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September 10 2008

Scene Anatomy 101 09.10.08: Serenity. A walk-through and review of the opening scene of Serenity.

Nice. I think the opening was probably my favorite scene in the whole movie; I just loved it being one long shot showing all the characters (technically 2, but, you know).
I think he makes the mistake that others have made, assuming that it was Serenity that rescued River and Simon from the lift shaft. It's not a big point but may have people wondering why Mal would get involved in rescuing River in the first place.

But, fantastic opening, a vast amount of exposition in such a short time yet you hardly notice it.
I actually think that IS is a big point.
I know what you mean bix. It was never addressed in the movie, never explained that it wasn't Serenity and Mal that rescued River. Mal's actions and motivation after that were a big part of the movie but if I had thought it was him doing the rescuing I'd wonder how and why he got involved.
His telling Simon that having them on board caused him problems with the Alliance would be a bit hypocritical if he had knowingly taken them on board and away from the Alliance.
Nice enough analyses as it goes, maybe not a huge number of new insights for those (like us) that hang on every word of interview, commentary etc. but great introductions and break-downs of Joss' thang (and I agree with the author, The Mayor is a brilliant villain and '5 x 5'/'Sanctuary' are definitely up there with 'Angel's finest moments IMO).

I think he makes the mistake that others have made, assuming that it was Serenity that rescued River and Simon from the lift shaft. It's not a big point but may have people wondering why Mal would get involved in rescuing River in the first place.

I don't really get that from the text zz9, what am I missing ? He mentions the earlier rescue but only that we know about Simon and River from it, Mal and Serenity don't seem to be connected.

It's a big point though, apart from anything else the ship doesn't even look like Serenity (to me), and like you say, large chunks of Simon and Mal's relationship don't make sense if Mal did the rescuing.
After that, we get a quick burst of action as Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Mayer) rescues his sister River (Summer Glau) from a group of scientists who were busy studying her psychic abilities. And with Alliance members in hot pursuit, Simon and River find sanctuary onboard the Serenity. From there, we get the title of the film and a glorious shot of the Serenity, which suddenly begins undergoing some technical malfunctions.

Ah, the words are what I was missing, that'll teach me to skim. Ta.

(you could still read it just as "and afterwards they join the ship" but that's probably a bit reachy)

ETA: Very reachy in fact, given that he specifically mentions the titles (and our first introduction to Serenity) after 'sanctuary'.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-09-10 20:08 ]
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. As a newcomer to script writing I really like watching a mechanic pull apart a script's engine to show me how it works. It takes effort and I was the beneficiary, so mucho pleased am I.

...on another scribble... Saje, T1TB,wouldn't the first part of that sentence before the comma set up a kind of time frame, a kind of "this, then" communication? I read it as because the Alliance is in hot pursuit S&R find sanctuary on Serenity. If Serenity had been there for the heist of River then sanctuary wouldn't be found there, it'd be the getaway vehicle, it'd be the horse and not the cave (to use a western theme). Because Serenity can act as a place of sanctuary, this sentence tells me, is less like the horse and more like the cave.
Yeah, I agree you can read it that way RhaegarTargaryen, whether it's the most parsimonious reading i'm not so sure (doesn't mean it's not the correct one of course, only the author knows that).

BTW, have you seen Jill Golick's site 'Running with My Eyes Closed' ? I'm not a writer, just interested in the process but if you look around her archives she has some really nice analyses of pilot episode structures etc., seems like it might be a good resource.
Good point RhaegarTararyen. If you liked reading that try this breakdown of Out Of Gas.
Thanks Saje and zz9 for the links. I'm sure to enjoy them.
The paragraph in question is posed as a quick synopsis of the events at the start of the film. There's nothing in the text of that paragraph to suggest we should suddenly read the part about Serenity in some other fashion, since the previous bit and the succeeding bit are both actual synopsis.

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