Mission Serenity was released in 2005 and was directed by Joss Whedon. The genre of the picture is science fiction, and the audience has already seen the fictional universe in which events take place in the Firefly series. The original series is set in a multicultural future in the year 2517, in which humans lived on a spaceship and traveled between planets.
“Serenity” continues the story of the series, telling about the new adventures of already familiar characters. Despite the obvious connection with the series, you can watch “Serenity Mission” on your own, since many features of the universe and the facts of the heroes’ biography are also mentioned in the film. However, if fans of Firefly met the full-length sequel quite well, then among other viewers the film did not find recognition and hardly paid for itself at the box office.
What is the movie “Serenity” about?
At the very beginning, we see several flashbacks from the life of the main characters – River and Simon. River has supernatural abilities: she can read minds and has some secret knowledge that should not be known to the general public. The space government (the Alliance of Planets featured in the Firefly universe) did not want anyone to know about River’s existence and ability, and therefore kept her in a special Academy. Brother-medic Simon saved the girl, and together they got on board the Serenity ship.
In the present, Serenity roams outer space under the leadership of Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, a war veteran and protagonist of Firefly, and pilot Hoban “Wash” Washburn. They pick up Simon and River on the ship, but are immediately ambushed by Death Eaters. Space barbarians, eating human flesh, are going to profit from the crew, but thanks to the skillful actions of the captain, they manage to save everyone. However, Simon is not too comforting: worried that his sister may be in danger, he decides to leave the board with River at the first opportunity.
Mal is angry, he willingly drops off uninvited fellow travelers on the nearest planet along the way. However, he does not have time to fly away, as he finds a very strange scene in the bar. River, seeing something on the TV monitor (the rest of the people did not notice anything and did not react in any way), suddenly went into a trance. Having turned off all feelings, the girl acquired fantastic physical abilities and began to attack people. Simon was able to disable the excellent killing machine. He uttered a code phrase (it is curious that in the original this phrase is in Russian), and River regained consciousness, and her desire to kill suddenly evaporated. A puzzled Mel decides to take Simon and River back to the ship.
Serenity departs again for space, and Mal receives a signal from his old acquaintance. The operative who hunted for River on the orders of the Alliance wanted to lure the captain into a trap in this way and exchange the girl from him in exchange for his life. The government employee’s plan is thwarted thanks to the help of Inara, Mel’s old friend. And River’s new memories set the course for the ship: the girl claims that they can learn more if they go to the planet Miranda. To get past the Death Eaters, the captain orders Serenity to be disguised as a ship used by the barbarians.
Mal, crew, and passengers safely bypass the Death Eaters and fly to Miranda, only to find numerous corpses there. They find out that the many deaths are just a side effect of an experiment conducted by the government. The Alliance was looking for a way to control the mind and behavior of a person, and left the rejected material on Miranda. The government wanted to completely suppress the aggression in people, but suppressed their will: under the influence of a chemical compound, a person became so passive that he simply lay down and died. This is exactly what happened to the colony that lived on Miranda. And one tenth of the world’s population, under the influence of the same substance, on the contrary, became very aggressive. This is how the Death Eaters came into being, and now prey on both Serenity and other humans who roam the cosmos.
While departing Miranda, Serenity’s crew gives themselves away. Now the entire Death Eater fleet is flying behind them, and the Operative will stop at nothing to get the River – he is supported by the ships of the Alliance. Mel decides that his main task is to divulge the actions of the government at any cost and announce what the Alliance was actually doing and what it led to.
The main characters manage to push the ships of the Alliance and the Devourer in a large-scale battle. Skillful Captain Serenity crash-lands to find a transmitter and send information about the Alliance to all inhabited planets. He has to confront the Operative, but Mal manages to neutralize the enemy and he finally transmits the signal.
Death Eaters attack Serenity. The crew understands that they cannot save the ship, but nevertheless they are preparing to defend it to the last drop of blood. Several crew members are killed, including the pilot Wash, and Simon is wounded by a bullet. River, saving his brother, is overboard, one on one with the Death Eaters. Thanks to her ability to go into a trance and kill indiscriminately, she single-handedly massacres an entire squad of cannibals, protecting her brother and friends.
The meaning of the movie “Serenity”
Thanks to River, the Death Eaters no longer threaten Serenity and her crew. But now the Alliance ships are arriving and preparing to attack, but they are stopped by the Operative himself. From one of Serenity’s crew, he learned what really happened on Miranda. This becomes a turning point for the film’s plot: disillusioned with the government, the Operative decides not to go after Serenity anymore. He calls off his soldiers and releases Mel’s ship in peace, promising to no longer be a threat.
The director later explained that the Operative in the film was the Alliance itself. The government was not going to arrange a genocide of the population, on the contrary, it wanted to stop the aggression and ensure security. But the Alliance miscalculated, and now, in an attempt to preserve order in the universe, they not only concealed this information, but also desperately tried to control all the side effects of their experiments. The operative, pursuing clear and fair goals, was also not shy in methods. But he refused another order when he could see the true state of things. He was driven by necessity and the idea of an ideal world, and not at all by bloodthirstiness and aggression.
Explanation of the ending of the movie “Serenity”
In the final scene, Serenity takes off: Mel is at the helm, River took the co-pilot’s place. They say that the main thing on the ship is love, and without it it will not be possible to stay afloat for a long time and withstand pressure. Serenity and her leader once again set sail, once again violating the plans of the government. They are free, able to love and do not want someone to dictate to them how to live.
But the love that the main characters so clearly speak of at the end of the film is far from its only meaning. Much attention in “Mission Serenity” is given to the theme of freedom of choice. The Alliance, trying to build a world without sin and without violence, decided to deprive people of the opportunity to choose a course of action.
The government has developed a substance that suppresses will and aggression, but instead of positive and full of love people, they got a passive and dead population. Aggression turned out to be just a side effect of willpower in life, and River made it clear that sometimes it can be beneficial, because she protected her friends. The Alliance did not succeed, but it is unlikely that he will stop further experiments. However, the crew of Serenity has so far managed to avoid persecution: embodying the freedom of choice and the desire to live, the ship is sent into space for new adventures.