Directed by Joss Whedon, starring Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ron Glass.

Cancelled after just one series, 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' creator Joss Whedon's 'Firefly' still managed to raise a passionate following who kept its legend alive and are still smarting at TV giant Fox's wisdom of ending a show which mixed the sci-fi and western genres 500 years in the future. They weren't the only ones: having seen the series' sales on DVD, movie studio Universal thought 'Firefly' had the potential to make the jump to the big screen as 'Serenity'. The results will please aficionados and newcomers alike.

Captained by war veteran Mal Reynolds (Fillion), Serenity is the spacecraft home of a crew of desperadoes who try to avoid capture whilst pulling heists or providing intergalactic transport. Serenity's two newest arrivals are Simon (Maher) and River (Glau), a brother and sister fleeing from the all-powerful Alliance who want to put the latter's telepathic and combat skills to the uses they intended. Reynolds, meanwhile, uses River as his ESP lookout on whatever jobs he has to pull to get by. But his reluctance to get involved with his passengers is challenged when the full story of River's life becomes more apparent, and with Alliance heavy The Operative (Ejiofor) in hot pursuit and cannibal hordes The Reavers at every turn, captain and crew are forced to make a stand.

Reuniting the cast of 'Firefly', and filled with the cliffhanger feel of Saturday morning serials, 'Serenity' stays true to its TV origins - and in this case that's no bad thing. Sure, the sets look a little underwhelming at times and the effects are sometimes less than special, but this film is more entertaining than many of its bigger budgeted and hyped predecessors. Much of its charm is down to the chemistry between the ship's crew and a script which mixes derring-do and unexpected comedy, with Fillion's Han Solo-with-a-six-gun turn getting more endearing as the film progresses. And while the action is nothing that hasn't been done far better before, even setpiece junkies might find themselves slipping into fandom.  

A sequel would be no bad thing, but after all that's happened already, you wouldn't bet against another chance on TV either...

Harry Guerin