Serenity -- tops Star Wars

clovis-man

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The computer generated stuff was OK, maybe a little better than that. But I still say the scenes shot on the station were bad to barely passable. Season 1 looked like it belonged on UTube -- High end U Tube -- but UTube none the less.

And the interior scenes in Firefly had that "medium density fibreboard" look to them also. But the stories were so good, I didn't care.
 

The Procrastinator

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Bad effects don't bother me too much if the story is good - I grew up watching Blakes 7 and Jon Pertwee/Tom Baker's Dr Who - all fairly dire in the effects department, but who cared? As C-Man says, when the story is good enough, the effects are secondary. I have to say I loved the silence in space of Firefly. Did Blake's 7 have this too, or am I remembering wrongly?

Having said that, I do appreciate well done effects. But if they are there to prop up mediocrity in other departments (first three Star Wars movies, anyone?) then it does somewhat dampen the appeal.
 

Rodders

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What about the Star Trek TOS? The shaky sets were awful, but the stories still excite today.
 

Connavar

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I have alot of love,respect for original Star Wars movies. They were epic,great some of them. But movie people,people who dont read books overrate it. Its not near the begining and end of what sf has to offer in film.

Anyway i was comparing the new Star Wars movies to Serenity.

What a waste of money they were. When a tv movie has better quality....
 

Shadow Trooper

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What about the Star Trek TOS? The shaky sets were awful, but the stories still excite today.


With you there Rodders (City on the edge of forever comes to mind regarding a great piece of writing).

It's strange but when I look back at all the series' it seems, originally, they felt they had to tell you certain things that most could understand anyway, whereas nowadays the writers tend to understand that the viewers don't need such deliberate sign posts.

Now they seem to get on with the story (for the most part:rolleyes:).
 

Rodders

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I have alot of love,respect for original Star Wars movies. They were epic,great some of them. But movie people,people who dont read books overrate it. Its not near the begining and end of what sf has to offer in film.

Anyway i was comparing the new Star Wars movies to Serenity.

What a waste of money they were. When a tv movie has better quality....


Can't have been that much a waste of money. They netted Big George Billions. As for the PT, They were no way as good as the original, but they weren't that bad.

Didn't GL envision these as a newer Flash Gordon serial episode kind of thing. They seemed to fit the bill. They won't win any prizes from me, but the filled a couple of hours. :)

Anyway, i preferred Firefly to Serenity. :p
 
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I really liked the Firefly series, but I LOVED Serenity. It took the best elements of the TV series (characters, humor) and actioned it up big time for the big screen.

Kudos to Josh Whedon for giving us Firefly fans such an amazing closure. Now, if he could only do this for Angel and Dollhouse as well. :)
 

Justin_B

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I too really liked Serenity. The flowering of River especially (wasn't a metamorphsis as you could see it coming throughout Fiefly).

As far as the question at hand goes my answer is .. possibly.. characters in Serenity easily more nuanced - though having followed Firefly before seeing the film has influenced my view.

In terms of a cinematic feat Star Wars easily outscores Serenity.
Star Wars was ground breaking - one of the first (showing my ignorance here) instances in film of fully realised alien environments.
Serenity wasn't.

I don't really like Star Wars & do like Firefly / Serenity - in terms of cultural impact, evolution of film making, enduring popularity few SF centic films stack up to Star Wars.

The Arthurian influence on the Star Wars plot still grates.
 

soulsinging

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I really liked the Firefly series, but I LOVED Serenity. It took the best elements of the TV series (characters, humor) and actioned it up big time for the big screen.

I agree. While I did love the series and have a blast watching the episodes, it was the movie that really cemented the whole world's hold on me. It did a fantastic job of picking the elements of the show that would translate well to the big screen and of upping the ante to make the stakes big enough to justify an epic movie.

I don't think it's fair to compare Serenity to Star Wars in terms of legacy... sometimes those things that attain classic status are too often given a free pass due to their influence. There is better fantasy out there than Tolkien and better grunge rock out there than Nirvana... both deserve merit and recognition for their impact, but that doesn't make them unsurpassable.

That said, I would say Serenity is the equal of Star Wars (the original), or maybe a Stars Wars for our time. It has all the plusses and a conflict more suited to the times. People like their movies to have some gray nowadays (see the popularity of conflicted batman vs always wholesome superman) and this sets up a world that is just as relatable now as star wars was then... yes the alliance can be overbearing, but central planets look a whole lot nicer than the fringe (aka third world).

Serenity easily is better than the prequels though. I think Serenity is the kind of movie GL should have made and audiences wanted to see when the prequels were launched... Serenity had all the charm of the original Star Wars that was missing from the prequels... loveable rogues, a motley but consistent cast, great quips and humor and chemistry, exciting chases built as much around the emotions of those involved as the effects going on around them, action and fights that engrossed you with their tension rather than distancing you to show off effects... Star Wars may have classic status for being the first to do it, but I think everything it did well that resonated with audiences over the years was done just as well in Serenity.
 

THX-1138

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I disagree with all those who point out differences and say Serenity and Star Wars aren't comparable. If they had no differences at all they'd be the same thing and there'd be no point in comparing.

I love Firefly. It's my favorite TV show. But there's no movie more nostalgic to me than Empire Strikes Back. I've always identified with Luke and his coming of age, whereas there's no character in Firefly in which I see myself. So I personally will always prefer Star Wars.
 

Beaviz81

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How can Serenity be compared with Star Wars? This is like comparing apples and oranges. The Firefly verse is way different than the Star Wars verse as Star Wars is roughly about a boy who discovers his past and goes on to topple an evil empire (I admit I haven't watched all the prequels due to I found the thingy borish).

Firefly is about a man keeping his ragtag bunch of misfits together. I mean he has a wrench-groupie (Kaylee), a brother sister pair of fugitives, a psychopath, okay two, a hooker (of course), his platonic life-partner and her ace-pilot husband. What does Luke Skywalker bring to the table? An augmentic hand, a man keeping a huge furry pet and a princess he once were in love with until it was proven she was his sister.

Plus the Alliance's uniforms though idiotic ain't nearly as bad as the pure white of the Stormtroopers that can't even take down critters at 4" even with lasguns.
 

soulsinging

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I love Star Wars so i am bit biased, but will people still be talking about Serenity/Firefly in 30 years time. Don't get me wrong, i enjoyed it, but Star Wars just gets you in the Heart and in the Guts. It was the right movie at the right time.

Seeing as how there are already university classes on Joss Whedon and the Whedon-verse, I think there's a very good chance Firefly will still be relevant in 30 years.

I also don't think anyone can say Serenity owes its entire existence to star wars and then in the next breath act like Unforgiven would exist regardless of the western giants preceding it (not Rodders, someone else above claimed that). You can't have it both ways. Either there are genre-defining movies or there aren't, and you don't get to dismiss everything that followed Star Wars as a watered down copy while claiming Unforgiven is NOT beholden to its ancestors. Originality is the most overrated value in art anyway.

As to the comparison, I'll take Firefly/Serenity. I love Star Wars and was obsessed with it growing up. The movies defined my childhood, I played with the toys endlessly, and Timothy Zahn's books (along with Dragonlance) are what made me the SFF nut I am today. Nonetheless, that only applies to the original movies. The prequels were so bad they ruined a lot of the mythology for me, and the books became so serialized (like Dragonlance) that it became clear the creator had no love or passion for his world, just saw it as a giant bank. Even the mythology began to fall apart (the force was mystical, no there's a detector in the Kevin Anderson books, no there are midi-chlorians we can test for like running a biopsy... FU Lucas!). New Hope and Empire were incredible movies, but they were at their core escapist fantasy. It holds up, but doesn't come close to the kind of plotting and characterization Whedon was able to do. His show and movie pose interesting questions of friendship, loyalty, and morality in ways Star Wars couldn't hope to attain due to its black and white worldview.

On the topic of epic, Firefly isn't supposed to be epic. It's what's left of people after the epic is over. The entire mission of Serenity would amount to basically one line in the Star Wars universe: "many Bothans (browncoats) died to give us this information."
 

farntfar

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I loved Firefly for not taking itself too seriously.
You couldn't see how they were ever going to actually win against the system, but nor could they. They just wanted to carry on and not to be caught.

But then Serenity did take itself seriously and needed there to be a real conclusion, where the system lost out to them, and they were heroes.

And in the process they lost all of their charm.
 

clovis-man

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But then Serenity did take itself seriously and needed there to be a real conclusion, where the system lost out to them, and they were heroes.

And in the process they lost all of their charm.

Unfortunately Fox left the Firefly project hanging. So Joss Whedon had little choice but to put a final end to it (and some of the characters) One might have hoped for a better resolution, but many years have now gone by.......
 

Rodders

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I would've liked to have seen Firefly continue in a series of books. It has the popularity to keep us enthralled with further tales from our heroes.

I must try and pick up the comic that was released a few years ago.
 

soulsinging

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I would've liked to have seen Firefly continue in a series of books. It has the popularity to keep us enthralled with further tales from our heroes.

I must try and pick up the comic that was released a few years ago.

If you liked Firefly and want some books along those lines, I recommend Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding. It's the first book in his Ketty Jay series (which just wrapped up after book 4). It leans more to steam punk than space western, and all the action takes place on one planet, but it's got a similar vibe. A rag tag crew of misfits works together in a series of heists and adventures, with good action and pacing and snappy, humorous dialogue. Tons of fun to read.
 

Boaz

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Firefly suffers from and is benefited by it's short run.

Right now we're posting... "Who was Book? Would Mal have ever confessed his desire for Inara? Could River have really struck a deathblow to totalinarianism? Was Zoe pregnant?"

But if the show ran for six seasons, we'd be posting... "What was Joss thinking when he had Mal take Inara to the fountain of youth in Season Four... That was just stupid! He broke the show! The heart of the show was based on the fallibility, the morality, and the mortality of the crew. And what was up with River dumping Jayne for the new doctor after Simon went missing on Miranda VII? Also, the time travel arc was cool, but does that really mean that Kaylee is Mal's grand daughter or was that all in River's imagination?"

Serenity gave some closure to the characters. And yet, I think Serenity greatly benefited from Firefly. I don't know how many people saw Serenity first, but the rest of us already understood Mal's problem with the Alliance, River's condition, Kaylee's frustration with Simon, Mal's relationship with Zoe, Wash and Zoe's marriage, Jayne's position among the crew, Mal's relationship with Book, Inara's life, and Mal and Inara's lingering attraction. Maybe new viewers felt it, but I did not think Joss spent time really exploring their personalities. In fact, I don't think the characters were developed that much more than in Star Wars. The development really happened during Firefly... not only in the writing and plot, but by the actors themselves. They already knew precisely, and I do mean precisely, who their characters were, where they've been, and where they were going.

A week after my eleventh birthday, my mom took me and my two younger siblings to see Star Wars. I'd not seen any advertising nor merchandising. School was out and I did not live within walking distance of any of my friends houses. We went to a very conservative church and I'd not heard anything from those kids. The only thing I knew about Star Wars was what my mom mentioned while reading Time magazine. "There's a review of a movie here that you might like. It's science-fiction. It's called Sta..."

Science. That was all I heard. Science. I was on summer vacation. Science. There was no way my mom was going to trick me into learning science during my summer vacation!

Now, I'd read Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, and had just started J.R.R. Tolkien... but somehow I'd never learned the word fiction. And I sure did not know what science-fiction was.

Within fifteen minutes we were in the Ford Ltd. station wagon driving through muggy midday Nashville. My mom attempted to tell me about space exploration and adventure, but I remember pouting the whole way to the theatre. I was still sulking when the lights dimmed. Then the music started and instead of credits... the title and story scrolled by. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... I was stunned. As my mom whispered the words to my brother and sister, I became engrossed by the scale of the story. Civil War. Rebels. An evil Galactic Empire.

The only movies I'd seen in the theatre involved Disney animation or Benji. Wow! A Death Star? That sounded real bad. Sinister agents. A Princess! Freedom must be restored.... The bicentennial occurred just a year before so I knew all about freedom from oppression.... and I thought the movie might be very cool...

Space.... and a spaceship! And a second spaceship... a neverending, monstrous, huge, gigantic, enormous, evil spaceship! A short battle and the rebels were beaten. Then there was menacing music and black jack boots... and an ominous breathing. My heart stopped beating. Darth Vader.

I made my mom take me five more times in the summer of '77. We took my dad to the last show before the movie left town. He was thirty-eight. And he fell asleep. As a loving and dutiful son, I immediately woke him so that he could share in the glory of the greatest movie ever. Walking out of the theatre I proudly told my dad what he might have missed. I was an old hand at sci-fi by then. What happened next stands as one of the clearest memories of my life. We were walking across the parking lot on a warm Nashville night and my dad said, "They'll make a sequel."

"What's a sequel?"

"A sequel is a continuation of the story, son. In the final battle, the giant ship..."

"It's called the Death Star!"

"...the Death Star was destroyed right? But what about the villain?"

"Darth Vader got away."

"Right. That means they've left open the possibility to keep the story going. He'll want revenge. He'll strike back."

My spirit surged with hope. Star Wars was not a one time thing. They'll make another one! Dow!

Dow meant cool. It was something the sixth graders said at Glendale Elementary School. I've never heard it since.

I was the right age when Star Wars came along. No... I was the perfect age. My father was not. The heroes in Star Wars were young. They were finding their places in life. Luke was still in school. Even though Harrison Ford is just a few years younger than my dad, Han Solo was not at the same place in life as my father. Sure, Ben was older, but he was too old. He was retired without a family.

Over the years I revisited Star Trek. I watched Battlestar Galactica religiously... and Buck Rogers, too. I was thirteen when Flash Gordon was released, but that's another story. I saw some of TNG and DS9. Alien. Aliens. The Terminator. E.T. The Wrath of Khan. The Empire Strikes Back. The Return of the Jedi. The Last Starfighter. etc. etc. yadda yadda...

But I think that because I saw Star Wars when I was eleven, because I'd never seen an action flick before, and because I did not even know about sci-fi, that I will always think of it as the greatest action and sci-fi movie I've ever seen. The fx were mind boggling. I don't think there's been another leap forward like that. Video toasters. Now full cg. Avatar comes closest in the pure wow factor, visually speaking. But Avatar has not defined American popular culture like Star Wars.

Now don't get me wrong. Empire is a better movie. Flash was awesomely garish, funny, adventurous, and bad. Big Trouble in Little China, while not strictly sci-fi, is phenomenally phenomenal!!!!!!!!! And... Firefly is the best TV show I've ever seen... even better than CBS's March Madness, ABC's Monday Night Football, the first season of LOST, Chopped, or anything from the History Channel before they started airing epically epic shows like The Most Dangerous Icy Duck Trucking Lobster Dynasty Loggers. Wikked Awsum!!!!

Now that I'm older and have experienced puberty, college, employment, marriage, and the passing of my mom, I'm looking for something beyond an heroic epic for eleven year olds.

Firefly. Serenity.

The heroes range from a teenage girl to a man in his late fifties... brutish to elegant... common to cultured... innocent to hardened... gentle to violent... novice to expert... beautiful to... well, they're all good looking people. The broad range of age, race, religion, profession, and motivation help us to identify with with at least one and maybe many of the characters. I did not see Firefly and Serenity until two or three years ago. At age forty-eight, with whom do I identify? Book. He's been around and he's found himself in need of redemption. He won't say, but he's probably been a villain or at least was misguided into evil. Mal. He's grown up and wants the verse to be a better place... and he's willing to try and carve out a piece to be a haven. Jayne. He's big and athletic. People look to him for physical assistance. Zoe. She's the most competent person on Serenity, but she's content not to lead. She does her part, but does not want the overall stress. Simon. He's sacrificed wealth, culture, and comfort to save his sister. Now his own life is at stake, but he'd do it all over again if he had to.

If I were eleven again. I'd probably be bored by Serenity... I'd love Avatar! The most wickedest epic awesome movie of all time!!!!

And so was Serenity enough closure for you? Too little? Maybe you'd have preferred Firefly IV: Revenge of the Blue Handed Clones, Firefly VIII: Snakes in Space, or Firefly XII: Christmas at the Reavers? I think I'll just let it go and forget the sequels... and just remember them all on the screen.
"No reward is worth this."

"Not a bad bit of rescuing, huh? You know, sometimes I amaze even myself."
"That doesn't sound too hard."

"Do you know that girl?"
"I really don't."

"Well, don't say it!"
"It only works on her, Jayne."
"Well... now I know that."

"Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal."

"Also, I can kill you with my brain."

"Can I start gettin' sexed already?"

"He's my husband."
"Well, who in the damn galaxy ain't?"

"The next time you stab me in the back, have the guts to do it to my face.
 

Maximillian

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I heartily disagree with you Team, If it wasn't for Star Wars I can guarantee you Serenity and Firefly would never have been made.

The most expensive movie ever made to that day, with the most elaborate science fiction special effects. A world covered in city...towering skyscrappers run by semi-sentient machines, ruled by a berobed class of ruling citizens, held together by trod-uppon masses who live in the dank city below... Is this Star Wars' Coroscant? Far From It, the city is Metropolis, and the movie was released in 1927, almost 50 years before Star Wars.
In 1929 he released a story about man travelling to Earth's Moon, Frau im Mond.

You know, biodroid, There was sci-fi before George Lucas...there were even droids. In fact, HOW do you suppose Lucas ever got INSPIRED to write sci-fi in the first place? He is NOT an originator. In fact, the entire series The Power of Myth used Star Wars and George Lucas as a prime example of what happens when a writer is inspired by ancient myth to create a (well, well used) story-form of the Hero's Journey.... George didn't create ANY of that...he simply employed it.

Fritz Lang can make the very real claim that he invented science fiction without any prior sci-fi influences (concieving Metropolis the moment he laid eyes upon New York's skyscrapper skyline) but George had many, many predesessors. Even Fritz had predessessors:

Sci-fi BEFORE Star Wars:
EVERYTHING EVER MADE BY Jules Verne.
Everything ever made by H.G. Wells.
Everything made by Robert Heinlein.
Much of the work of Ray Bradbury (my mentor).

The first science fiction film Journey to The Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune) was released in 1902, a black and white & silent film.
The movies Aelita, Things to Come, Just Imagine, Conquest of Space, The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Thing From Another World, and Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1956). Then there were Earth vs the U.F.O.s which introduced the special effects genius Ray Harryhousen; and 20 Million Miles to Earth; and Forbidden Planet.

A different George, George Pal won four Academy Awards for special visual effects for the movies Destination Moon, The Time Machine, War of the Worlds and When Worlds Collide as George Lucas was busy producing dirty diapers.

And, Sorry; Even the sci-fi series was not created by George Lucas. Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers, and Dick Tracey all has sci-fi movie series in the 1930s and 1940s. Most of those seires involved space ships.

The 60's and 70s before Star Wars were also rife with sci fi: 2001 A Space Odessy. Fantastic Voyage. Planet of the Apes. Barbarella.

AND LETS US NEVER FORGET WHAT ELSE PRECEEDED STAR WARS...A LITTLE SCIENCE FICTION TV SERIES CALLED STAR TREK BY ONE GENE RODDENBERRY.

What would sci-fi have become without Lucas, if he had died in that car crash at age 18 when he wrapped his Mercedes around an oak tree? Who knows. It would certainly be an interesting "what if" experiement. Who knows, maybe things like Firefly would have been EVEN BETTER, Weadon would still have had Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon to influence him, after all. And Heinlein...and Bradbury...and Clarke...and Asimov...
 

Galactic Journey

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Just saw this again and was struck with how superior this film is to Star Wars. Better script, more dimensional characters, more interesting premise...and more fun to watch. Of course, it has the advantage of appearing later (and the disadvantage of following a wow-zow classic) but the flight and fight scenes, the space shots, so much of it is WAY superior to anything in SW.

But how many people would say that?

Um.

Well, Star Wars was not the greatest film of all time (though it definitely raised the bar quite far in special effects), but Serenity was one of the worst films of all time, utterly scuttling what was a promising TV franchise.
 

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