Serenity was a 2005 science fiction movie based on the television series Firefly, both of which were created by Joss Whedon. It cost $39 million to make, and pulled in, well, somewhat less. However, DVDs and merchandise are still being sold, not to mention paid autograph sessions at sci-fi conventions with the stars, so it might be a money-making film. Five hundred years into our future.
edit The setting
It takes a contrived first scene to tell us that this movie takes place in a solar system, just like ours, but it's not ours; it's a solar system that we emigrated to because Earth became so damned crowded. It's got inner planets, outer planets, and a warm and sunny sun, but not our sun.
Oh--but instead of an asteroid belt, this solar system has a lunatic belt.
edit The background
The movie weaves together many plot devices that create an unreal fantasy environment, though oddly giving viewers something to relate to:
- White people have been pwned by the Chinese faster than you can say National Debt, and the resulting society is a mix of both. You can't walk down a street without hearing fluent gibberish. This was a sop thrown to audiences in the American Southwest.
- All women are either grease-monkeys or whores.
- There aren't many blacks to speak of, but the one prominent one works for the government and is a mean bastard.
- The government is crooked; it experiments on and kills people; and it is involved in a gigantic medical experiment that goes--wait for it!--horribly wrong.
So it's just like life in California, except that everyone gets around in space ships.
edit The plot
River Tam is a little girl, like all of us were once. But unlike most of us, this little girl is demented, clairvoyant, an ongoing experiment of the corrupt government, and a martial arts expert who doesn't know fatigue and can take on twelve opponents more successfully than anyone since Nipponese Star Man.
River's brother Simon narrowly kidnaps her away from the government laboratory, because he's got a friend with a space ship--the Serenity. Only, Simon is into family reunification, whereas his friend is into bank heists. However, their respective skills make for symbiosis and a profitable working relationship.
But River has dream visions of a place called Miranda. Bank robbers just naturally want to get to the bottom of things--as these visions will surely also be the key to explaining the extreme evil the government has been hatching for generations. Fortunately, gasoline is relatively cheap, and the Serenity is able to take a month off from bank robbery to go from the temperate planets to Miranda, the most distant planet (which is, oddly, also pretty toasty) to reveal this mystery. Even though everyone they visit along the way is murdered by the black guy just afterward.
To do this, of course, they have to pass that asteroid belt, which is a veritable traffic jam of space ships full of Reavers. Reavers like to capture humans, torture them, and eat them alive, all the while playing Yahtzee. And the way they do that is to adorn the Serenity with the blood and corpses of their recently murdered friends--much as a tourist often breaks his own windshield before driving through Detroit, just to fit in. There are Reavers all around the sun, there are no thin spots, and you can't just "go around them," as the planets in this solar system don't seem to orbit. There is only one way through.
Should they reach Miranda and solve the mystery, they will have to cross back through the same belt in order to Raise Awareness, and battle and then expose the evil government (which will obviously make it decide to stop being evil). And do they succeed? That would be a spoiler! One thing that isn't a spoiler: Although you loved the flick and went to see it ten times, there just aren't very many of you.
One of the baffling aspects of the movie is that it assembles people who had not appeared in the television series with other people who had already been killed off. Consequently, fans--especially at conventions--try out elaborate time-lines on one another.
Fans also eagerly contact the studio to get any whiff at a possible sequel or even a trilogy, because they want to see how things turn out. The studio, however, knows how things will turn out, and is therefore less excited about losing money twice again.