This is topic OSC reviews Serenity (spoilers in the thread) in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Narnia (Member # 1071) on :

[Smile] I could have put this in the spoiler free thread, but I didn't.

Needless to say, he loved it.

[ October 04, 2005, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: Narnia ]
Posted by Diosmel Duda (Member # 2180) on :
*fangirly squeal*
Posted by Sopwith (Member # 4640) on :
Dang, this is killing me. Because of work schedule and not having someone to watch our daughter until Sunday, I've got to wait.

Man, I am so looking forward to this. And he did a great job of reviewing without spoiling.
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
He really did.

My two favorite quotes:
It's great.

I'm not going to say it's the best science fiction movie, ever.

Oh, wait. Yes I am.

This is the kind of movie that I have always intended Ender's Game to be (though the plots are not at all similar).

And this is as good a movie as I always hoped Ender's Game would be.

And I'll tell you this right now: If Ender's Game can't be this kind of movie, and this good a movie, then I want it never to be made.

I'd rather just watch Serenity again.

Posted by El JT de Spang (Member # 7742) on :
So it's spoiler free, you're saying. Cause I want to read it, but....
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
warps to theaters...
Posted by Architraz Warden (Member # 4285) on :
Very spoiler free. And very high praise. My tickets tell me I'm only three hours away...
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
It's essentially spoiler free.
Posted by Shigosei (Member # 3831) on :
Great review. I'm impressed that he managed to hit all the important things about the movie, without spoiling anything.
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
Posted by Kwea (Member # 2199) on :
I am sure it wasn't that easy to do, either.

Great review.
Posted by texico (Member # 8670) on :
While watching the SciFi channel's "The Making of Serenity" I realized that Joss Whedon would make the perfect Ender movie. In fact I think Joss's work has been building up to just that.
Posted by texico (Member # 8670) on :
Sorry for the double post.
Posted by human_2.0 (Member # 6006) on :
Edit one of the duplicate posts and click the delete link.
Posted by 0Megabyte (Member # 8624) on :
I kept expecting OSC to say that he wanted Whedon to do Ender's Game.

I know I want to. Someone should bring it to his attention... he IS the man, as they say.
Posted by WntrMute (Member # 7556) on :
Although the double post apology apologising for the double post is what they call "ironic."
Posted by Kwea (Member # 2199) on :
True. [Big Grin]

BTW, texico, welcome to Hatrack!
Posted by aspectre (Member # 2222) on :
OSC forgot to mention the most important part:


If you wait to see it on DVD, you ain't gonna be seeing the same movie.
Whedon has exploited the difference between the big screen, theater sound experience and the small screen, home sound experience to highlight the story to a degree rarely seen. And even more rarely done as well: ie in a manner that doesn't make you feel as if the director is trying to pull your strings in a direction that the story itself can't.
Posted by Speed (Member # 5162) on :
Wow. Great review. He nailed it.

[Hail] OSC
[Hail] Joss Whedon
Posted by Occasional (Member # 5860) on :
The reason there was no spoilers in his article is easy to understand. He did a lot of explaining, but no examples. I have as much information about this movie as when I started reading it; none. I am not particularly impressed with his treatment, although I definantly know he liked the movie. As someone who HATES "This movie was great," "A must see of the year," "It had me hooked from start to finish," reviews, this treatment was painful to read.

There is one thing me and my wife are very worried about and that is the violence factor. We think it looks cool. We think it looks fun. However, we also think it looks like there is way too much body count, with possibly not enough story behind it. After all, its about River who is a death machine. I know this might be more of a judgment question, but should we be worried about the violence? OSC hinted at the possibility.
Posted by Narnia (Member # 1071) on :
Erm....well, it's rather disturbing. There are a lot of hand to hand fights and the villain is truly ruthless. My 17 year old brother thought it should have been rated R (he's kind of sensitive) but I was fine with it. I don't know. Help me here guys, can you compare it with anything else that might help Occasional decide to see it or not? Maybe?
Posted by plaid (Member # 2393) on :
Umm... not sure. A few parts were "ick"... but it was mostly "meaningful" violence -- not as much the manipulative horror movie type violence. I mean, there were parts that WERE meant to be kinda scary, but scary (mostly) in the context of having you care that the violence involved characters you like.

Similar to Buffy and Angel, but a bit more intense -- how's that?
Posted by Chris Bridges (Member # 1138) on :
There is a lot of violence and fighting. There is no gore.
Posted by BryanP (Member # 7772) on :
Is this movie worth seeing for someone who has never seen Firefly?
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
Pooka never saw firefly, and she absolutely loved it.
Posted by Lalo (Member # 3772) on :
She never saw Serenity either, and she loved that, too.
Posted by Alucard... (Member # 4924) on :
I had never seen Firefly, but by baptism of desire, there was not a moment that I didn't want to, so I ordered the DVDs from Amazon last week.

Needless to say again, Serenity was incredible. I was blown away. My 9-year-old son high fived me about 5 minutes into the film, and he loved it as well, but he is mature for his age. Youngsters might be a little frightened in some parts. Nightmares even.

I had been reminded of many things I had forgotten by the film, and had many comparisons:

Not since seeing The Matrix in the theatre was I as surprised and impressed at how a movie can exceed my expectations in so many ways.

Not since Jurassic Park did I just want to sit still after the film and "ride" it again like a really good rollercoaster ride.

Plus, there were moments where I was scared, and had no idea what was going to happen next. THAT does not happen often, even in horror movies. But then again, expectations are different in a horror movie.

Lastly, I laughed, I cried, and laughed and cried some more. That too, is rare.

So Bryan, if you haven't seen Firefly like me, you will still love it. You might even want to see it again :-)...
Posted by fil (Member # 5079) on :
Saw it twice already and for all the times I have disagreed with OSC's reviews in the past, this one I totally agree upon. I don't know if I would go "best sci-fi movie" yet. I need some time between seeing it and then thinking about it fondly later to be sure but yeah, leaving the theater left me with a fine glow that lasted well into the next day.

Maybe it was because everyone at both showings were invested in the characters more than a typical fan (assuming the big fans were there first) but it has been a LONG time since I felt any sort of real tension in a movie. No spoilers but lets just say that nothing is safe in this movie. People were on the ends of their seats (self included) for a good hunk of the movie, in particular the last 1/3rd. There are horrible things happening in this movie and it isn't sugarcoated, though they do avoid excessive gore and use mostly tried and true blood curdling sound effects vs. showing things.

For people not sure if they want to go, this could be best considered a space opera akin to Star Wars if we only followed Han Solo and the Falcon mixed with old school Westerns along with some of the creepier portions of a zombie movie (but no will make sense when you see it). It has a lot of violence but all of it has consequences and at times even discussed with regret as maybe a bad choice. We find even seemingly random violence (possibly included to excite audiences) has a larger purpose discovered as the movie goes on.

I hope it makes the target number to ensure a sequel. I have read it needs to make $80 million worldwide to get the greenlight. That isn't too bad considering a world market that might be more interested in the movie than the US and DVD sales that will no doubt go through the roof like the series DVD did (and one hopes they release it soon!).

Anyway, any folks interested in good sci fi, or at least excellent space/horse opera, should run, not walk, out to this flick.
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
When I saw it the first time back in June (or so. Maybe it was July), I wasn't impressed with the movie for a number of reasons (having nothing to do with plot points, and everyting to do with what struck me as clumsy exposition and dialog that didn't seem to me to work very well, coming out of the various characters' mouths (Zoe saying a line that bore Kaylee's style of word choice, that kind of thing).

I was wrong, and I happily admit it. I enjoyed this movie so much more the second time that I can't even quite believe it was the same film. Not sure what I was smoking this summer, but I take it all back. Fantastic movie.
Posted by Narnia (Member # 1071) on :
Yay!! Now where in the heck is twinky?! [Wink]

Seriously though Noemon, wander over to the spoiler thread and tell me more about why you didn't like it. I'd love to read your two separate reviews. [Smile]
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
I was wrong, and I happily admit it. I enjoyed this movie so much more the second time that I can't even quite believe it was the same film.
I remember reading your review of it, and being really dissapointed. In the intervening months, I allowed myself to forget it and get really excited for it. I'm glad I did. [Smile]

Narnia -- you can find it at
Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
I was wrong, and I happily admit it. I enjoyed this movie so much more the second time that I can't even quite believe it was the same film. Not sure what I was smoking this summer, but I take it all back. Fantastic movie.
[Big Grin] I was waiting for your verdict.

Now get everyone you know to see it [Wink] .
Posted by Shigosei (Member # 3831) on :
Occasional, I'd say it was a lot like the first Matrix movie. Lots of dead extras, very little blood or mutilation. You do get up close and personal with some corpses that show no signs of trauma, as well as some skeletons. There's plenty of screaming and lots of implied nastiness, but very little on-screen. Some of the bad guys are scary-looking, but you don't get a very good look at them.

This was nothing close to the violence of Kill Bill, Saving Private Ryan, or Blackhawk Down, all of which made me somewhat sick. I never felt the need to look away from anything on the screen during Serenity.

You can go read the spoiler thread if you need more information to make a decision. It's hard to do a good spoiler-free review. I will say that this movie breaks/mocks some conventions, has decent special effects, hilarious dialogue, some great fight scenes, a villain with depth and honor, and a great deal of excitement and suspense. It is also one of the most moving pieces of entertainment I've experienced.
Posted by monteverdi (Member # 2896) on :
I saw the movie with my 15 year old daughter who liked it a lot. I was surprised too. It was pretty funny and pretty sophisticated in its use of the currently popular filmic 'vocabulary' in a serious attempt to tell a moral story.

One of the saddest things about the movie, to me, as a parent, is what this kind of "attempt" seems to amount to: more violence, more technique.

How sad to see that the "communion" gathering this small family together amounts to fitting a diskette into a diskette reader and pushing "send". Use the network to destroy the network. Once you believe this, the rest is networking--not communication.

How sad to see that the only real drama, effective as it is, arises from the lurking possibility that every member of the family, from the first scene on, is in immanent threat of being killed or, as the movie specifically mentions more than once, raped. If you are without magic 'powers' given you by the very system you are trying to defeat, then you are always vulnerable.

In my view it is not possible to use a technique (spiritual, communicative, manual) to undo the consquences arising from that technique's use.

This is especially true when what is at play is the communication of moral values. A moral message in an immoral medium becomes an immoral message. Think of torture. Can you torture a torturer into stopping torture? You can START, but something else will finish.

So, Serenity is good, unfortunately. I don't believe that we can say good things with these kinds of "Words". The better we get at it, that is, pretending that we can, the worse we are getting at something else - something that used to make all the difference.

The children in the concentration camps wrote poetry and died.
Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
How sad to see that the "communion" gathering this small family together amounts to fitting a diskette into a diskette reader and pushing "send".
I can't really go into detail because this is a non-spoiler thread, but I disagree with you on many levels.
Posted by El JT de Spang (Member # 7742) on :
Excellent review by the big man.

One thing - there's no way I gonna subject myself to Full House reruns. Not voluntarily, anyway.

But other than that, I agree with everything he said.
Posted by monteverdi (Member # 2896) on :

I know what you mean about the levels. It's why I agree that this story is trying to be moral...the moves are there. But, finally, in the end, what is it that one is asked TO DO? Well, "the right thing".....but how, precisely, is this right thing "coded" (for lack of a better term)? - You take a message and broadcast it. Now, I mean this really literally....and it is, almost, immaterial what the message is - it is SUFFICIENT to broadcast.

The film's message COULD be summarized as this: Given the proper intensity of violence, a message may be broadcast.

This overlooks almost everything that, paradoxically, makes the film enjoyable; but summarizes, for me, everthing that makes the film sad.

Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
Again, I can't reply without going into detail, but plotwise, think of the few alternatives to what the characters did and do you think that was a better option? How many people did they actually harm who weren't clearly out to harm them?

Sure, the movie's got violent undertones, but I think you're forgetting which side the violence is instigated on.
Posted by monteverdi (Member # 2896) on :
I know, and agree, that the good guys win.

The question for me is whether or not, in a larger context, this isn't just a 'variation' on a model of moral communication that requires all 'serious' communication take place in a context of violence.

This film is, in this regard, an accurate refelection of the society we live in: our real experience, for example, with 'terrorist' modes of communication, and our engagement in the 'dialogue' overseas, our engagement through the media etc.

I am not suggesting this film has anything to do with our wars, but that it is a product of these times.

I really do wonder at what point these 'moral' movies, sweetly targetted as they are between the eyes of our youth, are not a sort of 'trojan horse', seeming to carry a lesson on family and moral action, while more profoundly training us in a more sophisticated practice (or consumption) of what, in fact, is already poisoning us.

This is a lot to say about what is, finally, only a movie. But because the reasons it is admired are such good ones, and the problems that it seems to want to address are such important ones, the wooden echoes are unusually loud ones, the whispering inside especially disconcerting....

Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
Originally posted by Narnia:
Yay!! Now where in the heck is twinky?! [Wink]

twinky was too busy bawling his eyes out as the credits rolled to be thinking about reading Hatrack.

I need to see it again, but I'm not sure when I'll be ready.
Posted by Narnia (Member # 1071) on :
*pat pat* I actually thought of you this weekend and wondered how you were feeling about the whole thing. I'm glad you loved it, and I understand the bawling part. [Smile]
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
This was referenced on slashdot.

I predict a major two-way flamefest before long.
Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
I need to see it again, but I'm not sure when I'll be ready.
This is the thing isn't it? Not many movies do this to so many people. It's incredible.
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
Well, most movies don't have a fourteen-episode buildup. I was already very invested in the characters before seeing the film. [Smile]

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