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"SERENITY"
(2005) (Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Heavy Extreme *Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Mild Heavy None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Sci-fi: A group of futuristic, post-war mercenaries and rebel fighters tries to avoid zombie-like creatures as well as a government operative who's after the psychic girl they've recently rescued.
PLOT:
500 years in the future, Earthlings -- facing overpopulation -- have set out to colonize other planets in a distant galaxy. The resultant government -- known as the Alliance -- has colonized and controls the galaxy's inner planets, but those inhabiting the outer ones revolted, resulting in a bloody civil war.

Now that it's over, former rebel fighter turned opportunistic businessman Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (NATHAN FILLION) leads his ragtag crew of the Serenity through space, taking whatever odd jobs pay the best. Those in his crew include Zoe (GINA TORRES), his second-in-command, as well as her husband-pilot Wash (ALAN TUDYK). Kaylee (JEWEL STAITE) is the lovelorn engineer, wise-cracks are provided by muscular mercenary Jayne (ADAM BALDWIN), and the crew's doctor is Simon (SEAN MAHER).

He's the catalyst for the crew's next mission. It seems that his younger sister, River (SUMMER GLAU), a reported psychic, is being held by the Alliance that wants something important out of her head. She's resisted their efforts so far and turns out to be quite the pre-programmed martial arts expert after the crew rescues her.

Their actions, however, draw the attention of a steely government agent known only as The Operative (CHIWETEL EJIOFOR) whose sole purpose is to find River and prevent what's hidden in her mind from possibly destroying the Alliance. With the aid of the likes of Mal's love interest and courtesan Inara (MORENA BACCARIN), preacher/philosopher Book (RON GLASS) who gives them sanctuary, and technology and communications guru Mr. Universe (DAVID KRUMHOLTZ), Mal and his crew try to avoid the Operative as well as zombie like creatures known as the Reavers who habitually kill and eat humans.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of the short-lived TV show "Firefly," that's a definite yes. Others interested in humorous, action-filled sci-films might want to as well.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For sequences of intense violence and action, and some sexual references.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • NATHAN FILLION plays the resourceful, self-deprecating and sardonic captain and former rebel fighter who decides to risk everything in preventing the Operative from getting his hands on River (and in doing so fights various people).
  • ADAM BALDWIN plays his friend and fellow former rebel fighter who often clashes with Mal over any number of issues, including their efforts to protect River.
  • CHIWETEL EJIOFOR plays a determined and deadly government operative who will do anything and kill anyone in his way of finding and retrieving River.
  • GINA TORRES plays the ship's second in command, a loyal woman secretly (or not) married to the ship's pilot.
  • ALAN TUDYK plays her husband, the pilot/navigator of the ship known for his dry sense of humor.
  • JEWEL STAITE plays the engineer who longs for love from something not battery operated.
  • MORENA BACCARIN plays a courtesan of sorts who Mal likes and eventually goes to see (although nothing sexual occurs).
  • SUMMER GLAU plays a young psychic girl who's been pre-programmed as some sort of martial arts weapon that can suddenly go ballistic at a moment's notice. She's tormented by something hidden in her head as well as the aftereffects of experimentation the Alliance did on her.
  • SEAN MAHER plays her brother, the ship's doctor who's concerned about her well-being.
  • DAVID KRUMHOLTZ plays a technology and communications wizard who assists Mal and is "married" to a robotic wife.
  • RON GLASS plays a preacher/philosopher who gives the crew sanctuary.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this sci-fi action flick that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "s" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present, a couple is briefly seen fooling around (with implied, off-screen sex), a minor character is noted as having a robotic wife and a woman (who shows cleavage) is noted as being a courtesan of sorts.

    Violence consists of people and zombie-like creatures being wounded or killed by various means (sometimes with bloody results), all sorts of brutal martial arts style fighting and other more traditional fighting. Those scenes, other moments of peril and various ghastly visuals (the zombie like creatures and corpses in various stages of decomposition, etc.) may be unsettling or suspenseful for younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.

    Some of that fighting and other stunts might be enticing for some kids to imitate, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Some drink and/or smoke while a woman sees her husband be killed (but there's little time for grief since survival is paramount at the moment).

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some bouncy and shaky camerawork in various scenes, while the camera repeatedly spins around one character in one scene.



    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Jayne pours some liquor on a leg wound and then takes a swig from the flask.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in some sort of bar/club.
  • Mal and Jayne have drinks with two men in the bar.
  • A miscellaneous character smokes something in a bar/club that could be construed to be drug-related, but it's never identified one way or the other.
  • Mal holds a flask. Later, when awakened from sleep, he almost acts like he's intoxicated, but then appears okay (so he could have just been groggy at that moment).
  • Jayne drinks.
  • Jayne drinks and then slides the bottle of booze over to Simon.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • River has a small red hole or mark on her forehead from where a device was attached to her.
  • The Operative wipes blood from his sword after killing several people.
  • All of the Reavers have bloody faces and look somewhat like fast-moving zombies.
  • Several characters are shot dead on a ship and their faces are somewhat bloody.
  • After fighting others, River has a little blood on her head and shoulder. We later see a little on her knuckles.
  • We see a flashback to or a memory of River seeing flash images of decomposed corpses lying about.
  • We see a flashback where River has a trickle of blood down her forehead as well as some on her arm.
  • We see more flash images of decomposed corpses, with one suddenly grabbing River.
  • A wounded man's hands are bloody and he gets that blood on Mal's face when he holds him there.
  • We see a dead person with some streams of blood on their head.
  • To get through a Reaver stronghold, the crew plans to mount dead bodies to the outside of their spaceship and we then see various skeletons (with red paint around them standing in for blood) on it during flight.
  • The crew comes across scores of human skeletal remains throughout a town, as well as partially decomposed corpses inside an airtight building. Some are in chairs, others on the ground and a few are standing, propped up against windows, etc. The sight of this could be scary for younger kids.
  • We see River vomit on the floor.
  • We see one dead and somewhat bloody man inside a ship that's under attack.
  • We see a bloody trail on a floor from where a mortally wounded person was dragged.
  • As more Reavers are shot, Jayne is wounded in the shoulder but keeps fighting. Kaylee also appears wounded and has a small wound on her neck, while Simon is hit and badly wounded (with blood on his chest that's then on River's hands when she comes to his aid).
  • The various Reavers have bloody skin (wounds, lesions or the like).
  • Mal has some blood from his mouth and nose following a fight.
  • We see some blood drip off an ax that River used to kill many Reavers.
  • Various crewmembers are scuffed up and bloody following a battle.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The Operative and those he works for obviously have bad attitudes for wanting River dead and killing or attempting to kill others to get to her and/or persuade Mal to give her up. We also learn that the Alliance ended up killing scores of people with a drug that was supposed to pacify them but turned out to be toxic.
  • Although never personified, the Reavers are cannibals who want to attack, kill and eat the crew.
  • When a wise man tells Mal the secret is all about faith, Mal makes a sarcastic comment about religion, with the man chiding him for automatically thinking that he meant God.
  • Angry about her presence endangering them, Jayne clashes with Mal over protecting her. Later, he readies his gun and goes into her confinement area (presumably to kill her, but that doesn't happen).
  • After Mal tells The Operative that he doesn't kill children, The Operative says he does if he has to (to get the job done).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • River is critical of the Alliance's treatment of the independents. Her teacher then jabs something to her head, but we then flash to a scene where the same has occurred to her in a lab where a device is attached to her forehead. She's then unconscious, but looks pained.
  • The Operative quickly stabs two men with his sword, killing them. He then chases after a third, punches him in the lower back (causing him pain) and then lets the man (who's unable to do anything about it) slowly descend and be impaled on the sword that's sticking up from the floor (we don't see the actual insertion).
  • Simon applies a shot to Mal's forearm, but we don't see the actual insertion.
  • The crew endures a rough and shaky landing in their spaceship.
  • Mal knocks a guy from their flying transport vehicle and he lands on the ground where several Reavers suddenly attack him. Mal then shoots him dead as a mercy killing. A Reaver flying craft then pursues their smaller craft, with both sides firing at each other (Mal and Jayne fire western type guns back at the ship). During this, a rod of some sort is fired and impales Jayne's leg (going all of the way through it) and he then holds on to his craft as the rope attached to the chase ship tries to pull him back. Mal then fires several shots that eventually break the rope and he pulls Jayne back to their craft (and he yanks that rod from his leg). The chase ship then partially crashes but comes right back after the transport vehicle that's then sucked up into the Serenity. The chase ship then crashes into the much larger space ship, destroying the smaller ship and sending pieces flying at various crew members, including Mal who has to avoid a large piece of metal.
  • We briefly see what's presumably a flashback to River holding a gun to her own head.
  • We see a flashback to or a memory of River being a child in some sort of outdoor school where she refuses to lie down and take a nap like the other kids. She then sees flash images of decomposed corpses lying around.
  • We see more flash images of decomposed corpses, with one suddenly grabbing River.
  • Angry about her presence endangering them, Jayne readies his gun and goes into her confinement area. We then hear a shot and then see him lying on the floor (he's just unconscious).
  • The crew slowly make their way through the ship looking for River.
  • We see an aerial view of a torn up village where a massacre has recently occurred. We see bodies on the ground from that same vantage point and then see them from closer views, including that of a young boy who's dead. Mal then finds an old friend who's been mortally wounded and dies in front of him.
  • To get through a Reaver stronghold, the crew plans to mount dead bodies to the outside of their spaceship and we then see various skeletons (with red paint around them standing in for blood) on it during flight. They then fly through a barrage of destroyed ships while Reaver spacecraft are nearby, hoping the latter won't come after them (a search light shines on them, then goes off).
  • The crew slowly makes their way through an empty town with their guns drawn.
  • The crew comes across scores of human skeletal remains throughout a town, as well as partially decomposed corpses inside an airtight building. Some are in chairs, others on the ground and a few are standing, propped up against windows, etc. The sight of this could be scary for younger kids.
  • We see video playback of a woman (in holographic form where we only see her) commenting on what's happened and we hear Reavers nearby. We then hear sounds of them getting into her room, see her shooting off into the distance and putting the gun to her to head to commit suicide, but a Reaver grabs and attacks her, pulling her out of the camera shot (but we continue to hear the attack and hear her scream, etc.).
  • The Serenity makes a rough crash-landing where pieces of it are torn off and the crew is throttled about.
  • The remaining crew members prepare themselves for a standoff with the advancing Reavers that we then hear at the metal door and walls.
  • River appears to sacrifice herself to save the others (by going outside a protective door to close it and keep the Reavers at bay) but is later seen okay.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Sword/Ax/Various explosives/Futuristic weaponry/Space ships: Used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Go monkey sh*t," "Son of a whore," "You sultry minx," "I am not a moron," "Dumb ass," "Damn right I do," "Are you insane?" "Something sure the hell ain't right," "She is starting to damage my calm," "Banged up all to hell," "I aim to misbehave," "Pretty damn close," "Bastard," "I'm a leaf in the wind," "The hell with this" and "Get your ass back on the line."
  • The various bits of martial arts style fighting, other moves and stunts might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • We see more flash images of decomposed corpses, with one suddenly grabbing River.
  • River is suddenly at a porthole type window.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful, dramatic and action-oriented music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "s" word, 9 hells, 5 damns, 4 asses, 1 crap, 3 uses of "Oh God" and 1 use of "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Inara is a courtesan of sorts, but nothing sexual occurs between her and Mal when he goes to visit her.
  • Two women talk of someone entertaining others in the ship and in the bed before them (with one then smelling the bed up close).
  • We see a woman's sexy looking legs as she passes by (the view of her upper half is blocked).
  • Kaylee complains about not having sex, stating it's been a long while since she had anything "twixt my nethers" that didn't run on batteries.
  • Mr. Universe mentions and then points out his "love bot," an attractive blonde robot sitting on his bed. We see brief flashback video material of their marriage, but nothing that's sexual in nature (beyond the associated implications of what they do together).
  • We see Mal shirtless when he's awakened.
  • Mal tells Inara (over a video connection) that Kaylee misses her (with the crew -- that's eavesdropping -- reacting to that, although what's being implied is not clear).
  • We see a miscellaneous shirtless guy.
  • Inara shows some cleavage in several scenes.
  • A woman on a video playback comments on the aftereffects of a drug on a population, including that they stopped breeding.
  • Simon finally tells Kaylee how he feels about her and what he never acted on, prompting her to be surprised and ask if he's talking about sex. Having just given up hope to live (with the Reavers approaching), she suddenly says, "The hell with this. I want to live."
  • We see Simon (who's shirtless) and Kaylee (in some sort of negligee) kissing while standing, and they then drop down out of the shot. We then see River sneaking a peek at them from up above in the ceiling.
  • SMOKING
  • A miscellaneous character smokes something in a bar/club that could be construed to be drug-related, but it's never identified one way or the other.
  • Jayne smokes a cigar, while a minor character earlier smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A woman sees her husband be killed during an action sequence. She has little time to grieve, but his death affects her later actions.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Future colonization of other worlds.
  • Governmental attempts to control people.
  • A boy in River's class says he heard the Reavers raped some group for hours and hours (that's never brought up again or clarified either way).
  • Jayne's comment that they don't have to lay down their lives for River (who's now part of their crew and seems able to defend herself from anyone).
  • The comment that half of writing history is about hiding the truth.
  • When The Operative asks Mal if he knows what his sin is, Mal says he's a fan of several of them, but that right now he's going with wrath.
  • VIOLENCE
  • River is critical of the Alliance's treatment of the independents. Her teacher then jabs something to her head, but we then flash to a scene where the same has occurred to her in a lab where a device is attached to her forehead.
  • Simon sets off some sort of device that knocks out various people in a room so that he can rescue River. As they escape, a man on the other side of a door shoots at the glass between them and then starts to bash it, cracking some of it.
  • The Operative quickly stabs two men with his sword, killing them. He then chases after a third, punches him in the lower back (causing him pain) and then lets the man (who's unable to do anything about it) slowly descend and be impaled on the sword that's sticking up from the floor (we don't see the actual insertion).
  • Mal, Zoe, Jayne and River enter a building where a surveillance camera is shot out, they hold their guns on those inside, and Jayne knocks a guy to the floor and then lifts him up and bangs him back down to the floor, knocking him out. When a secret panel is opened to reveal a room below them, a man yells out for the password and Jayne blasts his machine gun down there, prompting the voice to accept that.
  • We see a flashback to a Reaver knocking River to the floor.
  • Mal knocks a guy from their flying transport vehicle and he lands on the ground where several Reavers suddenly attack him. Mal then shoots him dead as a mercy killing. A Reaver flying craft then pursues their smaller craft, with both sides firing at each other (Mal and Jayne fire western type guns back at the ship). During this, a rod of some sort is fired and impales Jayne's leg (going all of the way through it) and he then holds on to his craft as the rope attached to the chase ship tries to pull him back. Mal then fires several shots that eventually break the rope and he pulls Jayne back to their craft (and he yanks that rod from his leg). The chase ship then partially crashes but comes right back after the transport vehicle that's then sucked up into the Serenity. The chase ship then crashes into the much larger space ship, destroying the smaller ship and sending pieces flying at various crew members, including Mal who has to avoid a large piece of metal.
  • Simon punches Mal to the floor while angry about him endangering River's life.
  • Several characters are shot dead on a ship and their faces are somewhat bloody.
  • River suddenly snaps and uses a great deal of martial arts type moves on various miscellaneous people in a bar/club. As Mal races off to retrieve his previously checked/locked up gun, Jayne joins the fray and hits one man on the head, knocking him unconscious. He then grabs River to try to stop her, but she hits him in the crotch, backhands him and then strikes him with something (we later see him with an ice-bag at his clothed crotch). She only stops when Simon says a safety phrase that immediately renders her unconscious.
  • Mal grabs Simon by the clothes and briefly pushes him to a table during an argument.
  • Realizing he was set-up, Mal suddenly shoots The Operative, knocking him backwards in his chair. But he's immediately up and grabbing Mal (saying he wore armor) and repeatedly striking him and Inara in various ways, finally knocking Mal to the floor. The captain isn't done, however, and attacks The Operative with some brutal blows that are then returned, including back to Inara. She then sets off a flash bomb of some sort that briefly incapacitates The Operative and allows the others to escape.
  • Angry about her presence endangering them, Jayne readies his gun and goes into her confinement area. We then hear a shot and then see him lying on the floor (he's just unconscious).
  • River hits her brother in the throat and then kicks him to the floor unconscious.
  • We see an aerial view of a torn up village where a massacre has recently occurred. We see bodies on the ground from that same vantage point and then see them from closer views, including that of a young boy who's dead. Mal then finds an old friend who's been mortally wounded and dies in front of him.
  • Mal shoots a wounded attacker dead (from a distance).
  • We see video playback of a woman (in holographic form where we only see her) commenting on what's happened and we hear Reavers nearby. We then hear sounds of them getting into her room, see her shooting off into the distance and putting the gun to her to head to commit suicide, but a Reaver grabs and attacks her, pulling her out of the camera shot (but we continue to hear the attack and hear her scream, etc.).
  • The Operative runs his sword through a man, killing him (we don't see the impact and there's no blood).
  • The Serenity fires upon one Reaver ship and then flees, purposefully causing many others to chase after her. They then rapidly approach The Operative's ship that opens fire upon them, destroying many of them (with the Serenity having to avoid the explosions, debris and more during the large scale battle).
  • We see one dead and somewhat bloody man inside a ship that's under attack.
  • The Serenity makes a rough crash-landing where pieces of it are torn off and the crew is throttled about.
  • A rod suddenly penetrates the ship, killing a crewmember. Another nearly hits two other crewmembers.
  • Mal and Jayne throw grenades at approaching Reavers, but we don't see the explosive impact.
  • Zoe kills many approaching Reavers, as does Jayne. She also stabs into one, while arrows of sorts are fired into others. As more Reavers are shot, Jayne is wounded in the shoulder but keeps fighting. Kaylee also appears wounded and has a small wound on her neck, while Simon is hit and badly wounded (with blood on his chest that's then on River's hands when she comes to his aid).
  • In a one-on-one fight, The Operative zaps Mal in the back causing him to fall to the floor. Mal then shoots a gun from The Operative's hand and tries to get to something important via hand-over-hand movement on some overhead rungs, but The Operative swings up on a chain and kicks Mal off that, down to a catwalk of sorts, high above some massive, spinning blades. The two then fight there, with punches and kicks, following by a sword vs. screwdriver fight. Mal is wounded and impaled, but he pulls out The Operative's sword and tries to strike him with it, but misses. The Operative then kicks Mal backwards and prepares to run him through with his sword, but Mal strikes him in the neck and then appears to break his back or something similar (we hear the cracking sound), but purposefully doesn't kill him.
  • River attacks and kills many Reavers by various means.



  • Reviewed September 21, 2005 / Posted September 30, 2005

    Other new reviews available this week include:

    [The Boxtrolls] [The Equalizer] [Two Night Stand]

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