Sci-Fi Nerd: Commentary, reflection, and accolades from a fan’s point of view on all things sci-fi and fantasy.
“I am a leaf on the wind. Watch me soar.”
There is so much to say in praise of this film; I hardly know where to begin. There are some who consider Joss to be the most deserving to be crowned king of all the folks that compete for our attention in the sci-fi/fantasy movie industry these days. I am amongst that crowd and subscribe wholeheartedly to that notion. Serenity is Joss Whedon at his best, Just one example of a testimony to a fevered genius brain, the source of so many splendid, remarkable, delightful, memorable, and beautiful things over the years. This film is one of the best examples of the outer space adventure movie genre of the 21st century so far (in my book) and well may be the best. But that’s not where it ends. It’s also the conclusion of a grand mystery spanning star systems, which began in a short-lived tv series, that was infamously ended too soon by executives that had only a bottom line in place of a soul.
Serenity is a story woven from several stories. One story tells us about how sometimes all it takes to make a difference in the lives of a great many people is one determined man, (and a few loyal friends) who decides to misbehave. One such man is Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillon), captain of the spaceship Serenity and the loyal friends are the people that compose his crew (Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Ron Glass) plus one special “companion” that loves him (Morena Baccarin). Mal is still fighting the good fight against a giant faceless bureaucracy called the Alliance. Mal was on the losing side in a war the Alliance won and is still raging against the machine the systems-wide government represents.
It’s also a story of a government conspiracy and an attempted cover-up. It’s also about the role the government played in the creation of the Reavers, a blood-thirsty segment of the population that lives on the fringes of society and commit atrocious crimes. God help those unlucky enough to cross their path. It’s about how an experiment gone wrong affected the lives of millions across the known, colonized galaxy.
Another thread in this tapestry is about one particular girl named River Tam (Summer Glau). She is special partially as a result of experimentation, but mostly because she possesses an extraordinary sort of mind and spirit. She and her brother, Simon Tam (John Maher) are fugitives targeted by the Alliance and relentlessly pursued by a ruthless and homicidal intelligence agent known only as the Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor). These threads are all parts of a puzzle, intelligently and skillfully woven into one of the best science fiction movies ever made. I am delighted by Mr. Whedon’s unique ability to interject moments of humor into even the most dramatic points of a narrative, which usually serves to emphasize the drama even more. It also helps to make his stories more life-like by reminding us that even the direst moments in our lives are often accompanied by the absurdity always latent in our existence.
I know it becomes a case of apples and oranges when you try to compare different movies as examples of great science fiction. It just doesn’t work, and it becomes even less possible since science fiction fans are among the most unreasonable, opinionated people on the planet. We like what we like, and nothing anyone says is going to change our minds. Still, I say this is one of the best genre movies ever made, and I challenge anyone to name a better one.
We are saddened by the news of the passing of Ron Glass who portrayed Shepherd Book in the series and the movie and wish him all the best as his journey continues beyond the mortal plane.
Ron Glass, a prolific TV actor, known for playing Ron Harris in the sitcom “Barney Miller” and Shepherd Derrial Book in “Firefly,” has died. He was 71.
The actor’s rep had no further details regarding the cause or location.
Glass was born in Evansville, Ind. and went on to study drama and literature at the University of Evansville. He began his career in Hollywood in episodes of “Sanford and Son,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “All in the Family” in the early ’70s. Rest in peace Shepherd Book and thanks.