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USA: Universal Studios
UK: UIP (UK)
Cast: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Ron Glass, Chiwetel Ejiofor, David Krumholtz, Michael Hitchcock, Sarah Paulson, Yan Feldman, Rafael Feldman, Nectar Rose, Tamara Taylor, Glenn Howerton, Hunter Ansley Wryn, Logan Craig O'Brien, Erik Erotas, Demetra Raven, Jessica Huang, Marley McClean, Scott Kinworthy, Erik Weiner, Conor O'Brien, Peter James Smith, Weston I Nathanson, Cece Cline, Chuck O'Neil, Amy Wieczorek, Tristan Jarred, Elaine Lee, Terrence Hardy, Brian O'Hare, Ryan Tasz, Colin Patrick Lynch, Terrell Tilford, Joshua Kwiat
Director: Joss Whedon
USA & UK: 119 mins
USA Rated: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, and some sexual references
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong violence
USA Release Date: 30 September 2005
UK Release Date: 7 October 2005
UK DVD Release Date: 27 February 2005
JOSS WHEDON - the Oscar and Emmy-nominated writer/director behind the global phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL - makes his feature film directorial debut with the science-fiction western adventure SERENITY.
The film is based on Whedon's critically acclaimed, short-lived television series FIREFLY, which aired on the Fox TV Network during the fall of 2002. Set in a futuristic, post-Earth universe dominated by a planetary Alliance, the series chronicled the adventures of the ragtag spaceship Serenity and her eclectic crew of outcasts, led by Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, played by Nathan Fillion.
In this world we find Mal (Nathan Fillion), a soldier on the losing side of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and captaining the transport-for-hire ship Serenity. He leads a small crew who are the closest thing he has left to family: his second-in-command Zoe (Gina Torres); Zoe's pilot husband Wash (Alan Tudyk); the mercenary Jayne (Adam Baldwin) and ship's mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite) who together provide Mal the opinionated, insubordinate and ultimately loyal mates he needs to survive in the outlands.
Threatening their survival are two of the most formidable enemies: first, the establishment known as the Universal Alliance (those on the winning side of the war); and second, the horrific, cannibalistic Reavers - savages who roam the edges of space. The crew find themselves trapped between the Alliance, who seeks to bring order - wanted or unwanted by their subjects - to these various planets, and the Reavers, who seek wanton chaos and destruction.
Further complicating matters for Mal are the beautiful courtesan Inara (Morena Baccarin), a woman who alternately inspires and infuriates him; Shepherd Book (Ron Glass), a preacher who challenges Mal to the fullest; and two mysterious passengers: the young doctor Simon (Sean Maher) and his unstable, telepathic sister River (Summer Glau). Her talents long-used by the Alliance, she possesses dangerous secrets buried so deeply, even she doesn't know what they are.
Joss Whedon's ability to create a self-contained universe stocked with compelling characters, unexpected humor and imaginative stories has resulted in a myriad of projects during his career. In addition to creating and executive producing the television series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL (as well as writing and directing multiple episodes of each), he has brought his trademark wit and compassion as a writer to films such as SPEED, ALIEN: RESURRECTION and TOY STORY, for which he received an Academy Award nomination.
Whedon conceived of the television series FIREFLY after reading Michael Shaara's Civil War novel, "The Killer Angels." The appeal of post-war survivors scraping by on the outskirts of society - in a science-fiction context - struck a chord with Whedon. Starting by dreaming up the different characters, Whedon then wove a humanistic tale set in a frontier world of planets instead of plains. "I wanted to tell a story about people who were living in space, but not living in grandeur," he describes. "We've used up the Earth, so we've moved on to a new solar system," he continues. "Where once we had new countries to explore, now we have planets. There's no alien life of any kind that we have discovered. It's still just us. It's a vision of the world more or less as it is today." While some industry analysts and the media were perplexed by the notion of a theatrical movie based on a failed television series, FIREFLY fans - or "Browncoats," named after the series' anti-Alliance underdog freedom fighters - were ecstatic
IN DEPTH: THE WORLD OF SERENITY
Serenity's Crew and Passengers
(2507 A.D.) Five hundred years in the future, Earth-That-Was is no longer habitable and mankind has colonized a distant galaxy. The Central Planets within this new solar system are bound by one law, one Alliance. "For every good action there is a reaction, and the forming of the Alliance does not create an evil empire or a totalitarian state," comments Whedon, "but a power so great that there's no way it can justly rule over the entire universe. Whenever you create some kind of utopia, you find something ugly working underneath it."
Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) was one of the holdouts on the losing side of the great War for Unification, where the Alliance sought to bring the outer rim planets under its control. "Mal is someone who fought at a time when he was just crushed by the opposing force," says Whedon. "There was no way he was going to be able to stop the tide of history. And the experience changed him." "He's not an evil man," finds Whedon. "He hasn't lost his moral compass completely. He has just given up on the idea of the decency of human nature. Or that anything is worth fighting for, except the next meal and the people around him."
His second-in-command, Zoe Alleyne (Gina Torres), fought by Mal's side in more than a dozen campaigns, including their planet's final battle for independence against the Alliance. She was the only other member of the 57th to survive the bloody fight for Serenity Valley.
Zoe's husband, Hoban Washburn - Wash - (Alan Tudyk), is her opposite: a good-natured pilot who loves to fly but hates to fight.
Kaylee (Jewel Staite), a scrappy farm-girl with a genius for machines, is the ship's engineer and mechanic. "Kaylee is really the soul of the ship," describes Whedon. "She believes that life is decent. She loves machines. She loves being on that ship, keeping it running. She thinks that's a great life."
Where Kaylee is all heart, mercenary fighter Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin) is all muscle. "Jayne is big and self-interested," says Whedon. "He's not from the war. He shoots people because he gets paid. He is not somebody you necessarily want at your back in a firefight because if the other guy's paying more, he might be a little closer to your back than you want."
In their travels across planets both primitive and civilized, the crew runs under the radar, as far from the enforced order of the Alliance as the ship and a succession of small-time heists can take them. But unbeknownst to them, their fate becomes inextricably tied to the addition of the ship's two newest passengers. Simon Tam (Sean Maher), a young doctor and his unstable sister, River (Summer Glau) who are not everything they appear to be and are on the run from the Alliance. A natural telepath, River spent years subjected to experiments in an Alliance lab that left her forever altered, possibly even dangerous. They have unknowingly exposed her to the dark secret that keeps the order the Alliance seeks to uphold.
The Players in Serenity's Universe
The Alliance has dispatched a skilled and deadly Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to reclaim River - and the secrets locked in her damaged psyche. The Operative believes his mission is to protect the Alliance at all costs, which makes him far more dangerous than a paid assassin. When he kills it's with a sense of purpose. The Operative's promise to the Alliance is that no matter how far and fast the crew of Serenity flies, he will find a way to flush them out and retrieve River. Not a simple task.
Mal's resistance to the Alliance and the manhunt by The Operative have put his friends in jeopardy. The Captain still harbors deep affections for a beautiful Companion named Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin), whom The Operative uses to lure Mal out into the open. "A Companion is essentially a futuristic geisha," explains Baccarin. "They live in a time in which prostitution is legal and it's seen as a classy profession because of the trade, because of what they learn and what they know. Inara has learned many different languages and dances and archery. She can fight and at the same time is very sophisticated."
Two other remnants of Mal's checkered past provide him with guidance. Shepherd Book (Ron Glass) is a man of faith with mysterious knowledge of the Alliance and the ways of The Operative.
Rounding out the cast, Mr. Universe (David Krumholtz), monitors the signals that race across the galaxy from a remote hideout he shares with his female "lovebot."
Even greater dangers await Serenity's crew on the outer limbs of the solar systems - Reavers, vicious creatures that haunt the edges of space. "On one side we have the Alliance, embodied by The Operative, who is utterly intractable morally and will kill anybody," describes Whedon. "On the other side, we have the Reavers." "If you encounter a Reaver, that's it," shares Fillion. "You're done for. That's how bad they are. They don't want to kill you; they want to kill you slow. They want to eat you; they want to skin you. There's just no end to their evil."
Screen Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Languages English - Dolby Digital (5.1)
Subtitles English for the hearing impaired
Introduction from writer/director Joss Whedon: Joss' original introduction to screening audiences
Audio commentary from Joss Whedon
Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary from Joss Whedon
'Future History': the story of the Earth that was!
'What's In A Firefly': see how Zoic visual effects studios helped bring Joss' unique vision to the big screen
'Re-Lighting The Firefly': the story of how a cancelled television show gained a cult following to become a major film
'A Filmmaker's Journey': with Joss, go from script to screen