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May 27 2005

(SPOILER) Reviews of the 'hit-and-run' Serenity screenings. The major spoiler thread for tonight's sold out screenings. Come tell us what you thought of the movie. Thoughtful praise, unadulterated glee and constructive criticism more than welcome.

Yes this the thread where the really big spoilers will get mentioned and discussed. If people want a spoiler lite thread, I'll post one tomorrow.

OMG RIVER WAS MADE OF CHOCOLATE! Ha... just wanted to be the first one to make that joke after the webcomic 'spoiler' earlier on :) Plus I've already seen it so I can talk to myself about it, right, Simon? *ow* You didn't have to beat me, I'll behave now :) Too much energy, getting excited to go share the BDM with my geeky parents and ten friends.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-05-27 00:46 ]
Well, here's hoping the film's reels are loaded in the proper order this time in Portland. Or, for that matter, if they took my suggestion and sent us any special guests to make up that, heh.
I'm about to leave in 30 minutes to see it for the second time. Let's hope we get the reels in the proper order this time. Also, the BDH need to come to see us to make up for that mistake. And just because we rock.

Ok, Portland, let's be bad guys!

ETA: I didn't realize theonetruebix said the same thing.
Squee! I'm just thrilled to see it again - but a visit from a BDH to Sac wouldn't be unappreciated either. Leaving in about an hour!
Okay, this is killing me. Is River REALLY made of chocolate? What the heck?
lol....you'll have to watch and find out
I'm here to WHINE. My husband drove from Ashland, Oregon, to Sacramento, without a ticket, to hand out flyers to advertise the Flanvention in December. He just called from the theatre- he got in & Nathan is there. Waaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!

[ edited by looking on 2005-05-27 07:00 ]
and I'm... mad!! Throughout I kept thinking that Wash was really underused. And then he DIES. I'm still just processing that before I can move on to thinking about the rest of the movie. Joss is mean. He had me laughing minutes after he killed Wash. Has he no shame??
Has he no shame??

I'm thinking... no. hee. I wish I had more to say, but I'm pretty much convinced Joss has no shame. I conclude this after reviewing all the available evidence.
Woweee! It was great!!! And yes, Joss is mean, but in a lovable way. If it didn't hurt it wouldn't be Joss. I particularly liked his little introduction. And I was shocked to find out we had a special guest in Wash DC--Morena Baccarin--she is actually more gorgeous in person (if that's possible). I know I'm a fan but the movie was awesome!
We got Morena Baccarin in D.C.! She was lovely, gracious, beautiful. Even more beautiful in person than she is on screen. She was accompanied by her gorgeous mother, Vera Setta, a well-known Brazilian film actress. Wow. None of us could believe we got a BDH in D.C.

I'm still processing the film and in shock and unable to be eloquent, but I have to release a bit of my post-screening energy RIGHT NOW! First off, Joss's introduction/message to the fans was terribly moving. Please oh please if there's a bully in the sky let this message from Joss be on the Serenity DVD as an Easter Egg or special feature. All fans of Firefly should see it. It's for all of us.

The movie? Did I say I was in shock? Well, I am. I felt discombobulated at first. Everything was different from where we had left off in Objects in Space. I kept thinking, is this really Firefly? It doesn't feel like Firefly! The answer is of course not, it's Serenity. The pacing is different, the size is different and the overall feeling is different. I loved it. But also truth be told, I missed the Western flavor of Firefly and its sometimes languorous pace. Serenity is a different beast and although our BDH are true to their Firefly characters, this is one action-packed, breathless movie. Gone is the Western music and setttings, although I was happy to hear that the twang in their voices hadn't been toned down. And the humor is still there - in spades. The print we saw in D.C. was quite obviously not finalized in terms of color, tone, etc. - many parts of it were dark and grainy and even kind of difficult to see (at least for me.) The final score was not there, just "placeholder" music that wasn't particularly grand or moving or effective. And yet even with this lack of finishing touches, it was one hell of a movie. I can only imagine how it'll look and sound when it's finished.

Book dying, Wash dying. Major shocks. I'm in shock. Gingeriffic is right - Joss has no shame with provoking us to laugh minutes after Wash gets killed. Joss, what are you trying to do to us? Zoe's carrying on as she did right after Wash's death was spot-on Zoe, I thought. Amazing and moving - more moving than if she had broken down over his body. What a consummate soldier she is. I was worried that I wouldn't find the Reavers as terrifying as I'd always imagined them to be but whoever concocted the Reaver "look" did a fantastic job. Ferocious. feral, frightening as hell. That's one costume it'd be hard to don for opening night of Serenity without being arrested and taken away in a padded wagon! River was stupendous. It was such a relief to see her come into her own after fifteen hours of nuttiness on Firefly and let loose with the kick-ass. Summer Glau's ballet training showed. She was extremely convincing as a deadly, almost balletic assasin. Although when that door opened at the end and River was standing with the corpses of the Reavers she'd demolished all about her, everyone in my group thought of Buffy. Joss can't stay away from the girl hero thing, can he? No wonder Joel Silver wanted Joss so badly for Wonder Woman. I love this about Joss. As for Nathan Fillion, he OWNS the big screen. They all do, actually.

Simon and Kaylee get it on!!!! Aww. And the inkling of a future for Mal and Inara. Sweet and shiny stuff.

I couldn't put myself into the position of someone who's going into Serenity without having met the characters. I've seen Firefly so many times I'm soaking in it. I can't comment at all how well this'll go over with non-Firefly folks. I can't wait to read reports of reactions of non-Browncoats who were dragged to the screening.

Must sleep. Sorry for the incoherent babbling. Did I say already that I'm in shock?
" Zoe's carrying on as she did right after Wash's death was spot-on Zoe, I thought. Amazing and moving - more moving than if she had broken down over his body. What a consummate soldier she is."

Yet at the same time you could see she was still in shock and devastated and still processing Wash's death even as she's engaged in a life and death battle. What a brilliant performance that was. All the performances were brilliant.

River the Reaver Slayer! I'll be damned if that wasn't a shout-out to Buffy and the whole slayerverse. Summer Glau was awesome!

I really should go to bed...
Okay, WASH DIED! Oh, what? You already all know that?

That image of Wash being impaled under that pinkish-red light will probably haunt my dreams tonight, assuming I actually get to sleep. And that preceding scene where his being the cool-headed pilot, I just kept thinking "Wash is such a badass!" I should have know then he was going to get the axe! Or the spear-y thing, as the case may be.

I'm not entirely certain how Book's death will play for the masses, since he's used so sparingly before that moment. But my dad, who was my uninitiated test subject tonight, said, "you could tell there was a real history between Mal and Book." So maybe it will play with the masses. I don't know. But that was really the only questionable thing in the entire movie for me. Oh, and the first page of Mal's file went by too quickly when Assassin dude is going over it, I couldn't read it all! You need to hold on it longer for the slightly slower members of the audience...

I was surprised by the overall tone of the movie really. I was expecting more sci-fi, and much less horror. But I still loved, loved, loved it. And I think SERENITY will go down in the record books for most quips per minute in a film. Nearly every other line elicited a laugh. It's also super-fast moving. Just totally flies by in no time.

And wow, Summer can kick some ass. For the tiny amount shown in the trailer of her fighting, I wasn't so sure, but in the film, it's just amazing. I got teary-eyed when River started to throw down on those Reavers.

So I ummm... liked the movie. Can't wait to see the final version.
Chicago reporting in... We had SUMMER!!!

Holy crap... everything everyone else said was right... It was mindblowing. I am still in shock.
We got Ron Glass in Minneapolis. He was incredible. He was funny and patient.

The movie was amazing. I have some criticisms, mostly having to do with pacing, but I imagine a lot of those will clear up when the real score gets put in.

Also I'm not entirely sure how a non-fan will really react to this movie. There's so very, very much information being thrown at you all the time, and while Joss in his usual genius fashion is able to make most of it comprehensible, it might be a little much for the casual viewer.

Only time will tell I guess. For us fans, all I can say is WOW, what an amazing film.
Can anyone who's seen both screenings (May5 and May 26) speak to whether changes were made for the second screening?
How cool you Chicago folks got Summer and you Minneapolis folks got Ron. I'd have loved to have seen Ron. Did he say he how he felt about dying? How hard it must be for Ron and Alan to do the conventions and interviews and not give off any of the "we get killed" vibe. A question: didn't Jewel Staite say at some convention or other that the plan was for the next Serenity movie to go into Book's background and history? Guess not.

Just realized something in my tired/excited haze. We don't find anything out about: (1) Inara's "secret" and what she's running towards/from in Firefly, (2) Book's history (you know that had to have been interesting as hell), (3) what the heck Blue Sun had to do with anything. I can see that in a two hour format you just can't address all of these things but......will we ever know the answers to these tantalizing mysteries that the Firefly series so beautifully sets up?
I read somewhere that special effects were missing from the previous screening, they all seem to be there now.
I don't know if they were completely there, BlindHawkeyes. A couple of times it looked not quite done to me. And we did get the "not all the effects you're going to see have been finalized" from Joss in his intro.
Yeah, I could see how you're right. It's not finalized, by all means, but it moved the story along pretty nicely for me.
I am so glad I stayed 100% spoiler free before seeing this movie! I don't remember the last time a movie death shocked me as much as Wash's. One minute I was laughing at his leaf in the wind line & the next...damn. Joss, you're a bastard! You make me hate you for killing Wash, but at the same time totally love you for doing it so perfectly that it hurts.

I'm in Minneapolis, where we had Ron Glass. We got a BDH!! When asked about his death he replied that Joss told him there were ways around that. The Book story that needs to be told is what he did before the series, so a prequel is totally an option.

What a great night!
Wash's death hit me hard. I still can't believe it, and I feel bad that Alan Tudyk won't be around if they make more movies. I'm a 31 year-old man, and not ashamed to admit I was really choked up for the entire rest of the movie (Zoe and of course Kaylee made you feel it). I figured someone would die, and it was sad to see Book go, but I kinda figured it would be him. Wash's death was such a shock... "I float like a leaf on the wind."

Anyway, I LOVED the movie. My only real problem was the graininess/darkness that people have talked about, but I imagine it won't be like that in the final print.

BTW, did anyone notice the opening shot on Serenity is "one-er"? My friend pointed it out to me. It starts on the bridge with Mal and Wash, goes with Mal through the ship, meeting every character on board, til it ends with River in the cargo bay, I think. Beautifully done, and the performances were really good in such a difficult shot.

What else can I say? I'll have to sleep on it to process it better. Suffice it to say that any fears I had about the movie not totally rocking have been erased. You did it, Joss.
I was in MPLS but I happen to know that one of my best friends got to sit two seats down from Jewel in Denver!!! The cut I saw tonight was exactly the same as the one that I saw in Chicago and the same effects shots as before were not finished. PS Ron was very calm and funny, the man just seeped happy and it was very smile-inducing.

Hope that everyone seeing it for the first time enjoyed the rollercoaster that is Serenity. I know that I needed some downtime to process it after the first go and I have to say having seen it a second time, I eagerly await the third and fourth viewings :P

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-05-27 10:16 ]
>>The Book story that needs to be told is what he did before the series, so a prequel is totally an option.<<

Wonder if heavy use of flashbacks and/or recordings could work for a movie. Crew digging through his past, discovering a lot of unpleasant truths about Book, maybe even his part in the whole Reaver thingy. Having to decide whether to condemn or forgive him and for that whole "movies have to be about something big" thing, maybe discover some project he was working on and stopping it in his name in a weird way to redeem a friend. I can see some "bad guy" confronting them with some especially horrible secrets about his past and a moment to decide if who he was outweighs who he has become and if they should remain loyal to his memory. Maybe in a twisted way a certain operative could give some insight that makes it easier to understand and forgive his past actions.

As a connection to the screening. Anything in Serenity that would make the general idea above impossible?
ok, just got back from the san francisco screening, and like the rest of you i guess, still reeling. so beautiful, so painful, so deep, so hilarious. my eyes, and most of my body, were glued to that huge damn screen the entire time. except for my stomach, which lay in the seat aching in torment. ok, i'm being a bit dramatic, but this movie *affected* me.

it's a beautiful thing joss and the actors created. and i think that every bit of pain was earned, and made the whole thing feel more, mean more, with every second. in a real way, which is so un-hollywood. as miyu said to me tonight, when book, and then wash died, it really made the following scene when zoe, kaylee and simon got hurt dire- i completely believed for a while there that they could all die. which i assume is what joss intended.

you're right, zoe after wash's death destroyed me. and mal through this entire thing- his character was mostly the same, his style the same, but he felt so much darker and bitterer and lost-er than in the show. i guess he has lots of reasons for that. it just felt like he was carrying more weight than before, and the toll it took on him much greater.

i brought 5 friends with me, a good spread- 2 who'd never seen a full episode of the show and didn't know the characters, one who saw a few originally aired episodes and never got into it, and two who watched it straight through on dvd, and just finished before the screening. they all loved it. the two who'd just finished the show focused on how different it was, how much more plot-focused the movie was, how it didn't leave nearly as much time for character dev., thought it was a lot darker. the one who'd seen it but not gotten into it seemed to love it. i think he got more attached to some of the characters and seemed drawn into it. and the two who'd never seen it really liked it, said they understood basically what was going on, though there's a lot that isn't told, loved the characters, loved the movie.

all in all, i'd say a successful experiment. print could use some prettyin', some fx def. not done. can't imagine this wasn't the same print they showed 3 weeks ago, given how much it apparently costs them to make one. and no big damn heroes for us. but i gotta tell ya, once joss started talking to me, i didn't notice a thing. :)
this ramble has to end somewhere. night, all.
Commenting on the changes between showings: we were fortunate to be able to see Serenity in Vegas the first time and in Phoenix for the second ... as far as changes between prints goes: we could not really notice any. All of the rough shots or place-card music cues were still present so I think that any changes will be left for September ...

and having to see Wash die twice still stings. *sigh*
looking - I did meet your husband and get some info from him. I was thrilled when he got in, but sorry for you - that must sting.

Nathan was in Sac! I have a new flyer with his signature that will be getting framed tomorrow.

fr0g - I saw two small changes, unless my memory is a mess and I'm confusing things in Firefly (which I just rewatched) with the movie, but I don't think so. First off, Simon and Kaylee. I am almost positive Simon's positioning on screen is different this time. And in the end, when River Nathan sits down and at the controls, I believe on the 5th, we saw River climb into the seat next to him? If we did, this time, she's already in it. (Again, this is the one I wonder if I'm confusing with the show.)

Nathan answered several questions, with the cameraman capturing it all, and asked several of his own. He asked what we thought, and we cheered, so he said he wanted specifics. Some answers good, some so so (likely including mine - I'm not sure I conveyed what I wanted to). He asked about the impact of Wash's death, and I answered that this was my second viewing, and I caught a few things in the minutes following it this time, that I missed last time. I said that it just hit me so hard, to be laughing and then crying in virtually the same instant, but I also said that I appreciate it's value in the movie, despite it being devastating.

Someone else was bolder than I was, and specifically mentioned the Save Wash campaign that some on the Browncoasts board have started. Nathan's answer just kicked ass. More specifically, the woman asked him if he was aware of the campaign, and what he thought about the comments made about those spearheading it, i.e., Wash's death being too devastating, ruining the film, and causing them to not recommend it to others. His answer went something like this:

Nathan: I know of the Save Wash campaign. I've seen things said like, "Wash is dead! Joss is evil. *while whimpering and wiping his eyes kinda like a child*. I went home deeply devastated, shaken, and it stuck with me for hours." I couldn't shake it off. He went on to list events in the movie. First Book, and you think that's *the* death, but it still hurts. Then Wash hits you like a brick. Then Zoe gets taken down and you're terrified for her. Kaylee. Then Simon, and you're shocked and scared for everyone. And then Mal, beaten and bloody and run through. (He also made jokes that he watched terrified for the cast too, and said he began to wonder if the sequel rumors were only rumors and that Joss was going to go out with a bang.) He concludes his answer by saying that after all that, laughter, fear, tears, pain, at the end of a movie, you go home shaken, saddened, and affected deeply, you just saw a damn good movie. His words, "They missed the point."

He had those who cried at deaths/parts in the movie raise their hands, saying he chokes up every time too. He chuckled that at this point, he can't help but choke up, but peek around at the devastated reactions to Wash's death.

One woman said she wanted to bear his children, which made me feel awkward for him, but he just said that he has no children for her to bear.

Someone asked if he was happy that the show got canceled - and was obviously trying to get to the "so you could make this movie" point, but Nathan cut him off, joking, "Who brought this guy here! What, this was the only way I could make a movie? He then answered more seriously, saying that he would have loved for the show to continue, but then joked that after time, he would turn into an asshole and build a big house with a huge fence around it and no one would see him again.

He joked that we were to remember that Mal is our favorite character. Someone shouted out Jayne, and Nathan responded that Jayne could be our favorite character when Adam is with us.

As I said in the other thread, classy, charming, smokin' hot man. What a pleasure to meet him.

I loved the movie all over again. My friend (this one a Firefly fan) loved it as well. I'm not going to start talking about this show, and movie, anytime soon.

[ edited by Angela on 2005-05-27 10:32 ]
Thanks for all of the great posts everyone, as always I love reading the thoughts of you my extended Joss-family :) Angela, those bits you mentioned were exactly the same this showing and last showing to me.
Were they zeitgeist? I may be delusional. Watching the whole series between the 5th and tonight may have caused some things to get scrambled together.
Thanks Angela! Great description of the Q&A with Nathan. I thought your comment for him was good.
Yep, exact same print. Now if you'll excuse me its time to start watching the series over again :P Or maybe sleep, I've heard thats cool...
Just got back from the Portland screening. Chris Buchanan was there, and he told us that Alan Tudyk was going to come with him, but he had to be in NYC for Spamalot.

Chris held a Q&A, and I asked him if Nathan Fillion played the reaver that attached the woman on Miranda. He said no, but I read that Nathan said he was that reaver. Can anyone confirm?

I was at both screenings, and the film I saw tonight was the same film I saw last time.

River the Reaver Slayer is exactly what I've been calling her (to myself and to my friends who've seen the movie) since the May 5th screening.

God I love this film. Love love love it. There were a few people in the audience who were upset that Wash died. Some people asked Chris if Joss would change that. Chris said no, this the story Joss wants to tell. He has his reasons.

I'm tired and just feel like reading the threads. I don't have much else to say.

Phlebotinin, I'm glad you liked it. Oh, and m'cookies says hi to everyone. :)
glad to see you got to see it electricspacegirl and glad to finally get to see your thoughts on it. Love love love it /agree :) gonna stop gushing and just read a couple more replies that pop up before bed.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-05-27 10:56 ]
Thanks fr0g - My train of thought tonight was just wacky. Nathan. Hot. Movie. Good. Nathan. Must get autograph. OK - must haul ass home and get on Whedonesque. :)
Summer was in Chicago. She is soooo tiny and soooo cute. I didn't stick around for an autograph but it was good to see her. Last night was the second time that I have watched out BDHs on the big screen and I can't wait for my chance to make it three.
I'd just like to say that reading all your comments has been a major highlight of my day. So on behalf of Whedonesque and any lurkers that are hanging about thank you very much.
I should have known that none of the BDH would be in RI, but the screening was incredible, nevertheless. I dragged my mother there (who had never seen the series) and she said "It was pretty good, especially considering its sci-fi"...my mom isn't quite a fantasy type person, so the fact that she liked it meant a lot. I had tears streaming down my face when Wash died, and then when Zoe says "Wash isn't coming" to Kaylee. And then I wanted to again at the grave site. I have to say that I had a feeling that Book would die, but Wash was the most shocking thing I've experienced in a while. The unification in the theater itself was incredible and made the screening even more enjoyable. I got to the theater by 9 (an hour before the show) and the theather was already packed! (if that's not love, I don't know what is). Back to the movie, loved Joss's opening comments, it made by life to see him up on the big damn screen. Mal and Inara were adorable, Mr Universe was brilliant, Kaylee's sex comments were hysterical. However, on my movie ticket, it says the movie's PG 13. There is a LOT of violence in this movie. It's not in any way gratuitous, however, I think the rating of R might be more appropriate (especially since kids younger than 13 can usually get into the movies). Have to say, the explaination of how Reavers came to be was just such an awsome concept. Zoe's reaction to everything almost hurt more than seeing Wash die and accepting it. Possibly one of the most moving parts of the movie. And of course Mal was incredible. I have to admit I got mad at Joss one point when it seemed that everyone was going to die. It was in a battle with the Reavers were all of our BDH either were shot or stabbed and I was like "Ah, how many more of them are you going to kill?!?!" But it was still incredible. Every moment and second, every line and gun shot was perfect. CAn't stop the signal makes sense and its true (I have the serenity key chain to prove it, ha!)
Two questions for my fellow lucky screeners:
1) What was Jayne's response to Kaylee's batteries comment? I was laughing too hard to hear it!
2) How did they get the reaver ships to follow them?
I'm mostly posting in the non-spoiler-land thread, as that's the church I attend, but I had to say a couple silly things that i wouldn't have wanted to read over there on May 6.

-Answers to gingeriffic's questions. Mal tried to cut Kaylee's talk off, and Jayne said something about being up for hearing some more about her and her vibrator. : ) And I think they got the Reavers to follow them by drawing one in and firing on it, while on Reaver home turf. I couldn't hear what people were laughing at when the operative was standing at the helm, before he saw Serenity break through the cloud, though...

-I think our biggest applause came when Shephard Book first appeared, bad-assed, zen cornrows and all. He is so damn cool. More Book, please.

-Did anyone catch that River's experimenter was the Busy Bee guy? My friend and I had just made a joke about him & Parker Posey while waiting in line, and then there he was. Priceless. We couldn't stop giggling about that, even as he died so horrifyingly. I think it was our defense mechanism against what we were afraid that the death scene signified about what was to come. We definitely weren't in Kansas anymore.

-Weird camera angle thingy. When the gang locked themselves in from the Reavers, they all faced a leftward door of entry awaiting the next assault. Throughout several cuts of the scene, this was the direction where everyone focused their dread. Then, when River decides it's her turn to fight, she runs to the right. Just another camera angle, surely, but when the space was shot so tight, for so long and so integrally to the scene the other way, it seemed weird and off when it shifted to me. Did I miss something, or did anyone else catch that?

-No BDHs in Bensalem, though I don't think I could have handled much more excitement. (I actually contemplated taking a Benadryl at 3am, b/c i was so wired.) More laughter in the theatre than at a comedy, but as someone else mentioned, remarkably well-mannered. The hearty, organic laughter started before almost before each joke was complete, every time, but halted abruptly so as to catch the rest of the dialogue. The film was so tight, that the audience attempted to stay that way too. There were a few fans who dressed well...a charming, and remarkably accurate, Kaylee in tie-dye, a mechanic jumpsuit and pig-tail buns, several orange caps, (one being handknit online!), a sorta Joss-look-alike, wearing a giant pope-hat with a photo of Joss on the front. Keychains and small poster handouts, but the posters were passed, and people kept handfuls for themselves, so they never made it back to us.
I was against ever seeing the Reavers...thought it better they remain hyper, off-screen boogeymen...but Joss, as usual, had a plan, and he pulled off a bit of a miracle...not only did he give us an eminently plausible explanation for the very existence of the Reavers, he made them a symbol of all that is wrong with the Alliance...they're not merely about power, they're about exercising that power in pursuit of a chimerical, utopian "world without sin", as Mal put it.

The Operative, who believes deeply in attaining this goal on the mortal plane, feels thus morally empowered to kill children and anyone else in pursuit of this goal...he and his Alliance masters are in fact moral monsters of pride, and by pride, I mean the sin of pride, not just mere haughtiness. They have elevated themselves above mere mortals, hold themselves to be godlike, and in doing so, bring about hell on earth.

As Dostoevsky wrote, " If there is no God, everything is permitted." Such is it with the Alliance.

Joss may be a self-described "raging atheist", but he has a profound notion of theology (as evidenced countless times on Buffy and Angel) and a deep understanding of the flawed human race, and it shone through last night in DC like never before.

Oh, and Morenna...dear God, is she a creature of unspeakable loveliness. My 21 year old son apparently got a picture of the two of them...can't wait to see it.

[ edited by Chris inVirginia on 2005-05-27 16:53 ]
Fascinated with how there were so many Reavers, so many times, for so very long, and yet I never really got a good look at one. So much cooler and scarier that way.
Checking in from Denver here. We got to meet Jewel. She's so freaking CUTE in person!!! OMGoodness. . .

Other than that, I'm still trying to recover from the movie. It was. . . awesome. And I'm still in shock. My husband got tired of hearing me say "I am a leaf on the wind" last night.

And, for the record, I love Joss and Nathan Fillion more than ever now.
Loved this movie even more the second time round
"I am a leaf on the wind..."

Wash is so going to be a cult icon.
Great thread guys! Glad you all got to go. We were lucky to get into Vegas the first time around, and if there had been anything closer than that the second time, we would've gone again! I'm getting happy flashbacks of that night just reading all this.

"I am a leaf on the wind..."

Wash is so going to be a cult icon.

Definitely classic stuff. Some guy behind me kept quoting it after the movie as 'I believe I'm the wind'. I thought about correcting him but I figured I would just look a bit pompous.

This movie, if you'll pardon my geekiness, rules. (Sorry, I mean 'ROOLS!') I can't wait to see the finished version in September!
I'm in Minneapolis, where we had Ron Glass... When asked about his death he replied that Joss told him there were ways around that. The Book story that needs to be told is what he did before the series, so a prequel is totally an option.


And I think this is not out of the realm of possibility for Wash, either. Even Jonathan got to come back a few times after Andrew killed him. Joss is nothing if not famous for giving actors just as much (if not more) work after their characters die as they had beforehand.

Alan Tudyk's been in a ton of box-office winners, A Knight's Tale, Dodgeball, etc. If Joss is smart, he'll find a way to keep a semi-famous name like that around his franchise (he's better-known to the general public than the rest of the cast).

Plus, if Joss could make a prequel that's better than any Lucas could ever make? He'd be making a whole other statement to boot. :-)
P.S., Everyone says Zoe's reactions to Wash's death were amazing and moving. Sitting way to the side, craning my neck (too close to the screen in those very front seats), with the grainy, dark color of the print, I honestly had a really tough time seeing this. But I'm confident you all are right about this, because Gina's an amazing actor, so I cannot wait to see it again. I completely trust you all about this.
Just returned home from Vegas (slept 3 hours and then caught a flight back to San Diego this morning!) and am still practically speechless--and it was DEFINITELY worth the trip! No BDH's in Vegas this time. I echo others in being SOOOOO glad that I entered unspoiled! I have to admit that it was getting really dark and scary there for awhile and I had no idea how our crew was going to survive. What an intense movie!

I loved the scene with Serenity leading the reavers to the Alliance ship and I was blown away by the seemingly endless crash when Serenity finally went down. I was shocked by Wash's death but am not angry at Joss, I think Joss tries to keep things meaningful by showing us how much there is to lose.

There were a few moments that had music that reminded me of Firefly and it is amazing how much I found myself responding to that and to those scenes much more. I desperately hope that they use music that resembles that style, and would love to hear the Ballad of Serenity during the closing credits!!!

I liked the way they told the back story--through the flashbacks of River at the academy and with the 3D visual files that showed River's escape--it was clever. LOVED Chiwetel Ejiofor as the villian! And I agree with the criticisms of the coloring and picture quality as many of the scenes were dark and a bit disjointed making it hard to follow. I expect and hope that these issues will be cleared up in post.

I loved it and can't wait to see it again! A few of us were wishing that they would just start it over since the film was already set up and everything :) Nice meeting some Browncoats since I don't know any besides the few halfway-converts that I have recruited.

Better get to work!!!
Have to say I enjoyed the film *much* more the 2nd time. The first time around, being completely unspoiled, I came out feeling like an over-used punching bag. This movie doesn't have an arc - it has a spine-snapping roller coaster that NEVER STOPS! ;) So 2nd time, I was braced for the toughest blows, aware of the major plot points and could settle in for the subtler stuff - which was beautiful.

Many of my prior complaints have evaporated. If you are looking for it, you'll see oodles of affection between Wash and Zoe. (where are they while River is wreaking havoc at the bar in Maidenhead ((ok- WTF kinda name is THAT??))? why, they are upstairs getting it on.) And in general I feel much better about the characterization of our beloved heroes. Also the denouement felt more appropriate this time -- it just isn't enough for the first time you realize that we've lost Wash forever... :(

I will say though that I still don't think this is *quite* the best movie Joss has got in him. I think he's going to hit his stride around Serenity 3-4. And then in Serenity 5 he's going to take the franchise in a whole different direction which will be embraced by some fans, and decried by others (who will wail and pine for the 'good old days' of Serenity.) Thus spake miyu. ;)

as for the screening, no BDHs, but didn't expect that. We did have a reporter from a major local newspaper, so yay! (and I got photgraphed in my shiny 'Joss is Boss' Tshirt from cafepress!)

The lovely lady in the Kaylee out fit --- too cute for words. The swarm of Hands of Blue guys - a little *too* accurate with the costumes ;) but you guys were so sweet! hope the pics come out well.

...and apparently I resemble the woman who plays Jennifer Garner's mom on Alias? I don't watch the show, so I'm hoping that's a compliment, but trying to get past the part where I look old enough to almost be my own mom.... :P

anywho, just wanna say we all had a fab time.
The image of River standing there after annihilating the reavers is forever scorched in my head.
If you are looking for it, you'll see oodles of affection between Wash and Zoe.


You have NO idea how much that eases my mind -- thank you for saying it.

Also, Lena Olin (who plays Jennifer Garner's mother on Alias) is SO amazingly gorgeous that you have no idea how old she is. I mean, even if I weren't a lesbian, I'd have a crush on her. She's just amazing. So you should take that as a complement.
miyu_tvp, Sydney's mom on Alias is HOT. She's sexy and tough. That was a compliment.

The image of River standing there after annihilating the reavers is forever scorched in my head.

That shot is ICONIC. It's the powershot, and makes me think of the powershots in Buffy, the ones they put in the opening credits. River the Reaver Slayer. Man, I love that girl.
Really interesting for me to see how River was perceived by a Firefly virgin. Fans have so much sad, sweet, goofy, soft, and yes, scary backstory on her, that I went into it feeling protective and nurturey, respectful of the character. My friend, without that history, was like "She's supposed to be good? Hmmm. She's nuts. And scary as shit." Well, yeah, I was thinking, but she's our River, and we love that about her. Wondering if others heard less River-affection, and more River-wariness & River-fear from the newbies? Kinda see how that could happen...
I forgot a major tidbit that Nathan told us - at the end of the movie, when he sits down at the controls, a little scene got edited out. He said there was a dinosaur figure, knocked over and laying on its side. Mal picked it up, and carefully placed it with the other, on prominent display.

That got several, "Awwwwsss". I can see, on some level, why something that would only be a nod to the fans, and huh-inducing to those not familiar with Firefly, was removed from the closing moments of the film. But. Awwwww.
FWIW, a couple of friends who attended the D.C. screening were asked if they'd be coming back for the June 9th screening.

IMHO, all these screenings are going to wind up biting somebody in the arse. Sooner or later, the movie is going to wind up on bittorrent.
Went to the Hartford screening last night...holy crap. Ceratinly the best movie I've seen so far this year, probably the best movie I'll see all year. I've never heard a movie theater as silent as the moment Wash died. I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie again, because between that and the scene where Mal finds Mr. Universe I really don't have any memory of what happened.

River the Reaver Slayer: so awesome! I agree with BlindHawkeyes, that image is going to stay with me forever, I wouldn't bee too surprised to see that in future trailers. Summer Glau is just amazing in this movie, I've never seen anyone move the way she does in the scene in the bar. And then she beat up Jayne, which was just histerical :).

Damn it, thinking about this movie again, I cant wait for September 30...
June 9th screening?? I would think they would be better off finishing the movie and releasing it in September. Yes, I would love to see it again..and again... but I'm just not sure what the point is with all these pre-screenings.
>>If you are looking for it, you'll see oodles of affection between Wash and Zoe.<<

>You have NO idea how much that eases my mind -- thank you for saying it.<

but, you *do* have to look for it. I mean, in Firefly we got the lap & tongue dance in the cockpit (oy - could that sentance be any more pornish??) and their adorable nekkid in bed scene, so this is way more in the background. but if you're looking (which I was) there's lots of little stuff going on.

>Lena Olin (who plays Jennifer Garner's mother on Alias) is SO amazingly gorgeous that you have no idea how old she is.<

>Sydney's mom on Alias is HOT.<

LOL! thanks, that is quite a relief. The guys that said it were just the sweetest, but the way it came out "do you watch Alias? you look *just* like Jennifer Garner...... 's MOM!" I wasn't sure how to take it. :) I feel MUCH better now. I recognize Lena Olin from lots of other stuff - classy lady.
tinktanker - Maybe, but I doubt it. If non-fans were getting these tickets, simply distributed at malls etc., that may be the case. But when we were in line in Sac, and it was announced that no film or cameras of any kind would be allowed in, many people in line were commenting on how anyone who did attempt that would wind up regretting it.

In other words, I don't think someone trying this would get out of the theater intact.
Grr Arrg's hubbie checking in on her login...stunning achievement, Joss. Within the first five minutes, I was floored by how deftly he could A) provide new viewers with all the info they needed to jump in on the action and B) almost offhandedly show Browncoats key scenes in the story arc we've not been treated to yet. The overall handling of pleasing both masters, i.e. old fans and new, completely floored me. I know he claims it was his toughest writing gig, but he makes it look effortless and natural. You see so much cool new stuff and have so many old questions answered so smoothly, you just smack your forehead and say "oh, yeah, exactly. That's perfect." This film really is the ultimate antithesis of the lame crap Lucas has been peddling to the masses since '99--whereas with those movies, fans know the story already and forgive their hero a million flaws in storytelling and craftsmanship by filling in the many blanks themselves, Joss has laid out a tight, dense action ensemble that consistently demands and rewards your attention, constantly surprises, and really leaves nothing to be desired by the end. How he manages to establish a completely new, darker tone and still hit all the marks Browncoats are hoping for and more...it is truly exhilirating to watch it unfold on the big screen in front of your eyes.

Jewel is of course an absolute sweetheart, and I thank her again for coming to Denver for only her second viewing of the film. Answered questions with grace and humor, and yes, we'd all like to see your husband cast as Jayne's brother in the next one too :)
We saw the dinosaurs on the control panels and knew exactly what that was. I would have loved to see that edited out scene, but just seeing the dinosaurs there was enough. For non-fans it will seem cute and quirky, but for fans, it's bittersweet.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-05-27 18:56 ]
Tinktanker & Angela, my husband called me and left his phone open so I could hear Nathan & enjoy part of the fun. Security checked out the recording & picture functions on his phone & made him take it out to his truck. I think they're pretty vigilant.
I agree they are vigilant, but look at Episode III. The day the movie was in the theaters, there was a working print on the internet. It had the time codes and all, but there it was. I don't want that to happen to the BDM and dilute the money that rightfully goes where it belongs.

The more copies of the film there is, the more chance for piracy.
Speaking for me personally, a second viewing definitely goes more smoothly. Not surprisingly, since you know what's coming and can take the time to watch for more details. And also with the whole stabbing-through-the-chest thing. Not so much the surprise on a repeat viewing.

I thought highly of the movie the first time and I absolutely still do. However the majority of my qualms remain, and one in particular surges to the forefront: That funeral scene is just so unspeakably cheesy to me. This time around I found it even more irritating that Mr. Universe gets bury-time next to Book and Wash. Particularly when you consider that Mr. Universe sold them out twice -- both intentionally and un-. The crew of course didn't know that, but the audience does, and his inclusion with two beloved characters cheapens the entire thing. Particularly when you consider that in the funeral, Book got no more attention than Mr. Universe did.

At this point I'm pretty certain that no changes will be made, but out of everything in the film, this scene still strikes me as the most wrong. The sore thumb in a film that's otherwise sterling.

I'm not certain if I'd call this Joss's Best Work Evah. I still personally maintain that television is where he excels. It's still one hell of a Big Damn Movie, however, and I sincerely hope that Joss gets lots of sequels to perfect his movie making craft.
GrrrAaggh - I wish I had met you and your husband! I did manage to find db2 and say hello. And I met lots of other lovely browncoats.
:::waves hi to all of you:::
We got Jewel here in Denver and wowza - what a treat! She was so nice and funny and charming. She seemed confident that we all could make two more movies happen! I wish I could remember more of what she said but I just kept thinking to myself "I am sitting in a theater listening to Jewel talk in person" so unfortunately I forgot alot of what she actually said. I can't even remember what I said to her when I got my autograph either.
I definitely noticed more fx this time and the music seemed a little fuller. I caught alot of stuff that I had missed before and I had time to really soak in alot of the richer scenes. The deaths hit me pretty hard AGAIN. I sat amongst a group of unspoiled people and I did hand out tissues without explanation before the movie which I know they appreciated.
I like this community alot and it was once again, absolutely great to see it with so many other cool fans. I am going to stop worrying about the fact that I am a Joss Whedon cult member and go sleep now since I was too excited to fall asleep before 2 am and was wide awake and still buzzing at 7 am.
:::happily embraces the cult of whedon:::
I was so happy to see that Summer came to Chicago. She was so gracious to us and emotional about the importance of the fans when it came to this movie being created. She spoke to us before the movie then signed autographs. I had a brief but wonderful conversaion with her about dance since I'm a dancer as well. I won't bore folks about it, but she truely a sweet down to earth gal! Email me if you want to know more.

Chickenbird - I think another way of looking at Zoe's reaction to Walsh's death: Rather than show the typical overdramatic wives we see in a lot of movies when their beloveds are killed, Zoe being the soldier she is kicks ass and wants to kill them, all of them! I think this was Joss' way of separating her from these typical wife moments. The tears started streaming down my face when I saw her in that gorgeous white dress. She shows her emotions...Zoe style.

When River was standing in the middle of all the dead Reavers the entire theatre burst into applause. It was quite a moment. I actually didn't think of Buffy at this point, just the huge amount of love Joss spreads for woman power.

I do have a question...during River's flashbacks when she was a young student, were these flashbacks real or were they created by the Alliance? OR were they a mixture? I really couldn't tell, and I couldn't remember River's actually history. How old was she when she was captured by the Alliance?

I also have a comment about River's movement, and was wondering if anyone else noticed this. Her movement was very similar to Illyria's. Do you think Summer and Amy had the same stunt double?

Loved it, loved it, loved it! Everyone involved should be extremely proud. Not to toot our own horns, but yeah! to us too for helping make this happen. Truely remarkable. Can't wait for the fineshed product!
Frankly that funeral scene seemed wrong to me, too. I wanted to see Zoe kneel down and spend some Moments, some silent grieving time. And those damn moving images on top of the gravestones were just too Harry Potter, and were thus -- yes, to use your word, Jet Wolf -- CHEESY. Gack. It cheapens the sorrow.

I still adored the movie, but that funeral scene just bothered me.
I think another way of looking at Zoe's reaction to Walsh's death: Rather than show the typical overdramatic wives we see in a lot of movies when their beloveds are killed, Zoe being the soldier she is kicks ass and wants to kill them, all of them! I think this was Joss' way of separating her from these typical wife moments.


That's really a good point, and also sort of challenges genre expectations. The typical action flick has some guy like Arnold or Bruce Willis lose their wife/girlfriend, and then instead of crying, they Go Postal on them that killed their beloved. To have a woman do this instead? Kinda interesting and feminist. Zoe's a private person (remember "Bushwhacked"?) She'll cry a whole bunch in private, but she'll channel her grief where it needs to go in the moment. I do get it -- I'm just afraid newbies who don't know her character won't get this.
For the non-fan, Mr Universe's death will have the same emotional impact as Book's and Wash's.

Does that seem right to you?
fr0g said: "Can anyone who's seen both screenings (May5 and May 26) speak to whether changes were made for the second screening?"

Here in Portland, there were either minor differences, or the nature of my attention was different the second time through. For example, none of the people with me who also saw the first screening remember the Serenity logo being repainted on the ship's hull during the repair sequence at the end, but we all noticed it this time.

BlindHawkeyes said: "I read somewhere that special effects were missing from the previous screening, they all seem to be there now."

The odd thing is, I didn't notice any unfinished effects the first time through either. Heh.

electricspacegirl said: "There were a few people in the audience who were upset that Wash died. Some people asked Chris if Joss would change that. Chris said no, this the story Joss wants to tell."

The best part here, though, is that when Chris gave this response, the vast majority of the audience applauded. As I told him afterwards: Tell Joss that we trusted him before going into this movie, and no matter what he did to us in it, we still trust him afterwards.

Angela said: "I forgot a major tidbit that Nathan told us - at the end of the movie, when he sits down at the controls, a little scene got edited out. He said there was a dinosaur figure, knocked over and laying on its side. Mal picked it up, and carefully placed it with the other, on prominent display."

What is in the movie, however, is the fact that the first thing Mal does when he sits down in Wash's seat is reach up and flick those three little switches that Wash always hit, and that Alan mentions very specifically in one of the commentaries on the DVD.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2005-05-27 19:43 ]
none of the people with me who also saw the first screening remember the Serenity logo being repainted on the ship's hull during the repair sequence at the end, but we all noticed it this time.

I noticed that this time around as well. There were a couple of tiny little things that I didn't recall from the first showing, but figured that it was a faulty memory. If it's not just me, though, then I'll agree that there have been a couple of minor changes. Which is sort of weird, when you consider how much those prints cost to make.

Oh, one thing I did think was interesting between the two showings: reactions. There were in particular two biggies that I noticed. The first being that when Book appears, the audience at the second PDX viewing exploded into applause. At the first, there wasn't hardly any reaction at all. Conversely, when Inara flashbombs the agent, the crowd at the first showing went nuts. At the second, only a few muted claps and some chuckles.

Interesting stuff. I'd love to probe into what dictates such varied reactions like that.
True, Zoe acted the soldier she is when faced with Wash's death. At first, it was the denial, as she tell's him he's got to get up, and they have to get going. You could barely hear it, over the shock and the audience screaming "No!", but she yelled at him as soldiers often do in war movies when faced with the shock and pain of seeing mortally wounded comrades. Let's go, you're fine, come on, get moving, sort of stuff. And then after Mal pulls her away, there's the shift, and the warrior face comes on, and you do not want to get in the way of that.
I noticed that the serenity clean up scene was there too this time around and I don't recall it from last time. I liked it - it brought a little bit of closure. Also - at the first screening - I don't remember seeing the credits roll at the beginning. Did anyone else notice that? It's possible that I was so excited the first time around I didn't notice.
Someone asked Jewel how she felt about Book and Wash's deaths and she almost got choked up again. She said it had been extremely emotional for all of them and that without them on the set in the future - it would be a really different feel. But she really seemed quite confident that the flashback possibilities would keep both Ron and Alan involved.
She also said that Summer did almost all of her own fighting and stunts except for the really dangerous ones (due to risk etc.) Summer missed alot of social time with the rest of the cast because she was training for this so hard. Jewel seemed quite impressed with how hard Summer worked on her stunt training.
Jet Wolf - I think our audience applauded both times at both events.
I recall the opening credits from the first time.
Can I squee again? Squeee! Ok, sorry. I just had to get that out of my system.

Reading other people's mentions of minor changes, I do remember them now. I guess when I saw new things, I thought I had glossed over them. I think the second version does work better. It does address a few issues that people had with the first.

I want to say how proud I am of Joss. His ability to make my fondness for his stories and characters take on epic proportions is genius. Nobody does that like Joss (although Rob Thomas is coming very close to that with Veronica Mars).

I'm obsessed with this film. There's a rumor on livejournal that there will be another advanced screening in June, on my brother's birthday (also Joss Whedon's birthday), and I'm dying buy my brother a ticket as a birthday present. Will Firefly fans chase me with torches if I see it one more time? *asks sheepishly*

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-05-27 20:55 ]
Electricspacegirl said: "Chris held a Q&A, and I asked him if Nathan Fillion played the reaver that attached the woman on Miranda. He said no, but I read that Nathan said he was that reaver."

That was you!!! I wish I had known, I would have introduced myself to you. The funny thing is I noticed you before the showing and thought you looked familiar, which is odd, because I don't think we have ever met, but I love reading your comments on this board, you have great things to say and are very insightful.
Jinxieman, I posted my picture in the flickr forum. Maybe you saw that? You should have introduced yourself to me. If you want to meet and talk sometime, you should come to the PDX shindigs. They happen on the first Saturday of every month. Email me at electricspacegirl at gmail dot com if you want details.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm usually not sure if my posts ever come across as anything except, "That was cool. Squee!" Heh. It's nice to know that even though that's what I'm thinking when I post stuff, I can actually come across as somewhat articulate. ;)

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-05-27 20:56 ]
That sounds like fun, I'll email you.
Need to add that I too find the funeral scene cheesy...the video tombstones just smacked of kitsch...not good.

Great movie otherwise, though.
Chiming in to say that I agree that the funeral scene was really not good. Not worthy of Joss, in my opinion. Cheesy, very cheesy. Surely there is another way to mark teh passing of these beloved folks (not counting Mr. Universe in that.) Whoever said that the holograms on the headstones were Harry Potter got it right. I hope Joss can tinker with this scene a bit.
I remembered the opening credits, but the closing ones (such as they were) were new.
And I'm sure that seeing Inara paint 'Serenity' back onto the ship was new....
I wasn't sure about other things, whether I'd just missed them the first time around. But it seemed to me that Simon kissing Kayley was better lit the second time around (I remember thinking on May 5th that it was too dark and you couldn't appreciate it...so I loved having it a little brighter).

I loved the film even more the second time around (when I wasn't having an actual anxiety attack!)...it is a beautiful powerful film. And I am so happy I got to see it early before getting spoiled. I want to really thank everyone here at Whedonesque who have been so vigilant to help people remain unspoiled for this great film. It is particularly generous of those of you who have to moderate, and haven't seen it yet, because you've been forced into being spoiled. My hat is off to you!

And talking about hats, I got filmed by the Universal camera man in my Jayne hat, so maybe I'll be in the promotion (showing crazy fireflyfans! LOL).

I'm trying to keep track of where all the BDHs were last night...we are still missing a lot:
Summer in Chicago
Ron in Minneapolis
Morena in DC
Nathan in Sacramento
Jewel in Denver
Alan couldn't be in Portland so Chris covered for him
FX guy in Atlanta

so where were Gina, Sean, Joss, and Adam?
embers -- I'm guessing that not everyone could be at a show. Just as Alan was in NY for Spamalot related things, I am sure that Sean and others had prior committments as well.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-05-27 21:25 ]
I'd like to echo embers regarding the kindness and tact regarding spoilers that is a hallmark of this site, and also express my appreciation (and condolences!) to those mods who generously keep these spoilery threads clean at the expense of their own experience. Since the first screening I have avoided other sites and have solely visited Whedonesque because of the strong warnings I have seen about inconsiderate spoilers (even in thread titles!) at other sites. I really appreciate the high-class tone here and feel proud to be part of this community!
Thanks! :)

And barest_smidgen, your comment waaaaay upthread really intrigued me:

Really interesting for me to see how River was perceived by a Firefly virgin. Fans have so much sad, sweet, goofy, soft, and yes, scary backstory on her, that I went into it feeling protective and nurturey, respectful of the character. My friend, without that history, was like "She's supposed to be good? Hmmm. She's nuts. And scary as shit." Well, yeah, I was thinking, but she's our River, and we love that about her. Wondering if others heard less River-affection, and more River-wariness & River-fear from the newbies? Kinda see how that could happen...


I hadn't thought of that, but now that I am, it is a little disconcerting. Were newbies given enough reason to care about River?
(Sorry for the italics - no matter what I do, even typing in the HTML code, I can't seem to turn it off)

There were so many MOMENTS in this movie, but I just want to report when people went bonkers here in Sacramento:

Jayne saying "Wouldn't it be great to have a grenade?!"
Inara saying "And that's not incense."
The whole conversation between Malcolm and Inara-under-hostage
Malcolm saying "Trap!"
Malcolm's reaction to Jayne saying Yes he'd run the ship
Book appearing with his cool hair - maybe there's a River-Book story be told here! ;)
And of course, laughter as Wash says "I am a leaf on the wind", and then gasps and screams!
River's power shot

I think everyone we get in the theaters come September will love this movie because the humor's so great and it constantly surprises, but I'm still worried about how Universal will promote it to actually get people's butts in the theaters. Of course, we all know they should go for sheer volume and give heavy play to trailers and TV ads, but HOW should they sell it and make people feel they HAVE to plunk down 9-10 bucks to see it? Joss was right in saying it doesn't have a simple, definable premise.

I personally think that maybe they should play up the (1) "adored by millions of fans" bit, (2) quote a lot of rave reviews from critics praising the superb writing and acting (including critics saying this is "the Next Big Thing in Sci-Fi after Star Wars"), and (3) make clear this has got something for everyone - action, comedy, drama. Comparisons should be made to other great action movies in the past - for example I think of "Aliens," for the dark tone, sense of dread, and general kick-ass action in the last part of the movie.

Also, I'm glad that Joss had the balls to have Wash killed, and I think that will be a defining moment for many Joss Virgins of the World (JVWs). This will be that moment that tells them this is NOT just a sci-fi movie, NOT just a comedy, NOT even just a comedy-laced action flick. This is a drama with action, and there are consequences. This is every genre at once, it mixes them together, and that's why it's so good. And this is REAL - these aren't just actors we're looking at, but people in a life-threatening situation who we don't want to die. For me, "Innocence" and "Passions" were the episodes that made me a fiercely proud fan of Buffy and Joss, told me that nothing was sacred, and stripped the veil between story and audience so that we were not just WATCHING it but LIVING what we were seeing. That's great storytelling.

I disagree strongly with those who say that Wash's death was a "waste" and imply that Joss disrespects his characters - to the contrary, he's showing his love for them. Wash's death shows us there are consequences and helps elevate everyone to HEROES. These are regular people who are being called upon to do something EXTRAORDINARY. I also love how Joss constantly surprises, constantly subverts conventions. First he gives us Book's death, a more-Hollywood-like, moment-of-clarity, die-in-someone's-arms death. You then think that's the The Big Death of the movie, the sacrifice made to advance the story, to advance our protagonist's internal struggle. Then BOOM - Wash's death, unromanticized, with no apparent meaning. Death in the verse is no longer a plot device, but a slaughter.
Why, oh, why, oh why do I have to live in South Central Virginia. I wish there was a screening here.

Oh, well we have guns, Jerry Falwell, mullets, pick-ups, NASCAR t-shirts, rebel flags and plenty of WWF memorbilia.....
Thank you to all those that said they thought the Inara-painting-Serenity-logo scene was new. I thought so! Nice touch, pulls Inara into the crew, shows her love for the ship.

Also, add my voice to "nix the holograms" crowd. Cheesy, creepy, cringey. But keep Zoe warrior woman. I don't ever want to see tears from her. Not that she doesn't cry, but it would be too weird and personal to see it. I can't think of any context where seeing Zoe cry wouldn't make me uncomfortable.

And also, it seems I am stuck in italics hell as well, and I am not using any tags...
I also loved the Inara-painting-Serenity-logo and her "I'm not sure" when Mal asks if she's ready to go back to her girls. (I guess she's become a Companion-trainer? Or a madam? Can anyone answer that for me?) I loved how we get more of how strong Mal and Inara's feelings are for each other without going down gooey cliche-ridden lane.

Count me in on not wanting to see Zoe cry. The way she handled Wash's death, including her facial expressions, the tone in her voice, even the way she carried her body and gun - these all conveyed the depth of her grief. I found her reaction profoundly moving and did not feel for a second that Joss was disrespecting Wash's death. It was all there in Zoe's reaction and in Mal's as well. I say this even though I wanted to hit Joss over the head (kidding!) for making me laugh mere moments after Wash was impaled. But that's Joss and that's one of the reasons I love him.

I had the strangest experience watching this film. I was so wired and full of happy anxiety that I white-knuckled my viewing of it. The result? My memories of the film are hazy! Isn't that strange? Parts of it are very clear but others are not. I was so wired that I couldn't relax and concentrate on it. That's why I'm desperate to see it again, to make more sense of what I saw. I have the strangest feeling that I dreamed it, and my memories are thus as hazy and odd as dreams. Anyone else experience that? Or maybe someone put something into my coke?

Oh, for goodness' sake. I'm italicized, too, I see. It's making my eyes hurt and I'm sure everyone else's. Sorry for that. I'm using no tags, either.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2005-05-27 22:37 ]
I think this tag drama started with SaltyGoodness up there... seems she punched in some pretty strong tags. Moderators... hellp?
I never thought the headstones were cheesy. I'm not as familiar with Harry Potter, I guess, and well...I thought it was interesting and futuristic. I do see the gripe about Mr. Universe being one of the headstones, because he betrayed Mal. But Mal and the crew don't know of his betrayal, and he was a friend, and did help them get the signal out. So from their pov, it makes sense to honor his death as well as Book and Wash. I don't know. It's probably not going to be changed for the final version.

SaltyGoodness forgot to close her italics. We need a moderator.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-05-27 22:55 ]
You can't stop the italics!

Phleb, you talk about white-knuckling...my wife (and she was very glad to meet everybody) said that from the first moment a Reaver appeared that her heart was pounding furiously...and that just when it would begin to slow down, something else would get it going again.

Joss Whedon: Aerobic Film Maker!
Did Mr. Universe really "betray" Mal? Yeah, he was offered money, but he was also surrounded by Alliance goons. Pretty strong message there: don't do what I ask, and you'll get THIS. Besides, he was pretty cute. ;)

[ edited by Ronald_SF on 2005-05-27 23:02 ]
So many people are mentioning Joss making us laugh moments after Wash was impaled. What was so disconcerting to me was that I was laughing at the precise, exact moment when he was actually impaled. From the silliness, just preceding. Brutal. Brilliant, but brutal. Anya flashbacks. Sheesh.

And phlebotinin, you're so right about hazy memories. It's like your wedding day, or the moments after you've been in, or witnessed a horrific accident, or the day someone you love dies in front of you. You're there, and so present at the moment, but the adrenaline creates this overload that makes it hard to recall specific details later. The way you describe the aftermath is exactly the way I experienced the movie, (and, all of the other moments described above)..."I have the strangest feeling that I dreamt it, and my memories are thus as hazy and odd as dreams." Preach on, phlebotinin. Preach on.

[ edited by barest_smidgen on 2005-05-27 23:22 ]
Didn't Inara also get the guys to come, but they saw through it and knew it was a trap. Even if Mr Universe was not trying to get them to see it was a trap, I'm sure he was a little scared due to all the guns pointing at him. He saved the day at the end by making sure Mal got the signal, even if the operative got it too...oops. But, hey we got a kick ass fight scene out of it. As far as the headstones, I liked the funny Joss spin on them. I seem to remember giving a slight smile after seeing Buffy's headstone "She saved the world a lot". Also, Mr Universe was just cool. I liked him the second I saw the girlbot.
You can't stop the italics!


And that'll teach me to watch the remake of the Manchurian Candidate. All fixed now.
I am SOOOOOOOO sorry guys! I tried and tried to turn off my italics and it didn't work. I had no idea that my post would impact everyone elses. I am obviously very new to these html codes. Please accept my apologies *hangs head in embarrassment*
barest_smidgen - Exactly. I was laughing when I gasped. Damn near choked on my spit, given the way my air intake/outake got all screwed up. I actually, until that moment, did not think it was possible to laugh and gasp at the same time. I'm sure I almost broke something internal.
Ah dinnae worry SaltyGoodness, no harm done :).
I feel a bit guilty that we haven't talked much about the other stars of the movie... Chiwetel Ejiofor was chilling to watch. Such conviction that he was right. And David Krumholtz was hilarious. I will miss seeing more of him... incidentally it's nice to see a member of my tribe in the future, even if he is married to a blond sexbot.
Inara painting the Serenity logo on the side of the ship has been there since the first public screening in December. I haven't seen the film since then so I don't know if there was an alternate take of her painting something else onto Serenity.
And Nathan specifically told me earlier this year that he asked to play the Reaver that attacked the colonist in the holorecording. I don't know why Chris said that wasn't true, and I don't think Nathan was joking around about it either when he said it, so go figure.
Agreed, gingeriffic. Chiwetel Ejiofor did a fantastic job with portraying chillingly placid (when he wasn't going all non-placid) evil. As you say, it's all in his conviction that he and the powers he represents are right. He believes he's so very reasonable and his self-knowledge that he's a monster makes him seem even more reasonable.

And David Krumholtz was indeed hilarious. Speaking of your tribe, did you ever listen to the commentary to The Message? When our BDH is in the space station market/postal exchange/carnival/whatever in the opening scene, Alan Tudyk says about the postal guy, "look! There's our 'Space Jew!' We call him a 'Sp'jew!" The character was indeed wearing a yamulke. The Jewish faith and Jewish people definitely exist in the Firefly 'verse, another thing I love about it. I love Joss.
Even if Mr Universe was not trying to get them to see it was a trap, I'm sure he was a little scared due to all the guns pointing at him.

Cowardice I'm okay with, except for the fact that as soon as he hangs up with the guys, he turns to the Operative and starts to, pretty unafraid-like, demand his money. If we were supposed to be sympathetic toward the character, then the (IMHO) blatant implication that he sold our gang out for a few coins should be cut or changed. That being his last non-dying act, it makes his recorded final message to Mal seem less like something heroic and more like a middle finger to the guys who ran him through.

But yeah, as I noted, I get that Mal and the others didn't see any of this. But the audience did, so it just sits wrong with me that he's there being all celebrated with Book and Wash ... especially when, as I mentioned, he got exactly the same amount of special attention that Book did.

And for the record, I thought that Buffy's tombstone was perfect. ;)

[ edited by Jet Wolf on 2005-05-28 00:13 ]
Buffy's tombstone was perfect. For my money, the Serenity tombstones were not.
phlebotinin, I couldn't agree more about not remembering a lot of great bits in the movie until reading about them in this thread...grenades indeed :) hehehe

And gingeriffic, I though I was going to die when I saw Mr. Universe smashing that glass at his wedding, never in a million years saw that coming.
I was laughing when I gasped. Damn near choked on my spit, given the way my air intake/outake got all screwed up. I actually, until that moment, did not think it was possible to laugh and gasp at the same time. I'm sure I almost broke something internal.


Awesome! It would be interesting to see an article analyzing the physiology of laughter and gasping, and how Joss Whedon manipulates them. Laughter expels air from the body and helps to release tension, whereas gasping prepares the body for instant activity and draws oxygen into the lungs. And of course, combine all that with a general sense of horror (did anybody see the extras to "The Grudge" on this subject?), which means an increased heartbeat, tension in the muscles, and heightened awareness. Oh Joss, how you play us...

[ edited by Ronald_SF on 2005-05-28 00:26 ]
barest_smidgen and hobgadling, so glad you get what I'm saying about not being able to remember! It really was like one of those wedding day-type things. Okay, I guess I'm not crazy or developing a terrifying brain disease that affects my memory. That's a relief.

hobgadling and gingeriffic, didn't you think that Mr. Universe having a blond sexbot wife was in fact a funny commentary on a certain contemporary social phenomenon? I did and found it all the funnier for it.
AHHHH, Jet Wolf, you're right. I completely forgot about the whole money to be exchanged thing. EWWWW, me not heart Mr Universe as much now. The girlbot was still funny. Yes, maybe he didn't deserve to be in the presence of Book and Wash's graves, but the crew didn't know that. He still came through with getting the signal out, so kudos to him.

I guess I'm the only one who liked the headstones, I thought they were cool. Oh well, wouldn't it be a boring world if we all agreed on everything all the time?

edited to replace period with question mark...geez!

[ edited by Harmalicious on 2005-05-28 00:23 ]
didn't you think that Mr. Universe having a blond sexbot wife was in fact a funny commentary on a certain contemporary social phenomenon?

My first thought was, "Hey, the BuffyBot's still finding work in the future. You go, robo girl."
Totally!!! If only they did the bot vision...funny stuff!
And David Krumholtz was hilarious. I will miss seeing more of him... incidentally it's nice to see a member of my tribe in the future

His wedding scene, which was incredibly cheesy and heartwarming at the same time, nailed my love for Mr. Universe. I know other fans have issues with him, but I kinda love him. He's just chock full of personality, y'know? And I think the cheesy headstones are cute as well -- perhaps not as on point as Buffy's ("She saved the world.... A lot." has gotta be classic), but somewhat in the same spirit. I mean, the essence of Wash, besides the thrilling heroics, is of a guy who loved his wife, his Hawaiian shirts and his plastic dinos. A big solemn tombstone is so not his style.

Chiwetel Ejiofor was chilling to watch.

I know! He was very good. I wish I could say more, but I watched the movie on the 5th, and am getting a little of that post-screening amnesia. I was so into the movie as it played, and it was so intense, and my emotional reactions were so all over the place, that I can't recall solid details much. Which just means I'll have to see it many more times when it finally comes out in wide release. But I do have this to say: whenever I anticipate a movie this much, I tend to kill all joy I actually have in watching the movie because I'm so hyped up worrying about it being good, my reactions get all screwy. Like I love Return of the King, but watching it the first time, I was a mess. But Joss did practically the impossible with Serenity--he took me totally out of my own mind and involved me in his fictional universe, with every emotion, and got some honest reactions out of me. So yes, he's totally a genius. (prob a evil one, but whatever.)
I want to download and play the Fruity Oaty Bars song.

Was the timing of the Fruity Oat Bars ditty a coincidence or was it timed by the Alliance to air around that time, to hopefully trigger River to go all supergirl/kick-ass/scary so they could ferret her out? Another detail I'm hazy about.
River the Reaver Slayer - very cool; I liked the drip, drip, drip off the weapon. Do not mess with this woman.

Ruthless1 - it was good to meet you. BTW, db2 is a database :-)
I like "River the Reaver Cleaver"...
Was the timing of the Fruity Oat Bars ditty a coincidence or was it timed by the Alliance to air around that time, to hopefully trigger River to go all supergirl/kick-ass/scary so they could ferret her out?

My take on it: From what Mr. Universe said, he'd been seeing the code pop up "a lot". I'm guessing the Alliance was running it at regular, frequent intervals, figuring that it was only a matter of time before River set foot on a core planet somewhere and heard it.
Jet Wolf: That is my take, too.
hobgadling and gingeriffic, didn't you think that Mr. Universe having a blond sexbot wife was in fact a funny commentary on a certain contemporary social phenomenon? I did and found it all the funnier for it.

It didn't even occur to me at the time, I was way too wrapped up in the movie, but thinking about it now that really does make it much much funnier.
electricspacegirl said: I do see the gripe about Mr. Universe being one of the headstones, because he betrayed Mal. But Mal and the crew don't know of his betrayal, and he was a friend, and did help them get the signal out. So from their pov, it makes sense to honor his death as well as Book and Wash.

The other thing here that occured to me is that this spot wasn't so much just a gravesite, but a war memorial, because what they just went through unquestionably was a very short, very violent, and very important war against the Alliance.

These were war dead, including Mr. Universe.
The first being that when Book appears, the audience at the second PDX viewing exploded into applause.


This happened in Minneapolis, but I attributed it to the 'Ron Glass sitting in the audience' factor. Interesting that it happened elsewhere too.
Portland roared with applause at Book's first appearance also. That didn't happen the first screening.
He wasn't in the trailer, so I'm sure a lot of people were happy to see him in the movie.
My memories of the film are hazy! Isn't that strange? Parts of it are very clear but others are not. I was so wired that I couldn't relax and concentrate on it. That's why I'm desperate to see it again, to make more sense of what I saw. I have the strangest feeling that I dreamed it, and my memories are thus as hazy and odd as dreams. Anyone else experience that?

Funny you should mention this, because my husband and I had the exact same experience after the May 5 screening. In the hotel room, less than three hours after the screening, we were having trouble remembering the movie. It was just such an overwhelming experience. We were literally shaking.

I'm wondering if non-fans will have the same reaction. I have never had such a visceral reaction to a movie, ever.
Just to chime in on Book's first appearance. Same thing in Sac. A round of applause at this screening, which was not the case on the 5th.
Another question which will reveal how strangely hazily I experienced the movie: why doesn't the Chiwetel character let his men slaughter River and the rest? Didn't he know already the Reaver-Alliance connection? Or had he gone into pursuing River without knowing this, secure in his "knowledge" that he was on the side of right? The last thing he says to Mal, "There's nothing left to see," referring to himself, suggests that he didn't know. But....? Can anyone explain? Because as I remember it, I found it odd that he didn't issue the order to kill River anyway, to carry out his mission to the bitter end. Then again, if he had lost his faith.....
I don't think he knew. He thought he was fighting for a society without sin; without discord. He was very dedicated to that end. I think when he saw that the society he was fighting for actually created the worst that humans could put forth, he felt betrayed and in turn betrayed that ideal. Yes, he lost his faith.
I had a strong visceral reaction to the movie the first time too. I was literally in shock. The second time, my insides went all hot, and then immediately cold, right before Wash got speared, because I knew it was seconds away from happening.

I just can't turn this off, this obsession for the movie. Can anyone else not stop thinking about it?
Nope. And add me to the list of people having a strong visceral reaction to the movie. That's never happened to me before.
Right there with ya esg. I realized immediately after Wash was speared that I had my feet planted on the floor through the whole preceding scene, and when Serenity started spiraling out of control, I had my back pressed into the seat, like I was trying to stop what I knew was coming.

And you know, this time around, knowing the others survive, I was *still* worried for everyone else. It waw like seeing everything past that point for the first time again.

The show (and Nathan) have been on my mind all day.
phlebotinin said: Another question which will reveal how strangely hazily I experienced the movie: why doesn't the Chiwetel character let his men slaughter River and the rest? Didn't he know already the Reaver-Alliance connection? Or had he gone into pursuing River without knowing this, secure in his "knowledge" that he was on the side of right?

I don't think he knew. He very specifically told the doctor at the beginning that his business isn't secrets, but keeping secrets. It doesn't matter to him what the secrets are, only that they remain secrets.

The last thing he says to Mal, "There's nothing left to see," referring to himself, suggests that he didn't know. But....?

The exchange there is more interesting than that, to me. The lead-in to this comment is an exchange where Mal says that if he ever sees the Operative again, he'll kill him. The Operative says Mal won't see him again. And that's where "There's nothing left to see" comes in -- suggesting to me that since the Operative's entire purpose was to keep these secrets, and the secrets got out anyway, in a real sense, he no longer really exists anymore. "There's nothing left to see" could refer to the Operative no longer having a reason for being.

Can anyone explain? Because as I remember it, I found it odd that he didn't issue the order to kill River anyway, to carry out his mission to the bitter end. Then again, if he had lost his faith.....

It wasnt necessarily about his faith. It was about what he saw as his job and responsibility: Keeping the secrets (whatever they were) secret. Once the secret no longer was secret, his job/responsibility ceased to exist.

He may have been evil, but he was rather focused and didn't tend to do things extraneous to his mission. Once his mission no longer existed, there was no motivation for him to just order people killed with no rationale, or if killing them wouldn't actual further his goal -- and killing them at that point couldbn't serve his goal, because his goal had been to keep secret what at that point was no longer secret.
Almost makes you wonder why the Operative didn't take his own advice from the beginning. If the Operative's job was to keep secrets and those secrets got out, that sounds like a pretty hefty screw up in my book. Shouldn't he be throwing himself on his sword right about now? I hear there's honour in that death. ;)
Thanks, everyone. Having some of the missing bits filled in by all of you makes me feel better about the choice he made in the end.

Although one thing I do remember is the Operative talking about his belief, his faith in what he was seeking to protect. Didn't he? He admitted that he knew he was monstrous but believed - had real faith - that the Alliance's goals were good ones. Once he saw that in fact the Alliance had created the Reavers in their arrogant attempt to create a better world, he lost his faith. I remember the entire interchange with Mal before the Operative says, "There's nothing left to see," and it, and the Operative's final words accord with my perception that as Mal gained the faith/belief that Book had urged him to seek out, so had the Operative lost his. The Operative wasn't merely doing a job. He was a believer until his eyes were opened. At least that's how I saw it.
Yes, phlebotinin, the operative's change at the end was about him losing his faith, for the reasons that you mention.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-05-28 04:20 ]
Speaking of belief, I woke up this morning and had a massive Joss craving, so I was watching some Angel...I realized that Mal at the end of Serenity had reached the same place that Kate did at the end of Epiphany: "I never thought you'd come for me, but... I got cut a huge break and I believe... I don't know what I believe, but I have faith."

Not that that really has anything to do with anything, just thought it was interesting :)
So here's a poser: Given the speculation as to whether or not Book may have been an operative of the Parliament himself, was his transformation into a shepherd the result of a similar truth-seeing/faith-questioning moment experienced by The Operative in this movie?
Jet Wolf wrote:

Almost makes you wonder why the Operative didn't take his own advice from the beginning. If the Operative's job was to keep secrets and those secrets got out, that sounds like a pretty hefty screw up in my book. Shouldn't he be throwing himself on his sword right about now? I hear there's honour in that death. ;)


I wondered about that too. I'm thinking part of Mal's lesson for the Operative was that the world isn't a black and white place. It seems like the kind of person who falls on his sword (or wants the other guy to fall on his sword) lives in a black and white world.

Also, it's too bad Joss didn't change the gravestones. That's the one thing I was really hoping he would change.
Phleboinin, that's how I saw the Operative's change, too.

With regard to Mr. Universe (who I really enjoy watching on Numbers on Friday nights), I didn't feel that he sold out Mal. Wasn't his comment referring to the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas for his betrayal? That was how I interpreted it, anyway, that even though he didn't appear to have a choice with all the Alliance surrounding him, he still felt as if he were betraying Mal and his crew so he did what he could to help him get the "signal" out.

Also, as soon as I saw the blonde on the sofa, I thought "bot" and laughed.

I really, really, really, want to see it again. I kept waking up in the night thinking of certain scenes - and then woke up this morning singing Zander and Anya's song from OMWF. I think I need some sleep!
Wasn't his comment referring to the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas for his betrayal?

Hmmmmmmmm. Maybe, maaaaybe. I can't remember exactly what he said (I don't know that I ever heard it exactly), just that my brain interpreted it as, "He wants his money. Bastich."

Veddy interesting. And does change my opinion on a few things, if that's the case. Not on the overall Cheese Whiz of the funeral scene, but on his inclusion, at the very least.
With regard to Mr. Universe (who I really enjoy watching on Numbers on Friday nights), I didn't feel that he sold out Mal. Wasn't his comment referring to the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas for his betrayal?

Wow, nice pick-up samatwitch! I think you're right. However, I also think a very small percentage of the audience will actually catch that.

Oh, and just to weigh in on the gravesite issue: The holograms were a little cheesy, but the font/typeface on the tombstones is what hurt that scene for me. Did anyone else think it looked a little like the Flintstones had carved in the names?
Jet and all who are talking about Universe betraying the BDHs. His exact quote referred to 30 pieces of silver and is thus a Judas reference. He betrayed them that he might live, which, perhaps he should've known better, I guess, but its a much more flattering light than that he took money to turn on them.

And phlebotinin, you're so right about hazy memories. It's like your wedding day, or the moments after you've been in, or witnessed a horrific accident, or the day someone you love dies in front of you. You're there, and so present at the moment, but the adrenaline creates this overload that makes it hard to recall specific details later.


I thought this was a great section and very apt. The rush of adrenaline at once hyper-realizes the moment and makes the memory dreamlike on later attempts to recall. Good stuff, barest_smidgen, as usual.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-05-28 06:04 ]
Yeah, I always took the Mr. Universe thing as a reference to Judas. I assumed most people would, since even if you don't 'know' the Bible, that's a pretty well known part(Jesus being crucified and the stuff that leads up to it). I never thought he was actually taking money, so I don't have a problem with his friends honoring him.
Just got back to my computer after the San Francisco screening and had to add my little comments. I totally freaked out when Wash was killed (my wife even more so). I hate to lose the character but I love what it does for the movie. Wash's death totally elevates the suspense of the final act. After Wash died, it truly seemed like anything can happen. I thought Whedon was going to go all Wild Bunch on us. I don' t think you get that white knuckle tension without Wash's death. However, I understand how a lot of people don't want to lose a character that great.

On a similar note, I say Joss should either lose the funeral scene all together or re-shoot something. It's kinda chessy and I felt the final scenes on the ship were enough but maybe something more with Zoe would be nice. A really strong Wash-Zoe scene early would be an excellent pick-up as well.

Oh yeah. Loved the movie. Very, very different than the TV show and still trying to get my head around that. Fillion was wonderful. He reminds me of Harrison Ford in his late seveties/ early eighties heyday, able to be funny, heroic & real all at the same time. You never forget that Mal is just a man trying to make the best decesions possible under often horrible circumstances. A great movie character and great performance to match.

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