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April 03 2007

Is Serenity better than Star Wars? Referring to the result of the recent SFX poll, Peter Bradshaw film critic of The Guardian, asks the question and finally gives the wrong answer.

And just who is Peter Bradshaw and what the hell does he know, anyhow? Sorry, I'm a clueless colonial :)
Everyone's entitled to an opinion. Even if it's wrong.
...as we all learned from a little film called Serenity.
It "tails off" after the first half hour? Can someone tell me where, because the movie I saw got faster and sharper as the story progressed, all building up to "My turn." That moment always sends sends chills up my spine and puts tears in my eyes.
Is Serenity better than Star Wars?

No.
But its online fandom is more centralised. By this very site, for one thing.

... And it doesn't currently have prequels making it look bad in retrospect.
The question, as asked, is entirely subjective. People were asked, they answered. The results aren't "official"; Star Wars fans don't have to hang their heads in shame that they lost in this particular popularity contest. Some of us even like both films (gasp!).
But its online fandom is more centralised.


And oddly enough getting a backlash as a result of the poll results. People who're actively encouraging en masse voting need to be aware of the consequences of their actions. I'm not too thrilled seeing "The Browncoats hijacked the poll, it's not valid" comments all over the place.
Is Serenity better than Star Wars?

Yes. Probably. If you were asking me, that is.

I'll just restate what I wrote on the other topic about this:

I'm going to have to agree with what others have already said: Serenity is a contender for the top-spot. Yes, Star Wars is an iconic movie which I love to bits and Serenity will never, ever, surpass it in its influence on pop-culture and all that.

But if you strip away the legend, the childhood memories and the quotes that have ingrained themselves into our cultural identity, you are left with 'just' a movie. And when you compare Serenity and Star Wars as 'just' two movies, I feel that Serenity has the deeper plot, the better dialogue, more layered characters and a bigger emotional impact, while Star Wars has more wide-eyed joy, wonder and a whopping, superior soundtrack. Also, Star Wars is an epic in every sense of the word, while Serenity is a story about small people who just happen to end up in epic circumstances.

So in the end, I'd say the movies are certainly comparable (which isn't strange, considering that Serenity shares a similar setting and a certain type of visual language with Star Wars), but I'd give Serenity the edge because the writing is - in my very humble opinion - simply better.

Does that make Serenity the best movie ever? No, it doesn't. But it's certainly a contender for the title of best sci-fi movie. Maybe it deserves the top spot, maybe it doesn't. But it does, at the very least, deserve to be considered.


Also, this does make me wonder what movie Peter Bradshaw watched. Because tailing off after the first half hour? Not so much in the movie I saw. I don't even think there's a clear style-break or anything at the thirty minute mark.
... And it doesn't currently have prequels making it look bad in retrospect.

Or "special" editions that materially change the film's content.

Have to say I genuinely can't decide. If you asked me just after i'd watched 'Serenity' i'd probably say 'Serenity' but if I then stuck Star Wars (which i'm assuming, like Bradshaw, means 'A New Hope') in the DVD player a couple of hours later I might have a different opinion. Whenever I actually answer these questions about favourites it usually just means 'Today' or 'Until someone reminds me of one I liked better'. So fickle ;).

That particular poll though was very clearly a case of better organisation and i'm slightly amused it's causing the flurry it is.

(Peter Bradshaw, BTW, is a reviewer for The Guardian, one of the 4 or 5 main broadsheet newspapers in the UK and probably the 'paper of note' for Brits with left-of-centre political leanings - though technically they're now slightly smaller than a standard broadsheet, in the 'berliner' format)

Some of us even like both films (gasp!).

Come on, 'Star Wars' and 'Serenity' extremists let's gang up on those 'both film' maniacs ! There's nothing get's my dander up quicker than a bleedin' moderate with their "reason" and their "égalité". Pfft, shyeah, like that's gonna have a long term positive effect on society.

I'm not too thrilled seeing "The Browncoats hijacked the poll, it's not valid" comments all over the place.

Especially since it's true and we, therefore, have no defence.
Oh come on.

I adore Serenity. I really do. It's a wonderful piece of work that contains everything a good sci-film needs. It's close to being a masterpiece.

But Star Wars is better. It just is. Star Wars IS a masterpice. People can jump right in and love those characters, the action was ground breaking then and it still holds up today. Generation after generation of film fans fall head over heels with it and will do so for the next fifty years. It's an absolute classic and maybe the most significant and imitated film of all time - and I am no Star Wars geek.

Serenity is wonderful, but Star Wars is better.

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2007-04-03 13:16 ]
Until now, I never got the impression that Browncoats were a substantial threat to the Lukes, Leias and Vaders in this world, and I never wanted usto be.
I never could decide between Star Trek and Star Wars, and took the road of heart and diplomacy of Firefly and Serenity. F**k, now the fight starts all over again, on my turf. I feel like an innocent hobbit forced by the circumstances of fate to defend my land, and my people against a dark force a brewing in form of a big fan-war on cons and fansites. No, please let us be spared this ordeal...

I'll just become a Killow-shipper and have my peace...

(btw, to make it clear, that I'm really Switzerland: I didn't vote in this poll, because I couldn't decide...)

[ edited by bookworm on 2007-04-03 13:31 ]
If you value action/adventure over acting and character development, please pick Star Wars.

If you value getting to know characters as if they were your best friend or worst enemy (either way they feel real and NOT like some cardboard cutouts), then pick Serenity.

Personally, I'd rather party with the Browncoats than the Jedis any day.
I didn't vote in the poll and ballot box stuffing is tiresome. As a child I loved Star Wars, but like so many beloved thigns from childhood it doesn't hold up all that well, though I can still muster some enthusiasm for the original trilogy (not the armada of special editions). The new trilogy reminded me that the best of the original trilogy wasn't written by Lucas. I prefer Serenity and Firefly on a lot of levels and for different reasons. The layering of meaning and interpretation and subtext (which, yes, Lucas tried to claim later and Campbell claimed for him, but, I ain't buying it...). SW is a fun space opera romp, but thats about as far as it goes for me. If I want a mythic story I'll re-read Sandman, 'cause to me, Star Wars doesn't get there.
Am I the only one that's confused as to how this has become such a big deal? I mean, in my opinion Serenity deserved it to win, but Serenity's won polls before and not caused this much fuss, it won the Film 2005 Film of the year and didn't cause this much fuss.
I don't think the article (as short as it was) gave any substantial arguments as to why Star Wars is better than Serenity. But the author, like everyone else, is entitled to his opinion.

And it's my opinion that he's absolutely wrong.

I think most people look at Star Wars with a since of nostalgia and don't really rate the movie on its merits alone. Don't get me wrong. The original Star Wars films were excellent and groundbreaking for their time and going on story alone (and CGI) had the prequels been made 30 odd years ago, then they probably would've been considered cinematic gems. Probably. That's certainly open to debate.

But by today's standards, and we're talking about the age of the Joss Whedons, the Quentin Tarrantinos, the J.K. Rowlings, the Bryan Singers, the writing of Star Wars is sub par in comparison to Serenity.

While it's obvious that Serenity is influenced by Star Wars (and for that we Browncoats should give Mr. Lucas his due), Joss Whedon focused on story and created a multi-layered tale of comedy, action, drama, surprise and some serious plot twists. Whedon took a simple premise and took it to the next level.

I think the reason why most people abhor the prequels is because the abysmal plot, the writing quality and the poor dialogue is a throwback to the sci-fi standards of 30 years ago.

In today's world that just won't cut it.

But that's my two cents on the matter.

For those of you interested, I go into more detail about why Serenity is better here:

http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/219773.html
It is my humble opinion that the reason Serenity shines so brightly is because of our previous experience with Firefly. I think the average movie goer doesn't get to know all of the characters in the same way that we Browncoats do. With this background, we appreciate the movie on an entirely different level. While I love the movie and I believe the characters are much better developed with wittier writing, I must say that Star Wars: A New Hope is a better stand-alone movie. Its success and lasting influence are evidence of this and, despite the torture the world was forced to endure in the form of the prequels, it will continue to hold that position. I wish more people had given Serenity a chance and I think, given the chance, a Serenity Trilogy would have a chance in a head to head with the Star Wars trilogy. As it stands, Star Wars wins. Alas... what could have been.

On a side note, anyone else have feel that the author of this opinion piece provided little to no evidence to support his "No" answer? He can have his opinion, but I'd like to have a better idea where he is coming from. As for ballot box stuffing, I don't have the patience. I didn't vote in the poll in the first place to be honest. Oh, and I need more Joss.
Am I the only one that's confused as to how this has become such a big deal?

Well, i'd submit that 2 or 3 articles isn't that big a deal but SFX is a print magazine and endorses this poll which is for best of all time not just of 2005 and also 'Serenity' (which virtually no-one has heard of) has knocked 'Star Wars' (which virtually everyone - at least in the Western world - has heard of) off the top spot so it fulfils the 'man bites dog' criterion. Apart from that, maybe just a slow news day ? Possibly one in which comparatively fewer people died in Iraq or the Sudan than normal.

Or someone at the Graun may well have picked it up as a sci-fi fan, then the Beeb also noticed it or vice versa. Half the time I think stories that snowball do so almost randomly, for no particularly good reason.
Yes, I am sickened by the ballot-stuffing. The whole centralized voting thing is actually kind of scary and entirely unnecessary.

But as I've said before, while Star Wars is indeed a great film, Serenity trumps it on almost every level (except score).
Okay. Maybe my perception is just off here, but it kind of seems like some people are taking a negative stance towards Serenity because it placed first. No one (well, not everyone at least) is saying that Star Wars is a bad movie. The first three were epic masterpieces in my mind. Maybe the prequels did tarnish the leagacy a little, but I don't think that detracts from the greatness of the first three. All that being said, Serenity is a great movie in it's own right. Great plot, engaging and real characters. Whether it deserves the title of best sci-fi movie is a matter of personal opinion, but it's no reason to down the film. But like I said, that's just my perception of things.
Sorry,but Serenity is better--to me. The reason is while I love the original trilogy,I was a kid when I saw it.Now before I hear "I was an adult when I saw it!?!?!blah,blah,blah". I'm just stating why I like Serenity better. I like it,because the same feeling I had as a kid seeing Star Wars for the first time was the same feeling I had as a 30 year old.Again,tho just MY opinion. :)
I keep hearing people accuse the Whedonites of ballot stuffing the SFX poll and other unethical tactics and I've been looking to find evidence of it.

I'm not saying it did or didn't happen but I wanted to get all of the facts.

Is there any tangible proof that Whedonites cheated or are people just griping and making baseless accusations because Star Wars wasn't picked for the top spot?
I feel that this kind extreme and unfair questions do more harm than good for the Whedonverse reputation.

Its like that other thing that makes me cringe: That one about Buffy being a tremendous feminist icon. Joss consistently makes beautiful stories about regular people who shine through their talents, efforts and friendships. Buffy is the best feminine hero I can think of, but there wasn't anything particularly feministic about her. She fought for all humans, women and men, and was as much a role model for the boys around her as she was for girls.

I personally find Firefly/Serenity much more satisfying (especially to my brain). But that is a sign of our times as much as Joss's genre-defying production. Today's audience is much more educated on sci-fi issues, and much more interactive (definitely in the case of Serenity!). There is a wide-eyed innocence about Star Wars that makes it very special. I don't think any new movie can recreate that without coming off as sloppy. Neither should they. It would be horribly unoriginal.
I saw Serenity before I even knew about Firefly.

As a movie it was...OK.

The series was much better. And as much as I love Joss and Firefly I think it's lunacy to state that Serenity is better than Star Wars.

It's time to stop drinking the koolaid, people.
P.S.
George Lucas paid me to make write this comment.
Why would George Lucas pay someone to write "George Lucas paid me to make write this comment." ? He's a strange one that Lucas.

Is there any tangible proof that Whedonites cheated or are people just griping and making baseless accusations because Star Wars wasn't picked for the top spot?

Without access to the referral logs on the SFX website it'd be hard to prove but can it possibly just be coincidence that we win pretty much every vote that's linked from here ? Recent IMDB poll ? Check (or another). Best sci-fi movie of all time ? Check. In a recent (admittedly jokey and fun) poll featuring Joss he was no higher than 16 when the link was posted and then 'mysteriously' ended up at #1 not that long after (and this list featured people like Darwin and Einstein in whose company i'm fairly certain Joss would laugh to even find himself). I'm sure there'll be other examples in the archives.

It's also worth pointing out that, on this thread at least, several of the people mentioning ballot-stuffing also say 'Serenity' is their preference of the two films which rather renders moot the whole 'sour grapes' angle.

(that said, it's not strictly cheating unless people vote more than once, as has been said, it's just better organised. Doesn't make the poll results any more valid)
Of course he came to the wrong conclusion.

Obviously, The Fifth Element is the greatest sci-fi movie ever made. Get it right people.
Eh, it's sort of apples and oranges to me. Serenity is a fantastic movie. Great writing, acting, action, etc. But while I have friends who saw Serenity prior to watching Firefly, I can't see it having the same impact as a stand-alone film.

Star Wars: A New Hope is much simpler storyline with less complex characters and more basic writing. And that's really its strong point. It has such a massive appeal because it's so approachable. Kids want to fight Darth Vader and save the princess like Luke, not unveil government conspiracies and try to convert ruthless but well-intentioned nameless operatives to their way of thinking like Mal. Star Wars is mythic and myths are always fairly simple stories at the core.

[ edited by Lady Brick on 2007-04-03 16:18 ]
that said, it's not strictly cheating unless people vote more than once, as has been said, it's just better organised. Doesn't make the poll results any more valid.

so because we're better organized (and conceivably the star wars fans could do the same thing), the little stormtroopers want to cry foul?

i guess the question is why didn't they rally up people to participate in the polls. surely they feel as passionately about their fandom as we do ours?

and on a side note, i personally think that the empire strikes back or the return of the jedi should've would've been better choices for the number two slot than the original star wars. but that's just me.
If Serenity was 'as good as' or 'better than' Star Wars it wouldn't have tanked at the box office.
Period.
that said, it's not strictly cheating unless people vote more than once, as has been said, it's just better organised.

Well I think there was multiple voting as happens with virtually every on-line poll ever. As I see it online polls reflect a mix of fan numbers and fan devotion and the latter is the dominant factor.
The lesson of all this being, of course, that these polls are stupid wastes of time, but since they're wastes of very little time for the voters and organizers, they'll keep popping up. More's the pity.

Since Serenity (following Firefly of course) owes an enormous debt to Star Wars and is at some level a revision and extension of Act Two of that film - 'Life Aboard the Falcon' if Luke, Leia, and Ben were called 'Simon, River, and Book' - it's particularly difficult to compare the two films. You run into the same trouble talking about Buffy as a vampire show: the vampires are meant to be derivative, which is what frees Whedon et al. up to play them for comedy, for romance, for wide-open 'wrestling with demons' metaphor. Easier to compare it to, say, The Lost Boys (or even Buffy the movie). That's leaving aside the conventions of each story's medium as well.

It's impossible to talk about the impact of Star Wars objectively nowadays, particularly for sci-fi/fantasy film fans, for whom A New Hope is one of the cornerstone texts of the medium's history. It changed the industry (several actually) and the way science fiction was filmed, and we can't undo its influence, nor would we want to. Serenity was meant to be an intimate film dressed up in adventure clothes, and it is - which is why it climaxes with a little girl fighting monsters in a tiny room rather than an artificial moon blowing up, or two ronin dueling in front of the Ruler of the Entire Goddamn Galaxy.

All of which is to say: there are interesting things to talk about w/r/t these two films, but which one won a poll of online fans is not one of them.
I'm assuming Peter Bradshaw is not talking about the original trilogy but the first film? The better question to pose, I think, is if Serenity is a better film than The Empire Strikes back, which is far and away a better directed and envisioned film than 1 and 3. It's darker, meaner, and more meaningful in a way that is a better match to make comparisons to Joss' film. I still think it's apples and oranges though. And a much different time in film history.
If Serenity was 'as good as' or 'better than' Star Wars it wouldn't have tanked at the box office.
Period.


By that logic shouldn't the prequels and for that matter Van Helsing be featured in masterpiece theater?
While I'm firmly in the Star Wars camp -- and I actually liked Serenity better -- I think this question is impossible to answer without the benefit of time. The only relationship any of us can have with Serenity right now is like that of a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Everything she does is absolutely perfect. But give it a little while, after she keeps drinking out of the milk carton and laughing too loud in public, and then we have something to compare to the old Star Wars marriage.

The movie's only two years old. It's just impossible to know at this point what kind of significant impact, if any, Serenity is going to have on the genre.
so because we're better organized ... the little stormtroopers want to cry foul?

Well, yeah, emotive language aside. What are these polls really ? Popularity contests, pure and simple. They say nothing of quality or longevity or even financial success, what they say is "Of those that voted, more voted for the #1 choice than the others". The voters in this poll were hopelessly skewed in our favour, hence it's unfair and invalid (even as a popularity contest it fails if the voters aren't a random sample since all it then proves is that, among 'Serenity' fans 'Serenity' is the most popular - well stop the frikkin' press ! Somebody call Guinness ! ;).

I don't agree though that quality = box office success, if only the relationship were that simple. And I also agree about time giving perspective. I feel the same when people call Joss the new Shakespeare. Let's wait 400 years and see how things stand then, y'know ?
Separate point:

so because we're better organized (and conceivably the star wars fans could do the same thing), the little stormtroopers want to cry foul?

i guess the question is why didn't they rally up people to participate in the polls. surely they feel as passionately about their fandom as we do ours?


The one's got nothing to do with the other. Though it raises a maddening point re: fandom - namely that given the high bar to entry into a given fan community (in terms of the amount of knowledge that's expected/encouraged and the time commitments involved, etc.), why does anyone care whether Serenity (or a given fan's chosen text) wins polls? Leaving aside concerns about polls in general or the issues I brought up in my previous comment, who exactly are Whedon fans trying to reach with these polls? The only people who care about them are the people predisposed (or paid, like the Guardian writer/blogger) to pay attention, and those people already have their opinions. It's not like anyone needs to choose between Star Wars and Serenity, and it's not as if a single person on earth is going to, say, alter their Friday night viewing choices on the basis of this poll.

So why spend the time?

(And yes: I stand by my admittedly speculative claim that no non-fans care about the outcome of the poll. Not even if the New York Times ran such a poll would anyone with power give a damn. We know there's a passel of Whedon fans online. So does everyone who needs to. But since I've already made my points about fan narcissism at excruciating length elsewhere on this site, I'll go back to working now, thanks. :)
I don't understand these ballot-stuffing cracks either. I voted, once, for Serenity, after finding out about the poll here at Whedonesque. I admit I don't read SFX magazine, but nor do I recall that being a requirement for voting. In fact I expect SFX were quite happy to have non-readers come to their website to vote - it's called marketing.

Now if my casting one vote after being alerted to this poll by fellow Browncoats is supposed to be an example of "ballot stuffing", then I would suggest that people are a little unclear on the democratic process, because every political party in every democratic country is guilty of doing the same thing. And at least Browncoats don't go door to door, engage in telemarketing, launch televised hate-campaigns against other shows and movies, or plaster their lawns and highways with gawdawful eyesore signs promoting themselves.
What's this "Serenity" thing?
I think it's some kind of 'special' underwear.
The movie's only two years old. It's just impossible to know at this point what kind of significant impact, if any, Serenity is going to have on the genre.


Agreed. But the question posed here isn't which movie had, or will have, a bigger impact. That's Star Wars, hands down, and Serenity is never, ever, going to come close to that. But is the movie which has a bigger impact on (popular) culture also automatically the better movie? Or could it, for instance, also be a case of 'the right movie at the right time'?

I think that if we're to judge which of these two movies is better (and I'm not saying that that's a worthwhile endeavour on any level, but it sure is something that passes the time), we should judge them purely as movies, stripped from whatever cultural baggage they bring. And when one does that, I feel Serenity is the better movie, since I prefer it's multi-layered, darker approach to the more wide-eyed innocence of Star Wars.

But then, to me, multiple layers and darkness equal higher standards of quality. While to others, the fact that Star Wars is an easier movie to get into or a more rounded and simple experience with bigger cross-over appeal might just make Star Wars the better movie. As long as no one's agreeing on what actually makes a movie better or worse to begin with, there's no use in answering the question with a simple yes or no, or even asking the question. Comparing the two and explaining why one would prefer one or the other is interesting to me and it's that explanation of why it's so obvious that Star Wars is the better movie, that's lacking in the linked article.

So like I said before, I think the movies are comparable and it's not fair to dismiss Serenity out of hand, simply because it lacks the cultural impact of Star Wars.

And oh yes, online polls are silly, the results meaningless and ballot stuffing quite useless, but it does lead to some amusing discussion :-).
I've never liked Star Wars, so to ME Serenity's better. As far as actuality is concerned, I simply don't care. ;)
Here's the problem. Star Wars is now thirty years old. It's fanbase is well established and covers generations. The reason polls like the are irrelevent is basically that Star Wars fans for the most part stopped worrying about crap like this a long time ago.......

When Browncoats stuff the ballot so they can say "Look, we're the best Sci Fi movie ever", it doesn't help the cause. It just confirms one of the biggest negative aspects about fandoms in general. People aren't wowed that Serenity was voted best Sci Fi movie on some poll. They are basically saying "There goes the Browncoats, fixing another poll". This is one of the reasons so many people took pleasure in Serenity failing at the box office.

Star Wars was great. Firefly was amazing. Serenity was good. My opinion. No poll will ever change that.
i definitely agree that these polls should be taken with a grain of salt and should be kept in perspective.

the only reason this poll caught my eye was because it's in a major magazine and it's getting a lot of mainstream press. which means that someone who may not have seen serenity might be inclined to check it out (as well as the firefly series) to see why it beat star wars in the poll.

while i'm happy that my movie got the top slot, i wouldn't have lost sleep if star wars had won. i would've shrugged my shoulders and went on about my day. does that mean i would've agreed with the poll? of course not but i wouldn't be whining and crying foul either when there isn't any proof of cheating.

in fact there were movies on that list that i didn't think belonged on there but i'm not going to accuse anybody of ballot stuffing or guerilla tactics.

my point is that if the stormtroopers are miffed because they continuously lose in the polls or whatnot (as i read from one of the complaints on one of the posting boards) and accuse us of rallying folks to participate in the polls, then they're well within their rights to do the same. i imagine that there are just as many die-hard star wars fans out there as there are browncoats. have the star wars fans make an effort to participate in the polls. or don't. whatever. but don't cry and accuse people of cheating if star wars loses an online poll. i wouldn't have dared accused star wars of underhanded tactics if serenity hadn't been listed. does that mean i would've agreed with the poll? of course not. but again i would've shrugged my shoulders and went on with my life.

and to the bitter stormtroopers out there: as the bbc article indicated, whedon has conceded that star wars was an influence for serenity. so rather than taking this as a loss, you could take this as two victories as the legacy of star wars captured not one but two slots. if it means that much to you.
The appeal of Star Wars is its stark simplicity. It is a fairy tale, a children's story, greatly enhanced by loads of spectacle--lights and sound, pressing all the right buttons--and indelible visuals, such as exploding planets, light sabers, and the black gleaming face mask of Darth Vader. These very simple but very powerful attractions made the movie accessible and beguiling to any child on the planet, their parents, and everyone else besides. You didn't need to be a fan of sci-fi or mythic narratives or know a whit about what makes a great film great to submit to the charms of Star Wars when it first appeared in 1977. Nothing quite like that had ever been done before. Whatever Serenity's merits as a piece of cinema--Whedon's storytelling and dialog, decent acting--they are in a galaxy far, far away from Star Wars in terms of instant mass appeal.

[ edited by 1starbuckstown on 2007-04-03 16:55 ]
Now if my casting one vote after being alerted to this poll by fellow Browncoats is supposed to be an example of "ballot stuffing", then I would suggest that people are a little unclear on the democratic process, because every political party in every democratic country is guilty of doing the same thing.

This is more like: a polling booth opens in one part of your small town with very little fanfare and no forewarning. A Republicrat sees this and alerts all his Republicrat friends who then go and vote. Later the Democans complain because no-one told them the polling booth was open, if they'd known the Democans would've voted and possibly changed the outcome of the election (in case you're wondering, it was a Republicrat landslide). Hush, say the Republicrats, you could've voted the same as anyone else, don't blame us if you were asleep at the democratic wheel.

I suspect most people would not consider that a fair and free election (despite no single Republicrat doing anything untoward) because the opportunity to vote wasn't equal.

Just as this, utterly irrelevant as it was, was not a fair and free poll. I'm struggling to see why any of us are even defending it. It's meaningless trivia anyway, just a bit of fun, but it was hopelessly skewed, it "proves" nothing (not even the only thing it could've proven in the first place i.e. the relative popularity of 10 sci-fi films).
As for Serenity's legacy, when I consider how many crappy, uneven, idiotic, campy, and/or dreadfully slow-paced sci-fi movies there are from decades past that are looked back at today with warm nostalgia if not out-and-out reverance, just because they had a few good moments/lines/ideas/characters/special FX/ or performances, then I'm not particularly worried about the BDM's ultimate place in history.
Neo-Prodigy : Please use upper case when starting sentences, it makes what you've written easier to read.

And also (and those is to no-one in particular), this thread seems to heading down hill. So I'm warning people in advance that action will be taken if things get out of hand.

And a vague attempt to cheer people up, I think the release date for the Serenity Special Edition DVD will be out soon (assuming the July release date is still on).
For me, a non-stuffer of ballot boxes, Serenity was better than Star Wars. I never liked Star Wars. It was too simple (for me), poorly acted, and devoid of any meaning. It was all flash and no substance.

On the other hand, I'm not sure Serenity is the best sci-fi movie ever, but I would definitely put it in my top 5. Star Wars would not be on any of my lists. It's not that I don't appreciate it and how it opened the door for other sci-fi movies to succeed, but I really was unimpressed with it the first time I saw it, and feel the same way to this day.
Oops. Double post. Stupid computer/internet service/web server thingy!

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2007-04-03 17:54 ]
Re: the SE DVD, Universal Home Entertainment in fact is slowly populating its July releases page.
I know what you're saying Saje, but you also make it sound like the Browncoats were just lucky to stumble across this poll, when I don't think that's the case at all. The bottom line is that Browncoats care greatly about Serenifly and about promoting it. It would have to be a very very obscure poll indeed for me to believe that Browncoats would not inevitably find out about it and publicise it.

There are a great many Star Wars fans out there, and a quick google search of "star wars forums" seems to turn up a large and active community. But perhaps they don't have the same passion as the Browncoats, or else they would have inevitably found out about this poll and voted in numbers.

If "democrons" have become so apathetic as to not care about finding out about elections and voting in them, then I really have no sympathy for them. Heck, I know fandoms of third-rate sports teams (with only a few dozen active members) that are far more on the ball than these dozey democrons.

So while some may see this as a meaningless poll, I think it's results are rather telling.
Has it been announced if Serenity Special Edition is getting a region 2 release?
I have to agree with 1starbuckstown--its all a matter of perspective. When I saw StarWars at age 7 it changed my world.

I think it changed everyone's world. Honestly ask yourself, Did Serenity change the world? I think it's safe to say, No.

So try to compare two films on merits when one changed the world and one didn't. I think its like comparing Joss' work on Astonishing X-Men with the Stan Lee X-men issues from the early days. It's hard to compare (or declare, this is "better" than that) something new (even if it is fantastic) with "the original."

For me its:

1. Star Wars
2. 2001: A space odyssey
3. The Matrix
I honestly don´t think its fair to compare them. Its like comparing a pre dish to a full course meal. Give Serenity a few sequels first. ( yeah probably not gonna happen, I know, but well)
I'd love to see someone or many someones write a comparative paper or essay about this and post it somewhere connected to Whedonesque; not on how Star Wars betters Serenity or vice-versa because that's obviously becoming a divisive issue, but perhaps on how Joss' Serenifly verse echoes and builds upon the marvel that began in 1977 with three films that changed the face of sci-fi as we knew it, forever.
I'll admit that I voted three times at the SFX poll, but I was mostly checking to see how we (by 'we' I mean Serenity) was doing in the poll. Personally I disagree that ballot stuffing is some terrible rude thing: I didn't discover Farscape until I heard that there was an active fandom promoting their love of that show, and hearing that made me think that I may have missed out on something good.
One of my favourite quotes:

When asked about the meaning and impact of the French Revolution, Mao Tse-tung is reputed to have said, “It’s too early to tell.”


"Consider the lily" is another good quote but completely irrelevant here. Or is it?

Btw I believe that Serenity is Joss' best work to date (though he is on fire with his X-Men material). So imagine what his next films will be like.
Whereas, embers, myself and my browncoat other half didn't vote at all! So, in essence, it's all square.

Having said that.....I'm not sure how he would have voted! Oh dear.

Yes - these sorts of polls are a bit daft aren't they. However, it did make The Sun, so maybe a few other people will rent it, not such a bad thing.
Btw I believe that Serenity is Joss' best work to date (though he is on fire with his X-Men material). So imagine what his next films will be like.

Season 8 of Buffy is shaping up to be something phenomenal.
"Consider the lily"

"He's havin' a go at the flowers now !". It'll be the birds next just wait.

Has it been announced if Serenity Special Edition is getting a region 2 release?

I'm not sure it's been announced Jona but they'd be daft in the head not to release it in Europe too, given the big fanbase. Might be a bit later s'all.
If Serenity is better than Star Wars (what is this "a new hope" of which you speak? ;-) ) it is because Serenity is standing on the shoulders of giants.

Really, comparing movies separated by almost 30 years in time can never be an apples-to-apples comparison.
I never understand people who say serenity was "fun" and that's it. I mean, did these people watch the movie? did they miss the obvious emotional and political depth? are these people blind?

on the topic at hand, I really don't think there's a point in comparing Star Wars and Serenity.
They're both sci-fi, sure. But at the end of the day, Star Wars is an epic, mythic, one-dimensional fairy tale the captured the imagination of the world; while Serenity is a more realistic, moral-questioning, soul-searching, political film.

is Serneity a better movie then Star Wars? I don't know.
Is serenity more inteligent? harbors more emotional depth? I would answer yes on both acounts.

Star Wars is my childhood. But serenity speaks to the grown up in me as well. it's not about escapism. it's about dealing with life.

I grew up on Star Wars. But do I love Serenity more? Hell yeah.
I may be biased but I still think Buffy is Joss's best work to date.
Followed by Firefly.
Followed by Serenity. (Sorry guys. This movie just didn't move the earth for me. Don't get me wrong. I luv, luv, luv the mighty Joss Whedon and all his wondrous works)

But of all of Joss's work I think Buffy is the one that has had the most 'Star Wars-like' pop culture impact. The Buffster is going to continue to live on in people's hearts for generations to come the same way Star Wars has.

[ edited by kerfuffle on 2007-04-03 20:18 ]
Star Wars is Star Wars and nothing else is. (Not even Empire Strikes Back, despite what some people say.) Comparisons, as my mother would say, are odious, but there it is. Star Wars.
Heh. The force is definitely with you, Master Joss.
Comparisons, as my mother would say, are odious,...
You mother thought comparisons were smelly?
I'll give the only answer I can, I own and love both movies.
Some days I'm in a Firefly/Serenity mood, some days I'm in a Star Wars mood. Whichever mood I'm in, I can put my DVDs in and watch either whenever I want. Because of this, I say the world is a better place with both movies in it.
Bingo. On the nose. Thank you.
No kerfuffle, odious is not like odorous, it is derived from Odin and relates back to punkinpuss' thread about the thrisewise (and I am three times more stupid than I need to be... sorry about that).
The Buffster is going to continue to live on in people's hearts for generations to come the same way Star Wars has.

Will it though? I agree that Buffy has had the most "Star Wars-like" impact on pop culture, but I don't see many mechanisms for sustaining that impact -- for keeping it alive in the minds of the public -- over the coming years, not to mention decades. By mechanisms I'm thinking of merchandising and additional installments of the 'verse (of the sort that reaches much bigger audiences than those for the current season 8). And then there's the "cult" status of Buffy's appeal, which by definition limits it to a small audience (as compared with--if you'll indulge my odiousness--the mass appeal of something like Star Wars).
Tonya J seems to be on the right track ...

Is Serenity better than Star Wars? Eh, possibly. Worth a discussion anyway.

Is Serenity better than The Empire Strikes Back? Oh, hells no.
"Star Wars is Star Wars and nothing else is. (Not even Empire Strikes Back, despite what some people say.)"

One of the few things my brother and I agree on and Joss does too. Excellent!
Well, I guess I have to throw my nickel in.

When SW first came out it was the first of it's kind. It blew you away with it's special effects. And I went around for years asking to be called Rebecca Skywalker. I loved Luke! And Han. swoon...It was my favorite movie for years.....

But then Serenity came out. It is now my favorite movie. And TO ME ,it is a better movie.
Is it better, given the scope of Star Wars? Maybe not...BUT IT DESERVES THE CHANCE TO BE.
You mother thought comparisons were smelly?

Hence, Mal Odious, or 'Bad Hate', in the Latin. Actually, I like Darth Mal Odious for a Sith Lord. I may suggest that for the pre-prequels, Episodes -1 and down. Or the post-prequels, which are all the real numbers between 3 and 4 ("Episode 3.14159: Revenge of A New Hope. With Pie."). Sure, infinity's a lot of films, lunch-boxes don't sell themselves you know.

Also, is it just me or is Joss' post quite Zen-like in its, err, what's a nice word for apparently-not-saying-anything-ness ? ;-) I suspect this padawan may have to ponder the koan for a few years before enlightenment lands, as the gently trickling dust of butterfly wings upon his humble head.

*flash-forward some years*

Padawan Saje: "Ah, 'twas as the master said, there it is ! Star Wars".
No way. 'A Trip to the Moon' is still the best sci fi film ever. No one has topped its majesty yet.
Is that the one that inspired that Smashing Pumpkins video?
I am still dumbfounded by the fact that people think Star Wars is that good. But again everyone has their own opinion...
Here's my 2 cents. I think if you saw the original Star Wars as a youth (I was 19, same age as Carrie Fisher, same age as Luke in the movie) it left an indelible impression on the engrams of your/my brain and others', even more if you were younger than 19. I think I saw it 15 times in its first run in theatres that year. That's the most times I've ever seen anything in its first run. The only thing that's comparable to that viewing is seeing Harrison Ford in person when a dear friend and I waited on line for hours in Mission Valley (San Diego) to see a "sneak" Hollywood preview of Blade Runner.

I have not felt the same excitement about a movie probably since, until Serenity. But nothing can top the thrill of Star Wars, all scholarly analysis aside, for Sci-Fi geeks who had a visceral, emotional, and immediate response to it. It's just how it is; good, bad, or indifferent for other folks out there.

So when Joss quotes his mom about comparisons, yes, I understand that, even though I said it would be fun to read essays about the influence the first trilogy had on his work. I mean, say what you will about Lucas now, but that first film blotted out the sun and the stars as far as we were all concerned, though I've stated now, at this age, a preference for TESB. And I still get a little thrill when I think about my 19-year-old self driving my Camaro down the freeways of So. Cal. to catch another show. Nostalgia ain't all bad, dudes.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-04-04 04:07 ]
Star Wars will always resonate with people more than Serenity does, simply because it was built entirely upon the concept of the Hero's Journey/Jungian psychology, which are things that every human being will more often than not relate to on a very deep unconscious level.

The reason Star Wars still holds up is that in a way it is simply a modern myth. And we should always remember that a myth is not something which is only fiction, but something which uses storytelling to speak the deepest psychological truths.
This news item seems to have been picked up in quite a few places. Apparently there was a discussion on BBC Radio, which I haven't been able to find yet, and there is a discussion thread on Slashdot
Slashdot. Ick. Talk about storm trooper heaven. Anything on Digg?

edit: Nevermind. Didn't make it to the front page on Digg.

[ edited by kerfuffle on 2007-04-04 01:39 ]
I'm content that several of my favorite sci-fi films made the final list of the poll.

Sorry if I missed this as I skimmed, but did anyone already mention that the poll results have increased Serenity sales on Amazon.co.uk? Contention among and within fanbases aside, that's an interesting effect. I'm highly skeptical that a sci-fi magazine's movie poll could ever really be compared to a natural disaster, though.
I gave my 12-year-old nephew the Star Wars trilogy as a present, but I gave my brother-in-law Serenity.

That is the difference.
Oh. So other people like different things than they did when they were 12? Perhaps this explains much about me.
I like Star Wars and Serenity. Buffy? That's the shit.
I think the Buffy fandom will live on much like Star Wars too.
Don't count out a big screen continuation...it could happen. The actors are still gorgeous, Joss is still brilliant and Fox? Yep, still rolling in money.
I watched the original Star Wars trilogy as a child. I never got the big deal. I've watched it again recently. I still don't get the big deal. They were alright, but I'd hardly consider them anything special. I definitely preferred Serenity, and I saw it long before I ever saw the Firefly series.
Cheryl. You are my new bestest friend.

Short yet awesome post. :)
Is that the one that inspired that Smashing Pumpkins video?

Yep. You shoot that moon in the eye! You shoot it good! (I'm...sort of frightened that IMDb has a specific keyword for Shot in the Eye.)
Despite all the current ballyhoo on the topic, any poll of the sort in question is subjective, not just to the topic but in regard to the timeframe in which it appears.

Star Wars launched a mega-phenomenon in film entertainment when it appeared out of the blue in 1977. I was there. It rocked my socks off.

Plus, it was a damn good movie. Because of its childlike simplicity; because it was rollicking, rip-roaring fun; because it engendered a sense of wonder in audiences at a time when gritty realism was the only other game in town.

Of COURSE it remains a true classic in every sense of the word. For a very long time it defined the SF film genre.

But then, Forbidden Planet did the same thing for its audiences. In its time.

As did Lang's Metropolis, in its day. And Kubrick's 2001.

Serenity is, beyond any doubt, the child of all these great films.

Is it "better" than any of them, or all of them? That depends upon whom you ask, when you ask them, and where, and how, and why.

Define "better."

I'll say this. The results of that poll certainly say something. Not necessarily that either film is "better" or "worse" than the other... but maybe, right at this moment, for a multitude of reasons, Serenity may well be MORE IMPORTANT than Star Wars, to a whole lot of people, for a lot of reasons.

That seems to me proof that the film bears the stamp of greatness.

Though some might argue that Serenity, as a film, cannot rightfully claim a place among other theatrical "giants" of the sf genre, I would dispute that.

Its longevity has yet to be tested, of course. But as a work of art, about which people care much, it is such a giant, today.
Thanks Willowy. :)
Online polls. Both pointless and yet... nope, just pointless.

As for Serenity against Star Wars. It's the same as anything else in life. There is no best movie in the world. Only the best movie for you. I never liked Star Wars yet absolutely adore Serenity. My list of top ten science fiction movies wouldn't feature any of the Star Wars flicks, but that doesn't make them any less "good" than Serenity. It just means that I personally don't enjoy them.

There is little or no point to any of these online debates/wars between the various fandoms as they prove nothing other than the fact that certain fans have a little too much spare time on their hands and need to use it more wisely than for worrying about what other people are enjoying watching.

For me, Serenity tops my list of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, with Stargate and the Fifth Element coming up close behind. I'm glad that many others seem to share my love of Serenity but as for those that don't? Free will is a bitch, isn't it?
"There is little or no point to any of these online debates/wars between the various fandoms as they prove nothing other than the fact that certain fans have a little too much spare time on their hands and need to use it more wisely..."

Yeah, you said it. And furthermore...

Uh. Hang on... that's exactly right. What a huge waste of time!

/fanboy mode OFF


::
I agree with Nekodono that Star Wars resonates because of its subject. People love Harry Potter because it is the same story, as is King Arthur and countless others. And Star Wars is a particularly strong version of it for many reasons.
So, story aside, how does the science fiction element of it compare to Serenity's science fiction element? They were judging science fiction films, after all.

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