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May 07 2009

(SPOILER) Slate podcast "Star Trek Spoiler Special" compares the film to Serenity. The podcast spends about 6 minutes going on about how much the new Star Trek movie owes to Firefly.

They contend the way the fights are shot in space and on the ground are reminiscent of Whedon, and, to quote:

“The reason I liked Chris Pine so much, I think, is he felt like a version of Nathan Fillion from “Serenity,” a daring, ne’er do well, bad-ass, bad attitude space cowboy who doesn’t take a lot of s*** but who is really lovable all the way through. The characters could have been brothers and it’s nice to see the DNA of Serenity has come into the science fiction world and is now an acceptable way to tell a story in that genre.”

And..

“As good as the Star Trek movie was, Serenity was twice as good.”

The audio is spoilery for Star Trek, but if you skip to the 12 or 13 minute mark it should be clear.

I'd have to agree. I was lucky enough to see it early on Tuesday in a special screening (first time I'd had to hand over my mobile before entering a screening, which was a bit of a shock :|), and it really does have a nice Serenity vibe to it. It is the first Star Trek anything I've really enjoyed, it was incredibly funny and had a lot of heart. There was one thing I have no doubt will especially annoy people who are existing hardcore fans , but as a whole the film was wonderful.

The original Star Trek aired before my time, and even though I knew and liked the characters, there was just too much distance to really connect, but I really can't emphasise how much this new film really brings the old characters to our generation. They're instantly recognisable (Bones is fantastic, not to mention Spock), but also feel completely real. Nimoy's presence really legitimised the reboot too. Needless to say, I'm a fan. :) That said, it really does lack depth, despite how fun it was, there was no real moral theme like there was with Serenity. In theory, the motivation behind the film's Big Bad has a certain moral ambiguity about it, but it's really not fleshed out enough to be convincing. So yeah, I'd agree that Serenity was twice as good.
Interesting - I thought maybe I was just being a bit biased when I kept thinking of Firefly/Serenity moments throughout the film. I was talking to my mother about it on the way home. I think however that JJ Abrams should have spent some time talking to the Firefly/Serenity crew so that he could get it right instead of trying to copy some things and do them badly - like the lense flares - drove me insane how bad they were, how intrusive and distracting.

That said, it was a good movie, though it was missing some crucial Trek things for me to enjoy it too much as a Star Trek movie.

ETA: In response to the post above (posted while I was posting). I'm definitely a Trek fan but the spoilered bit didn't bother me, the lack of "moral to the story" did though because that's primarily what Trek has always been about - it was a whopping big glaring omission IMHO.

[ edited by Beth on 2009-05-07 15:23 ]
Yeah, I'd agree with that. Some of the old Trek episodes did take the moralising a bit too far though, in that they seemed unable to see shades of grey. The other thing about the film was the relative lack of (pointless) technobabble, which was wonderful, in my opinion at least. Props for a brief noiseless vacuum scene too.
I dream of a day when we stop reading articles comparing (and in most cases, attributing the success of) a current monster hit with one of Joss' mildly popular shows.

Anyone that frequents this site already knows what I'm talking about but for example; The current Star Trek movie is good but not as good as Serenity and it "owes" Firefly. Twilight and True Blood are good but without Buffy and Angel, we wouldn't see the wide range of popularity of vampire story lines.

I shudder to think of the massive NBC hit five years from now, "The Mind Stealers" with all the requisite articles laying kudos at Dollhouse's door. Maybe Joss should go re-hash some of his own ideas in 5 years instead of letting the world catch up to him. And us.
It's the price you pay for being a successful avant garde artist.
I saw it and thought it was a great movie, but i don't think it owes anything to Serenity/Firefly.
Good point, alexreager, and good show title too. But I wonder whether there will be an NBC five years from now. Broadcast TV networks seem to be going the way of record stores and American auto manufacturers.
If you haven't seen it already, this Star Trek video from the Onion is priceless: http://www.theonion.com/content/video/trekkies_bash_new_star_trek_film.

ETA: No spoilers in this clip.

[ edited by Succatash on 2009-05-07 19:15 ]
I don't want to be spoiled for Star Trek, so I didn't read it. But I do know that between Firefly and Battlestar, some SciFi definitely changed. Darker, awesomer, more character driven, a lot more depressing. An excellent example is the incredible video game Mass Effect. Highly influenced by Battlestar especially, but also Firefly.
I'm finding it quite interesting how influential Firefly/Serenity has become on sci-fi lately. Everyone seems to reference it. All the creative sci-fi types out there seem to love it.

It makes you wonder if anyone at Fox actually regrets cutting the show off so early.

And yes, it was difficult to watch Battlestar without thinking of Firefly (I think the same group did the effects shots for both). And yes, Mass Effect as well. But it's not just the nature of the story (honestly, I didn't find Firefly all that dark or depressing), but the visual style as well. Not necessarily darker, but certainly more realistic.

Truth be told, I'm very happy the visual style of sci-fi is more influenced by the somewhat more realistic style of Firefly than Star Wars. Did anyone else find the effects sequences in the Star Wars prequels to be ... old fashioned? Firefly doesn't get it perfect, but is still much more real.
That's because critics aren't very creative nor do they have a very long memory when it comes to Sci-Fi. Most of them remember Firefly because it was a great show that was cut short in the same way we'll hear that Arrested Development was influential for the foreseeable future.

It's the most recent great show that isn't too close chronologically speaking. It's kind of the same reason you don't ever hear the Slate talk about Blake's 7 even though it influenced or as seen as being the original template for many current series.

It's not like they can say Star Trek was influenced by Star Trek.
Yea... i am with alexreager and Vergil on this one. I saw the movie yesterday; It was awesome. It owes nothing to the Serenity/Firefly universe anymore then Serenity/Firefly owes anything to the previous Star Trek movies. Somethings are not dependent of one another, even when the surface level looks somewhat similar. Let Abrams and Joss be separate in their work and genius.
The current Star Trek movie is good but not as good as Serenity and it "owes" Firefly.


Not sure how Star Trek owes Serenity since the franchise predates it by about ... oh ... 40 years.
Not sure how Star Trek owes Serenity since the franchise predates it by about ... oh ... 40 years.


The current Star Trek movie does not predate Firefly, the last I checked.
Though I hear it heavily involves time travel, so things could've changed since last you checked.
Hmm... You may have a point there.
Joss said that Captain Kirk was Mal's "weird Uncle" so.. so be it, Soviet!

Having said that, I saw the Terminator trailer before Star trek tonight and I have to tell ya' the style ships I saw, particularly with the VTOL-style engines really had me thinking of our beloved Serenity.

But as for Trek?? Well Joss and Ron Moore made it safe to go hand-held. And they do here too, but it's its own thing. Owes more to what came before it, reinvigorated with a new esthetic.
Interestingly, the reviews (i.e. on metacritic) are generally better for Star Trek than they were for Serenity (though Ebert was more favourable towards Serenity). I haven't seen Trek yet so I can't comment. In general, though, Whedon has impressed me a lot more than Abrams; but Abrams usually gets better initial reviews, I think. A lot more people hailed Lost as a classic when it started than Whedon's shows; usually it took a while for critics to catch up.
I'm not a huge Abrams fan, but I gotta give the man and his little "Lost" team big props for this one. As a Trek fan I can say I thought the movie brilliantly blended classic and reboot elements. Good movie, I was completely satisfied.

As for which show owes which show credit for each show's respective concept and style, I would say it's a self-defeating discussion since, as some have pointed out, Trek (along with "The Twilight Zone" and other classics) predates them all. It seems all sci-fi ideas influence and help each other evolve and improve in a way that isn't so easily definable.

[ edited by RCM on 2009-05-08 06:52 ]

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