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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Too bad we'll never know... if this is a face you could learn to love."
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December 14 2004

Serenity test screenings reportedly start tomorrow. Well that's the rumour at the fansite So if you do live in Los Angeles, you may get the chance to see it before everyone else. Update: It has been confirmed that the first screening is tonight.

I've already got my pass. It should be quite a nice birthday gift. :)
Where/how did you get your pass?
I'm beyond jealous, Oddjob.
Damn! I keep missing all the good stuff.
I REALLY have to move to LA.
Excited for you Oddjob but extremely jealous and envious at the same time. Please let us know how great it is but no spoilers!!!
I've got my pass too and I'm going with Oddjob...thank the Lord someone else I know is going. I'd go insane having to keep my mouth shut for nine months.
Oh, never thought of it that way. That would be extremely hard being the only person you know getting a chance to see this movie and not having anyone to talk to. Maybe if other Whedonesquers are going you guys could start a "For those who've seen the test screenings" thread on Flicker and yack away without worrying about spoiling others. If some chose to read, it will be their choice to know.
I REALLY have to move to LA.

sounds fine in theory, but the implementation is buggy.

I can't figure out why I only get passes to screenings of movies I wouldn't take money to see.
This is so totally unfair.

Why can't they have test screenings in Chicago instead?

Oddjob and kdavid323, you are very two lucky people! Please oh please post here afterwards and give your honest opinions. I suspect that big Firefly/Whedon fans are bound to love this movie but I'm dying to know how much it'll appeal to the unitiated viewer. Do either of you know anyone who's going to see it who hasn't yet been inducted into the ME Hall of Cultdom?
I've got a ticket for tonight as well, thanks to a friend who had spare invitations. I'm beside myself with glee!
A friend called me yesterday and said she was at a mall over the weekend and that passes were being handed out "for some movie called Serenity." She's never seen any episodes of Buffy/Angel/Firefly, so she didn't know it was about the Firefly movie.

So when she called me and asked if I was interested in going with her, I actually paused for a few seconds, because I thought she was goofing on me.
So the screening is tonight?

Do those who are going want to post their thoughts on the movie in this thread? Or would people prefer a new thread with a spoiler tag on it?
hey oddjob, don't be afraid to sneak something in, say a recording device of some kind...........nah don't worry about it....unless you really want to. nudge nudge
LOL, Oddjob, I probably would have reacted the same way. I do hope you post your friends reaction to the movie as well as your own (no spoilers, though, pretty please). I'll be there in spirit. All of you that are fortunate enough to go -- have fun!
Again, I am estatic for the three of you so far who've gotten tickets, and again, extremely jealous, but I'm glad at least three of the ticket holders are Whedonesque posters and I do want to hear your thoughts on whether you thought it was great or not (hoping great!!).

Oddjob, I can totally see where you would have a hard time believing this was true but oh how lucky you are that she took the tickets, without knowing what they would mean to you. Can you imagine if she called and told you this story but said she didn't take the tickets because she'd never heard of Serenity!!
Simon, how about a new thread with a spoiler tag on it? (Assuming the lucky folks who are going don't mind posting about it.)

Oddjob, that's quite a story. I'd have had a heart attack.
Yes. The screening is tonight at 7pm. I will only post my thoughts if invited to do so. I hope you understand that I don't want to run the risk of spoiling someone who really doesn't want to know and upset everyone here.

I will tell you who was there, if anyone shows up that we all know...

I can hardly believe this is happening. I feel like I won the biggest lottery ever.

[ edited by kdavid323 on 2004-12-14 20:56 ]
Simon, would it be possible to have two threads? One "spoiler free" with just a "thumbs up - thumbs down" type of review or a rating of 1 - 10 type of thing, who showed up, how the audience seemed to react, etc. And a seperate thread that they can talk all they want? I'm just afraid of it being one thread, that's listed as "spoiler free" and then things coming out in the excitement of posting, and it not being realized until some of us spoiler phobic types accidentally read it.

[ edited by blwessels on 2004-12-14 20:58 ]
I am too joining Oddjob and kdavid323 tonight and I am super excited about it. I will make sure to tell everyone how it is without spoilers. Because I know if I was not seeing it, I would not want to much told to me.
See you guys tonight!!


ps..k by the way its me D...tehehe
Actually, my hestitation was not only because I didn't know if said friend was goofing on me, but also me trying to figure out if she was also asking me out on a date! Ha ha ha.

I've been to advance screenings in the past, although none that were nine months in advance! So I'm *sure* security is going to be super-tight. I would not be surprised if cameraphones were confiscated (more on that below) and if security with night vision goggles occasionally roamed the aisles looking for camcorders.

To give you an example, when I went to an advance screening of The Village this summer, security confiscated my cameraphone (which was left in a plastic baggie with my driver's license for me to pick up later). So no offense, but I'd rather not sneak anything in, particularly when you can now go to *prison* for it (thanks, MPAA!).
Yes, Simon, I second blwessels request, but for the opposite reason... I WANT spoilers!!

Wheeee! You lucky dogs who get to go! And you not only get to go, but you are influential on how the movie turns out! If the test-screeners don't like it, they change things!

Wow, lots of exclamation points there... I'm just a wee bit excited...
I like blwessels' solution of two threads. I'd like to hear general impressions, but I don't want any details.
blwessels' solution is a great one.
Me fourth, with the 2 threads thing. I really don't want to have intimate details. Just want to hear that it's REALLY GOOD, "the crowd went wild," etc.

Oh, and Oddjob, kdavid323, SillyD? I think the pythons put it best: "you lucky lucky bastards". ;) Have a great time! :)
That is really true that we can influence how the final film turns out (more on that below).

I have a feeling that even though what will be seen will be a rough cut, minus visual effects and the final sound mix, that there will be a lot of footage in there that's eventually removed from the final cut of the film. In addition, I'm hoping that the film will be a huge epic, running well over two hours, but I have a feeling that it'll wind up getting cut back to an hour and a half to two hours so Universal can maximize turnaround at the muliplexes next September.

Going back to influencing the film, I actually think that it'll be better on the feedback cards (that will probably get handed out afterwards) to say that one is *not* a Firefly fan to give it more weight. Notice that passes were handed out to the general public at a *mall*... they weren't soliciting Firefly fans online for this. They want to see how the John and Jane Does react to this film, and not the fans of Jayne Cobb, Captain Tightpants, and the rest of the merry bunch.

Now I'm wondering if they'll put some of us in focus groups afterwards for further discussion?
Excellent suggestions Oddjob - that behind the scenes stuff sounds really interesting. I've never been to a screening and if we get the option of two threads, that stuff would be great to hear about in the "spoiler free" one.

Also, even without all the bells and whistles it will be great if the film gets the reaction that Joss is looking for.
I plan to really dumb myself down for this tonight. I don't want to be "fan girl" at this. Of course, if I get to see Nathan in person again....who knows?

I will still be very excited to see this movie again in September for comparison.
Do they make you sign a form saying you will not leak any spoilers? I'm definitely trying to stay away from spoilers, so a seperate thread for spoilers will be cool. I do want to know what you guys think of the film thread. So I'm with the two threads idea. I'm so excited for all of you! That's so awesome.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2004-12-14 21:56 ]
I'm sure they'll make us sign a legal document of some kind beforehand. That seems to never stop anyone from submitting spoiler-filled reviews to AICN, Dark Horizons, etc. though!
Maybe you shouldn't use your real anonymous pseudonym, though, Oddjob, just to be on the safe side:)
I’m so excited for all of you who are going, but absolutely green with envy!
I like the idea of the spoiler/non-spoiler thread, too. All I want is some reassurance that it’s worth the wait until next September and to know how everyone and everything looks on the big screen.

“Going back to influencing the film, I actually think that it'll be better on the feedback cards (that will probably get handed out afterwards) to say that one is *not* a Firefly fan to give it more weight. Notice that passes were handed out to the general public at a *mall*... they weren't soliciting Firefly fans online for this.”

That makes me extremely nervous. Not that Joss’ work wouldn’t hold up to the non-fan, but that people who would have absolutely no intention of going to see Serenity might say “I don’t get it. That sucked” and then the studio gets nervous. I don’t trust that the general mall going public knows something good when they see it, quite frankly. ;-)
Is having the screening so early in advance a sign of the studio wanting to create a buzz that leads to a nine month promotional extravaganza or are they just leaving plenty of time to change things and work out how to promote it?
Not fair!! I'm a privileged LA-er too!! I wanna goooooooo!!!!
This is so exciting. I can't wait to hear what fans (and newbies) think of our Big Damn Movie. Do I read the spoiler thread or not? Gah! I'll be obsessing about that all afternoon.

In addition to posting here, I hope some folks send in positive reviews to AICN and the like. I wanna wake up tomorrow and find dozens of Talkbackers buzzing about "fucking cowboys in space." (!)
For some reason I thought today was going to be a slow news day. I like the idea of two threads as well. I'll post them before I hit the sack tonight.
I have a feeling that even though what will be seen will be a rough cut, minus visual effects and the final sound mix, that there will be a lot of footage in there that's eventually removed from the final cut of the film.

This is what struck me: from the recent screening for the actors, it was clear that the film wasn't completely finished, without most of the computer effects and score. Is it normal to screen a movie before it's even completed? I'm guessing also that it's more than a rough cut, but what Joss would consider his definitive cut -- the product that would go out as his final vision of Serenity, minus effects and finishing touches. The problem then lies with whether or not the studio takes it into mind to shorten it from his version based on audience reaction -- whether or not he has final cut has literally never entered my mind. From what I can remember, the movie is supposed to be a little over 2 hours. The thought of studio interference cutting the movie down to 1.5 hours because they get nervous really really upsets me. More than one movie has been ruined by studio interference. If the movie sucks b/c the studio tampers with it, my blood will boil.

Besides that.. I too would like 2 threads. I'm fairly anti-spoiler, while wanting a general review of it, like a newspaper movie review.
Maybe after the holidays they can have a screening in New York!
I can't imagine they'd preview the film without most of the effects and score. Wouldn't that defeat the purpose? Maybe there's been time enough to add most of what has been missing in rough cuts so far. It's customary to trim movies based on test audience reaction so I think we'll have to be prepared for such a wretched development. Not to say that the idea of any trimming or other studio interference doesn't send me into paroxysms of anger. Please let the mall crowds love this test viewing. Please, oh sky bully, please.
i have seen 2 movies without all the effects and what not. i saw agent cody banks(i have a 10 year niece) before all the stunts were finished a few years ago. and we also saw Lemony Snicket a couple months ago and it was not finished(there was actually parts of the movie that had directions written, like this will be added here) it was kind of neat to see.even though i was not a huge fan of that movie.

can't wait for tonight..only a few more hours to go.. i am not waiting patiently.
That's interesting, SillyD. I had no idea they showed unfinished movies. Thanks for the clarification.
I can't imagine there are very few directors who have final cut without studio interference. FSR, Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock come to mind, but I could be wrong. Hm, maybe Steven Spielberg too.
I recall comments several years ago about a test screening of "Beauty and the Beast". Not all of the animation was done, and in some places there were pencil sketches.

I've seen a couple of movies at the Seattle International Film Festival's Secret Festival (can't tell you what they are - I'd have to shoot you) that were not yet finished. You know it going in, so no surprise.
The score's not even being recorded until February according to Burwell's site, so it's very unlikely the music will be done, at least.
Man, I hope they test screen soon in our area.
I won't read the spoiler thread but I would really like to know things like "How finished is it? Does it look like they are still deciding the end of the movie? What is it like to hear Joss' words without all the extra bits, the sounds, the score, the extra effects?" Oddjob and SillyD, you've already given us some idea what these test screenings are like but we'd like details anyway please. Just no spoilers. Thanks
I can't imagine they'd preview the film without most of the effects and score. Wouldn't that defeat the purpose?

Nope that is generally how they test movies. I have been to several movies where they were rough cuts, and the music is temp, and the effects aren't finished.

The worst part is, once you've been to a rough screening, the final version never looks as good, because you know there are parts missing. Drives me nuts everytime I see True Romance (one of the films I saw at a test screening.)
Spoil free? Hell, I'm still looking for a copy of the script on the Web. Why the heck are they test screening almost a year from release? They're that close to done? So why are we waiting till September?
If any suits propose to harm a hair on the head of this project based on mall-recruited opinion of its quasi-completed state, may they end up on the distaff end of Jayne's beloved peacemaker, Vera.

That said, I look forward to torturing myself with the existence of the spoiler thread (while actually reading the non-spoiler one) later tonight. Have a great time at the screening, La-La-landers, and the less said about my current shade of envy, the better. ;)
Ooh exciting, I am turning quite green with envy. I'm also glad of the 2 threads as I am a big spoilerphobic, the temptation will be extremely great to read the spoiler thread though. Must. Be. Strong.

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