This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I'm a blood-sucking fiend! Look at my outfit!"
11945 members | you are not logged in | 25 October 2014




Tweet







February 28 2008

Which scifi movie ending would you change? SciFi Signal asked some of today's SciFi writers if they could change the ending of ONE sci-fi film, what would it be and why? Michael Wentz chose Serenity, removing Wash's death. Thoughts?

Okay, Wash was my very favorite member of Serenity's crew as well as one of the best characters Joss ever created, and I cried buckets and buckets and buckets and buckets of tears when he died.

That said, would I change the ending? No. It's painful, it hurts, it's shocking, it's devastating...but it works and, despite what some would say, has a reason for being there.
The thing that bugs me about his pick is that in his explanation he only shows that he has no grasp of the function of that moment, or why it comes when it does in the structure of the film. One might like to believe that a writer and filmmaker would understand such things. I've come to accept that some people don't LIKE it, but that there are still people that don't UNDERSTAND it... well, that escape me completely.
Is it time for this debate again? Already?
Groan.

(Said Wash as he died).
Of all these movies that I've seen, and my reactions to them ran the gamut, I think the suggestion to change Serenity has the least merit.
Wash's death did exactly what Joss wanted it to do. The whole final fight I was sure that one by one, the crew was going to go down. Or at least Zoe, Kaylee, and Simon. It was that much more of a relief and that much more bittersweet when the rest of them made it out.

So, do I want Wash dead? No. Do I wish he was still "alive?" Yes. Would I change the ending? Nope.
I would change the ending of the third Matrix movie. No, that's a lie, I'd just end everything at the end of the first movie.
I would alter the ending.

Serenity doesn't work for me as a piece of cinema because each time I watch it I disconnect more and like the film less and less. This is a shame because it's a beautifully crafted movie, but as it stands right now it's a beautifully crafted movie with too many flaws to be enjoyable.
Although Joss has said that he killed Wash because he wanted us to believe that he could kill all of them, I don't think that any death in fiction ever has to be justified. If a death is unexpected, it's horrible, but it's real. And of course Whedon says that he'd rather have fans say "Why'd they kill (that guy)? I liked him!" than "Oh. He's dead? Turn the page!"

I agree with the Star Wars one, though, and if I would change the first 15 minutes and the last 20 minutes of 2001. Or maybe just ignore the film altogether.
evilmaniclaugh, what flaws specifically? The few faults I've found in Serenity don't contribute to any negative feeling I have toward the film. Wash's death was so effective. And things like Mr. Universe as a maguffin, the altering of River's escape, etc are things I can overlook.
See that thing that the contributor just whizzed past at about a hundred miles an hour ? That was the point.

Wash's death works best meta-textually (the well known "Wild Bunch ending" doubt it puts in the viewers' minds) but the horrible timing and the fact that it happens to one of the two people onboard that least "deserve" to die makes it all the more shocking. Highlighting the price of freedom (and that it's worth paying) is about as far from pointless as can be got I reckon. I don't like it BTW, he was my favourite 'Serenity' character and I literally (yep, i'm a sap ;) felt a physical pain when he died but it is what it is and I wouldn't change it. And, though I didn't think it possible, the aftermath made me love Zoe even more.

Totally agree with the guy that would change the ROTS ending. That blew (in an otherwise pretty decent entry to the saga, certainly by prequel standards). And 'Signs' too, the ending pretty much ruined that film for me. Recently i'd change 'I Am Legend' which was good, maybe even brilliant, up until the last 10 minutes.

('2010' is a great ending though - "All these worlds are yours ..." feels epic and who didn't want HAL to have a happy ending ? He was just trying his best, bless him. In general, i'm totally against changing an ending because a minority of people don't understand it. To be blunt, tough shit ;)
Oh, face it, everyone, Joss killed off Wash for the same exact reason that Chris Carter killed off Byers, Langly, and Frohike during the last season of The X-Files. It was to punish the geeks, the ones who identify most with the characters, for the crime of not raising enough of a fuss when the show featuring those beloved characters was cancelled. (And both by Fox, coincidentally.)

It wasn't done for dramatic effect, it was Joss punishing the geeks in the fan-base for their lack of support for his show. "Here, you let my show get canceled without writing in to complain? Fine. I'll kill off the character that represents you, the one you identify with, and replace him with an insane teenaged girl. Because I'm Joss, that's why. Ha ha."

Not that I'm bitter.

[ edited by Jim in Buffalo on 2008-02-27 22:44 ]
Cool power. Can you tell what he's thinking now too ?

;-)
Sure!

Right now, he's thinking, man, this is one big burrito.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes; That stupid and physically impossible even by comic book standards Doomsday Bomb scenario was justa gimmick to get Chuck Heston to make his own pointless cameo.

And if we stretch it to horror, I'd make Nightmare on Elm Street 30 seconds shorter so it wouldn't be an 80s horror movie saddled with an early 70s style ending.
Chris Carter killed off Byers, Langly, and Frohike during the last season of The X-Files

They died heroically after being occasional comic relief for seasons. And the X-Files didn't exactly dole out selfless heroism. What more could a geek who identifies with them ask for? I was proud of them. Horrified, and saddened, but proud.
Personally, I thought the Lone Gunmen died very stupid, pointless deaths Sunfire (I don't mean it was depressing, I mean they acted uncharacteristically stupidly in dying - what, they couldn't just activate the fire alarm then escape ? Aren't they meant to be uber-smart geeks ?). Not only that but it was totally off tone for the characters. Yet more evidence that Chris Carter didn't really have much of a clue how to end things IMO, YMMV ;).

Right now, he's thinking, man, this is one big burrito.

Well, that seems pretty conclusive, you really can read his mind Jim in Buffalo.

In which case, why Joss, why show your hatred for us through the creative form of fictional murder ? I mean, we wrote letters on the inside, where it really counts ...
WHAT?? The Lone Gunmen DIED??? Dammit!

I don't remember when I stopped watching X-Files, but it was before that, 'cause I sure as shootin' don't remember Ringo, John Fitzgerald and Melvin biting it.

I do remember CSM getting dumped out of his wheelchair, though.

And I'm still bummed that Well-Manicured Man died in the movie - he was the only one of the Consortium I liked.

But, no, unkilling Wash is not a good idea. Yes, it hurt. But the funeral was touching. And the exchange between Mal & Zoe at the end was lovely.
WHAT?? The Lone Gunmen DIED??? Dammit!

Um ... err *shifts sheepishly*. Is it too late to say *spoilers* ?
I did think the episode was horrible, Saje, as I thought much of that last season was. It was nice to see the Gunmen actually make a difference though.

They didn't die! They um, retired.
Yeah, that's totally right, they "retired" to heaven Florida, I meant Florida. And I didn't mean the quotes.
The death of Wash still haunts me to this day- I knew it was coming, but it still hurt. But I wouldn't change it. It made sense story-wise, and it was a great way for the character to go out- right after doing something that seemed nigh impossible, and saving everyone's life. For all time, he will be a leaf on the wind.

But the guy who said Revenge of the Sith? He sketched out an *awesome* ending.
What gets me is that the writer pointed out why Wash's death happened at the right time without realizing it. He talks about being completely lost for the rest of the film because he was so focused on the death. Exactly! That's what a real death is like. Like the Operative, it comes at you sideways. The deaths we see in giant battles we see coming and we are prepared for them, we almost disconnect from the story and character early, because we don't want to be hurt when the inevitable happens. Joss doesn't give us that opportunity, because we have no warning. And then we have to deal. And, if you miss the beauty of the rest of the movie, you just need to watch it again. So really, it's all about Joss making more money from multiple viewings......
Nolan nailed it.

When Wash died, I thought (when I could thing), "Oh, crap they could all die!"

Just as JW wanted.
Yeah - following on from Shephard's death (:(), Wash suddenly going like that; then most everybody getting shot, Kaylee getting those nasty darts filled with who-knows-what in the neck - I was definitely afraid more of our crew were going to die.

And on return visits to the theater, it was interesting to hear the reactions of first-time viewers. Laughter as Wash begins to repeat his leaf mantra - laughter abruptly cut off by audible gasps - loud "huuhhh" intakes of air - as that spar (or whatever) comes crashing through...

And is it just a funky coincidence that the corner quote as I'm reading this topic is " 'I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar' "?
Change the Serenity ending.

Keep Wash dead.

But let Mal offer the Operative a lift. Yes, the Operative was a baddy, but Mal could see that he'd totally opened up the O's eyes to reality. Mal could see that he'd changed the O's life, and the O demonstrated this change by restoring Serenity.

Besides, with Book gone, there was an opening.
I'm way more pissed off that Book died.
When Wash died, I thought (when I could thing), "Oh, crap they could all die!"


Ditto. I thought they were all being killed off, one by one. I was freaked.
That bit near the end when Zoe walks forward with what looks like a lighted candle in the deserty place in front of Wash's photo? I always thought she would light that little rocket with it and shoot the rocket off into the sky . . . that's what I'd change.

As for his death, that was perfectly done. (Still believe there are other things I'd tinker with - some dialogue, character balance, random other stuff; then again, who do I think I am? Joe Swydon?)
I had never seen the Series before seeing the Film, and Wash's death was very effective, even though I wasn't "attached" to his character at that time. I thought they all might die, and was really upset when Simon got shot. I thought, "He's next", and then suddenly River seemingly sacrifices herself. Whoa... quite the emotional Merry-Go-Round. Then, magically, we realize she's not only still alive, but winning! Pure Genius, IMO.

I thought (and still do) that it was a Masterpiece on the emotional level, something a film rarely does for me.
No way in Hell would I change it!
That ending is a leaf on the wind, watch how it soars!
SNT, I'm pretty sure the rocket thing was in earlier cuts of the film.
You know, I gotta hand it to the people who were very careful with the spoiler tags. I was unspoiled seeing it on opening night, and Wash's death was an absolutely stunning turn. Book dying was very much of a "whew, at least we know who Joss kills now..." moment.

I knew Tara died before I even started watching Buffy. I wonder if anyone who had seen both Seeing Red and Serenity unspoiled would call the shock comparable? Both were brutal, unforeseen, moving, and continue to evoke controversy to this day.
The problem is that, on subsequent watchings, I start going through hell as soon as he says the "leaf" line the first time. ("What does that MEAN?!")

But, yes, I agree that it serves the Evil One's purpose. As they were setting up in the space, I thought "Holy crap! How can any of them make it through this?"

I HATE when things serve the Evil One's purpose!

'Cause he's like, you know, EVIL.
An alternative universe end to Serenity: http://www.serenitymovie.org/unpublished/ending.txt

And it's not fan fic, it's joss fic.
The problem is that, on subsequent watchings, I start going through hell as soon as he says the "leaf" line the first time. ("What does that MEAN?!")

Yeah, I showed Serenity to some friends after introducing them to Firefly. I asked them to wait until I was there before they watched it, because I thought it'd be super interesting to be there for their reactions to Wash's end. But as the scene approached I felt like I was having a heart attack, and I was suddenly overcome with guilt for having introduced them to a character with full knowledge of his eventual and painful doom without even giving them a warning sign of some sort. I felt pretty awful.

Seeing it in theaters was great, though. I didn't know it was going to happen, but I still heard all those chuckles turn into horrified gasps, and, oh my what fun.

[ edited by Jobo on 2008-02-28 06:32 ]
I was completely unspoiled seeing Serenity for the first time and was gleefully laughing at his "I'm a leaf in the wind" bit when the unbelievable happened. I could barely concentrate on watching the rest of the film because the emotions were so strong and raw. But, I managed to keep watching, fearful that someone else was going to die next. I was on the edge of my seat for the rest of the movie. The look on all their faces when Kaylee asks "Wait, where's Wash?!" and Zoe just calmly states "He ain't coming" and the dawning realization of his death crosses over all of their faces. The acting by all the cast was so superb and realistic that they looked like they felt just as I was feeling. I'm welling up just thinking about it again. I can't watch the movie without welling up as Serenity is descending to the planet and Wash starts his "I'm a leaf on the wind". I'm on the verge of tears from that point on until the credits roll. I hate every second of Wash's death but love every moment of that movie. To me, it is just brilliant and I wouldn't change a thing.
My initial reaction is that Wash's death wasn't really the ending of the movie ... Mal broadcasting the wave and the Operative having a change of heart was the ending of the movie.

Don't get me wrong ... I cry like a baby every time Wash buys it and the first time through I was so stunned that I literally missed the next 15 minutes of the movie ... I just don't think that removing Wash's death is a fair answer to the question posed.

Anyway, I wouldn't change anything about Serenity except (a) the necessity of its existence being the cancellation of Firefly and (b) the lack of a dozen sequels.
My gripe, for any show or movie, is when a character does something, or an event happens, because the writer wants to accomplish a particular story point... but the story point doesn't make sense because it violates the established "world" that has been created. The choice ends up feeling forced, and I end up being taken out of the story.

One of the problems I have with Wash's death is that it violated one of the primary, and scariest, aspects of Reaver behavior: They want you alive when they eat you. Why would the Reavers shoot big, pointy telephone poles into the bridge of the disabled ship and most likely kill three, count 'em three, living people that could have provided hours and hours of gleeful, horrific, Reaver entertainment? Reavers don't want dead folk. Serenity was broken, trapped, no one was goin' anywhere, it's a perfect set-up for the Reavers. So why try to kill trapped folk so fast, and at such an impersonal distance? Because... the point was to kill Wash so the following Reaver battle would be much scarier. Sorry, but Wash's death felt too intentionally manipulated for the purpose of being shocking. But hey, just my opinion....
Y'know, I never got the impression that they want you alive, just that they don't care, they'll do their nastiness whatever state you're in. I don't believe Reavers are calculating enough to think "Hmm, if we spare these people we can have our jollies for longer" I think they're as close to unthinking animals as a human can get and still operate technology.

(and even then they operate it without thought for their future safety i.e. without radiation shielding etc.)

SNT, I'm pretty sure the rocket thing was in earlier cuts of the film.

Yeah, there were originally fireworks for the dead, in keeping with the Chinese theme. Dunno if they actually filmed it but it was in an early version of the script.
From the hover-mule/Reaver chase sequence:

Jayne: How come they ain't blowing us out of the air?

Mal: They wanna run us down. The up-close kill.

River: They want us alive when they eat us.


Just sayin'...

Edited to add: Then there's the behavior established from Firefly regarding the Reavers, and their fondness for raping people to death, eating them and sewing their skin into their clothing... and if you're very, very lucky, they do it in that order. The Reavers also kept that one guy alive on the transport ship and made him watch the horrific deeds the Reavers suffered upon the other travelers. Just part of Reaver shenanigans.

The Reavers may be bat-rabid beyond insane, but torturing victims is their thing. They do have the presence of mind to make the most out of the unlucky folk who cross their path.

[ edited by 11thHour on 2008-02-28 12:49 ]
Well, your quote works both ways 11thHour ;)

("... the up-close kill.")

because I doubt River has "read" any of them to really know (given how much they disturb her).

Regarding behaviour we actually see though, we see Reavers savagely kill people they could've easily kept alive and eaten so i'm gonna hide behind my own worst enemy, ambiguous evidence ;).
Huh... I was adding a bit more to my post while you posted your reply... heh...

The up-close kill thing still applies. Those telephone poles fired from a distance are definitely not up-close, and the Reavers couldn't even be right there for the fun of watchin' the kill. Again, the ship is down, the crew is stuck, don't have to kill 'em, time to party! Notice how the Reavers used those spinny, poison dipped things? They could incapacitate (as Kaylee demonstrated), with the assumed aftermath of a living victim who was unable to run away.

We didn't see too much of Reavers in action on the planet after the robbery. They were attacking, but hard to tell if the attacks were instantly lethal. Brutal yes, but the victims may have just been initially savaged, with more to come. Plus... up-close and personal!

Also, I trust River's read on them. She's good. ;-)

[ edited by 11thHour on 2008-02-28 13:02 ]
Hmm, OK i'm gonna blame Joss/Tim instead then cos your argument is pretty solid but that just makes them seem more calculating than we're meant to see them I reckon.

To me the Reavers have always been presented as chaos personified, inhuman monsters and as we find in 'Serenity', they're what happens when you take away people's freedom to choose. But your evidence handily shows that they're actually consciously choosing to do bad things and not just bad but cruel - that, warped as they may be, they still have reasons for doing what they do. Sounds pretty human to me (despite Mal's opinion that "Reavers ain't men").

(like I say though, I still don't think River "read" them, I think she's just speculating, same as Mal. Also, as far as the Reavers know, Serenity is armed. Maybe the harpoon was an attempt to stop them firing back ?)
I would change Wash's death, because it was completely predictable. I'd like to see Joss break character and NOT kill someone, because, really, it's getting old. And predictable.

(Ps. jclemens- Ain't no way Wash's death comes close to being as controversial as Tara's. It may be "shocking" but it ain't really controversial, in anywhere near the way Tara's was. Just saying.)

(Pps. Has anyone ever wondered how the reavers ever got organized? Just asking.)
Sounds pretty human to me (despite Mal's opinion that "Reavers ain't men").


Well, Reavers ain't nice men.

It's interesting when people describe monstrous behavior as "inhuman". The thing is, the acts a human commits are by default, human. There seems to be a need to separate certain types of excessively destructive and cruel behavior as not human because we resist having to own that this is a part of us as a species. We aspire to our higher, evolved selves, and fear to recognize the beast aspects that lurk within.

Reavers are human... but a horribly twisted, edited version of human. All the safety valves are off, no compassion, with only rage, destruction and hunger, cranked up waaaay past 11, to rule them. Just because they're cannibalistic, raping, beings of destruction and pain (with an odd fashion sense), doesn't mean there isn't still enough vestiges of humanity to allow them to plan their cruelty. After all, they do still have enough thinking left to fly their ships and organize their raids.

As to the harpoon being used, that type of weapon doesn't seem to be best suited to fire into another vehicle/ship, as it would most likely bounce off. The harpoon did show to be very effective at snagging a person... kinda like goin' fishing. Seems like another weapon they employ to capture and incapacitate a person so's they can party with him later. Ick. It also served the purpose of eliminating one of the people who was firing at them.

River's not so much a speculator. When she says something about someone, it's because she read them. At least, that's what seems to have been the case in both Firefly and Serenity.
Well, I didn't predict it at all, totally shocked (though I agree it's not as controversial as Tara, maybe people had less time to get to know and love Wash or maybe Serenifly fans are just less mental ;-).

And yep, organised Reavers always struck me as a bit like an anarchist army ;).
Oops, post hopped, the above was to Dana5140 ;).

There seems to be a need to separate certain types of excessively destructive and cruel behavior as not human because we resist having to own that this is a part of us as a species. We aspire to our higher, evolved selves, and fear to recognize the beast aspects that lurk within.

Nope, that's not in any way what I mean 11thHour ;). It's not that I don't see them as human because they're nasty, it's that I don't see them as human because they're unthinking, that's what separates us from other animals, not whether we're nice or not. I've absolutely no problem ascribing the very worst atrocities to human beings, Hitler was human, Pol Pot was human, Stalin, Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, the human monsters that chopped off 18 month old babies' arms in Rwanda, all definitely people (I even resist the use of "evil" to describe them because it has connotations of being outside human behaviour) but all of them acted strategically, for a reason (twisted though it may have been) - up until you made your points I never really saw the Reavers as doing that (I saw them more as being pure unthinking savagery as for instance in the final battle where they rush the door with absolutely no thought to their own survival/best tactics etc.).

As to the harpoon being used, that type of weapon doesn't seem to be best suited to fire into another vehicle/ship, as it would most likely bounce off. The harpoon did show to be very effective at snagging a person... kinda like goin' fishing. Seems like another weapon they employ to capture and incapacitate a person so's they can party with him later.

OK, now you're losing me. Seriously ? A harpoon as thick as a young tree is intended to catch people and keep them alive in the process ? Nah, don't buy that at all, you're reaching a bit there I reckon ;).

(it's also not attached to the Reaver ship so anything it hits is gonna be pretty tough to "reel in". The [much smaller] one used during the mule chase is most definitely intended for that though, I agree with you there)
There is some thinking going on with the Reavers. As mentioned, they do fly ships and organize their raids. So if your definition of being human relies more on the ability to think, they still can think.

- up until you made your points I never really saw the Reavers as doing that (I saw them more as being pure unthinking savagery as for instance in the final battle where they rush the door with absolutely no thought to their own survival/best tactics etc.).


Your example of their rushing of the door in the final battle, and the perceived lack of thought for survival or best tactics. Not necessarily. Look back at many, many examples of warriors or soldiers in battle. Often the ones in the front lines know they're going to take the hit, but they are committed to the fight and forge ahead. Ever see those nice, neat lines of soldiers marching forward right into the gunfire of the other rows of soldiers across the field? Those guys were trained soldiers, not Reavers, yet one could argue that they had no thought for their own survival and were acting kind of crazy.

OK, now you're losing me. Seriously ? A harpoon as thick as a young tree is intended to catch people and keep them alive in the process ? Nah, don't buy that at all, you're reaching a bit there I reckon ;).


The harpoon I was describing was the one used on Jayne. My reply was to this part of your post:

(like I say though, I still don't think River "read" them, I think she's just speculating, same as Mal. Also, as far as the Reavers know, Serenity is armed. Maybe the harpoon was an attempt to stop them firing back ?)


You jumped from mentioning River's reading to the "harpoon", so I was discussing the same scene. Just a mix-up there.

Okay, if you're describing the things which were fired into the bridge of the ship, which I've referred to previously as "telephone poles", why bother "harpooning" the ship when it's already broken up and stuck in some kind of drop off? Seems like the implication is that they were purposely fired through the window because people were there. Which, as was the point that started all this, a contradictory way for the Reavers to behave... and a forced way to create a shocking death for Wash.

Edited to add: On the subject of River not wanting to read the Reavers because it's too disturbing... well, I don't think she has a choice. She feels everything. As Simon pointed out, her barriers have been removed and she picks up things all the time. River would have much more peace if she did have a choice about what she read. Remember her anguish on Miranda because she was overwhelmed by the feelings there? She wished to god she were made of stone...

[ edited by 11thHour on 2008-02-28 15:52 ]
Yep, I agree we're going in circles and I kind of a agree that the Reavers act in a contradictory manner, in fact, the idea that they're inconsistently characterised is precisely my point ;).

(with the caveat that they're always inconsistently characterised, rather than just for the sake of killing Wash i.e. at their most "animalistic" they behave in a way that seems to require abstractions like "a cause")

why bother "harpooning" the ship when it's already broken up and stuck in some kind of drop off?

As I say, because as far as the Reavers know, Serenity is armed and even disabled may still be a threat.

Look back at many, many examples of warriors or soldiers in battle. Often the ones in the front lines know they're going to take the hit, but they are committed to the fight and forge ahead.

Yeah i've been thinking about this since we started this discussion and i'm not sure if it's the same or not. If you look at the line formation for instance, soldiers often had to be threatened with summary execution to stop them leaving the line (and some still did anyway) and the whole thing absolutely depended on a hierarchical command structure and discipline enforced by fear with a smattering of glory-seeking and respect for/trust in superior officers.

Or take rushing a breach, the so-called "forlorn hope" (probably a corruption of the Dutch for "lost platoon/troop" because it was seen as a death sentence). Again, the men that did it were offered huge rewards for doing so (either pardons from crimes or promotions from the ranks/junior commissions etc.). They would also have first pick of any spoils (assuming they survived) and were the products of societies where cowardice was one of the very worst things you could be accused of. Soldiers are also specifically trained to fight/think as a unit IMO precisely because their first instinct as "selfish" individuals in that situation will be to survive (which usually means not running into canon fire ;).

(rushing a breach incidentally was "best tactics" in the situations it was used even if it seems suicidally crazy now in the era of laser guided bombs and air support)

So either Reavers operate on base instinct for abstract reasons or operate with forethought and planning for base reasons, neither of which seems consistent. Reckon we might have another case of Big Purp bending the "facts" to fit the story better ;).
Interesting ponderings on the attitudes and motivations involved in battle. Perhaps it comes down to the reason for the Reavers rushing headlong into the battle was more akin to wanting to be the first to get to the buffet table? After all, there's nothing quite so unappetizing as Reaver leftovers. ;-)

For all we know, Big Purp bends the "rules" of his worlds on purpose, just so he can drop in on message boards from time to time and observe the fans vigorously debate this stuff... heh...

I think we did quite well.
Heh, could be, I sort of like to think that's why he does it (and I hope we were sufficiently entertaining ;). Not that I really mind right enough, I go to other shows/forms of entertainment for painstaking accuracy, Joss' stuff is for heart, the other sort of "truth" and characters so real, we still miss them years after they were killed.

(and yeah, Reaver left-overs, yuck. I can just imagine them sitting around afterwards "Jeez, i'll totally be picking that big dude out of my teeth for days. Plus, we're gonna be eating Tightpants sandwiches for, like, ever. Draaag". Only with more growling probably ;)
So either Reavers operate on base instinct for abstract reasons or operate with forethought and planning for base reasons, neither of which seems consistent.

Cooperative hunting is a bit like a battle-- it requires some ability to plan, specific roles, and communication. Wolves and lions are quite good at it. I think non-human animals are often reduced to flat caricatures in discussions about the distinction between humans and other animals. The distinctions are more subtle than we like to think. We are animals, after all. We're distinguished by our highly developed brains and some other things, but we're not the only species that can logically solve problems.

I've always thought of Reavers as what you get when our aggression is cranked up to such a point that it completely silences the influence of what we call our humanity. I see Reavers as capable of reason but not compassion. They're not quite comparable to something like wolves, since wolves kill to eat. And enjoy it, because they're predators, but not because it pains the prey. I don't think they're able to sympathize with what they kill. Reavers on the other hand seem to enjoy pain-- both feeling it and causing it. They're aware, logical, and completely sadistic. They have to be, to let that poor kid live and make him watch what they do. And to plan events (like not shooting the mule) to reach a goal. But when they go into a fight, they're not holding back-- it's the moment they live for, after all. They probably enjoy being injured as much as causing injury. Why else would they cut themselves so much?
The reavers are not portrayed as having the ability to reason. They are completely bibbeldy-assed. I have often wondered how it is they can drive starships, attack in rank, and do anything, because they are always spoken about as being being batshit crazy. And why do they kill, rape and eat, no matter what the order? I get the rage, but eating?
Responding to SNT's remark about the funeral scene: The first time I saw the (unfinished) movie, they did have Zoe light the rocket and then the fireworks of the rocket changed into the sparks from her welding. Even after all the times I've watched it, I still want/expect to see that scene. I've never understood why it was cut.

Regarding the Reavers, I think River is reading them when they're on the mule, but that just means those particular Reavers want them alive, doesn't necessarily mean all of them prefer their meals that way. ;-) I see the Reavers as savagely violent, filled with rage and with no compunction about killing others who cross their paths. They can do 'mechanical' things like flying their ships and even fixing them, but their focus seems to be on causing as much pain to others - and maybe to themselves - as they can. I don't think they think ahead of time about ways they can accomplish it; they just do whatever it takes to reach their 'goal'.

The Reaver ships were shooting at Serenity from the moment Mal shot at one of their ships. It made perfect sense to me that they would shoot their 'telephone poles' into Serenity to skewer the ship and/or anyone inside that they could and then proceed to mindlessly attack where our heroes were holed up. I say mindlessly because if they had planned or worked together, they could perhaps have forced open the door but stayed behind a barrier. But they didn't, they just kept coming in any opening they could find and doing as much damage as they could. I don't think any of them were thinking at all, never mind planning that the first ones in would be sacrifices so that the rest could prevail. Now that goes against anything I've seen of Reavers!
[T]heir first instinct as "selfish" individuals in that situation will be to survive (which usually means not running into canon fire ;).


Funny, people around here seem to like running into canon fire . . . does that make us all selfless?



(sorry, couldn't resist.:-)
I'm among those who see no inconsistency because I'm among those that assumed (and still do) that any folklore about the Reavers prior to the Miranda discovery was just that ... folklore. Pieced together from real incidents of torture and cannibalism, sure, but filtered through a serious lack of opportunity to actually observe them without, you know, being eaten and stuff.

Given what we know after the fact, I'm also very comfortable with the idea that even lumping them together as "Reavers" is a folkloric simplification. It seems at least possible that there were multiple warring groups with different methods to their madness.

I mean, one major plot-point of Serenity is that everyone was fundamentally wrong about the Reavers' origins (assuming it was the result of a basic "space madness" from being at the edge of things), so I don't think it's a huge leap to assume that everything "known" about the Reavers was, at best, a half-truth.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home