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Serenity [Apr. 17th, 2006|11:22 pm]
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[mood |tiredtired]

This is going to be a short post as the top half of my head is trying to detach itself. I just rewatched Serenity with Sharon. It was a little bit of geek together time.

It's not a good movie.

I'm far enough removed from Firefly at the moment that my auto-movie-watcher mindset kicked in. By 'not a good movie' what I'm saying is, it doesn't stand on its own. You need to have watched Firefly to appreciate the characters, and without that foreknowledge, the film fails to engage. None of the major characters get enough fleshing out to mean anything to anyone who doesn't know the series.

Case in point is Shepard Book. Lots of films have had the same idea - heroes seek sanctuary with an old friend, old friend gives some advice, gets killed, usually gets to utter a few last words to the hero that strengthen his resolve. It's an old formula that is used because it often works. It doesn't work in Serenity. Book is just some old dude who croaks. I felt more emotion for the woman on the vid report explaining what happened on Miranda.

Wash gets almost nothing to do for the film, and then dies. To a general audience member it's just 'oh, the funny pilot is dead.' You haven't been given the time or the chance to get to know him, to care about him.

Those are the two biggest examples, there are many more. And I know that I telling some of you something you already know. I mainly had to get it out of my head or it was going to keep me awake tonight.

For the record, I love Firefly and I love Serenity. It's a great season 1 finale. It's just not a good feature film.


[User Picture]From: ghoath
2006-04-17 02:14 pm (UTC)
have you had your eyes checked yet?
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-04-18 02:08 am (UTC)
Not yet, but this week's where the whole thing gets a pretty serious look-see. I'm actually slowly improving, which is good, but there's no rhyme or reason to when the headaches spike, which means there's no real way to avoid/deal with it happening. I have days where I'm actually pretty good for most of the day, then start dying in the evening, and other days where it's the reverse.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-04-18 01:19 am (UTC)
Fair enough; in its defence, though, the first scene on Serenity with Mal moving through the ship and having a one-line exchange with each character is probably one of the most effective introductions I've ever seen done - it sets up each character so quickly and efficiently!

(Oh, uh... Greg Tannahill here, feel free to visit at http://amongthedust.blogspot.com )
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-04-18 02:04 am (UTC)
Hey Greg, you great spunk!

I love that scene. It's great on many levels. But if Serenity was my first taste of the Firefly universe, it wouldn't have been enough. Certainly not enough to make me feel anything when Wash died, and I think that's a great shame. He's a great character. Interestingly, the regular character that gets the best treatment is Jayne. By halfway through the film, you really know him and know how he's going to respond.

Mal changes too much within the film to get to know him. If you've seen the show, you already know more of these levels and complexities.

As I said, I love it. Main reason it anooys me that it's not a good standalone is that that was the best way get people actively looking for Firefly. And if that happened, then we'd have more chance of it coming back.

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[User Picture]From: phred_has_sonar
2006-04-18 01:58 pm (UTC)
I saw Serenity before watching Firefly. The impression I got from the movie was Shepard Book was a character that appeared in maybe one or two episodes of the series. Inara's profession wasn't exactly explained or even hinted at either. I initially thought she was a priestess or monk of some kind. It spun me out a little finding out she was really a high class intergalactic call girl when I sat down and watched the series. Wash's death in the movie felt really pointless. It was like he was killed off just for the sake of it.

Despite all that, I liked the movie a lot. Enough infact to motivate me to watch the series. Admittedly though, I like the series more.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-04-19 03:00 am (UTC)
Interesting comparing your impressionss to kitling.

And also good to get the impressions of two folks fresh to universe with the movie.
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2006-04-18 06:32 pm (UTC)
Too many characters for a movie, tried to do too much with all of them.

Seemed to me to kind of miss the point of the show - the character interaction and the dialogue was the best feature of the show, and the nature of the movie meant it had to have lots of action instead.

Disappointing. I would SO much rather have had six episodes of the show instead. But hey, better than no new Firefly at all.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-04-19 03:03 am (UTC)
But hey, better than no new Firefly at all.
Definitely :)

To get the appeal of a general audience, they may have been better off doing a big budget version of something like 'The Train Job'. But at the same time, it was trying to give the fans something big and new.

A hard job for any scriptwriter.
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[User Picture]From: kitling
2006-04-19 12:36 am (UTC)

I disagree

I saw the movie before the series - having had no previous desire to see the series - in that whole over hyped way. I really enjoyed the movie as a stand alone thing. The main characters - who are river, simon and mal in the movie work well together and their relationship with the other characters is all clear. I think the movie works well as a stand alone and does what it is meant to do - which is encourage people to see the series.

Says the girl who immediately borrowed the series after leaving the cinema.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-04-19 03:10 am (UTC)

Re: I disagree


Glad you liked it. I just found myself this time looking at it going 'this really doesn't have broad appeal', unlike the series. The series is something I think you can show to non-genre fans and a good percentage of them will enjoy it enough to want to see more. A good percentage of genre fans will look at it and say 'it's dirty, it's grubby, it's interesting and it's nothing like Star Trek, where do I find more?' :)
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