500 years in the future and on the wrong side of the tracks from Star Trek's militaristic fantasy, the crew of the rundown spaceship Serenity will take just about any job that keeps them under the radar - until one lands them right at the centre of a galactic conspiracy. A gently intelligent action sci-fi with wit, drama, and emotion to spare, this is the blockbuster you've been waiting for all year.
Buffy creator Joss Whedon first showed us Serenity's intriguing world in the short-lived TV show Firefly. Efficiently filling in the series' considerable backstory right from the Universal logo, we are catapulted headlong into the plot - evil government weapons researchers have been messing with the brains of super-intelligent teens, one of whom, River, escapes with a galaxy-shattering secret.
"THE SPECIAL EFFECTS WILL MAKE YOU GOGGLE"
We meet the dangerous agent sent to bring her back, and, before the first ten minutes are up, a casually brilliant tracking shot has introduced the ship and her fine-looking crew of rogues and mercenaries that gave River unwitting shelter. The newcomers are up to speed and the fanboys are burbling with glee. The eye-candy doesn't stop at the cast either - the special effects will make you goggle, and there's a space battle that blows Revenge Of The Sith's out of the sky.
The characters and their relationships are more credible than in most serious dramas, while Whedon's unique dialogue - a self-aware jumble of teen-speak, technobabble, literary swagger and merciless Cantonese swearing - serves up some dazzling one-liners. The development sequences struggle to keep pace with the breakneck opening, and the big secret is a touch underwhelming after all the hullabuloo. But once you are invested in the characters, the emotional stakes just rise and rise into a heart-thumping climax. Go see!