Saturday, October 01, 2005

Serenity is Firefly

You may or may not remember me writing about my favorite TV show of all time, but after much anticipation Joss Wedon's movie version starring the same great cast of characters finally arrived in theaters. I was a bit apprehensive that the movie might not live up to the hype (and my lofty expectations), but wild horses couldn't have kept me away.

Just moments into the opening scenes and I knew it'd be great. The story picks up right where the TV series left off, never missing a beat. Thankfully, the characters who had been so convincingly defined in the original series were all their same old irascible selves. It was the same ship, same crew - only the special effects had gotten better.

The real story had always been about the crew itself. An oddball bunch of hardluck cases, most of whom had at some point been upstanding members of society, but now found themselves marginalized in one way or another. They're left needing eachother and their quasi-criminal lifestyle in order to survive. They struggle to get by, they struggle to get along, and they struggle to maintain some measure of their dignity and honor in a universe gone amok.

I liked how the movie took a dark bent - darker than the TV series had been - but I was wholly unprepared for just how dim it would get. The movie was at times violent, and I expected that. People died, lots of people died - even main characters. I wasn't expecting that. I'm not sure I understand the point of killing-off key characters (other than just to heighten the sense of danger and 'realism') and I'm surprised at just how much it bothers me. I'm still shook-up over it. But despite it all I have to admit it was one hell of a movie, and I suppose it's testament to how well developed the characters are that I care so much.

After watching the movie, I came home and checked on the fansite message board and was not too surprised to discover the movie has suffered casualties in its fanbase as well. Leagues of disconsolate fans of the original TV series are irate with Wedon for killing-off their favorite characters, while countless other die-hard fans hail the movie as an overwhelming success. And regardless of how the original fans feel, the movie continues to generate rave reviews with the public at large. I'm guessing it'll be up to the survivors of Serenity to try to make some sense of the senselessness in the sequels I'm sure will come.


Blogger The Grey Ghost said...

I thought Serenity was a good "companion" to the show, but you're right - Firefly is incredible. I can't believe anyone ever cancelled it. That show kicks my ass. There was never a bad episode, and some of them are just incredible.

I share the same sentiments as you regarding the deaths of the cast members, particularly because it seemed like Joss Whedon needed to justify us taking the villain seriously. And for a show that kept things consistently fresh and engaging, they died in pretty unoriginal ways. We've seen deaths like those in films before. Nothing new. I don't think it was fair to the characters, but hey - it's Joss' baby. What bothered me, though, was how little the deaths were considered by the characters. Not one character lamented about either death, and the "funeral" scene was just a quick, quiet snippet. The crew of Serenity I remember was chattery and fairly open when they needed to be, not quiet and reserved. Where was the dialogue? The engaging emotional drama and tension from the show?

10/12/2005 7:32 PM  
Blogger Dædalux said...

I agree. The crew's actual reactions to the deaths of their mates were barely shown.

And it is Joss's baby to do with as he will. I think Joss was thinking that while a story with a bunch of main characters might work on TV, a movie needs more focus. Rather than regulate a few to background character status, he went for maximum effect instead. . .
and I was numb for the rest of the movie.

I just hope that in the sequels there are moments in which the crew has to take stock of how important the fallen really were. Joss can kill 'em, but the loss is only meaningful in its significance to the rest of the crew.

10/13/2005 10:45 PM  

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