Serenity

Brys

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I think "Edge of space" means the edge of the solar system - ie past all of the inhabited planets. As Joss Whedon said in his commentary for the Serenity episode of Firefly, he tried to make it as real as possible, other than for all of the utterly fantastical parts. But I agree that both were as good as each other. If I had to say I preferred one, it was the film, because the characterisation (particularly amongst the "bad guys") was stronger and it was willing to take brave decisions about character's dying.

Yep. Comfortable, intelligent, you care about the characters but not full of new science fiction concepts that will change your life

Well, I watch (and read) science fiction not for the science behind it but primarily for the characters - the same as with all fiction. And I don't really care that much if the science is inaccurate if it is other great aspects - and there is a lot of good worldbuilding there - it feels a lot more real than in other SF. Those books and films that do have "life-changing new science fiction concepts" tend to focus on them far too much to the exclusion of writing a decent plot and decent characters. Serenity was refreshing in that it wasn't obsessed by how different the future is, but about how similar it is.
 

Joel007

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one of the reasons the series is so involving, is that Joss tried to get the characters into situations that we can all empathize with. Star Trek's ambassadors and border conflicts are a world away from your average couch potato's problems; whilst putting food on the table, keeping the fuel coming, and repairing the overdue vechicle is something more people can identify with.
The film's moral side helped, but it had to be a serious enough venture to warrant the big screen, and it lost a lot of its down to earth "cattle rustling" adventure feel.
Both are good though :)
 

Carolyn Hill

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Interesting point, Joel007. I've heard Joss say in interviews that the TV series intentionally deals with "everyday people" rather than large, mythic heroes solving galaxy-wide problems. And the film does rather push Mal into the realm of larger problems, insofar as he takes on the task of ensuring that "the rest of the 'verse" knows the truth.
 

ScottSF

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Brys said:
Well, I watch (and read) science fiction not for the science behind it but primarily for the characters - the same as with all fiction. And I don't really care that much if the science is inaccurate if it is other great aspects - and there is a lot of good worldbuilding there - it feels a lot more real than in other SF. Those books and films that do have "life-changing new science fiction concepts" tend to focus on them far too much to the exclusion of writing a decent plot and decent characters.

That’s the big challenge of Science fiction. Often author/astrophysicist types have great ideas but perhaps don’t spend enough time around people to give their stories a realistic feel. And good story tellers don’t always have a good handle on the science side. I like the idea of advanced technology that’s just matter of fact and like today, you average person really doesn’t even know how it works. The only thing I find distracting in several sci-fi movies is a lack of fundamentals. Some of my problems from the series I think came from the fact that the different writers didn’t agree on weather it was a solar or galactic scale but the movie answered that for me. The thing is I really like that idea; humans found another solar system to live in but have yet to master interstellar travel so I just want to know more. One way I have to explain away some of my issues is with the idea that the average person outside the Alliance core planets don’t have access to a good education and don’t really understand the scale of the universe. That’s real enough, science education in the US is dreadful and a big chunk of the population believes that the earth is only around 6,000 years old. . . Still, I continual morn the loss if Firefly and what could have been had Fox given it a chance.
 

ray gower

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Couple of things strike me:-

It was said by Isaac Asimov that "Science Fiction is the exploration of people to the technology that surrounds them". (For People consider any sentient organisim; human, octopus or other). Can't really find any grounds to dispute the chap and it seems to make Firefly/Serenity as good a Science Fiction story as any.

As for the 'Science', the important part is that the story (and therefore us) believes the science to be true. Firefly also does that very nicely- Can't say I have ever seen anybody point out that the Firefly solar system cannot exist (for long), we just accept it because it makes the story work.
 

Carolyn Hill

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I just ran across Orson Scott Card's review of Serenity. He calls it "the best science fiction move, ever." Like Ray and many of us who have posted in this thread, Card focuses on the people, on the characters and the community they build. (And Card surely knows community, as evidenced in his own books.)

Card says, "The key to this kind of movie is that you create a community that the audience wishes they belonged to, with a leader that even audience members who don't follow anybody would willingly follow."

That sums it up for me. And it's probably the reason I find myself wanting to convert others to the film and to the Firefly 'verse.

The review is quite interesting and thoughtful, and it's written in Card's always engaging style. Here's the link:
http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2005-09-30-extra.shtml
 

PTeppic

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ray gower said:
As for the 'Science', the important part is that the story (and therefore us) believes the science to be true. Firefly also does that very nicely
I think it extrapolates the "used technology" concept seen, perhaps first, in "Alien", thus clashing strongly with the clean and tidy sci-fi of ST:TOS, S1999 and the other 60s/70s sci-fi shows and films. It's the very "this is how it is" kind of acceptance for the ship, the technology and related environment which makes it believable. The science is just there, part of the background. It's as much a Western as it is sci-fi, the science is sufficiently "normal" to the people in that universe that it could be the technology of the "old West". And personally I think that total acceptance of normality, mostly without drawing attention to it, is what makes the series so believable, and should make it more appealing to non sci-fi folk.
 

Carolyn Hill

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PTeppic said:
And personally I think that total acceptance of normality, mostly without drawing attention to it, is what makes the series so believable, and should make it more appealing to non sci-fi folk.

I agree about the total acceptance of normality, PTeppic.

Do non-SF folk watch and enjoy the movie or the TV show? I know of one (my boss, who enjoyed the show when I loaned her the DVD). There are many fantasy fans on Chronicles, but I wonder if they are avoiding Firefly for the same reasons they avoid science fiction.
 

ravenus

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For what it's worth, Ravenus' review of...

SERENITY - Joss Whedon

At the outset I have to say I'm not one of the dyed-in-the-wool Joss Whedon fans. I have not seen the Firefly series of which this film is an offshoot and the VERY little I saw of Buffy The Vampire Slayer did nothing to enthuse me towards watching it. That said, Serenity is one of the really enjoyable futuristic action romps I've seen recently and essentially captures the mixture of swashbuckling adventure with attention-worthy story-telling that was so sorely missing from other recent efforts in this genre.

Serenity starts off explosively, introducing characters and establishing plot-points with a celerity that's ovation-worthy in this (post-LOTR) time of hideously-extended film narratives. A psychic girl who is being tapped by the Big Brother-esque Alliance government to become a living weapon is rescued by her brother. As pursuit for the fugitives begins with a mission-obsessed Operative leading the hunt, the siblings hook up with the Serenity, a smuggler ship helmed by the Han Solo inspired Captain Mal and his crew. Mal gives them boarding on his vessel; in return, much to the brother's displeasure, he uses the girl's psychic powers to aid his felonies. In one such expedition, her psychic powers help to save them from a universally dreaded race of cannibal marauders, the Reavers.

Things get significantly more hairy for Capt. Mal with his stealth-profile blown when the waif-like girl River suddenly breaks out as an unstoppable fighting machine racking up a score of beatdowns in a bar, seemingly triggered by the word, “Miranda”. With the Alliance hot on their heels and ruthlessly staking out all their hiding places, Mal decides to unravel the mystery of Miranda. This leads to a thrill-packed adventure with the Serenity crew battling seemingly impossible odds against both the Alliance and the Reavers, and discovering the secret that the Alliance is working so desperately to keep from being revealed.

To Whedon's writing credit the story always moves along at an invigorating pace adequately peppered with action sequences, and there is a new turn at every corner. The central plot point of the Alliance's secret is a worthy premise for the entire proceedings. The main characters are fairly well-drawn, especially Capt. Mal, River and the Operative (albeit a philosophy-spouting black man wielding a samurai sword is just too derivative of another SF movie series) though apart from Mal's deputy Zoe, an able and mature female protagonist, the rest of Serenity's crew can be described without losing much detail as the geeky pilot, the mushy engineer and the big lug (Firefly viewers may be able to draw more from them).

The Futuristic-meets-Western look of the film, which draws a lot from John Barry's work for Star Wars, is commendable. The cast are generally apt for their roles, although Nathan Fillion as Mal lacks the devil-may-care charisma that Harrison Ford brought to Han Solo and he also seems uncomfortable with the physical action sequences. Summer Glau as River is both convincing as an actress and a visual delight when she breaks out into her balletic action routine. Gina Torres brings presence and a controlled fire to her role as Mal's deputy Zoe.

Weak points: While Whedon's writing is generally good, he suffers from being too much in love with the sound of his words and it sometimes feels like adventure game where every dialog option is being accessed regardless of its value to the proceedings. Also, he is horribly inept at writing and directing romance or emotional scenes and most of these play out in a cringing amateur fashion. Thankfully these are at a minimum in the packed narrative of Serenity and most of the film benefits from yarn-spinning and vigorous action that easily matches the best of the old-skool SF adventure films.
 

Carolyn Hill

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Thank you for the review, Ravenus. It's interesting to hear what someone who isn't a Firefly devotee thinks of the movie.
 

davidkedward

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I didn't see serenity despite the great reviews and things I'd heard because I hadn't seen Firefly and I like to see things in order. If I'd have known how good the whole idea is, I'd have made more effort!
 

McHorde-Trooper

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I didn't see serenity despite the great reviews and things I'd heard because I hadn't seen Firefly and I like to see things in order. If I'd have known how good the whole idea is, I'd have made more effort!

See the movie first. I'm not a huge fan of the show, but I LOVED the movie.

I only saw a few episodes of Firefly before watching the movie. The movie is done in a way that you'll be able to understand and enjoy it with or without watching the series.
 

davidkedward

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See the movie first. I'm not a huge fan of the show, but I LOVED the movie.

I only saw a few episodes of Firefly before watching the movie. The movie is done in a way that you'll be able to understand and enjoy it with or without watching the series.
Er - I just realised I didn't make something clear in that last post - I have since seen Serenity - about 100 times - just not in the cinema! :eek:
 

McHorde-Trooper

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Er - I just realised I didn't make something clear in that last post - I have since seen Serenity - about 100 times - just not in the cinema! :eek:

So did you watch the movie first, then see the Firefly?
Or have you seen Firefly yet?

Have you posted earlier about what you thought about the movie and TV show and if you think it mattered what you saw first?

Edit: I didn't see it in the theaters either. But the DVD is a cool experience too. I love all the extras. The bloopers and deleted scenes where so worth watching. In fact the movie DVD was probably one of the best I've scene in terms of extras (not that I buy many movie DVD's, but I've seen enough to get the impression that most don't go out of there way to add so much high quality content).
 

HappyHippo

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I recorded this the other night, because I vaguely remembered seeing Jonathon Ross going ape for it a couple of years ago on Film2005.

I was so glad I did!

I haven't seen Firefly, although I'm going to be looking it up now... This film, however, was fun, engaging, involving, and had the advantage of making my hubby fall asleep, so I didn't have to put up with 'what's happening?' every five mins!

There were some intuition gaps, where I was filling in back-story, I think I got it right. I also found Kaylee incredibly irritating, and twee. But on the whole, it rocked, ticked all my boxes, floated my boat.

I've asked for it for Crimbo!
 

Connavar

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There are dvd for Firefly you can buy.


Be sure to see the tv show. The movie was good but the series was great.

Looking at your av i think you will enjoy the series, River is much more interesting there than just being the uber "buffy" type girl in the movie.
 

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