• Review Date: December 19, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 119 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A bit clunky, but entertaining sci-fi.
  • Review Date: December 19, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 119 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The Alliance representatives use violent means to get their way; the Reavers are ferocious killers who eat human flesh.


Action violence, including explosions, shoot-outs, chases, and sylized, wireworky and time-zappy martial arts.


Some sexual references; some women wear midriff- and cleave-baring outfits.


Mild cursing (one s-word).

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking in a bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the movie includes some rambunctious action, drawn from both Western and science-fiction conventions. They fight with their fists, guns, and other implements; they also engage in chase scenes on speedy hovering vehicles. Space battles -- between space ships -- result in some raucous explosion and shoot-out scenes. Some aggressive, martial-artsy fighting. Characters drink and smoke in a bar. One couple kisses and looks to be headed to off-screen sex; one character has designed a robot to service him (the implication is that she's a sexual companion). A woman crewmember sees her husband killed, suddenly and brutally.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

500 years from now, humans are colonizing space, terraforming planets in far-flung solar systems, jumpstarting civilizations in their own image, and wreaking havoc based on assumed values and prerogatives. Two sides have formed amid the expansion, the mighty Universal Alliance and the scrappy independents. The Alliance is not only interested in colonizing worlds, but also minds and bodies. A prominent experiment along these lines is River (Summer Glau), an extra-sensitive telepath, brainwashed in Alliance classrooms as a child, then electro-refitted in an Alliance lab until her brain essentially blew out. She wears gauzy goth dresses and teeters between anxious passivity and deadly accuracy, able to climb walls, cling to ceilings, break bones when "weaponized." Her brother Simon (Sean Maher) rescues her from the lab, and they take refuge on the Serenity, a ship captained Mal (Nathan Fillion). His crew -- tough guy Jayne (Adam Baldwin), warrior Zoe (Gina Torres), her partner and ship's pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk), and mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite) -- worry that they are carrying these risky (paying) passengers, as the Alliance is sure to track them down.

Is it any good?


SERENITY makes the future quite like the present. That's not a bad thing. Though occasionally clunky in structure and execution (some images reportedly culled from unused footage from Joss Whedon's TV series Firefly, from which the storyline and characters are drawn), the movie is entertaining and the dialogue often witty.

Styled like cowboys, Mal's team resists the Alliance for all the right reasons. If the brutal, brave, confused adolescent is a favorite trope for Whedon and his fans, the tormented but also irredeemably fated River is also here a sign of resistance to conventional thinking. River's telepathy -- which makes her (seem) crazy and grants her way too much information pertaining to everyone around her -- is related thematically to the film's most idealistic notion, that media exposure -- via a character with access to all angles of dissemination, Mr. Universe (David Kurmholtz) -- might save the 'verse.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the various loyalties revealed in various pairings and groups of characters: brother and sister, romantic couples, devotion to causes and communities as ideals. How does River's wrestling with her training and instinct as a "weapon" serve as counterpoint for the Operator, who sees himself as a "monster" but also believes in his mission to commit murder and mayhem, as a means to eventual peace?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 30, 2005
DVD release date:December 20, 2005
Cast:Alan Tudyk, Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau
Director:Joss Whedon
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:119 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sequences of intense violence and action, and some sexual references

This review of Serenity was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byMedia45 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Adult Written byBooktalker April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Excellent Story from TV series everything answered

The whole family went! Children from 13, 16 & 20, plus Mom & Dad. Great entertainment for this age group. Sexual sitations are vague. Violence is the primary concern involving social behaviors, drug modifications, eventually leading to cannibalism.
Adult Written byfritzsky April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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