayne, the ‘hired muscle’; and Kaylee, the cute mechanic. A great bunch of actors, comfortable in their roles, and giving this ‘space western’, as Whedon calls it, a much more engaging atmosphere and sense of reality than the big budget movie Cowboys and Aliens was able to muster.

The movie explains the origin of the Reavers, accidentally created by the Alliance as the result of a chemical experiment. The crew finds a log entry that reveals the whole disaster and what caused it and set off to have it broadcast. But as usual, the Operative is way ahead of them, and throws a spanner in their plans.

There is a great battle between the Alliance ships and the Reavers, whose ships look like a collection of hideous insects bearing down on them. In the ensuing battle, a favorite character is lost, and River turns out to be a helluva vampire slayer, but at least it all ends in a more satisfactory way than another cancelled series called Dinotopia. Some TV execs actually do care what the fans of their shows want.

Like Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, Serenity is a ‘gift’ to the fans, who devotedly supported Whedon through all his endeavors, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the Angel. Now he is reaping the rewards as praise is heaped on him from all sides for his Marvel superhero movie The Avengers. But Firefly and Serenity fans already knew he was pretty good.

I paid for this DVD with my own funds.



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