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États-Unis, 2005
De Joss Whedon
Scénario : Joss Whedon
Avec : Adam Baldwin, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nathan Fillion, Jewel Staite, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk
Photo : Jack N. Green
Durée : 1h50
Sortie : 01/01/2005
Note FilmDeCulte : *****-

500 years into the future, after a galactic war opposing the Independents with the Alliance, humankind has fled our solar system for a new one. This is where Mal Reynolds and his team of mercenaries are fighting for their lives against the Alliance, which is after them because of a mysterious girl they’re carrying…


Before Serenity, there was Firefly, a series created by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel…) and cancelled after only thirteen episodes. This hybrid between western and space opera was the object of the such a cult that its rights were bought by Universal after its scorching sales on DVD. And who’s best to bring this story to the big screen but Whedon himself, who for the first time steps into a feature movie director’s chair. What made Firefly special (and Serenity too, of course) ? First of all, Whedon’s writing abilities, with which he manages to introduce us to characters that are all immediately charismatic and likable, but also the series subtle humour and its fun blend of different genres (western, sci-fi, war movie…). We’re not in front of Star Wars or The Matrix, of course, but Serenity is nonetheless an excellent B-movie that doesn’t burden itself with overbearing pretensions. And although the basic canvas is seen over and over again, Whedon manages to distinguish himself with subtle touches of originality.


Some TV production values are still in place despite the jump to the big screen: although the action is very good (and quite spectacular), the movie’s budget is still relatively small (M) and the lack of breadth, combined with the B-list actors, gives Serenity the feel of a luxurious TV movie, though it never seams too cheap, either (we’re not in X-Files, Fight the Future). Joss Whedon isn’t a genius at directing but he knows how to give the movie his own style: River Tam, for example, is a direct throwback to Buffy Summers and its theme of strong women. The two other female characters, though, Kaylee and Inara, stay in the background too much despite the TV series allowing them to play more important parts. Another thing that’s to be lauded is Whedon’s technical ambition. For example, the absence of sound in space is respected, and the special effects are given the appropriate “weight” by the frequent use of handheld shots. Those little details help give Serenity an edge over more banal, pedestrian pictures. The whole isn’t great or grandiose, but it has its charm and will have no problem getting viewers enchanted by its offbeat spell.

par Robert Hospyan

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