October 8, 2005

Serenity Review

Posted in General at 10:00 pm by Ian

**Warning—There are spoilers in this post. If you haven’t seen Serenity and are going to, I wouldn’t read this.**
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No, seriously.
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The Good

  • The intro was great. The first ten minutes effectively established the story for Firefly virgins, and did it all with flair, both dramatic and cinematic. The exposition is a little clunky in the first reveal of the minor theme of Love Overcoming All Obstacles (or, at least, Badass Black Assassin guys with Swords™), but Joss is forgiven that transgression over time because “clunkily sincere” is just the way that BBAGwS is written. And it works for him. Those diehards who piss and moan about the lack of continuity between Simon’s firsthand liberation of River in the movie and the wet-behind-the-ears rich boy with a deep freeze in the series are challenged to write the scene in a way that will even remotely approach revealing the characterization of Simon that we expect to people who haven’t seen the series. Also of note is the fact that about 75-80% of the trailer was in those first few minutes. It was exciting to realize that the entire rest of the movie was open; no plot points had been given away. For reference, the trailer and the first 9 minutes of the movie.
  • River’s raised eyebrow in response to “Am I talking to Miranda.” And some people say that the Joss is only good for snarky dialog.
  • Book and the way of the BBAGwS. Let us establish a few facts: 1) There have been only three black characters. 2) Two of them are known to be BBAGwSs. 3) The other has exhibited substantial knowledge of weapons, tactics, and being mysterious. Coupled with our most recent BBAGwS’s sudden crisis of conscience at the conclusion of Serenity, and we get all the backstory for Book that we’ll ever need.

The Bad

  • “Uncle Owen! Aunt Book!!”
    “These blast marks are too accurate for Reavers. Only Alliance Badass Black Assassin Guys with Swords are this precise.”
    “Use the Belief, Mal.”
  • They all get out of the ship on Miranda. Only an hour and 20 minutes before, we all saw how essential it was to have someone back in the ship when the Reavers come a calling. Every single episode in the show leaves (at a minimum) Kaylee and Wash with Serenity, and often leaves a gun as well. Mal should have taken River and one gun (probably Zoe, but maybe Jayne).
  • Mal, in his ultimate encounter with the BBAGwS, manages to shoot the gun out of his opponent’s hand, and still fails to kill him. Rather than taking two steps to the right and shooting him in the head (where whatever fancy armor he may be wearing won’t work), he turns around and jumps onto the monkey bars. Now, he’s already seen what happens when you turn your back on BBAGwSs: Bad Things™. Mal may not be the greatest strategist, but he’s not stupid. That scene made him be.

The Whedon

  • Wash’s death. It could not have been better. Getting the ship down safely, saving the crew against all odds, and right in the middle of a final Washism. It also raises the stakes for the final battle. And it’s so Whedonesque to kill off the likeable characters right when you’re getting to love them.
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