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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: Relive space western film ‘Serenity’ at this weekend’s cult classic at The Loft Cinema

    Universal Pictures
    Still from the release trailer for “Serenity” (2005). The final screening of this cult classic is tonight at The Loft Cinema.

    Tucson’s nonprofit theater, The Loft Cinema, will showcase a science fiction space western film titled “Serenity” tonight, April 16, at 10 p.m. As part of The Loft Cinema’s Cult Classic event, “Serenity” serves as a continuation of the short-lived science fiction series “Firefly.”

    The film begins in a futuristic setting during the 26th century where the human population has left behind an overpopulated Earth and have since relocated to a new star system containing dozens of planets and moons, which have been colonized in dozens of new environments.

    Since then, the new super government known as the Alliance has defeated an army of rebels known as the Independents, after they refused to join the Alliance. It doesn’t take long before the film shifts away from the narrator’s summarization regarding the conflict, and presents a young female named River Tam (Summer Glau) who has become the target of an experiment designed to create psychic assassins with telepathic abilities.

    Just as her experiment gets underway, her brother Simon Tam (Sean Maher) invades the area, rescuing his sister and taking her with him. They end up finding refuge onboard the transport ship, Serenity.

    The film then embarks on the themes of a typical space western movie where storytelling, action sequences and climatic scenes are often dictated by characters that represent lawless fighters going up against an enemy far superior to them.

    Within the film’s first 20 minutes, the audience begins to see these elements play out. Case in point, the captain of the Serenity ship, Malcolm Reynolds(Nathan Fillion) turns out to be an independent war veteran who has since become a smuggler alongside his crew of rebel fighters. At times, the film appears to focus more on Malcolm’s role and his egocentric personality, rather than the young innocent refugee who has become the target of an alliance agent known as The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

    This becomes evident when Malcolm and his crew engage in a robbery where they are attacked by cannibalistic creatures known as Reavers, who feed off human flesh and live on the fringes of the civilized star system. The sudden attack initiated by these creatures adds drama and fright to the situation at hand and “Firefly” fans can rejoice in the film’s depiction of the creatures themselves.

    Of course, the film doesn’t completely shift away from the central character of the story. While coming off as an innocent refugee who is at the mercy of the Serenity crew, River Tam represents a female warrior who has more to offer than just her sweet personality. Her telepathic abilities as well as her combat skills make her character appealing for science fiction fan boys, especially those who rejoice in one of America’s shortest television series. Consequently, it’s River Tam’s knowledge about government secrets that makes her a prime target.

    After learning top-secret information regarding a planet named Miranda, the Serenity crew travels there only to discover a recording of a former Alliance member, who explains the reason behind the dead colonists who once inhabited the world and the Reavers, who became victims as a result of a chemical experiment. The climactic scene showcases the Serenity crew embarking on a mission to broadcast the recording.

    In the end, “Serenity” represents an iconic classic of the space western genre. For those interested in reliving this film, The Loft Cinema’s final screening is Saturday at 10 p.m.

    Follow Ernesto Fierro on Twitter.

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