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kate_nepveu


incidents and accidents, hints and allegations


Firefly (River), kill with my brain
Kate kate_nepveu
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Serenity preview reaction: SPOILERS

Please don't read this if you haven't seen the movie. A great deal of it probably won't make any sense anyway (as I find myself writing around things in case someone succumbs to temptation), but I do firmly believe that it's a movie best seen without any more information than what's in the trailer (at most).

I was spoiled by accident for one major development and I regretted it a lot—and frequently I don't mind spoilers. Honest.

SPOILERS begin after the whitespace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is going to be even more disjointed than the last post. Sorry.

Idiot plot: if they knew the Operative would expect them to go to Mr. Universe (and the "they won't see this coming" is the thing that ran around the theater, and it was awesome), why didn't they also expect that he would trash the communications system? As they were landing, I literally could not figure out why they were heading planetside, because of course he'd trash the communications system as thoroughly as he'd trashed every other place that might give them refuge, and they should have known that.

I'd been spoiled regarding what happened on the landing—well, not that it was on landing, but I knew it had to be then—and between the spoilers, the idiot plot, and the arbitrariness of it, I don't have much of a reaction to it, which saddens me. I was much more moved by River diving through the blast doors, as that was a choice.

Inconsistency: didn't Kaylee say she was going to rig the blast doors so they wouldn't open again? And who the heck opened them—yes, even as we get that great image as they re-opened, I was wondering that. Bad brain, no biscuit.

Horrible jarring character moment: Mal's ending speech about love. What the fuck, over? Compare that to the ending of "Objects in Space" or "Safe" and it's like he was temporarily replaced by a pod person.

I actually do not like the darkening up of Mal for the movie, though for different reasons than preferring the revised-Mal in the series. In the series, I don't think it makes sense of Mal to lighten up over the course of the series because there's nothing there to make him move. River, Simon, and Book aren't going to heal his wounded soul if having Zoe and Kaylee and Serenity most importantly of all (and maybe Wash a bit too, though not Jayne) didn't.

In the movie, he kinda gets an arc to justify his initial darkening by (if I read it right) coming to the realization that he's accepted Book and the Tams as crew and family. Well, that would be all fine and dandy, except that it's not consistent with the series (which I could accept) and it makes him stupid (which I can't). Keeping the Tams on his ship for a year, and bringing River back, without the good clear reason of "they're crew" that he had in the series? That's just foolish, and Mal ought to value his ship and his existing crew more than to take such a risk without that reason.

Mal was already past this by the end of the pilot. I hate it when movies make characters lesser to increase the drama quotient (cf. The Two Towers).

Other stuff:

So, is River's implanted trigger gone as well as the Miranda-visions when she vomits? If so, well, I don't think that makes any sense; if not, they are still in a world of trouble, which they weren't acting like.

Mal/Inara = still dull as dirt.

I miss Simon's waistcoats. (Is Simon/Kaylee going to interest anyone who hasn't seen the series? It didn't even interest me that much, and I actually ship them.)

The opening really rocks. I love the way the layers of reality keep unfolding.

I think that there must be a school that turns into philosophical black men into badasses. Or possibly turns people into philosophical black male badasses.

Book's background is forever to be a mystery (confirmed by the Q&A, as if that was necessary).

The specific mechanism of the Reaver origin story bothered me, though that I liked that it was the Alliance. It felt maybe overdone (I know Stephen King's done it, and I feel like others have too), maybe too close to the idea that progress depends on aggression, or maybe something entirely. I was interested to note that the Alliance is unambiguously evil here (in the show, one could make the argument that the project's secrecy meant it was a rogue intelligence agency, or corporate corruption via Blue Sun).

Umm, I think that was it.

Also, feel free to provide links to interesting spoilered commentary that I was resolutely ignoring before yesterday. I'd appreciate it.


The serenity_spoiler LJ community seems to be a good one for discussing the movie. I've found some insightful commentary there.

It's too bad you were spoiled for the big plot bunny -- it literally took my breath away. Hurt like hell, but that first reaction was priceless and I'm glad I got to experience it. At that point, I knew all bets were off and I wasn't so sure there was going to be anything left at the end for the rumored trilogy this movie's supposed to be the beginning of. It took me several days to get over that, even though I really loved the movie, and even when I had tickets to the 2nd screening, I wasn't sure I was ready to experience that again. It's rare that a movie affects me at that level.

The second viewing gave me an even better appreciation for the movie and I think you'll find it much the same for you, too. Something about knowing what to expect lets you settle in and enjoy the ride.

I wasn't a fan of Mr. Universe and that didn't improve on second viewing. The Buffybot was stoopid and as you said, the whole thing about being surprised that the transmission equipment was trashed was irritating. But yes the "they won't see this coming" moment was fantabulous. Can't wait to see that whole sequence again with the final effects.

I disagree about Dark!Mal, though. Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point there. I guess I'm not clear on whether you felt his choices were out of character and that the events that led to his walk down the Dark Side weren't a believeable cause for it OR if the fact that he went so dark in response to the events is what you found unbelievable given where he was as a character by the end of the series. I think I just confused myself more in writing that. Sorry.

I'm hoping River isn't ALL better because 1)I like Crazy!River and 2)in the series, they always made her craziness out to be something more complex than something that could be cured by The Truth. Also, I was dissappointed with the major split with her back story as it's established in the series. Simon didn't rescue her directly, he didn't know exactly what they'd done to her, and he was skeptical about her psychic abilities.

I've heard differently about Book's backstory, i.e. that the next one (depending on how successful this one is) could as easily be a prequel as a sequel, or use flashbacks or whatever. Not just fan speculation, but hints and interviews from Joss; Chris Buchanan said much the same thing during our Q&A at the May 26 screening. Doesn't mean we will hear more about Book (or Wash, for that matter), but they certainly left room for the possibility.

Re: darkened Mal moving into happy love light over the course of the movie by accepting the newbie (Book, the Tams) as crew and family:

(1) Not consistent with the series. Simon's crew, River's their witch. He's already made that journey, and with a whole lot less angst. I could deal with this, as I dealt with the change to River's rescue from the Academy, for dramatic purposes, but--

(2) It's not just a re-set of the situation, like the Tams had come on the ship yesterday and they had to decide what to do about them. In that case, it might be acceptable for Mal to not know why he picked River up off the floor. Instead, though, they've been on the ship for almost a year. They can't have been paying their way in cash--I believe there may be dialogue to the effect that Simon has been patching people up as payment. It seems to me very unlike Mal to treat a ship's doctor, effectively, as non-crew.

That aside, this is a person who is thoroughly pragmatic about the best interests of his ship and his crew and puts them all first--like kicking off the townsperson trying to escape the Reavers. For a person like that, it is either out of character or just plain stupid, or both, to bring a dangerous package like River back into the ship after she freaks out, without knowing why he's doing it. (I can't remember know how much they knew about her dangerousness before they were kicked off, I get confused by movie continuity and show continuity. But definitely after the freakout he knows they are in a world of trouble with this girl and he can't answer why he picked her up.)

By keeping the realization that the Tams are crew and family until late in the movie, the movie forces Mal to behave in stupid or uncharacteristic ways for the sake of giving him a Hollywood emotional arc.

Thanks for the clarification. I hadn't really thought about it that way but now that you've pointed it out, I see the similarity to the process Mal goes through in the series. Sort of. I mean, Mal doesn't boot them because they're a danger, Simon leaves because he and Mal don't agree on what River's role should be. Simon wants her to be "a kid", Mal wants to make use of her talents (that pragmatic thing). And really, this is a continuation of the tension between those two from day one.

I saw the Tams leaving the ship as a falling out amongst family. But they're still family. As soon as either of them were threatened, there's no question what Mal's going to do. Mal's motivation throughout was always about protecting his family. Picking her up was almost instinctual. And he knows exactly why he's bringing her back on board, despite the threat she poses. Of course, then he doesn't really know what he's going to do with/about her and he's got a whole mess of other problems to deal with. But it's never really a question of why -- not to him or anyone else except Jayne, and that's only because Jayne's a self-serving bastard, which makes him exponentially more pragmatic than Mal.

Yes, she's a threat to the rest of them, but precisely because she's become something much more than a passenger all this time, even moreso since "Safe" and "Objects in Space", it's not as simple as booting her off to save the others. He's pragmatic, yes, but when it comes to family, it's not as simple as it was choosing between them and Joe Townsperson.

Then again, perhaps I was projecting my own interpretation from the series into the movie too much, reading motivation and explanation where Whedon hadn't really justified it in the movie and hadn't really earned it from the audience through the story.

I could have sworn that I heard Mal explicitly tell Simon that he wasn't crew--it was so shocking to me that it really stuck in my mind.

Like I said, I need to see it again.

[Here via links]

Re: darkened Mal moving into happy love light over the course of the movie by accepting the newbie (Book, the Tams) as crew and family:

In all honesty, this hadn't even occured to me as a major arc for Mal in the movie. I guess it's there, somewhat, but like you say, this is ground the series covered. Far more important, I think, is finding out about Miranda. What moves him into the light isn't finding a family, it's finding something to believe in (BOOK: Why is it that when I talk about belief you always assume I mean God?), and that something is the simple fact that people have the right to live their own lives. If it's any kind of love, it's a general love for the potential of humanity.

What moves him into the light isn't finding a family, it's finding something to believe in (BOOK: Why is it that when I talk about belief you always assume I mean God?), and that something is the simple fact that people have the right to live their own lives. If it's any kind of love, it's a general love for the potential of humanity.

This doesn't feel like Mal, though. I found the disjunct of Mal-protector-of-crew compared to Mal-protector-of-humanity to be quite jarring, although it took me 24 hours after seeing movie to work out why it was jarring.

Mal believes in himself. He's relied on that for so very long that a shift to believing in something larger felt manufactured, to me. It felt like Joss had gone a bit Buffy. Instead of the small, domestic-scale drama, we got the Operative's "aim to build a better world" next to Mal's "like the world the way it gorram is, people have their own autonomy"

So, I guess I get the "people have a right to their own lives" and that the signal needs to get out, I'm just not convinced that the link through Mal's people (especially with the sense of His People as set out in the movie, vs the series) is strong enough for me to feel that it was true to Mal.

Mal believes in himself.

I disagree. I don't think he believed in anything before now. Or only in the next job, to keep flying.

I was completely unspoiled for the movie, and I'm still sad about the Big Damn Spoiler. Mourn. I, too, was not thrilled to be dragged back over the same ground on whether River and Simon are crew. Fictional character arcs aren't supposed to backslide, even if real ones do.

I caught about 5 minutes of Galaxy Quest while channel flipping several days ago, and it kept intruding on Serenity -- specifically, my first thought when they started taunting Reavers was, "My ship is dragging mines!" There was also the "dumb spinning fan we have in every episode."

It was great fun anyway, and it was a great crowd to watch it with. I doubt it will do well in general release, just because the backstory is so complicated and the cast so large, but I hope I'm wrong.

Glad you were able to see the movie, and congratulations on the new kidney in the family!

Oh good, you thought it was a backsliding too, even if we both misread what was going on I'm not alone in that.

I thought of _Galaxy Quest_ also, though not until just before the ships appeared when the audience got what was coming. Great visual no matter what.

And thanks.

(Came here via rec.rj...)

So. Where to begin? Grievances or Joyvances?

How about the jolly, before the not-so-jolly?

1. The dialogue. My habit of predicting the dialogue in movies was shot to hell here.

2. The effects work was very good.

3. The Serenity ship flying through a storm of Reavers and Alliance ships, and it being seemingly the *only* ship with no real weapons. Well, not ones that would matter in a fire-fight such as that one. And I really reeaaallly dug the visceral immediateness of it all.

4. Little Kaylee. "Well screw that! I'm gonna live!" Charming as always.

There's more I could list. Really excellent job overall. Very little annoyances.

A few critical thoughts: The plot seemed a little...strange. Certainly, it explains the origins of the Reavers, though it did leave me wondering why they were all surrounding Miranda. Likewise, River having somehow poking around in the heads of very important bureaucrats...an odd plot-device, of a sort. Not that I really mind. But in retrospective, I am left wondering how much her psychotic nature is related to the secret she was carrying.

At the conclusion of the River/Reaver fight, I was left wondering: Was she being designed as a weapon to *destroy* the Reavers? If the Alliance knew what the Pax (a virus named 'peace' - excellent) did, and how it would affect the (now) Reavers, was River then programmed to know how they'd right, move, think, etc?

Mr.Universe comes out of left-field. I've seen the series, so I understand his function - he's the Information Man. But his presence was never anything other than a person who serves to move the plot forward.

Anyway - the virus and the dead people...all well done. Disparate elements all connected via River. Well done, but...what role then do the MIBGs play? Where are they within Alliance heirarchy? How are they connected to the Alliance? How much of the Pax can be blamed on the Alliance, and how much on MIBG organization?

But that's what the sequels will be for.

Nothing to do with Serenity, but my boyfriend textured the character, Sly, that you are using as your icon. I thought it was neat to see it, since Anachronox wasn't a super big hit game.