Film of the day – Serenity

Serenity - River Tam

Joss Whedon’s post-Buffy space adventure Serenity has a cult following for good reason – it’s a really enjoyable movie.

Set 500 years in the future, our corner of the universe is under the heel of the Alliance but not everyone is happy being governed by an oppressive regime. A ragtag bunch of space ‘privateers’ led by Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) make the best that they can from the lean pickings available to those who live outside of the law. However, when they rescue a crewmate’s sister from a secret government lab where she is a subject in an experiment to create the perfect assassin, they become enemies of the state and a chillingly efficient killer agent (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is dispatched to return the girl and eliminate the crew.

That sets the scene for this unconventional yarn, which its probably more accurate to describe as a Western in space: rogueish drifters pursued by the law and evading reavers (another catastrophic government experiment that results in an entire colony turning into screaming-berserker-zombie-banshee-things) as they pick across barren landscapes – all the key themes of the genre are included. Serenity is a superior sci-fi drama even though it had a minuscule budget, which just goes to show LucasFilm that chucking cash at something doesn’t necessarily improve the end product.

Serenity – Wednesday 6.50pm on Sky Cinema Sci-fi & Horror.