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"Sci-fi Sunday" (or) "Late to the party."

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am a pretty big fan of sci-fi. I'm not at the nutsy level, or even close, but I really like good sci-fi books, movies, and TV. So I rented Star Wars 3 and Serenity, both of which I hadn't seen but had heard plenty about.

I figured I would watch Serenity first, because I didn't think it would hold up well after going through the visual extravaganza that I knew Star Wars was going to be. This turned out to be a good idea.

Even so, I didn't like it very much. If one word can be used to describe Serenity, that word is "tired." It started very slowly and featured way too many "busty, back-talking babes." I loathe the BBB's even more than I do thugish, back-talking dudes (TBD's), which are also featured in prominence. The dialog, casting, and directing of Serenity killed what was otherwise a decent sci-fi yarn. I know that there was supposed to be some continuity from the TV show, but the River character was completely superfluous and shouldn't have been included. It was clear to me that the writers forced her into the script.

Fortunately, I was very happy with Star Wars. Unlike some people, I appreciate the level of CG in the new trilogy and believe that there is a sort of manifest destiny to make use of it. At times it may look phony, but it's still going to provide a better visual experience that any other method currently can. Puppets and handmade scenery have limits, too, and I think the decision to use CG to exhaustion was wise and timely. In one word, Star Wars 3 is "rich." The visuals are just so spectacular and memorable, even in their mildly detectable CG shine. Beyond the visuals, which were better than those in the other Star Wars flicks, the movie held together pretty well. As a total package I'd say it's almost as good as "The Empire Strikes Back" and better than any of the other Star Wars flicks.

Moving on, I am looking forward to seeing "V for Vendetta," and am trying to figure out how I compare the two movies I saw today against the TV series "Battlestar Galactica," which I think is terrific. I am very geared-up to see the upcoming two-part season finale, especially after watching this past Friday's excellent episode.
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post #2 of 9
" ... the River character was completely superfluous and shouldn't have been included ... "

How was River now essential to the plot? Perhaps bar room scene and the final battle mostly functioned to showcase the character, but in between the plot was driven by the River character.
post #3 of 9
River is the reason they went to Miranda. River is the reason Simon is on the ship. River lets the director explain the history of the Interplanetary Parliament or whatever it's called.

Superfluous? I don't think so.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Placebo
River is the reason they went to Miranda. River is the reason Simon is on the ship. River lets the director explain the history of the Interplanetary Parliament or whatever it's called.

Superfluous? I don't think so.

Snore. This is the case because she was forced into the plot. Answer me this: WTF would Mal (I think that's his name) go through all that trouble just to help her out? One lousy heist? It wasn't believable, and her existence was merely an excuse to allow them to have to go through reaver space, find out the reason for the reavers' existence, and then facilitate some collateral damage between reaver and alliance fleets. That's the plot the writers wanted to follow, and the rest was built around it. It's just too hard for me to accept that any captain and crew would want to go through that much trouble just to satisfy a liability of a stowaway and her cunt of a brother.
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post #5 of 9
You propose a better plot. Remember, a plot isn't "Mal and his ship stay out of trouble and make a steady income carting innocent goods between planets".
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Placebo
You propose a better plot. Remember, a plot isn't "Mal and his ship stay out of trouble and make a steady income carting innocent goods between planets".

I think the overall plot is fine, but I would have liked the movie better if it left out the annoying characters. It's actually a pretty good sci-fi plot: has action, allows for interesting visuals, and makes a small point.

Instead of using the River filler I would have elaborated on the opening heist and escape, involved some sort of predicament related to the spoils of the heist, and added more suspense to the whole thing. One tried and true way to add suspense would be to elaborate on the travel through reaver space. There was a lot of potential to do more with the reavers, and perhaps to make them a little more isidious rather than just brain-eating zombies.

You also have to remember that I never watched the TV show, so what I think would make the movie a lot better might be rehash to the series fans. But at the end of the day, a good movie made from a TV show should stand well in its own right.

----

Hold the mouse! It's a plot enhancement.

The stuff they stole turns out to be related to the chemicals from Miranda. River's brother catches the bug and starts becoming a reaver. Soon the crew realizes this and they off him, right off the bat. This sets the precedent for a movie where Mal's serious attitude actually carries through to his actions. River gets upset, goes into a trance, and runs off with the loot. The alliance wants River, Mal wants the loot, and really the rest of the plot can continue as was written.
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post #7 of 9
"I think the overall plot is fine, but I would have liked the movie better if it left out the annoying characters.

You also have to remember that I never watched the TV show, so what I think would make the movie a lot better might be rehash to the series fans. But at the end of the day, a good movie made from a TV show should stand well in its own right."

As with the previous post, I'm trying to answer in a non-spoilery way, so excuse me for being vague.

With regard to the series and the movie, it was difficult to resolve the two. In the series, there were an ensemble of nine characters being developed. These was a short series of comic books that tried to explain why some of the characters had a diminished role, but the movie still had to have some continuity even while trying to introduce a reduced crew of 7. That's quite a large number, considering that shows such as "Batman", "Spiderman", and "The Fantastic 4" were enhanced by a general understanding of who they were by the general population of moviegoers. I would speculate that the only good movies made from a TV show that stand well in their own right had the advantage of only having a few recurring characters. Unfortunately, the Firefly series introduced the entire crew of Serenity.

As some background, the events of the movie were to take place "sometime" perhaps in the second half of the cancelled season or perhaps season 2 or season 3.

Without getting into details of the series or the movie, I'll say that we'll just have to agree that we saw the movie in two very different ways.

Also, I've read many criticisms of the Serenity movie and your interpretetation of the River character and her lack of importane is unique. Not that it's good or bad, because most criticisms of that character are more superficial ( ... "she should have been played by [first name escapes me at the moment] Alba ... , or that the character was unbelievable in her abilities), but none have been a critical analysis of River as a plot device.
post #8 of 9
I actually thought the movie was pretty darn good, watched it Saturday nite. I'm another who hasn't seen any of the series.

I did think making the Serenity look loke a Sony Aibot was a bit weird, and "Reaver Space" was ridiculously dense, but accepted those as standard plot devices.
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post #9 of 9
The full Firefly (half) season set is now $20 ("60% off") at Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...v=glance&n=130
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