Joss Whedon has a message in “Serenity,” the big-screen sequel to his cult-hit television show “Firefly”: Luke Skywalker is a sniveling twit.
Writer/director Whedon, best known for creating the first fully functional hybrid of horror and teen drama in TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” is an expert in the fantasy/Sci-Fi genre and the Pied Piper of geekdom. It comes as no surprise then that his feature film directorial debut would confront every construct of science fiction, tear it into tiny bits, and reconstruct it into something beautiful, moving and profound. “Serenity” presents itself as what may arguably be the pinnacle of “space opera” storytelling – sans light sabers, squat green elf-beings who backwards talk do, shrill Aryan heroes, or the word “destiny.”

“Serenity” follows the crew of the eponymous beat-up spaceship as they try not so much to save the universe as occasionally steal things, eat and avoid getting killed. Nathan Fillion, as Mal Reynolds, plays the captain as if he were Han Solo with post-traumatic stress disorder. Fillion mixes anger and resignation with a strong survival instinct that inspires his ragtag crew: Zoe (Gina Torres), a strong-willed veteran who served with Mal in a galactic civil war; Wash (Alan Tudyk), her husband and Serenity’s smart-assed pilot; Kaylee (Jewel Staite), the na