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If you'd like to be surprised by the Serenity film, I don't recommend you to watch the trailer beyond 1:15, because it gives away too much of the plot.

Serenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005) - Watch the trailer on YouTube
video © Universal Studios (Comcast)

The Serenity (2005) is a futuristic action / adventure film. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Serenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005)

Original title: Serenity

Series: Firefly

Previous entries in the series: Firefly TV series

Setting: future of Earth, in another star system (Firefly universe)

Product type: Film, Genre: futuristic action / adventure, Style: sci-fi, thriller, action, adventure

Release: Premiere: 2005.08.22 (Edinburgh International Film Festival), Release: 2005.09.29

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Preferences: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises to spoilers, prefers establishing elements before referencing them

Watched: very recent (2022.07), second time. The first time was in 2005, when it was originally released.

Rating: Good (2+ out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Average (2 out of 3 points)

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This is my review of Serenity, a futuristic action / adventure movie for the Firefly series from 2005. It's about a team of space criminals trying to uncover a government conspiracy. The Serenity film is interesting, I recommend it to fans of the genre.

Serenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005) - Film review by KadmonSerenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

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Review (spoiler-free) - Serenity, movie (2005)

I was already a fan of the Firefly series when the movie came out, so I watched it as soon as I was able to. I've probably seen the trailer before watching the film. I've seen every episode of the TV series.

I have to admit that I'm positively biased towards the movie. I like the creators enough that I've bought the DVD in a format that I cannot play to support them.

The Serenity movie is about a team of space criminals trying to uncover a government conspiracy.

The story is good, there are a couple of twists. The consistency is a little strange, I'm not entirely satisfied with it. There are no proper character arcs for the main characters. I didn't find major logical problems.

The cinematography is good. The movie is interesting visually. The action scenes are interesting, varied, and easy to follow. The special effects are good.

The characters are okay, we get to know them enough to care about them. The actors are great, fit their roles perfectly, as if they were practicing them for years.

The music (by David Newman) is good.

Serenity is an interesting futuristic action / adventure, I think fans of the genre might enjoy it.

My experience

I was not entirely satisfied with Serenity (2005). In itself, it was probably good, but I did not feel that the film is really the continuation of the TV series.

Rating: Good (2+ out of 3 points). Serenity is a well-made film.

Enjoyment: Average (2 out of 3 points). Serenity is interesting, but compared to the Firefly series, I've found it lacking.

Rewatchability: High. I think the story is engaging enough to make you enjoy watching it multiple times.

Chance of watching it again: There's a chance. I liked it enough that I might watch it in the right circumstances.

Chance of watching a sequel: High. I'd sure watch it.

Serenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005) - Film review by KadmonSerenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

Will you enjoy this?

If you like mystery or thriller movies, you might like Serenity.

If you like futuristic movies, you might like Serenity.

If you enjoyed the Firefly TV series, you might be interested in this story.

If you prefer visuals over story, you can still enjoy this movie.

Do you need to see the original TV series to enjoy this?

I think there's enough explanation that you'll understand what's going on without seeing the TV series.

Watching for plot points

If you are interested in futuristic adventure stories, I think it's worth watching the Serenity movie for the plot points.

Should you watch this on your own screen at home, or is it worth going to the cinema?

The visuals definitely look better if you watch it in cinema.

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Serenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005) - Film review by KadmonSerenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

Review with spoilers - Serenity, movie (2005)

I mostly liked the Serenity movie.

The Serenity film is practically the story of how the movie was made to finish the Firefly series. There's a band of likeable people (the creators), who are trying to make the world a better place (by making Firefly episodes). There's an evil force (Fox) that denied them this (by cancelling the series), but they are still working to make their voices heard. Against all odds, fighting against the evil force, they've found a new ally (Universal), who allowed them to broadcast their story (by releasing the movie). They were denied the use of their previous allies (can't use setting material from the series) by the agent (corporate lawyers) sent after them. Even their spaceship had to be rebuilt (because the original set was destroyed).


The cover of the movie is okay, it doesn't say much, but it doesn't spoil the movie.

The trailer

The trailer spoils some some parts of the movie.

If you prefer spoilers, it's a great trailer for the Serenity film. If you prefer to avoid spoilers, it will make the movie less fun for you.

Promise of the first scene

In the first scene, we get exposition about the setting. Then in the second scene, we see a brainwashed girl. I assume the girl will become an agent, but she'll probably rebel against her controllers, and take revenge.

Execution: It was okay.

Plot summary / Synopsis

After a psychic girl (Summer Glau as River Tam) agent was freed by her brother (Sean Maher as Simon Tam), the government is afraid that the secrets she head read from the minds of government leaders might get out to the public. They send a secret agent (Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative) to kill the leader of the facility who let the psychic girl escape, and find the psychic girl.

There's a spaceship (Serenity), with a criminal crew - a captain (Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm Reynolds), a female fighter (Gina Torres as Zoë Alleyne Washburne), a pilot (Alan Tudyk as Hoban Washburne), an engineer girl (Jewel Staite as Kaywinnet Lee Frye / "Kaylee"), and a brute (Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb). The psychic girl and the brother are also on board.

They criminals are on a planet, robbing a bank when cannibal space raiders (Reavers) attack the village. They escape.

When they are in a bar, the psychic girl attacks the patrons. They go to a tech guy (David Krumholtz as Mr. Universe), who finds it out that the psychic girl was hit by a subliminal message designed for her.

The captain gets a message from her female friend (Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra), requesting his company. As he realises it's a trap, he goes in disguise. He meets the secret agent there, who asks the psychic girl, in exchange for letting him go. They fight, the captain escapes with his friend. They go to meet his old friend (Ron Glass as Shepherd Book), but they find the place devastated, and the old friend killed by the secret agent.

The crew finds it out that the government was experimenting on the population of a planet (Miranda).

They travel to the planet (Miranda), mentioned by the psychic girl. The planet is the den of cannibal space raiders. It turns out the raiders were once the peaceful population of the planet, turned into raging monsters by a government experiment.

They lure the space raiders into the government fleet, so they can escape both, and get to a tech guy to broadcast the information about the experiment. Their spaceship gets damaged, they crash land into the station, and their pilot dies. The space raiders follow them there, so the crew makes a last stand to buy time for the captain to reach the tower.

The captain finds the tech guy dead, killed by the secret agent, but he left him a message where to find the the broadcasting tower. He gets there, but the secret agent attacks him. The captain defeats the secret agent, and broadcasts the information about the experiment.

The crew was able to defeat the space raiders, many of the were killed by the psychic girl. After the news of the experiment are already public, the secret agent orders the army to stop. They provide medical help, and repair the spaceship of the criminals. The secret agent lets them go, but reminds them that they are not safe.

The psychic girl becomes the pilot of the spaceship, and they fly away.

The setting

The story is set in the future of Earth, about 500 years later, in another solar system.

There are psychic powers in this universe.

Serenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005) - Film review by KadmonSerenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

The experiment - Pax

The Alliance tried to create a docile, non-aggressive population. They tried it on Miranda. They've put the chemical in the air processor of the planet.

It worked on 99.9% of people. Many of those became so tame, that they stopped doing anything, they just waited until they died of thirst.

On the remaining 0.1% of the population it had the opposite effect, and they became raging cannibal savages.

The message of the story

"You can't stop the signal."

The structure of the story

The scenes of the Serenity film are played in sequence, following the same storyline.

There is no single viewpoint character.

It has the usual arc of the dramatic structure - introduction, action, resolution.

Plot points of interests

The were a couple of changes to the setting and characters.


Alliance: They were responsible for the creation of the Reavers.

Reavers: They were created by a failed experiment of the Alliance.

New characters

Mr. Universe: A tech guy, friend of Mal. Killed by the Operative.

The Operative: A secret agent of the Alliance.

Changes to characters

Malcolm Reynolds: He is more dour and cynical.

River Tam: At the end of the story, she becomes the pilot of the Serenity.

Characters killed

Hoban Washburne: Dies when the Serenity crash lands.

Mr. Universe: Stabbed to death by the Operative.

Shepherd Book: Killed by the Operative.


Pax: A chemical that can make people lose interest in anything, or cause cannibalistic rage in 0.1% of them.

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Things I liked


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How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

From the writer (Joss Whedon), I've seen Alien: Resurrection (1997), Titan A.E. (2000), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Firefly (2002-2003), Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008), Dollhouse (2009-2010), The Cabin in the Woods (2011), The Avengers (2012), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Justice League (2017), that were good. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-2020) were average. Serenity is among the better ones.

From the director (Joss Whedon), I've seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Firefly (2002-2003), Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008), Dollhouse (2009-2010), The Avengers (2012), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), that were all good. Serenity is among the better ones.

How does it compare to the original series?


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Serenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005) - Film review by KadmonSerenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

Analysis of the story - Serenity, movie (2005)

I mostly liked the story, but the accumulation of these small problems prevented me from really enjoying Serenity.

Problematic elements

The personality of Mal: It was very different from the TV series, and I didn't feel it justified.

In the beginning, when he dragged River into the fray, it was a very unreasonable thing to do, and Mal from the series wouldn't have done so.

The whole point of the series was that he felt protective towards River and Simon, that's why he had taken them in on the Serenity. Yet, in this story, they just go their separate ways (and then join for plot reasons).

Killing characters: There are some important characters from the series that are killed. Although I'm not against killing characters, the killing of Shepherd Book was unnecessary. He was only dragged into the movie to get killed, and the only people who felt anything towards his dead were those who watched the series, otherwise there were no attachment towards him.

Simon: When Simon and River leave the Serenity, they go separate from the rest of the crew. Yet, River ends up in the same place where Mal is, and Simon, her caretaker is nowhere to be seen. How did she get there? Where is Simon?

Sneaking into Reaver territory: The movie makes it look like that almost every cubic meter of space is filled with Reavers. Given that Miranda already had a small population, and only 0.1% of them became Reavers (according to Firefly Wiki, it's 30,000 people), and from those, I'm pretty sure many of them are already death due to their daily routine of murderous rampaging, I'm almost sure there are not that many Reavers left by now. So I find it unlikely that there would be a need to really sneak between Reaver spaceships. If their sensors indicate a Reaver ship in the vicinity, just go another way.

The cloud: The whole ion cloud thing is not clear. It supposed to stop electronic signals, so it jams the sensors of the military fleet, but then they are supposed to broadcast a signal through that system-wide.

The android: Why is the android wife of Mr. Universe is so stupid that it repeats the same thing to everyone who enters the room? Doesn't it have some kind of recognition system?

Unanswered questions


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Possibilities of improvement


How it could have been better?


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Behind the scenes


Thoughts about the reviews of others


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Serenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005) - Film review by KadmonSerenity, movie for the Firefly series (2005)
image © Universal Studios (Comcast)

Uses for the film - Serenity, movie (2005)


  • An organisation tries to control the population of an area with technology.
  • An experiment goes wrong, causing the death of innocents.
  • An experiment goes wrong, making the victims crazy.
  • A secret agent escapes from an organisation. The organisation wants to get the agent back.


  • The opening scene is a good way to introduce the Firefly setting.
  • The space battle at the end is a good way to show space raiders attacking a fleet of ships.



Scenario ideas - Role-playing game scenario ideas


Scenario ideas - Wargame scenario ideas

Rescue from base: The attacker got an agent inside the base, who has freed the prisoner, before getting caught. The defender sets up the playing area, with a base in the middle, and deploys the defender units anywhere. The defender can only use regular troops. Then the attacker chooses an escape point on the outer wall of the base, that has been Breached. Put a Breached marker on it, and use it to enter or leave the base. There's a hidden squad of attackers on the outside of the breached wall, they might even have a vehicle or mounts. The attacker then deploys the agent and the prisoner in the middle 20 cm of the base. The agent can only have medium armour and medium sized weapons. The prisoner can only have light weapons. Any defender unit that has line of sight to the agent or the prisoner gets moved away from the attacker models, to a place where they don't have line of sight any more. The agent gets the first action. The defender units are Passive guards, that can only start to take actions if they get alerted. The attacker team on the outside can be revealed any time, and they can enter the base to help the agent. The attacker wins if the agent and the prisoner leaves the playing area, and more than half of their models are alive. The defender wins if the prisoner doesn't leave the playing area.

Random breach (harder for the attacker): First, the attacker deploys the agent. Then they randomly find a breached point on the wall.

Breach in progress (harder for the attacker): The weak point is found, but it takes some effort to be able to utilise it. After N actions spent of getting through, the player can put the Breached marker on the wall. Specialist units or special equipment can increase the actions spent. The models on the outside of the breach still remain hidden while trying to get through.

The raid: The defender sets up the playing area, with a base in the middle, that has an objective inside. The defender deploys their units anywhere on the playing area. Then the attackers enter the playing area from any edge. They want to get the objective, and leave with it. From the second turn, roll a d6. On a 6, a third force, the raiders enter the playing area from any edge, who want to capture the people alive. Depending on the number of players, the defender or the raider can be controlled by the system. The defender wins if they keep the objective, and more than half of their units survive. The attacker wins if they leave with the objective, and more than half of their units survive. The raider wins if they capture or kill more than half of the models that belong to the defender and the attacker. A captured model is worth two killed model.

Push through: There's a small force that wants to break through a larger defender force. The players set up the playing area. The defender chooses a long edge, and deploys their models on that half of the playing area. Then the attacker deploys their units on the opposing edge. Then, on the second turn, a large force of raiders arrive, intent on killing anyone. This third force can be controlled by another player, or they can use Random aggressive movement. The attacker wins if their leader leaves through the opposing side, while more than half of their models survive. The defender wins if they don't let any attacker through. The raiders win if they kill more than half of the models of the other sides.

Uncertain arrival (harder for the attacker): After the first turn, at the beginning of every turn, roll a d6. On a 1, the raiders arrive.

Reach the objective: Two sides compete for reaching an objective. Prepare a playing area together, with multiple objective areas. Deploy the two sides on two opposing edge of the playing area. When a model reaches an objective point, roll a d6. On a 1, it's the right place. It takes an action to complete the objective. After the first side completes it, the other side can't try. After the first turn, at the beginning of the turn, roll a d6. On a 6, a third force arrives, entering from any edge, and attacks both sides. They can be controlled by the system. The winner is the side that completes the objective, and leaves the playing area with more than half of their units alive. The third side is the winner if they kill more than half of the models of the other two forces.

Uncertain activation: After the model spends the action for the objective, it requires a successful skill test, or a roll of 1-3 on a d6 to make it work.

Insider knowledge: There's an objective marker placed on every objective area. One of them has a sign on the underside, the others are blank. The players can compete for the knowledge. Both side declare an amount of army points they would spend on it. This goes until one of the players don't want to match the other's bet. The player who offered the highest amount, spends that amount from their army points, and the player has to check the marker on every objective area.

Defenders (harder for the players): The place is defended by another force. This force can be controlled by another player, or by the system. If a player controls them, they have the same amount of army points as the other two forces. The models are deployed anywhere on the board, and they can start hidden. If they are controlled by the system, they are deployed randomly, and make Random aggressive movement. The defenders win if they don't let the objective get completed.

Secret defenders: The defenders are controlled by the system, and they all start hidden. Mark every area with a Defender token. Every time a model enters an area with a Defender token, remove the token, and roll a d6. On a 6, there are d6 defender models in the middle of the area. They immediately take an action, using Random aggressive movement.

Miniatures - 1/50-1/60 (28-32mm scale)

Alliance soldiers: Human-sized futuristic soldiers. You can use Starship Troopers models from Mongoose Publishing company, or unlicenced Starship Troopers models from Papsikels Miniatures company.

Serenity crew: Human-sized modern / futuristic adventurers. The models have been officially released by Gale Force Nine, and unofficially by other publishers.

Reavers: Human-sized modern / futuristic savage warriors, with close combat weapons.

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Similar stories - Serenity, movie (2005)


Alien: Resurrection (1997): In a futuristic setting, we see the adventures of an alternative version of the Serenity crew.

TV series & episodes

Firefly (2002): The prequel series to this movie.

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Frequently asked questions - Serenity, movie (2005)

Is the Serenity film based on a book or comics?

No, Serenity is not based on either books or comics. It's the sequel of the Firefly TV series.

Is the Serenity film a remake or reboot?

No, the Serenity film is neither a remake nor a reboot.

Is there a post credit scene in Serenity? Does Serenity have end credit scenes?

No, there's no post credit scene in Serenity.

Where can I see Serenity? What is Serenity playing on? What streaming service is Serenity on? Where can I watch Serenity online? Is Serenity available on Netflix? Is Serenity on Amazon?

As of 2022.02.05, Serenity is available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Microsoft Movies, Netflix, Rakuten TV, YouTube.

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Resources - Serenity, movie (2005)


Universal Pictures: Serenity: Official article.


IMDB: Serenity (2005): Database article.

WikiPedia: Serenity (2005 film): Database article.

Letterboxd: Serenity 2005: Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Serenity 2005: Database article.

TVTropes: Film / Serenity: Database article.


: Concept art article.¤

Reviews with no spoilers - Serenity film (2005)

: Review video about the Serenity film with no spoilers.¤

Reviews with spoilers - Serenity film (Serenity)

: Review article of the Serenity movie, with spoilers. Includes a very detailed plot summary.¤

Nikolas Lloyd (Lindybeige): 'Serenity' film review: Review video of the Serenity movie, with spoilers.ß

Analysis - Serenity movie (2005)

: Analysis video, explaining the finale of Serenity.¤

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Buying the product - Serenity, movie (2005)

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Have you seen the Serenity film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!


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