Serenity, the long-awaited film adaptation of director Joss Whedon's (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) cult-favorite TV series Firefly, has all of the components of a typical sci-fi action film, and little more. Set 500 years in the future, Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a smuggler commanding the eponymous Serenity, discovers that one of his passengers, River (Summer Glau), is in fact an escaped telepathic fighting machine that holds a secret that threatens the integrity of the corrupt Planetary Alliance. Mal and his crew assist River with her mission while avoiding a smooth Alliance operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor). The film ultimately fails, however, because the viewer has already, in essence, seen the movie. Every device used in the film is borrowed from more popular, and certainly superior, predecessors: the Planetary Alliance is too similar to Star Wars' Galactic Empire, Serenity is a knock-off of The Matrix's Nebuchadnezzar, and Glau's character is a weird hybrid of Milla Jovovich's character in The Fifth Element and Brittany Murphy's in Don't Say a Word. Despite this dearth of originality, the film is entertaining enough, owing its success to some impressive fight choreography in addition to amusing one liners. But those pondering the choice to spend $10 to see the film should head to Video Library and rent a real sci-fi movie.


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