Joss Whedon's creativity shines through brilliantly in his amazing theatrical debut. You don't have to be a fan of the unjustly canceled Firefly to enjoy a movie that will tear at your heartstrings and still keep you laughing as you jump in surprise.
The stars of the movie shine just as a brilliantly: relative unknowns (Two Canadians, a ballerina, a comic genius, an old time TV regular, a fake Baldwin.. just to give you an idea) who have more range and ability to emote than most of the high-paying stars of our generation. They have nothing but great futures ahead of them.
Even if you know nothing about the show, or can't recognize any familiar names in the cast, watch the movie. If the genre starts to turn you away, don't. Give it a chance; this movie may be set 500 years in the future but that's not the focus. It's the people. How does one survive in that far off time? It's about connecting when you're deep in the black and all you have are those around you. It's about fighting the oppression, not being afraid to question your government and look beyond, to educate others of the misguided truths that are offered up to the general populace. And at the same time, it's about good ol' ass kicking, big explosions, witty repartee and moments that make your heart stop.
Rent, watch, buy. Whatever you do, be open to loving Serenity. It really can't get any better than this.
Instead of being inexorably drawn by the tides of the universe, even though the main character at one point states that he simply follows the wind, this movie is drawn forward and driven by the characters. Their choices, their emotions, and their relationships are what guide this. Not technology, deus ex machinas, or even their desperate situation (which becomes increasingly so, as in any great sci fi flick).
Yes, the action is great, though not on par with the Matrix as some commercials state for some reason. Yes, the special effects are spectacular, although obviously not created by ILM. And yes, the story and the big twist revelation at the end keep you guessing. But what makes this movie is the characters. Believable, fresh and compelling.