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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Saw Serenity last night

   
Author Topic: Saw Serenity last night
Chris Bridges
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Wow.

Just... wow.

Went back to the friend's house we were staying at -- had to go across the state to the screening -- and stayed up til 3 talking about it, laughing and sniffling and arguing.

Can't give particulars without revealing suprises you really don't want revealed. I can say that everyone's back, everyone gets a chance to shine, and that this was one of the most emotional, heart-breaking, exciting, dramatic, and damn funny movies I've ever seen.

If you want to ruin it for yourself, I'm posting a review-of-sorts on the "I've Seen Serenity" spoilerific forum at the movie website. But don't read it.

[ June 24, 2005, 11:46 PM: Message edited by: Chris Bridges ]

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kwsni
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I hate you.

Ni!

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imogen
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Grrr.

I am *really* tempted to read the review.

But I won't.

*resists temptation*

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Chris Bridges
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Seriously, don't. My friend saw it in Boston in May and told me in no uncertain terms to avoid spoilers, lengthy reviews, or anything that even hinted at what happens. I did, and I'm glad.
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Noemon
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I was actually disappointed by it Chris (I saw it on Thurday as well). I've got a thread talking about why over on Sakeriver.

::off to read Chris's review::

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Noemon
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Looks like you have to register in order to read their forums. I assume that's where you've got your review posted, Chris? I'll probably go ahead and register, but I'll have to do it later.
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Dagonee
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OK, now we can get a definitive answer: Do we have to have seen the series to fully appreciate the movie?
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sarcasticmuppet
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In order to get that answer someone who hadn't seen the series needed to see the movie. [Smile]
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Teshi
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Well we're certainly getting a balance mix of reactions. [Smile] [Smile]

This makes me feel more positive...

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Chris Bridges
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Reactions I've read, from Firefly fans and newbies alike, have all been extreme in one direction or another. Few people came out bored or unaffected.

Part of your likely reaction depends on what you think of Joss' style of storytelling. Do you enjoy following the story, no matter where it leads? Do you need the cliches? How do you react if a movie takes you in a direction you didn't expect, didn't want, and now has you watching breathlessly because you realize, deep inside, that you can't assume anything at all for the next 15 minutes?

Parts of this movie scared me more than any horror movie I've ever seen, and not because of the violence or any gore. Because people I loved were in dire jeopardy, and I had no assurance at all that any of them would make it out.

Easy to miss in the intensity of the events, but it was also hi-larious. I haven't laughed that much in the last ten comedies I've seen.

There are some changes, some shortcuts made that alter the continuity of the series to make it easier for the new viewer to catch on to the relationships, and I have some qualms whether what was lost was worth it. But I want to see it again. Now.

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Noemon
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quote:
Part of your likely reaction depends on what you think of Joss' style of storytelling. Do you enjoy following the story, no matter where it leads? Do you need the cliches? How do you react if a movie takes you in a direction you didn't expect, didn't want, and now has you watching breathlessly because you realize, deep inside, that you can't assume anything at all for the next 15 minutes?
I'm sure that there are people who disliked it for just the reason you're describing, Chris, but that wasn't my objection to it at all. Here's what I had to say about it over on Sakeriver:

quote:
I saw Serenity last night in Columbus, along with fiazko and a friend of hers. As I said on the other side, there have been few movies I've been as receptive to as I was this one, but I was disappointed by the movie. There were a few things that bothered me about the plot, but I won't be going into those, because I'm not interested in posting any spoilers.

Much to my surprise, my chief objection during the first half hour or so was the dialogue. Can you believe that? One of the things that stood out in Firefly was the near perfection of its dialogue, and yet here it had a clumsy feel to it. There were two main problems with it, in my opinion.

First, the "westernisms" were laid on pretty thickly--much more so than in the show. The reason for this, I'm sure, was to establish the whole western feel of the show. After the characters had been introduced and the plot was moving smoothly the overuse of westernisms ceased.

Second, I felt like the character's unique voices got lost. You know how Chris Bridges just absolutely nailed all of the characters' voices in his Wash and Zoe Get Married thread on Hatrack? In the first half hour or so of the movie (they made us leave all cell phones in our cars to prevent people from taking shots of the screen with camera phones, so "half hour" is a very rough estimate here. It felt like about a half hour to me), there were a couple of places where I noticed characters delivering lines that felt like they'd been written for another character to say--Kaylee saying a Zoe line, that kind of thing. I don't remember any real details of who said what in whose voice--I'll have to see it again before that kind of stuff will start to stick--but you get the idea I'm sure.

The other thing that really bugged me about the first part of the movie was the clumsiness with which the exposition was handled. Exposition is necessary, of course--most of the movie's viewers won't have seen the TV show--but I felt like it was much more clumsily done than it was in either Serenity or The Train Job. I'm curious to see if people who haven't seen the show will find it to be too much as well, or if that's more of an artifact of my not needing the information myself, and so having more time than intended to pay attention to the way it's put together.

Speaking of exposition, I worry about the fact that backstory is presented right at the opening of the movie, before the audience has had reason to become engaged in the world. I found this section of the film interesting, since it fills in blanks in what we know of the history of the 'verse, but that was because I was already invested in the story. I don't think that it's an introduction that is going to grab people who haven't alredy been grabbed. I'd be happy to be wrong on that though.

When I'm describing Firefly to people who haven't seen it, I often refer to it as character driven SF. I didn't feel like the movie lived up to the show in this respect either. Questions about some characters' pasts were answered, and characters necessarily changed as a result of events in the movie, but there was (for me) little deepening of my understanding or love for any of the characters. In the TV show, I fell in love with everyone a little bit more deeply with almost every episode, and felt like with each episode their characters unfolded a bit more for me, showing me aspects of them that rang absolutely true. I didn't find that to be the case with the movie. It was much more action oriented, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, and will probably help it be more successful commercially, I didn't care for it.

Now, you should probably take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. I haven't heard anyone else, in all of the non-spoilerish things I've read about his movie, level similar complaints against it. It may be that I went with in with unreasonably high expectations, and that wherever I saw a deviation from the show I just thought "that's not how that should be! It's supposed to be like X!". I don't think I'm doing that--the changes to some of the characters'...well...characters were evident almost from the beginning, and most of those didn't really bother me--but I could be.

I'll be seeing this movie again, probably several more times, once it's released in the theater. It's not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm sure that there is all sorts of detail that completely slipped past me the first time through. I'll be supporting it financially, and I wish it luck, but I'm not utterly convinced that it's going to be the astonishing commercial success that is currently being predicted by the studio. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it is though. I definitely want this to be part of a trilogy at the very least.


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Chris Bridges
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Fair enough. We did make some jokes to ourselves at the time ("Look out! Exposition is raining from the sky!") but I knew they were trying to cram a solar system, 500 years of history, and the interrelationships of nine people in a ten minute span so I didn't worry too much about it.
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Noemon
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Yeah, I wouldn't relish the idea of packing all of that backstory into the first little bit of the film (was it really only 10 minutes or so? Wow.) either. I just wish that they'd been able to do it more artfully. What did you think about what I said about the characters' speaking in each other's voices?
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Chris Bridges
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To be honest, I spent the first chunk of time trying to reconcile what I'd seen with the facts of the show -- a fairly obvious change is made in continuity -- and didn't notice. I gues they weren't off enough to draw my attention. I did notice they looked and acted strained and tense, probably (very mild spoiler)


because of the implied months of no work.

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Troubadour
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I'm so damn jealous.
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