Before watching this movie, I highly recommend that you watch Firefly, which aired on Fox and is currently on Netflix. This is not a standalone movie; this is a continuation of the story. Firefly was cancelled after one season, much to the disappointment of fans.
Let me give you some background for the show. Firefly is the story of Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and his crew of outlaws and misfits. This space western is from the mind of Joss Whedon, known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer and directing The Avengers.
Reynolds and his crew fly through the universe doing any job they can. They were just trying to get by, but now they have something more interesting on board. River Tam (Summer Glau) a psychic and is the sister of the doctor. Although this makes her interesting, this is just the backstory. The important thing is that River and her brother, Simon, are fugitives, running from the Alliance after she escaped from human experimentation.
Everyone who watches this show reacts the same way. A space western? That sounds stupid. It’s true it sounds weird. But once you start watching and when you start to care about these characters, the show becomes so much more.
This movie starts with Simon breaking River out of captivity. Although it gives audiences some background, there is no true backstory to help new viewers understand the plot.
Some of these things include backstory between Simon and Kaylee, Mal and Inara and Wash and Zoe. Whedon found it difficult to take the nine characters of the show and fully develop and give endings to each one.
The story continues as River and Simon decide to leave the crew. After being attacked by Reevers (cannibals), they dock on a world and go to a meeting. While there, River is triggered a subliminal message from the experimentation, and attacks people at a bar.
With the Alliance and their assassin operative now knowing where River is, Mal turns to a contact to find out more. Mr. Universe (David Krumholtz) was a new addition to the cast, but he gives the name, “Miranda.”
It’s not a person but a place. Miranda is a planet on the outer rim of the universe. Not that it matters, but the name Miranda was taken from Shakespeare
’s The Tempest. “O brave new world that has such people in’t.”
The operative tries to get to River but Mal fights him off. “If there your fight goes to ground, leave no ground to go too,” the operative says. He visited every shelter that had been used by his crew, leaving nowhere to turn. So they head to Miranda.
Miranda is a dead planet. Actually, I’ll take that back. Everyone on the planet is dead.
To get past the Reevers and past the Alliance, both between the crew and Mr. Universe, Mal pits them against each other. But the Reevers follow the crew and the crew gets ready for their final showdown while Mal goes to get the signal out to the rest of the universe.
Mal and the operative have their western standoff. Over top of the generator that runs Mr. Universe’s workshop. Meanwhile, Kaylee takes a tranquilizer to the neck, Zoe takes a sword to the back, Simon gets shot and Reevers take River.
Mal is able to beat the operative and get the signal out.
We also find out that River is alive and has fought and killed all of the Reevers.
With the Alliance off of their backs, the crew gets back to their routine. They do their chores on the ship and try to move on with their lives.
The ending comes swiftly and Mal has to quickly resolve the relationships between the other characters. Mal helps close the story about Zoe, Inara and River and gives a closing speech about the 10th character in the movie, Serenity (the ship).
This is a movie about the right to be wrong. It is about doing the right thing instead of always doing the smart thing. When Mal should have turned against River and her brother and when he should have left the information alone instead of risking his life, Mal chose to hide River from the Alliance and get the signal into the world.
This is a love letter to Nathan Fillion, Joss Whedon and the others who made the show and this movie possible. It is however also a “I dislike you very much” letter to the people at Fox who tanked this show.
If you haven’t seen it, watch the season of Firefly and then go find this movie. It is a great binge watch for those looking to kill a rainy day.
Image from Imgur, Wallq, Pop Verse