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May 06 2005

(SPOILER) Loads of spoiler laden Serenity reviews at AICN. One of these reviews has the major spoilers for the movie. Hard-core spoiler fans can discuss in them in this thread, spoiler-lite and spoiler-free fans stay away.

Well seeing as more and more people have seen the movie, it's going to be hard for people not to talk about what happens. And I'd rather read what our posters have to say here than trapse off to another site. So yes you can discuss the major spoilers (and your reactions to them) here but not anywhere else.

just got back from the SF screening. (with alan and gina, yay! plus a signed promo poster and keychain) ok, so how much does river kick ass?! i wasn't the biggest fan of her from the series, but those were some great fight scenes. and even though the effects weren't complete, the space battle towards the end was amazing, everyone i was with agreed that it was more impressive than star wars.
Why, oh why, must you rip my heart out and hand it to me all destroyed Joss!

I loved it. I want to see it again right now. I won't repeat what I've said in the other two threads, but I had to say that I am simultaneously ecstatic and devastated. Even in this spoiler heavy thread, I don't want to specify why. Partly because it thoroughly depresses me just to think about typing it. Those who have seen the movie know what I'm talking about. I actually leapt forward in my seat and shouted, NO!!! As did several others. It is two in the morning, I am emotionally drained, yet wide awake. I'm so screwed at work tomorrow.
This is the spoiler thread, right? Okaaay....

I was in the SF showing with kittyholmes. And the movie kicked all kinds of ass. And I will tell all my friends to see it. But....

My favorite character was Wash. He was me. Not a hero. Not a doctor. Not a captain or a thug or a leader. He was the guy I coulda been.

And he died. For no reason.

Personally, I was so upset by his death, it cast a pall over the rest of the film.

The part that grates on me is that it was totally unnecessary. I was in the moment, baby. I knew this was dire. I just saw the ship, our beloved ship, crash land, breaking into bits. I saw Book die before that. I knew that we were playing for keeps here.

Killing Wash was just the bridge too far. It didn't serve the plot in any way. I just came off, frankly, like a "fuck you" to the fans.

People coming into the movie who didn't watch the series probably won't care. It'll just serve as another dramatic note.

But for those of us who followed Firefly, the ones Joss praised in his opening for bringing this movie to life, it's a heart-crushing move.

I understand that sometimes good stories require a little heart-crushing. But this wasn't that kind of moment. This was just pointless.

Before tonight, I was excited about the possibility of a Serenity sequel. Knowing that Wash won't be in it, I have to say, I'm much less excited about that.

My favorite character is dead.
I'm so sorry that you are that upset about it fraying. I can only use "it" - I can't be more specific. It depresses me too. And "it" did cast a pall over the rest of the movie for me too. In a way. I did not cheer at the end as much as I did when it started, and at parts of the movie up to that point.

I don't think that it was meaningless, nor did I see it as a "fuck you" to the fans. I understand it. Mostly. It was just gut-wrenching. I was laughing, and suddenly I gasped, shouted "NO!" and was crying, before I had even completely stopped laughing.

If you are a Joss fan that also watched Buffy and/or Angel, then you have been through some very painful losses before, so I hope that you can get to the point where you can be as excited for a sequel as you otherwise would have been. Because we really need. Must have. Absolutely require. Sequels. Plural.
I thought the other losses were sad too, it alters the crew dynamics of the TV series.
I really, really want to say that I liked it, but I didn't. This movie was just not my thing.

I'm normally a fan of grim and dark, but I have discovered the limit of the grit I can handle. I can respect the decision to make this movie the way it was made. What I can't seem to do is actually enjoy it.

It's a very good movie, but I didn't have a good time. I wish I could report differently. Maybe I'll feel better in the morning.
There was no way I was going to remain unspoiled for the movie, what with the UK release being later and the fact that I have to cast my eyes over what our fellow posters say. The deaths did surprise me, one fair enough. Two hmmmmm. But there were doubts at the time when the movie was greenlit for those particular actors signing on. I suspect Joss took this into account when he killed those characters off.

A lot of Firefly fans will be upset. But it's not Firefly on screen, it's a whole new ball game. The question I'd like to know is, would Joss have done the same thing had Firefly not been cancelled?
Ok, first off, Serenity is great. It’s my favorite movie bar none.

Second, I’m sort of re-posting from the spoiler-free thread, but I think it’s worth repeating myself. If you haven’t seen the movie, do not read the spoilers. A movie like Serenity doesn’t come along very often, and you’re going to cheat yourself out of one hell of a show if you read the spoilers before watchin the movie.

That being said, aside from the darker tone, I was pretty impressed to see that the characters made it onto the big screen pretty much unchanged. I guess the exception was Simon (who is a lot more confrontational) but I can see how changing his personality a bit helped move the story along.

I really hope Joss keeps the raunchy lines from Kaylee firefly and Jayne in the final cut. Those are classic.

There are some big things that I didn’t see coming at all (which is as cool as it is rare in movies these days), but there were a few things that were kind of predictable (Mal leading the Reavers into the Alliance armada and River kicking everyone’s ass at the end). These are both great payoff scenes, but I don’t know if they raise the bar for moviemaking the way the rest of Serenity does.

Finally, Wash has some funny lines, but I didn’t think they were quite on the same level as his stuff from the TV show.
My favorite line 'not anything without batteries anyway'
I'd take a Doyle over a Wash any day. Hell, even Anya died fighting the Good Fight, and she was pretty much out of steam for a season.

It's just sad to see a rich character go before their time. If there's a sequel, who'll deliver the funny sarcastic line? Where will the relationship that explores marriage be?
Fraying, gotta disagree. Pretty vehemently, actually.

When Wash dies after svaing everybody onboard Serenity, all bets are off. Anyone could be next. If at this point in the film, if you were still AWARE you were watching a FILM - you know, as ENTERTAINMENT -this is where it becomes REAL. It MANIFESTS and REVERBERATES. I have never been more in the moment, felt more present, more INVESTED in the outcome of a story.

It's masterful, really. Give it some time, get over your shock, see it again (and again. and again.) and see if you don't agree. I'll wait.
Wash was my favorite character from the TV show too.

But I really have to say his death made the movie stronger. I was on the edge of my seat during that last battle – and that hasn’t happened since I was a kid. My heart was pounding like I was there in the corridor with Jayne, Zoe, and the rest. And I think big part of it was the fear that any one of those characters (well developed characters that I really care about) could die at any moment.

The way I see it, Wash's death made that feeling of urgency possible.
I pretty much got uninvested ten minutes later, when I'm supposed to care about Kaylee and Simon. Bummer about dead Wash...but people are getting laaaid!
So it worked for you guys. Hooray for you.

What I was trying to say was: I was already in the spirit of all those BIG WORDS you used. It was already real. And yes, masterful, etc.

But, for me, it threw me out of the experience. It made me care less about the characters, not more.

And he was my favorite character. And I just got home. So, like, lemme vent, ok?
misterblue, I totally agree. At one point I really thought Joss might kill off even more people, including Mal. I was profoundly relieved after the last battle, and so Whedon did it just right. So many movies don't earn that relief; in most movies it's totally canned and cliched. I forgot for a moment that Mal (and others) "should" survive -- I really didn't know that they would. Incredibly well done.

Oh also -- anyone notice Shakespeare banging down the door of this movie? ;) The Tempest is all over it. I gotta go reread that before September. <3
Shoshanna, I kind of took that as a "circle of life" sort of thing. I've heard of people reacting to death that way.
Oh. My. God.
Oh. My. God. indeed, I have the feeling that I will actually like the film better than the tv show, seems to be classic Joss the jokes, the action and wham hit them where it hurts, make sure that nobody ever feels safe about the survival of their favorite cast members, no one is safe.

Always thought the show started out with too large a cast anyway and that it only made sense if Joss where going to make us like them, feel for them and then have them die in front of our tearstained eyes, sounds a bit like that is what happened in the film.

Now may I suggest some pre-screenings in Scandinavia or at least a very early BDDVD release ?

Simon, I do seem to remember reading that the two cast members in question only did have limited time for the film due to scheduling problems, need I say that I like how Joss resolved the problem.

[ edited by jpr on 2005-05-06 12:13 ]
I actually knew that Wash would die, and amazingly enough, it didn't, for a second deter the quality of the scene when in fact it finally came, because I had no idea when to expect it. Everything was going fine, and the ship was falling and spinning and totally wrecking everything in its path on the way down, I was totally freaking out towards the safety of the entire Serenity Crew. The film really knows how to be heartwrenching.

River was phenomenal, but I was totally engrossed with Malcolm Reynolds. He was just unlike any leader you've ever scene. He's direct, confrontational and lethal when he needs to be. We learn a lot more of his character from his interactions with The Operative, whom by the way was just as equally phenomenal. That man is a monster, and he has no dillusions of being one.

I did crack up at the early scenes of Mal and Inara. Too funny. Simon and Kaylee... Sigh. Book... *cries*
First of all, let me say that I loved this movie. I will utterly be recommending it to everyone, from the "gimmie" audience of Firefly fans to just people who possess a minimum number of senses necessary to enjoy motion pictures. I had a terrific time, and will be doing all I can to see it opening night as well.


There's always a "but".

I dunno, I sort of have to go on the side of the "Wha..?" crowd, re: Wash's death. I mean, it hit so damned hard, there's no denying that. With the whole leaf thing and arg. ("Your shirt?" anyone?) But at the end of it all, it really did feel pointless to me -- I'm talking Anya's death pointless. I couldn't get over the feeling that the main reason it was there was just say, "See? Things are SCARY and DANGEROUS." But really, for that final scene? I think seeing Wash die not too long before made it all the more surreal for me. I didn't think it was more likely that characters were going to die, I thought it was less.

I actually felt an eye-roll coming on during the big battle: Zoe sliced, Jayne shot, Kaylee poisoned, Simon shot, Mal freakin' shot and stabbed and broken and what the hell. My thought by that point was, "Christ, will anybody be left for a sequel?", and not in an I'm-actually-afraid way. It felt all overdone, and that for me was really quite disappointing for a movie that was so damned perfect up to that point. What's more, as fraying said, the film hit a dip right then and never fully recovered. The laughs weren't so from the diaphragm, the whooping and hollering a bit more subdued. After the final applause died down, the excited buzz we had before the movie started should've quadrupled ... instead, it had dropped to a drone.

I can't help but think that killing Wash was an error. I can sort of understand Book -- his story always struck me as one that was being created to stretch out over seasons. Firefly didn't get that, and neither will Serenity. And with (at best?) a trilogy, there simply won't be enough time to devote to Book's story. So okay, trim the character out. Let his death serve to spur Mal into doing what he needs to. But what does Wash's death do? Make Zoe more resolute? (Cuz that's what she needed.) I can't say that I see anything coming out of this, and I'm going to guess that by the next movie (which I am already ready for, thanks), his memory will be a few plastic dinosaurs on the control panel and one, maybe two scenes of slight melancholia from Zoe when no one's looking.

If anyone can prove me wrong, it's Joss, but ...

There's that "but" again.

So yeah. Mark me down in the "it was a bad, bad idea" camp. It felt cheap then, and a few hours later, it still feels pretty cheap.

Those first two hours or so, though? So much love. This really is a great movie. I just wish I could say it was the perfect one I think it was so close to being.
Just like Simon, I couldn't stay out of Spoilers, and now I'm in awe.

I'm having flashbacks of the final scene from "The Message", and that mourning music, and all the crew together, and now there's that little scene from the trailer, where Wash' said "Oh god, oh god we're all gonna die". Gotta say that I already have tear in my eyes. I had the same feeling during "The Body", the same feeling when we lost Tara and also Fred. It's early for this, but hopefully we'll have Alan and Joss commenting on Wash's death in the DVD.

I just had a hard time going through a class an hour ago, right after I read the first reports.

I can't wait to see the movie. Hope it's really worth watching several times, cause that's what I'm planning to do, when November 11th, comes around here.
I gotta disagree with all the death naysayers. It was pretty much established that the run to Mr. Universe's planet was just a thread shy of a suicide run--an intergalactic "Dirty Dozen" mission. If all of the characters had emerged unscathed (or at least wounded in a manner that would have no lasting effects come the [hopefully] next film) then the impact of that danger would've been lost. There had to be permanent, life-altering consequences to their actions. And this was it.

I'll miss the character, yes, but if there's a second one I'm certain his presence will be felt. Plus, the actor's film career has kind of taken off since the show's production concluded, so who's to say he'd have even been available (or even would've wanted) to reprise the role again? Better to leave it like this than find some silly way to write him out ("Oh, he's delivering grain to the Omega Alpha XVI outpost.").

I know it sucks for you guys and I feel your pain, but I disagree that it was as cheap and pointless as you guys are suggesting.

Just my two cents. :)
I was totally shocked by Wash's death. I figured one character would die. And when I saw what a limited part Book was playing, and then the devastation on his planet, i was sure it would be him. But Wash's death stunned me. And – disagreeing with a few of those above - I thought Serenity was a better movie for it. It raised the emotional stakes. It did make me less inclined to worry about the other characters even when they, as Jet Wolf mentioned, were all being shot and hacked. I couldn't imagine Joss would kill *three* main characters. But to me it wasn't meaningless – Wash got a heroic death, brought them in safely, and went out on a *very* Wash-like line. And it brought home to the audience how random and dangerous what they were doing was. I'm sure part of the decision was based on the actors and their availability for this and future films, combined with the fact that ultimately, for movies, the main crew really needs to be trimmed a bit. Nine is a lot.
That said, the one thing that worries me is how this movie will go over with non-Firefly fans. The main thing that concerns me is that in a two-hour movie, there just isn't enough time for character development or depth (as one person mentioned in another thread, I doubt most non-fans would have any clue from the movie what Inara even does for a living), and that means that the deaths would have less impact as well. If all I knew of these people and this world was the movie, I don't think Book's death, in particular, and Wash's death, to a slightly lesser degree, would carry much emotional power. You just haven't gotten to know either of them that well. Wash gets a few goofy lines, but nothing that really shows who he is, what his marriage to Zoe is like, or the heroism that's beneath his outward cowardliness. Shepard Book we dont' get to know at all, and his even being included in the film felt like more like it was there for fans than for the movie itself. He doesn't serve much of a purpose (The destruction of his city certainly does, but there just isn't any time for the audience to have any clue what he, in particular, means to the Serenity crew).

Anyhow, none of that has any bearing on what *I* felt about the movie. But it does make me worry this will be a slightly less great experience for people without the character familiarity and investment. Still, I think the plot, acting, drama, and humor are far above your average sci-fi action movie, so hopefully there's plenty for even non-Firefly people to take away.
So they didn't show any of Book's backstory before they killed him? I always wanted to know what Jubal meant when he said "He's not a Shepherd."

I'm saddened by Wash's death. My sig over on is "Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?" Since we all know Joss's way so well, we should've known.

If there is overwhelming negativity about this one thing above all else, is there a possibility that they'd change the outcome? Seems to me that's what test screenings are for, to find out what works and what doesn't.
Willowy, I'd be really disappointed if they changed this because of audience reaction. and I'd doubt they would or could – it would mean reshooting too many following scenes. My sense is that they aren't looking to change the movie at this point, other than minor edits – these screenings were more for the fans, and to help get the word out, than for anything else. Wash's death REALLY saddened me, but it also has a huge impact, and I'm guessing it might have as much to do with the actor's availability for future films as anything else.
As for Book - they allude to his backstory. And he makes a comment along the lines of "I wasn't always a shepard, you know." But when Mal tries to probe further, it becomes clear he isn't going to spill any secrets. I was disappointed about that too - one of those mysteries I've been curious about. I figured they wouldn't address it in this film - you can only do so much in 2 hours - but I hoped it would come up in a future one. I suppose it still could, with flashbacks or an earlier setting, but I have a feeling it may remain a mystery.
There's nothing concrete said about Book's past in the movie, but I think there's a pretty strong hint based on the events of the movie.

Wash's death was shocking to me. I knew that they were plans for sequals, but Wash's death started me wondering if anyone would survive. The group of people with me were worried for the whole crew. For a time, it didn't look like there was any way to survive. As much I hated Wash's death (not to mention Wesley's), it certainly did draw me further into the movie and leave me wide eyed at the possibilities. I loved this movie.

Tell everyone you know. While it's too late for people on this thread, run away from spoilers. You may think that spoilers can't ruin the movie for you, and that may be true, but it still won't be near as good a movie for you as if you go in unspoiled. Too much good stuff goes on, make sure your friends get the full experience, keep them away from the spoilers.

Spoilers are awesome! Many cheery thanks to the PTB here for allowing this thread!

I've read all over the place but didn't see the answer to this question: Did they show what Inara's hypo was all about?
There was a long stretch of time where I thought the only people who were going to make it out alive were Jane and Inara. Simon shot, Mal ran through, Kaylee poisoned, Zoe cut up, River, well, River was doing okay for herself. Really started thinking that his whole, 'there's the possiblity of three movies' was just a lie to set us up.

God I love Joss Whedon, no one makes me care about made up people more than him.
I agree with DarqueGuy and acp. I felt Wash's death was too abrupt, as if a little too much of the crew's reaction had been edited out and needed to be put back in, but I do think the story required it.

Willowy: that doesn't figure into this story at all. That's not to say Inara doesn't have any tricks up her sleeve, though.
The death of Wash hit me hard. Really hard. I was stunned and saddened beyond belief. But despite my emotions, I can recognize what a brilliant storytelling move it was on Joss's part. It really did raise the stakes and the tension for the final battle. His death was not at all pointless from a dramatic standpoint (nor was Anya's, but that's a different debate entirely).

This film blew me away.
Okay, I am going to attempt to relay two reactions to the film. My own and my friend who came along with me to the Sacramento showing.

First, my thoughts. I am a huge Firefly fan and have watched the episodes numerous times. I try to convert everyone I know. I find that the writing and characters are the best I have ever seen on tv.

For me the movie was very good but very disappointing at the same time. The death scenes were the most obvious thing that bothered me. They didn't really serve a purpose in either case. This is of course opinion and others will argue that they upped the stakes or created the atmosphere at the end of the movie. To me, they were there to just try and say "hey, this isn't the tv show".

On a personal level, I suppose it's the finality of it all. I can't help but think that these deaths were too much the result of Fox canceling the show and Joss not being sure if there would be a sequel. I actually think the deaths really hurt the chances of more movies. The finality of it means I won't seeing this more than once more in the theater. As much as I did enjoy parts of it, it's just too much of a downer.

Another big problem is this movie is not that accessible to the new person walking in. The Chinese isn't eplained and will probably leave people scratching their heads. New people won't be familiar with Wash or Book so the deaths will be fairly meaningless. Also, since there is no reset button (supernatural theme so death is not always final) like in Buffy or Angel, it will be hard to ever explore the great Book backstory. It's alluded to but I really wanted to know more.

As usual with Joss, the writing and concepts are top notch. The interaction between Mal and the operative is fascinating. As is many other elements of the characters. I fear a lot of this will be wasted on moviegoers expecting to see and Episode III clone.

All in all, I find my self very conflicted. Some parts of this movie work really well and others just leave me with a stomach ache. I have to agree with what someone else here said in that the deaths really did seem aimed straight at the hardcore fans. I wonder what will happen after the initial excitement wears off and people realize just how changed our Verse is. The part I hate is that it could have been changed because of the cancelation of the show and the uncertainty of sequels. I hated that Angel Season 5 was dictated by the cancelation and this feels very much the same.

Now for another perspective. My friend that came along with had some interesting thoughts. He has watched the episodes once and really liked the show. The first thing he said out of the theater is "there's now way that's the movie they show in September." He is absoltuely positive that it's going to be changed. He liked what he saw but said that it felt more like a long episode and that new people are going to be lost.

I do think this is going to be a tough sell for new people and too heartbreaking for old fans. Both of those factors are going to keep people out of the theaters in regards to multiple showing. I am sure those that are devoted to seeing it multiple times to boost sales will still go but for personal it's just to tragic to see more than once.

So in closing, I loved it and I hated it but I probably won't be back. Part of me wants to just close the Verse with Objects in Space and use the movie as something that could hav emaybe happened. YMMV.

[ edited by munn75 on 2005-05-06 17:33 ]

[ edited by munn75 on 2005-05-06 17:34 ]
Interesting comments, Munn. We obviously feel differently about the deaths. I also disagree that the deaths mean a sequel is less likely. If anything, I think the deaths occurred in part to lay the way for a sequel if the movie does well enough. Nine characters works for a TV show, but it's just too many for a movie. Joss needed to trim the group down slightly, as sad as it was for those of us who love the characters.

I agree with you on some of the other points, though – that the deaths will be fairly meaningless to new people, and that a number of things will leave them confused. I don't think the possibility of Book's backstory being explained in a future movie is out of the question – movies have flashbacks just as frequently as TV shows do :-) – but the bigger question to me is whether the movie will have enough success to generate a sequel. We'll have to see... Fans are going to love this, and hopefully non-fans will too, but there is a small part of me that agrees with your friend that as it is now, it's like a long, really packed episode that will leave new folks confused. I hope I'm wrong. I'll definitely try and get people into the theater!
Usually, unless a movie is based on a book or a sequel, people don't know the characters going into the show anyway. Anything that would confuse the uninitiated, they'll probably just dismiss or gloss over anyway. Isn't that the way it usually works?
The feeling I got with this movie though is that things were moving to fast for the uninitiated. The way my friend put it was: Why are these people on this ship? Why do they follow the captain?

The movie works very well for those that have seen the show. The benfits for long time viewers are:

They understand the backstory of River in more detail. They understand the Chinese/English culture. They are already familiar with the war, the Alliance and the Browncoats. They already know Book and Walsh. They have already seen the interaction between Mal and Inara. They see Simon's devotion to River. There are obviously other things as well. Some of these things are covered in minor detail in the movie but I still think some people are going to be lost.

Also things have changed. No bluehand guys. Reaver origins changed making the Bushwacked seem a little strange. I always took that in Bushwacked, the man went crazy from being around reavers but now the reavers have a different origin. I guess you could still go crazy seeing all of that but it doesn't seem that it makes sense completely.

This movie is really aimed at fans. I think the hope is that others will see the movie and then go out and buy the dvds.
Willowy, absolutely that's the way it normally works. The problem is, because in this case there IS a backstory for some, it's not really the way this movie was set up. So, unlike normal movies, which assume no one knows the characters going in, and has to take time introducing you to them and getting you to care about them, Serenity doesn't really do that. It does give most of the cursory explanations, with a few big exceptions. But it doesn't develop the characters the way any movie that didn't have a number of TV episodes before it would have to do. That works great for us fans, it just makes me wonder how it'll work for Firefly newbies.
I can't think of another movie I've seen that was spawned by a TV show. Did anyone see the X-Files movie, or Scoobie Doo? Maybe they all work this way - that they have to assume a certain amount of knowledge. I guess most comic book movies have an immense backstory going in as well, but most of them seem to spend a significant amount of time developing their characters, even so. Then again, I might be coming at it differently because my normal movie tastes don't lean to action/comic book/sci-fi so much as dramas and indies, which are usually much less about the action and all about the characters. There's still plenty for newcomers to love here – great plot, great action, great humor and twists. I think it's just because I DO know so much about these characters, and love the depth that Joss gave them in the series, that I'm a little sad it doesn't all come through here. Still, I can't think of any way around that. In two hours, there's only so much you can do, especially if you have a big story line to advance, and nine main characters to deal with.

And – please note that none of this means I was disappointed with the film at all. I loved it. I think almost everyone on here will love it (except for maybe a few for whom the deaths ruin it). It's just as I get more distance from it, I find myself speculating more about how it'll play to a mainstream audience. And the answer is... I just don't know.
Now I've gotten a bit of sleep (mmm, four hours) and some time to think on it, I've got to say, my opinion on the Wash death thing hasn't changed a bit.

It looks like the number one reason people are using for why it was A Good Thing is that it made you genuinely concerned for the other characters. It said, This is real! This is dangerous stuff! Those are valid points, so I thought about them, but I still can't buy it.

I already talked about how with the death of two characters before the Big Damn Fight I was actually less concerned for the fate of anybody, so I'll hit some other points instead.

I'm going to hazard a guess and say that anybody who's a Firefly fan is also probably a Joss Whedon fan. Being a Joss Whedon fan, you're probably also well acquainted with his other works. That said, did anybody actually need a death to fear for any one of the characters? Hell, I hear Joss's name on the credits, I'm gonna pretty much assume ahead of time that they won't all make it out alive. I don't need to be taught that lesson, cuz twelve years in the Buffyverse did that pretty well for me.

But of course, we hope that not everybody going to see this is a pre-established Firefly or Joss Whedon fan. So attempting to disconnect myself from the fandom, I thought some more. And I think it still fails.

The mission to Mr. Universe only really began to feel like a suicide run about the time Serenity was crashing. Up to that point, the crew had pretty much every hope that the Reavers and the Alliance would cut each other to shreds, they could land, deliver the Holographic iMac of Awakening and run away again. What turned that up a notch was the crew being pinned down by the Reavers. By that point, Wash was already dead, and we come back to the part where (at least for me) I'd seen enough dead heroes to not fear for the ones we had left.

So then it comes to emotional resonance, and here's where I think the movie makes its huge stumble. It's so packed that if you don't have the advantage of 14 hours under your belt, I can't really see you caring all that much that Wash just got skewered. He was likely "oh yeah, the sort of funny pilot guy". He hardly got any screen time at all (which I don't especially fault -- see above, re: packed), and even less of that was meaningful. He can't even stand out as "the funny one" because the whole movie is so consistently producing laughs that he just gets lost somewhere in there. At the end of it all, I can't see anybody who didn't already care about Wash really caring that he died, and that more than anything is going to make the death feel gratuitous to the newly initiated. They won't care about him any more than they care about Mr. Universe (who I almost just typed as "Mr. Universal" ... huh, I think I just figured out where that name came from.) or the very stupid villager from the beginning, or any random person who gets killed in the film. That's a waste.

I really think that death could and should happen, but it should be meaningful. The more I think about it, the more I strongly believe that if Wash needed to die, it should've come in the sequel. Hell, do it early on if there are actor issues. But there would've been enough time to a) establish a reason the non-knowing audience should care, and b) give room throughout the remainder of the movie for that death to have reactions (where appropriate).

This first movie should leave a weighty sense of all we've seen, but the audience should feel good about it at the end. If they want to turn this into a franchise, then I can't stress enough how important I think that point is. As Joss himself said, the people who are going to make this work are the ones who made it work in the first place: the fans. I would neither believe nor suggest that those fans should be pandered to, but that in the breakdown, I feel Wash's death subtracted a whole lot more than it added.

Note that I say all of the above not being a particularly huge Wash fan myself. I liked him, sure, but wouldn't at all list him as a favourite character. I don't (and didn't at the time) feel any real personal pain at his death. More than anything, I just can't help but think this was a death of "shock value" more than anything else. That disappoints me because Joss (and this movie) is better than that.
I think almost everyone on here will love it (except for maybe a few for whom the deaths ruin it).

Oh, and just to reiterate, I really did love the movie. Joss may not know it, but he and I quibble all the time. ;) I just find this immensely frustrating because it was so, so close to giving me nothing to quibble about at all, but then it took that (IMO) huge misstep, and here we are.

But I did and still do love the movie, and will be right out there encouraging and cajoling with the rest. I can't help but fear, however, that there's going to be a fan division on this, and that concerns me because the push for a sequel could very well be negatively impacted as a result. Ideally after Serenity, we should all be coming together, not splintering, which I suspect is going to happen. It'd be arguably worth it I could get behind the event(s) that caused it, but ... <gestures to above ramblings>
Some minor nit-picking:
(and I mean this as constructive criticism)

I was a bit skeptical that Mal could do all the fighting and moving around he did after being run through.

It did seem like too many people were getting shot up at the end. I’d have a couple of people (maybe Zoe and Jayne – the two doing most of the fighting) get badly wounded, adding Mal and Simon in there seemed a bit over the top.

Also, is Simon supposed to sew everyone up after being shot in the chest or does the Alliance do that?

The first sequence showing the crew after they cut away from the Operative (at the beginning of the movie) was a bit forced. It didn’t seem like the most artful way to introduce the characters.

At the beginning when reavers are chasing Mal, Zoe, and others on the hover car, and Wash flies out to pick them up with Serenity, are they flying toward each other? It seems like the hover car would be going too fast (relative to Serenity) to stop in time.
Fraying, everyone did hear what you were saying...but we don't necessarily agree; I also really loved Wash and I felt that he was Joss' alter ego. I don't think Joss let him go lightly, I think he has talked before about there having to be 'a price'.
You cannot expect a small band of misfits to take on the Alliance and not have some serious damage. Personally seeing Serenity hurt so much was enough pain for me, and I was sobbing on and off through the rest of the film (pretty much every time I saw Zoe's face....I'm starting to cry again just remembering it).
But I do feel that the tragedy makes the film strong, and underlines how much they achieved.

Oh, and Willowy? No word on Anara, she is in the show and has some wonderful scenes, but her story isn't told. Some people in the audience (non Firefly fans) didn't even know what her occupation was, altho Joss did cover it briefly. This will have to wait for the sequal, and I really hope there is a sequal!

I wanted to say further, it is really clear that Joss had a burning need to tell this story. He started so many different threads in 'Firefly' that went unresolved and I could see that it was killing him to not let us know about the Reavers (which I thought was totally brilliant BTW!). I really loved this film, but as happy as I am about it, I am still in mourning.
Well, after sleeping on it, my feelings haven't changed. Basically, I'm this guy: "I don't go to the movies to feel BAD! I don't want to watch some Swedish guy playin' chess with the devil. Let's see some cars chasin' stuff and a happy ending." It's not my most shining moment.

I like dark. I like pain. I understand that for drama to work, bad things have to happen. But if 12 hours later I'm still feeling glum and bleak, this is not a movie I can recommend to all my friends without a disclaimer.

I need a hug.
Echoing something I posted on the non-spoiler board; I brought two non-fans of the show with me, and both of them loved the movie. Yeah, they didn't really "get" Shepherd or Wash or Kaylee, but for them the movie was about Mal and River, and that worked. I mean, I'm sure that there will be some people straight off the street who are like, "What ... ?" but for viewers willing to pay attention, the major stuff is all there in the first few minutes: we're in the future, there was a war, Simon and River are on the run, they're staying with a ship of crooks, the captain fought on the losing side of the war. Bam. That's what you need to know to understand most of the movie, and to become involved in Mal's story.

And to echo a lot of other people on Wash's death: it was a really, really powerful moment for me. I mean, just the pure shock of it, and then the fact that we don't have time to linger, because holy crap the reavers are everywhere, and then everyone realizing slowly what's happened. I dunno, I thought it was well done and really helped the movie, and I really did expect more people to die (not least because of all the other similarities to "The Wild Bunch")

I guess we can see more clearly now why Joss has been like "Sequel? Why is everyone talking about sequels?" He's right: his primary responsibility is to make a Big Damn Movie that rocks the worlds of people who see it, and he really, really succeeds. Setting up sequels is only secondary, at best.

This is one of those movies that I really liked when I saw it, but which I actually like more and more as I remember it and think about it. I'm definitely going again (and again) in September, and will drag as many people along as can fit in my car.

Since we know that Joss had to rewrite the script for it to work better as the start -- not the end -- of a franchise, I have to wonder: is there a draft where *everyone* dies?

[ edited by bobothebrave on 2005-05-06 19:35 ]
we should all be coming together, not splintering, which I suspect is going to happen.

From what I've read on the official Serenity movie site forums, it seems like some fans have had several seasons worth of Jossness pumped into them in the space of two hours and they didn't see it coming. I'm already seen posts by a small minority of fans saying "Boycott this movie" and "Sign my petition to Save Wash". All of which should come as no suprise to hardened Whedon watchers who saw it all before with Tara, Cordy etc. What ever Joss did, it wasn't going to please all the fans. He had a vision and stuck to it. And fair play to him for doing that.
Oh, and there was no monster saying "Grrr... Argh... at the end of the movie. They've gotta put *that* in the final cut.

[ edited by fr0g on 2005-05-06 19:32 ]

[ edited by fr0g on 2005-05-06 19:34 ]
I am utterly stunned at some people's reaction to spectacular story telling - stories, like life should have consequences or they have no weight. This is not the story of these characters as told through the Firefly lens - this is much darker, much grittier, much more expansive – the ‘verse never felt more “real” or more dangerous than it does now after having this part of the tale folded in with what came before. It has been years (maybe decades) since I actually forgot I was watching actors on a screen and was truly reached by what happened to them – sadly, this film, like the TV show, may be too good to be a success in the mainstream, so I will treasure what I have been given, and I will not second-guess or deride the creator because what he showed me hurt. For 2 hours I lived in different world, that is a gift beyond price…
MalContent: exactly.
I think almost everyone on here will love it (except for maybe a few for whom the deaths ruin it).

It's really not the deaths themselves that are bothering me, it's the tone of the whole thing. I understand that the movie takes a vastly different approach to this story than the show does: less character interaction, more grit. Less fun, more pain. These are a valid artistic choices. I wish I could enjoy the results more.
*Hugs* to shoshanna.

Okay, after a small, itty bitty amount of sleep, I've been revisiting my feelings this morning.

My heart is heavy. Still. This death (There. I said it.) has hit me harder than any other he has delivered me. And I was a blubbering idiot over several through the course of Buffy and Angel. Part of what makes it so hard is time. There is less time in a movie. Very little time for the characters to grieve, if any. And thus very little time for me to have that cathartic experience of grieving with them. We all had to rush ahead. I was on the edge of my seat from that point forward, so it did not make me think that everyone was safe at that point - I had the opposite reaction and worried about everyone. However, Wash's death will not resonate as deeply with those unfamiliar with Firefly, so they are not going to feel, well robbed, like some do. Wash was the price, and there always is one. And we have to remember that while we are mighty, we need the uninitiated too. And for many, that will be their first Whedon Death. Sufficiently sudden, heartbreaking, and significant. They will feel the loss. Just not quite to the curled-up-in-a-ball-crying-themselves-to-sleep kinda way that I did. While I'm still miserable over his death, I would not have reacted any better if it had been anyone else either. Those previously unfamiliar with Joss and his work learned what we knew a long time ago - no one is safe. I have no doubt that Joss took the killing of Wash very, very seriously. And it did make it clear that this is something different. This is not Firefly the Movie. This is Serenity. And there *is* a difference.

Jet Wolf - I am concerned over the divisions in the fandom as well. I quick look at the Browncoats thread, and here, is enough to worry me quite a bit. It would be fantastic, if we could do as Joss said, along the lines of, "If you don't like this movie, now would be a quiet time." I don't mean here, with other fans of his. But with the uninitiated. I'm already hearing people say they don't want to recommend it to anyone based on their own reaction, and that is disheartening to say the least. We ARE the signal people. We must tell the world.

[ edited by Angela on 2005-05-06 20:03 ]
shoshanna -- i know that i'm not going to convince you, but i definitely had a lot of fun at this movie. and if the ending went to dark places, at least our heroes became even bigger heroes, and most of them are still flying ...
I think that we members of the Whedonverse have earned the right to discuss a movie like adults. We don't have to agree. But we do have to let each other have different opinions, different likes and dislikes.

If you look around today, nobody is saying "this movie sucked." At worst, a few are saying, "there's a flaw in this precious gem!"

That's success, baby.

I loved this movie, even if there were parts I didn't like. I will see it again and again. Better than Cats. Etc.

But, please, we're not in a cult here. We don't have to all agree. And just because someone has a different opinion than you, it doesn't mean they didn't get it. It means they have their own brain.

We're all here because we love Whedon's work. The rest is details.
so I will treasure what I have been given, and I will not second-guess or deride the creator because what he showed me hurt.

I love Joss. I think the world is a better place for him and his ideas. I think he is inspiring (to the fandom at large and definitely to me personally). I think he is a voice that is so very needed in today's world of vapid brain candy. I think he is a funny, talented, brilliant man.

Emphasis on "man".

He's not perfect, and I think he'd be the first to say so, Okay, maybe not. But the point is, he's just a man and he makes mistakes. I wouldn't for a second tell him that he couldn't do with his world as he sees fit, or suggest that he shouldn't remain true to his vision, but just as that is his right -- his responsiblity -- so too do I feel that it's mine as a fan to call him on it when I think he's messed up.

Joss, I think you messed up.

There, that wasn't so hard. Still love me? You too.

If Joss ... hell, if Firefly and Serenity have taught us anything, it's that we have to think for ourselves. If we don't do that, we're just part of the puppet theater.

The day that happens, then everything Whedonesque dies.
Okay, my flight just got back from Atlanta (yes, I flew over 500 miles from upstate New York to see this movie) and I absolutely loved it. I can't think of any other movie that I could or would speend a few hundred dollars to see. I think what made Hoben Wasburne's (Wash's) death so effective was in the way it happened. Granted, I was in a theater of rabid fans, so you have Wash prattling on about being a leaf in the wind while Serenity is breaking in to hundreds of bit on it's way down. Wash makes him final comment to raucous laughter only to have that laughter cutt off by gasps half a second later. It was so sudden and so awful and so unexpected which, to me anyways, equals great, amazing, kick, ass, story-telling. From that moment on, I was nervous for everyone. He killed one (Book) and I was like, well, that's to be expected. He was barely in the movie to begin with. Then Wash gets killed and everything starts to go to shit. For me is raised the stakes higher than I've seen in any story in any medium for quite some time.

Anyways, that's my opinion. I loved the movie and plan take as many people to see it as I can come September the 30th.
Who exactly are you talking to fraying, because no one here has been disrespectful of your opinion. You post what you don't like and then comes reasonable, articulate counterpoints from people who disagree. I don't recall anyone saying that you didn't get it, or aren't entitled to your opinion. We pick details apart here. That's what we do.

[ edited by Angela on 2005-05-06 20:22 ]
Whew. Lots of interesting comments; lots to ponder. We could go insane arguing the whys and wherefores of why Joss did what he showed us in these screenings.

One thing that occurs to me through all the brouhaha? Knowing how Joss hates spoilers, how could he not see this coming, especially when information spreads like wildfire at the click of a mouse? You can't keep a lid on the news of the deaths of two beloved characters, especially for so many months before the actual release. Maybe what we saw won't be the "real" movie at all.

And what did Book tell Mal? Believe? As a Jossfan, I choose to do just that. I might not always like what happens to characters I care about (I still can't see any Buffy eps with Tara in them without experiencing a very real pang of grief), but I will always be there to see what happens next.

One more thing - (maybe it's the ONE hour of sleep-fatigue talkin' here, but) - I want to express my gratitude and admiration for this board, the mods, and all the members. This is a good ship.
After Wash's death, I sat mouth opened through the next few scenes. I just couldn't absorb it. And then I was sure Simon was going to die. I mean, who was safe?

I will say that the crew seems to have the constitution of vampires. They get shot and stabbed and kicked and thrown about and no permanent damage.

And treading lightly into personal observations about the actors' looks. I was disappointed that Kaylee seems to look more actressy and less like she did on the show.
I loved the movie. I said nice(r), unspoilery things in the other thread. This, however, is my bitterbitchlist, the morning after:

- I've never been one for the "Joss hates women" camp. Actually, I've vehemently argued that he just *can't*... but in reading speculation on Serenity before I saw it, a lot of people were saying "I fear for Zoe -- a strong woman who's happily married and wants a baby? She's doomed." And so, during the movie, I was thinking he won't kill Zoe, he won't kill Zoe. But then Wash bites it (*totally* a "your shirt" moment, whoever said that) and I realized that although Zoe wasn't KILLED, she was PUNISHED. I understand that there are no happy endings, but, yo: they didn't give Wash a lot to do in the movie (other than the ubiquitous comic relief) and then they offed him. Wash was just... dead. Zoe, though, (I think) was punished. How are first time viewers going to get the context? Or will his death just wind up being a shallow tearjerk moment in the middle of an action scene? [Side note: those headstones = teh cheeze.]

- Sean Maher's performance, in the first third of the movie, seemed really off. He didn't *sound* (literally and figuratively) to me like Simon would sound after eight months on Serenity. He was back to being prissy and whiny, and I don't just mean in the backstory. The acting improved (as did his hair) over the last half, and GOD KNOWS he looked amazing in the ending scene with Kaylee, but: he was a weak point for me, in spots.

- Killing Book? I get it. Somebody has to die and it might as well be the guy not on the ship. (*ahem* orflyingit) Unfortunately for people that *haven't* seen the show, his character was kind of reduced to an Uncle Owen-esque narrative device. I thought, anyway. Plus, I started giggling because I decided that Joss (etc.) just didn't want to have to tell his backstory. It's *alluded* to... so that's cool. I mean, he must have been an Operative, right? But still, he's croaking and dying and all I could think was: "Tell your secrets, shepherd!"

- Jayne playing guitar? wtf, dudes. I mean, I understand that they wanted to give Jayne other dimensions, but I think that was just dumb. One of the best things about Jayne is that he is pretty much one-dimensional: thug.

- Other than Mal, River and the Operative, none of the other characters got much in the way of development. I was disappointed in this. I understand that there are limitations in a two hour movie, but: I'd rather have had some time with Kaylee or Inara (although she did come in useful, albeit in a very Sue-ish way) ...or, you know, WASH than those The Krays-esque twins in the bar. And, I thought Mr. Universe was... lame, actually. Sorry. I have to say it, but I thought he was lame. In order to feel better about it, we decided that Warren made Mr. Universe and the Wifebot, way back during Earth That Was (and pre-"Villans"). Because only Warren could have come up with that kind of Teh Cheeze.

So, those are the meanest things I have to say about the movie. Flame away, whedonites, because the bottom line is this: I loved it, I'm so proud of them for pulling it off, it was very exciting, very lovely, and I can't WAIT to see it again in September. And bring a million of my closest friends and family. (Slight exaggeration.)
Anyway, I'm glad you guys liked it, I'm going to keep my opinions to myself as much as possible in the real world, and I hope I'll feel happier about things in a week so I can push the movie too.
As someone who went to the first Serenity screening back in December, I'm really glad I wasn't spoiled beforehand. It was a real rollercoaster ride from start to finish.

That being said, judging by the reactions I've scanned up above, I still would not change a single goddamned thing about it.

Towards the end of the film, when the rest of the surviving crew have that last stand underground, I really had a forboding sense of, "Oh sh*t, they're all going to die!" Joss wanted to keep the movie unpredictable and he did that in spades.

After the film was over, we had those screening forms to fill out. There were several fans sitting immediately to my right who were absolutely bawling, and who wrote that they wanted to keep Wash alive. In response, I made sure to write on my form that he should stay dead.

I can't believe there are Browncoats out there who want the film to be boycotted as a result. It's Joss' vision, not yours.

BTW, Nathan mentioned to me back in January, when he did Tom Lenk's play, that he played the Reaver who attacks the colonist seen in the holo-recording. Nice bit of trivia for you.

Edit: Also wanted to add that River's fight scene in the bar is absolutely stunning in terms of choreography and editing. It was very reminiscent of the Buffy/Faith fight scene in "Graduation" in terms of telling a story. Compare it to the absolute incoherence of the mansion raid in the first Tomb Raider film and you'll see what I mean.

[ edited by Oddjob on 2005-05-06 21:57 ]
bitterbyrden, one of my companions suggested that Jayne learned to play the guitar so he could regale everyone with "The Hero of Canton."
While I am a huge fan of the series, I tryed really hard to watch the movie from the viewpoint of someone who has never seen the movie before, and I'd like to try an honest review of the movie along those lines. So with no further adieu,
I thought the enitre beginning of the piece was amazing. For viewers or non-viewers alike the action is fast, interesting and it pulls you in. The dialogue was spot-on the enitre time, and when they arrive in the bar I couldn't help thinking that i was seeing the new Mos Eisley. That being said, the tone of the movie seemed a little off in parts, and rewatching the dvds afterwards confirmed that. I feel like the stakes get raised too early in the movie for anyone to really get a feel for what business as usual should feel like. Particularly Mal is extremely intense from the get-go. While I love the intensity, I feel like without something to compare it to, it doesn't quite feel like firefly, and also it will make it difficult to return to the firefly tone form the series in any of the next movies, assuming they get made. The Wild-west aspects- the twangy guitars and horses, and deserts etc. also end up getting a little played down for the movie which made me kind of sad.
When the movie started, I actually found myself thinking, you know, this movie isn't really in that different of a position from star wars when it first opened; I could really see everyone falling in love with this the way I have. That strong optimistic feeling kept up until about the time where river is handcuffed in the ship after the barfight. I just felt the movie was pulling too strong on the River is dangerous line. No one wants to see a movie about river vs. the firefly crew, so you shouldn't pretend it is. I felt that whole scene was pulling us backwards, away from the climax of the movie we should be rushing to. Also, while I loved the concept of miranda, i felt that the pacing and tone were all wrong in those scenes. Things that needed to happen quicker happened too slow, and things that needed to happen slow happened to fast, and things that needed to happen didn't. Since Miranda is so important to the movie, I really felt I needed those scenes to really pull me in, but they didn't, they just didn't feel as weighty as intense as I think they needed to be for it to work, and I'm afraid how an audience who's never scene the TV show will take them. However once Miranda (and thus the set-up) is complete, the movie skyrockets off to an amazing conclusion.
ABout the crew. I know that the firefly movie is short, and there isn't enough screentime to give to all 1 million characters. But I feel like, the reaosn why firefly worked so well was because of the characters. It wasn't the intricacy of the plots or the action, it was the ultra-defined characters and their realistic reactions and relationships to the world and characters around them that game the show its soul. So when certain characters get pushed to the background for the sake of not cluttering up the movie, I feel it really lost something. Particulary Kaylee didn't really get a chance to shine and show who she really was. It wouldn't take that many extra scenes/lines to really make the movie audience fall in love with Kaylee's character the way fans of the TV show have. And more importantly the entire love relationship between Kaylee and Simon means nothing in the movie if it hasn't had time to be properly developed before. I never thought I'd say this, but in the movie, SIMON is the character we care about over her. Inara's character also, while good in the scenes she was in, doesn't work. Too many punches were pulled and she's not given enough time to be herself. In fact, Mal never calls her a whore once. If Inara's whoring is too innappropriate to be put in the movie, she shouldn't be there. It would give more desperately needed time to the other characters, and no one wants to see a neutered Inara. I just feel like, Joss needed to have just a little bit more faith in the TV show, the things that made them work, and let those smae magical elements inspire the movie. BIG HUGE SPOILERS UP AHEAD On the subject of deaths (SPOILER), I was totally accepted the fact that Book had to Ben Kenobi it in the movie, and I felt it worked. Wash on the other hand ... I feel like his character in the movie wasn't QUITE given enough time to make the audience really care when he died, and his death only served to make the audience afraid that anyone could die. Which ...I dunno if it felt justified. I would have also liked a little more shit at his funeral maybe ...
The fights are amazing and the special effects never left me wanting more. However thinking about the movie afterwars, i almost felt like some of the hand-to-hand combat scenes were maybe a little too long, bad-ass as they were, because a movie this huge really needs time to spread its wings. SOme of the Mr. Universe scenes also come off as dead air that could be used in further explication. All in all, I loved the movie, but I feel like it needed to be longer and be stripped of some scenes if it wants to be able to really be comercially successful. While it isn't the movie it needs to be quite yet, I feel like with a little more editing, this could be THE MOVIE of 2005. I believe.
Twelve hours have passed since I saw the movie, and I'm still mulling. I have to say that I agree with MalContent's remarks. This 'verse is real and dangerous. Did I like it that the Shepard and Wash died? No, but they did.

I think the reason many people are upset (and I haven't seen this posted - surprisingly) is that we wanted these folks back so badly, that we are upset that some of them were taken from us so quickly. If they had all made it through this movie, and we had lost one in a sequel, perhaps people would feel less "cheated".

I for one, appreciate the direct, mature and non-sentimental approach to Wash's death. Unexpected, unfair, and hurtful to the living. Yep - real. Perhaps the fault is ours in that we have become so conditioned to our action movies being the total opposite of real. This is not an action movie - it is a drama with action. That's the difference.

From a "real-life" perspective. It is possible that had the series continued, one of these characters, or one of the others would have been killed. You know that Joss would've done it, and we would've felt just as badly.

Those who have written that Alan & Ron may not have necessarily wanted to continue may be right. We'd like to think that the actors are all in stasis, but actors thrive on challenge and exploring different personalities. They keep moving forward - so should we.

I for one will recommend this movie to others. It won't "mean" as much to the uninitiated, but it is damn fine storytelling and doesn't take the Hollywood way out. I like that.

BTW - I agree the headstones were WAAYYYYY CHEESY!!
i'm hoping for a prequel next time. what happened in the months between the show and the film? it just wouldn't be the same without wash. sure, jayne has some funny lines, but wash was the comic relief. "did he just go crazy and then fall down?" sigh.

that said, though i am seriously bummed that wash is gone, and book, but wash was more of a personal favorite, i suppose i'm thankful that they got out with so few killed. for a second there after wash, i sort of knew that all bets were off, and that this was a series finale of angel moment. i was expecting to lose everybody! except for inara, everybody was injured, and inara isn't going to be able to fend off a large group of reavers by herself.

after thinking about it later, i think they need to add something that explains better who the crew is, they explain the war in the beginning, sort of, but not that zoe and mal were in it, or what inara does for a living. that would have helped. newbies to the film will miss a lot otherwise. zoe's reaction to wash's death is a soldiers reaction, not a wife's, and without the backstory, it's going to seem like a really weird reaction.

i like jayne with the guitar. i'm sure it has a ladies name. and i thought simon was a lot less whiny and prissy in the film. come on, he punched mal!
The movie was incredible, and Wash's death helped make it that way, but it did cast a pall over the entire end of the movie. I left feeling sad and depressed instead of joyful and victorious. I will still be encouraging everyone I know to go see it, but it is a little tougher to do so when you leave crying instead of smiling.
I think the reason many people are upset (and I haven't seen this posted - surprisingly) is that we wanted these folks back so badly, that we are upset that some of them were taken from us so quickly. If they had all made it through this movie, and we had lost one in a sequel, perhaps people would feel less "cheated".

I think Znachki hit the nail on the head.
You know I find it interesting that people complain about Book's death as being 'okay' and Wash 'unnecessary'.

That's the point.

The kind of war-like situation they were in, death can come in any second. Book's death was a movie death. There was a last talk, in someone's arms. Last words, a clear moment. It was 'movie'. Wash' death came out of nowhere exactly how death can come in those situations! Out of nowhere. For no reason. And Joss made us feel it, the way the characters felt it. Realism. Surprise. Against the grain. Anti-formula. Victories must be earned. Prices are paid. Main characters die.

Does this sound familiar to anyone who's familiar with Joss work by any chance?

It's what he does! It's one of the reasons his work stands out. You can be nervous watching his stories because certain people that would never die in other movies/shows, die in his! Because he never wants us to take things for granted and he wants us to feel things. To feel loss. To feel the price of victory.

So Wash was your favorite. As I said before, every character is someone's favorite. Joss is not going to *not* kill off a character because he's *your* favorite. I was surprised, and shocked, and sad, and spilled some tears. And it made me feel the movie all the more.

I've seen on the browncoat boards some people are getting really, really nasty. Calling Joss names. 'He can kick my butt'. 'He turned on us'. 'He hates the fans'. The more fanatical fandom run amok?? What the hell is this??

I'm seriously wondering if these 'fans' ever got anything Joss did. I'm always sad when a beloved character dies. And that's precisely the reason Joss' stories get to me more! Wash's death was brutal and sudden and shocking and exactly the type of death that people die in real life in war. And as sad as I am at the thought he won't be back in any possible sequels, it elevated this movie for me.

In that heart-breaking way Joss always does those things.

I think the reason many people are upset (and I haven't seen this posted - surprisingly) is that we wanted these folks back so badly, that we are upset that some of them were taken from us so quickly. If they had all made it through this movie, and we had lost one in a sequel, perhaps people would feel less "cheated".

I think Znachki hit the nail on the head.

He probably did. But people will always feel 'cheated' when their favorite character dies. No matter when it is. And Joss knew full well there may never be a sequel to begin with.

I think if you can't handle the death of main characters, Joss' work is just not for you.
At the end of it all, I can't see anybody who didn't already care about Wash really caring that he died, and that more than anything is going to make the death feel gratuitous to the newly initiated.

The uninitiated may not be mourning his death with the same fervency as fans, but they will understand that the stakes have been raised. They won't se it as gratuitous b/c they wouldn't have the same emotional investment -- they probably like him, and think he's funny, but his death would mean nothing more than that a likable, wise-cracking, cool character has been offed, and no one is safe -- a suicide mission is just that: suicide. You take on some big enemies, reavers and Alliance, and expect to make it out alive: not likely. At that point, as a huge fan of the series and strongly invested in the universe, I really thought they were all goners. Maybe not Mal and River, but the rest of them... I got teary, OK? I was emotionally invested. There was a Q&A session with Alan and Gina after the SF screening and while I laughed and listened to them, all I wanted to do was go somewhere dark and quiet and take several moments to digest all the emotional trauma and stuff. I was suffused -- not just with tears, but emotions, and a day later, my mind is still picking over the movie. I can't let it go. I want to see it again RIGHT NOW to really cement all the details.

The funny thing is that I think the storytelling, plot and dialogue were the strongest facets of the film -- that and the acting. The direction end of it I was less happy with: the action could have been filmed more gracefully, the lighting a little more bright (some of the movie looked grimy) and I don't know if Joss has established his film rhythm yet. Defining a director's rhythm is hard, but some of the cuts were too abrupt and some of the shots too self-conscious and stagey so that I was conscious of the camera deliberately doing an arty shot. To compare to Tarantino: his stories are dodgy and his message non-existent (though he has a way with dialogue), but his visual style is playful and graceful. Joss has a ton of intellectual rigor and ingenuity but needs to develop his visual style to match his verbal facility. Hopefully, he will have years to refine his talent.

I loved the movie to bits, will watch it many more times in the theater (not just a brag, there's really a lot to absorb!) and the film has fucking pace, BUT! Not a perfect film, it's a great film, and that is enough for me to start praying for a sequel.
EdDantes, my concerns have nothing to do with either Wash's or Book's death being unnecessary or that they shouldn't have happened; on the contrary, I found that both had extraordinary resonance and really upped the emotional stakes of the movie. Wash's, in particular, really surprised and affected me, and I thought it was done magnificently (after he'd had a hero moment, and on such a Wash-like line).
And, I completely understand that some characters had to take a backseat to a few principal ones – there's simply no way to do a two-hour movie that works with nine leads, and I think Mal and River were pretty natural choices. But, given all that, I do wonder what the impact of Wash's and Book's deaths will be for non-fans.
Maybe it's pointless speculation. I've found it surprisingly tough to put myself in the shoes of someone who's never seen the show. But given how little there was about either Wash or Book in the movie, my guess is that their deaths will have very little emotional impact for anyone unfamiliar with Firefly - that they'd be more of an "oh, that's too bad" kind of moment. Since there wasn't much showing Zoe's and Wash's relationship, even the impact on her would seem minimal. That seems a shame, but it's not like I have any suggestions for how it could have been done differently. With so much to accomplish in such a short time frame, not to mention the need to make everything grander, more epic, more tightly plotted for the big screen, there's only so much time that can be given to the sort of quiet developments that are the hallmark of good episodic television. And in general, I think Joss did a masterful job juggling all those conflicting needs.
What was your sense of how this movie might play to a mainstream audience?
and no one is safe -- a suicide mission is just that: suicide. You take on some big enemies, reavers and Alliance, and expect to make it out alive: not likely.

Exacty my point.

Defining a director's rhythm is hard, but some of the cuts were too abrupt and some of the shots too self-conscious and stagey so that I was conscious of the camera deliberately doing an arty shot. To compare to Tarantino: his stories are dodgy and his message non-existent (though he has a way with dialogue), but his visual style is playful and graceful. Joss has a ton of intellectual rigor and ingenuity but needs to develop his visual style to match his verbal facility.

Interesting. That wasn't my reaction at all. I thought the way he followed certain 'strings' of moments in his cuts was actually very reminiscent of Tarantino's. Both in style and skill. (Be interesting to see what Joss himself would say to our comments and comparison, hehe)

I also found that the fluidity of the action scenes was far better than I expected, especially near the end.

I do understand what you mean with certain shots, and the deliberateness of their 'art' but they were so beautiful they still worked for me.

As for the darkness and the light, like I wrote in my own review, I seriously wonder how much of this still has to go through some post-production touches, because some scenes felt like 'deleted scenes on the DVD' in the graininess. Like I said, maybe a deliberate choice, maybe just not really finished yet.

I loved the movie to bits, will watch it many more times in the theater (not just a brag, there's really a lot to absorb!) and the film has fucking pace, BUT! Not a perfect film, it's a great film, and that is enough for me to start praying for a sequel.

I second that! And it's definitely a good movie to rewatch. There's a lot of details you probably don't notice enough first time around. It's very 'rich'. He put a lot in there.

I do wonder what the impact of Wash's and Book's deaths will be for non-fans.
Maybe it's pointless speculation. I've found it surprisingly tough to put myself in the shoes of someone who's never seen the show.

I know what you mean acp. I think those deaths will obviously hit non-fans far less hard. Book's death will actually be what they're used to. An 'old friend' who dies to show the danger, to add tragedy and resonance if not being 'cry worthy' to new viewers.

Wash' death will as has been pointed out, up the stakes. Show that characters can die. And since no one is a 'big star' that the audience KNOWS won't die, anyone can die. Which makes things far more tense. I don't think those deaths are intended to be as sad to non-fans as they are to us.

What was your sense of how this movie might play to a mainstream audience?

Man that's so hard to call. I'm rarely all that mainstream in my tastes already and here I was a fan of the characters before I went in the theater.

I think it's gonna be Joss said, no huge budget, no big name stars. It's a story that demands attention and not as brain-dead as most movies lately, so maybe feel it's too much work....

On the other hand, people are tired of the cliched crap (Riddick having a 'name' star and a huge budget and a previous successful movie but, being crap, still did poor business) and are ready for new 'out-of-the-box' type of movie. Sin City and Kill Bill doing good business and fitting that bill in their own different ways are good signs I think.

And I think Joss' humor is a big, bug plus. I think that should really work for everyone. It's so funny so often and the type of funny everyone gets. I truly believe the story and the characters would have sucked me in as a non-fan too. And if there's really no competition when it comes out I think it should stand a chance to do well. I'm hoping for something along the lines of Sin City. 25-30 mill in opening weekend, getting the budget back after a week or 2-3, everything else is extra, plus then the DVD sales.....that would be great and I think is within the realm of realism.

Here's hoping...
I spoke more with the friend I took to the movie last night. She knew nothing of Firefly/Serenity before she saw it. I won't repeat what she said last night, I've already done that, but I'll go over what we talked about today.

Book. She didn't care at all about Book. It was just a plot advancement, that put Mal in the right direction. But she liked the scene and was curious about Book from the exchange the two had earlier in the film. She understood Book's significance in the film, and how his comments focused the viewer on the question of belief.

Wash. I specifically asked her if Wash's death resonated with her. She said on a deeply emotional level, it did not. She said it shocked her, because of the timing, the speed of it, and the fact she was caught up in the laughter to so the stark reality of what happened shocked her. So while she wasn't in tears over Wash, she was terrified from that point forward that others would die too.

So, to me, it served its purpose, introducing those unfamiliar with Joss to that unnerving, genuine worry for the characters when they are in some peril. Nothing's safe and she got that.

I was on the Browncoats board too EdDantes, and I'm floored by some of the negative. (By the way - I think you meant Joss can KISS my ass. Freudian slip much?) :) "Joss is dead to me." Wow. I get genuine anger, frustration, grief, etc. To a large extent. But that? Were these people watching Charmed, mistaking it for Buffy? (Okay, that's even hard to write.)

The moment was true Joss. I'm still rattled by it. And I like that I'm rattled.

What I sincerely hope is that 'versal pays absolutely no attention whatsoever to any of this Save Wash stuff. And I don't say that to be disrespectful to those who would like that to happen - I just think anything that has this much reaction/controversy means that it did affect people, and will continue to do so.
still trying to process but the botom line is it was a frigging incredible movie. Well worth the 6 hour drive and night in a hotel. I would do it again in a heartbeat to see it a second time. I was hurt by Wash's death but it carried a huge impact for those in the know and 'verse n00bs imo. More later.
So, to me, it served its purpose, introducing those unfamiliar with Joss to that unnerving, genuine worry for the characters when they are in some peril. Nothing's safe and she got that.

Thanks Angela it's interesting to know what a non-fan thinks and I can completely understand how she saw things. It makes sense. As I thought neither death would really be that tragic to 'newcomers' but they will feel the point Joss makes there.

I was on the Browncoats board too EdDantes, and I'm floored by some of the negative. (By the way - I think you meant Joss can KISS my ass. Freudian slip much?) :)

Uh yes. Joss did kick my ass with this movie, but that guy said 'kiss'. Ahem. Slight error there, hehe.

"Joss is dead to me." Wow. I get genuine anger, frustration, grief, etc. To a large extent. But that? Were these people watching Charmed, mistaking it for Buffy? (Okay, that's even hard to write.)

Yeah I can see how it would be. Made me laugh our loud though;-) I do hope that if Joss is surfing the web, that he's reading more of our stuff than of the angry Browncoats....
Some of my favorite parts from the movie:

When Mal pushes that guy off the hover car and then shoots him instead of letting the reavers have him.

When Zoe confronts Mal about pushing that guy off the hover car.

The chase on the way back from the job to Serenity.

When Mal shoots the Operative after he says he’s unarmed.

When Mal is getting his ass kicked while fighting the Operative but he keeps getting up and continuing the fight.

River’s fight scene in the bar.

Wash’s death (I’m not trolling here. I thought it was well done -- for all the reasons people have said earlier).

I also thought it was cool that the first reaver ship Serenity fired on was the one that stayed with them throughout that whole battle and eventually attacked Serenity. (At least I *think* it was the same ship.)

I’m *sooo* glad Joss didn’t go with a techno-heavy soundtrack. On the music front it’s traumatic enough not to hear that acoustic guitar riff right before Serenity does a hard burn.

On the cheesy side:

I agree with other people about those tombstones – they were bad (they should be easy to fix, too). Also, does Mr. Universe deserve to be buried with Wash and Book? He wasn’t crew.

I still don’t like Mal’s “I aim to misbehave” line. And I’m not overly fond of the “can’t stop the signal” catchphrase either.
So did anyone pick up on the long take towards the beginning of the film?
"Joss is dead to me." Wow. I get genuine anger, frustration, grief, etc. To a large extent. But that? Were these people watching Charmed, mistaking it for Buffy?

Ahh, you're forgetting that this might be the first big Joss death for some of them. I mean, having been through BtVS and AtS with the man, I've learnt to watch and love him for his bloodthirsty ways, but some of those people are relative Joss-newbies who came in with Firefly. I wasn't on the 'net that far back, but I can only imagine what the reaction was when Jenny was killed and Angel sent to Hell. I figure Joss has been excoriated worse for killing a character (*cough*Tara).

So did anyone pick up on the long take towards the beginning of the film?

I did! The one-er, the long take following Mal through the ship as they prep for the first mission. Very cool. I recall being impressed with how long the shot was, and how he kept the energy up. Wonder how long it took to shoot.

See, this is why I need to see the movie again. I was sitting in the second row, real close to the screen, so that I literally could not follow the action from both ends of the screen. I think I missed a lot of visual detail in the space flights and River hand-to-hand moments. Why can't I see this again?!? Right now! Though I don't think I'll go to another preview screening: let other fans go, who haven't seen it at all, and save my money for pumping up the take at the box office.
Great attitude, dottikin, and generous too. I so hope there will be a screening close to me here in little Prescott. I am big time spoiled, so I know what happens, but I just do not know if I can wait until September, if it's possible I can make it to a screening. I'm so jonesing for our BDHs.
I think what some here at this site may be losing sight of is that many Firefly/Serenity fans were not fans of Buffy and Angel.

Crazy. I know. But, for many, Firefly was their first glimpse into the brilliant mind of Joss Whedon.

They did not see the deaths coming, though they should have.
dottikin - I actually did realize as I wrote that line that there are some who did not watch Buffy (gasp!). Obviously that comment was meant for those that did.

For those that only watched Firefly, and not B or A, then this was their first experience losing one of the loved, loveable characters. I wasn't on the net either during BtVS S2 or around the time of Seeing Red, so I can't speak to what the comments were. I think it's safe to assume they were very, very emotional. Filled with strongly worded statements. But this...I don't know if it got to this level. Frankly, fandom should never get to this level.

Joss gets this movie greenlit, against all odds and the castmembers gather around him again gleefully. They are all obviously so proud of the result, and they gather with fans to not just market the film, but watch it with the fans as well. And they get, "Joss is dead to me." They get fans refusing to now recommend the film to non-fans. Alan could very easily learn that while his character was obviously loved - which is a good thing - his character's death has created a sudden hatred and rage. That just sucks. It sucks really hard.
Now I'm paranoid that I'm being misunderstood - I don't want to be the queen of negativity on this thread, or lumped in with the "I HATE U JOSS" crowd!

While I do not normally think of myself as such a delicate flower, something about the mood of the film obviously struck an unexpected, bummer chord for me. I'm fully aware that this might be my own personal sensitivities (which are apparently many and legion) at work, rather than actual flaws in the film.

In summation, SBF (Sad Browncoat Female) seeks the day when she's going to feel good enough about this movie to enthusiastically spread the word.

On the upside, Mr. Universe's wedding ceremony shows that there are, in fact, Jews in Space.
dottikin: Nice!

Also, did anyone else pick up on Zoe's line, during the heist, about what happens to (wanna-be) heroes? To me, that was great foreshadowing, and it also contributed to that real sense of forboding I had during that "last stand" towards the end of the film that Mal's actions were indeed going to get everyone killed.
wasn't the hero's line also in another whedon show? when she said it, it felt familiar, whedonverse familiar....

so about the comments about the angry fans just being firefly fans, i hope everybody means the nasty browncoat board posters, because the other 3 people i saw it with are also pretty enormous fans of buffy and angel as well, and one even saw "welcome to the hellmouth" the first time it aired, so i think that should count for something. i think i'm the odd one out in the group, in that the death was sad, but i'm not angry about it today. as stated earlier, i felt we got off easy, and for a moment there, i thought everybody was going to die, like (debatable) in the angel finale. but yeah, the whole "joss is dead to me" is pretty poopy.
Oddjob, I noticed that line but I didn’t think about it in that context until you just mentioned it.

Somewhat related: I was watching a couple of Firefly episodes tonight, and I was really struck by one scene in Shindig, where Wash and Zoe are in bed and Wash is joking about how he’ll act at Zoe’s funeral if she gets killed. Watching that scene after having seen the movie kind of gives it new meaning.
fr0g - I know exactly what you mean. I stuck the first disc in when I got home tonight, and when Wash popped up on the screen, playing with his toys, I suddenly burst into tears. As much as Wash's death affected me last night - I was in much the same place as Zoe was on screen. No time to mourn really. There was too much happening and if I started crying, I'd miss things. So I just had a general funk hanging on. Seeing him tonight, in his first scene, I mourned him.
Yeah, it’s definitely a bittersweet experience to watch Wash on the DVDs now. Especially since most of his lines are so funny. Before the movie, he was always the one lightening the mood.
Reading through the threads, I noticed some concern about the response of non-Firefly fans, and since I was a Firefly virgin before last night, I'll tell you that I loved it. Like a crazy, falling in love kind of thing.

Even though, from the perspective of a committed Firefly fan, I probably didn't 'get' the characters the way you do, since I don't know what you know, it doesn't matter. Joss made me *feel* like I really 'got' the characters, and it was a totally exhilarating experience.

It was interesting reading the comments about Wash's death. Of course, I wouldn't have felt his death as deeply as the long-time fans, but let me tell you, from a storytelling perspective, it was shocking, in a taking my breath from me kind of way, and it *was* painful, because the moment right before he died was my 'falling in love with Wash' moment. It was like Joss took that moment of me investing in the character, and intensified it to laser beam level in a split second. Call me a masochist, but I love a guy who can pierce my heart like that, when I didn't see it coming.
Well, I wasn't around the net when Jenny was killed, or even Angel trip to hell. But It was already huge, as I've heard. But even then there wasn't such a big and outspoken net community in the web.

I was already around the net when Doyle's death occured. People was at first outraged by how, Joss dared to replace him with Wesley.

I was sure around the net when Tara was killed. That was a huge backlash, as I remember. People outraged by how sudden, and how silly the way that she died. Just a few days ago, my friends were arguiing about how she died, all over again. It was like reliving 2002 again. Can't really compare with Wash' death, since I haven't watched "Serenity" yet, but according to some reports up there, it was sudden. I doubt it was as sudden as Tara's. It was hard to react because it also felt pointless to some people, and it was also the ultimate plot device to Willow's fall to the dark side. Yeah, If you think that Joss being called bad names nowadays being bad, you should've seen back then, it was way worse (there was the women hater speech, the gay hater speech, etc). What we witnessed later with Anya, Cordy and Fred, it was just like a glimpse of what happened before with Tara, only lite version.

Yeah, I do agree with you guys, that's those deaths were probably the first Whedon death for a lot of the Firefly/Serenity fans, since they probably never suffered through 12 seasons of Buffyverse, to be prepared to any of it. Not that it makes us accept deaths easier, it just makes it less harsh for us, and we tend to be a lot more rational facing "it".

Since reading everything in this thread, I got really thoughtful about the movie for a whole day, yesterday.

- Book's death doesn't really affect a lot the crew's dinamics, he was really on and off the ship. Mostly they lost a good friend. But his death doesn't mean we won't see Ron Glass again in a Serenity Movie, if there comes a sequel. It doens't me we'll never lear about Book's past. Book's past actions could very well reverberate to the "present" and affect the living ones. Maybe his past could actually be the starting point for the sequel, and then we'll finally know who he really was. Book would return in Flashbacks, maybe he left something important in the ship, or something would happen just because he was there for a long time.

- Wash's death is what affects the groups dinamics the most. I'm not talking about it's relevance in the movie for fans or non fans, but how it affects the story from now on. They lost their ultimate pilot, Zoe lost her husband, the rest of the crew lost a good friend and comic relief at the tense times. (I just realized that most of my favorite Firefly's clever-perky lines came out from Wash). I'm curious about how the crew functions from now on. How everyone is mourning this loss, especially Zoe. But life does go on, and they have to learn to go on without him. Do they hire a new pilot, or someone steps on the role.

Well that's it, guess I've given it some thought. Now, just let me whine: Why can't November 11th come soon enough? Why can't I live in the North Hemisphere where it open earlier? Why?

-edit for typos, sorry for them folks, was in a hurry when I posted. Hope I got all them right this time. -

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2005-05-07 13:56 ]
but let me tell you, from a storytelling perspective, it was shocking, in a taking my breath from me kind of way, and it *was* painful, because the moment right before he died was my 'falling in love with Wash' moment. It was like Joss took that moment of me investing in the character, and intensified it to laser beam level in a split second. Call me a masochist, but I love a guy who can pierce my heart like that, when I didn't see it coming.

Oh my god, I know. I can see how that would work for people unfamiliar with Firefly: I totally forgot that Wash was kicking ASS right before he died. God, I love Joss. And I have to say, even with the long line of Whedon-deaths in my experience (and I went through them all -- I watched the original broadcast of "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and I distinctly recall Angel being sent to hell, etc.), Wash's death is still hitting me pretty hard. He's just so likable! And cool! He's like a really nice version of the Everyman, and I will miss him passionately in any sequels.

It's strange because Alan was there at the San Francisco screening with us, and he answered questions and intro'ed the movie... it was strange to miss Wash while the actor playing him (and in real life, acts much like Wash) was right there in front of us. His introduction was parts funny, but also serious. He talked of how the actors all felt ownership of the movie, because of all the stuff they'd gone through, of how invested they were in the material. But he also wanted us to feel this sense of ownership as well, because we fans had got this movie made, and it was sweet moment (because when Alan gets serious, it feels ultra-serious) that reverberated more after the events of the movie. Afterward, Alan said something like, "If we can make the sequels..." and had to backtrack, because of course he won't be there for them, I (and the audience) got all sad and groan-y. When pressed by a questioner as to why the movie "killed off [his] favorite character", Alan said Joss had explained it to him that his death was necessary to up the ante. Things get serious crazy once he dies, and it signals that no one is safe. He asked the audience, didn't we think everyone was doomed, and there was a heatfelt noise of agreement from many throats. I think Alan's made his peace with it, though he did joke that in the next movie he wants Zoe to have a long dream of him, and then he and Gina ran slo-mo toward each other with ecstatic smiles on their faces, meeting in a hug, and then he dipped Gina in a faux-romantic moment. The audience, of course, catcalled.

It was very strange to experience a quintessential Whedon moment (getting your heart ripped out) with a load of other fans, as TV is way more solitary, and I've only seen Wesley's death with another fan. Very strange to be that emotional with so many other people. If anything, I urge y'all to see it with other fans on opening night (and bring your friends and family! I'm whole-heartedly recommending it everyone) because of the passion in the air.
Shoshanna, I think that I get what you're saying about being to gritty, and how it bothers you.
Of course, I haven't seen the movie, but I can make a comparison from another pov.
A Friend of mine, who's also a huge Joss fan, just hates Buffy's Season 6. This friend consider season 6 the worst season of the series. I think his words were "too dark, it didn't need to go so dark." He thought that this season whole darkness made it messy and choppy. And he didn't really like to see heroes, who weren't heroing much. It was dark and gritty and it bothered him.
Personally, Seaosn 6 ain't my favorite, but it isn't the worst in my opinion, it's at least a little bit better than 7 in my opinion. But I guess a lot people is bugged by this season due to is gritiness and darkness.
So, Did I get?
So did anyone pick up on the long take towards the beginning of the film?

I did! The one-er, the long take following Mal through the ship as they prep for the first mission. Very cool. I recall being impressed with how long the shot was, and how he kept the energy up. Wonder how long it took to shoot.

Two days, according to Nathan Fillion. (Someone in Austin asked about it.)
Joss gets this movie greenlit, against all odds and the castmembers gather around him again gleefully. They are all obviously so proud of the result, and they gather with fans to not just market the film, but watch it with the fans as well. And they get, "Joss is dead to me." They get fans refusing to now recommend the film to non-fans. Alan could very easily learn that while his character was obviously loved - which is a good thing - his character's death has created a sudden hatred and rage. That just sucks. It sucks really hard.

Very well said Angela. Sums it up. And it sucks extra because we all know Joss and the cast check out those boards personally.

While I do not normally think of myself as such a delicate flower, something about the mood of the film obviously struck an unexpected, bummer chord for me. I'm fully aware that this might be my own personal sensitivities (which are apparently many and legion) at work, rather than actual flaws in the film.

I do understand Soshanna. Thinking of the show, in hindsight, I do get that feeling the movie was a little darker in tone, and then the deaths...and now the show seems almost like 'innocent times' to me too. But I honestly wouldn't want anything in the movie changed. Well I do wish they were both still alive but that doesn't mean I think Joss should change their deaths as strange as that probably sounds. If I didn't want them alive I wouldn't care about them, and I do, but damn as much as Joss can break my heart (time and again, ahem) I love how his stories GET to me...

I so hope there will be a screening close to me here in little Prescott.

Hey they said there might be more screenings and I'm guessing they will be in other places this time around.

I did! The one-er, the long take following Mal through the ship as they prep for the first mission. (...)Wonder how long it took to shoot.
Two days, according to Nathan Fillion. (Someone in Austin asked about it.)

Damn, you guys are are right! That was a typical long oner-shot from Joss wasn't it?? How could I have missed that?? And two days, wow. I hope there's a cool 'making of' docu extra on the DVD.
Personally, Seaosn 6 ain't my favorite, but it isn't the worst in my opinion, it's at least a little bit better than 7 in my opinion. But I guess a lot people is bugged by this season due to is gritiness and darkness. So, Did I get?

Numfar, that's pretty much it! It pains me to admit it, since I was a big season 6 defender...but my feelings are pretty similar to those of the folks who just wanted to see the gang all get along and fight them some fun vampires. I thought that season 6 was a close to brilliant portrayal of what it's like to have clinical depression. However, I don't necessarily WANT to see what it's like to have clinical depression without being prepared for it, because it' know...real depressing.

On Buffy, I felt like the darkness was warranted. Earned. Really, it was the only honest place to go with the story. With Serenity, I wasn't expecting to come out feeling plain old bad, because there were plenty of directions to go with such a young story. I was expecting more of a balance of dark and light.

If I can bring myself to see it again when it comes out in the theater, I'll probably have a better time. It's kind of like the documentary "Born Into Brothels", whose unusually depressing title always cracks me up when I see it on the marquee. Do you bring popcorn when you watch that one? If I can get myself back into the theater for Serenity, I won't bring popcorn this time.
I was expecting more of a balance of dark and light.

I understand. It's like "Once More with Feeling" had many dark themes, like Giles leaving and Buffy singing about being expelled from Heaven and Willow and Tara's relationship falling apart, but it was handled with lightness and humor. While Serenity much more resembles "Becoming pt. 2" or "Passion", where the loss is brutal and hard. I personally love Joss when he does both, but I have to admit there is something special to his work when he sets out to rip your heart out. Perhaps my viewpoint is different from most fans, because while I liked Wash a lot before he died, his death made me feel ten times more tender for him than I ever had before. That's the paradoxical nature of Joss-deaths. Like "The Body" -- I was never a huge fan of Joyce, because while she had her moments, I was much more occupied by all the flashier, wittier characters. But that episode still guts me because of how everybody else reacts and how the death was portrayed. When Buffy goes to tell Dawn, my stomach is in knots everytime, even though I don't even like Dawn! It's strange, isn't it?

I'm praying on my knees for a sequel, and you should go see the movie again because even though Wash dies, he's really wonderful in the film. I know that when I watch the DVDs again, I'm going to pay special attention to him, and probably tear up in "Hearts of Gold" when he and Zoe talk about starting a family. (because I am a sap, apparently).
I noticed that people are only talking about Wash dying here, but I think a bigger problem was the whole tone of the miranda scenes. It seemed really slow and awkward, and didn't get the kind of effect it seemed like joss wanted. I really hope he is able to work on that in editing, b/c i feel that is the only main thing keeping it from being able to be commercially successful
I noticed that too, sTr4y. Especially when they're first walking along that street on Miranda. It feels kind of like a low budget TV show.

Also, I want to talk about all the cool stuff in the movie.

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