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"Did you just say 'thoom'?"
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June 23 2005

(SPOILER) Reviews of tonight's sold out Serenity screenings. Well there may be another 99 days till general release, but today is a 'day of happy' for those got tickets. And this is the major spoiler thread for those who wish to post their reviews and thoughts. Update: Joss answered 5 questions at the Riverside screening, a partial transcript of this is available at the Browncoats forum (req reg and link contains major major spoilers).

Be warned - the very big jaw dropping spoilers will get discussed here.

omigod!!! River is made of chocolate!!!!!


couldn't resist.
I wanted to wait until the day of the screening to post this blurb from the Charlotte Observer about the screenings. It was in the paper last week.
Whee~ Freetalk on the front page! I'll contain myself 'till after the screenings, but I love it when this happens! Can't wait to hear who was where!
Can't wait to hear who was where!

Well, I'm right here.
Congratulations to everyone who gets to see Serenity for the first time! I've seen it twice, and although the second time was awesome two, there's nothing like the first time you see it. The shock of the plot twists will blow you away, and I am so happy more people get to experience that early, in an auditorium full of flans. Can't wait to hear about your experiences!

Instead of seeing Serenity, I'm going out for all-you-can-eat sushi with my family to celebrate my brother's birthday. I'll be thinking about my fellow Browncoats throughout the evening.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-06-24 03:59 ]
Have a great evening esg! I'm sorry you weren't able to get tickets to take your brother, but sushi...yum.
Ahh! It just started here in RI...why oh why am I at home?! Anyways, I just made Happy Birthday Joss chocolate chip butterscotch cookie bars that took me hours. So being the party girl I am, I think I'm off to bed. I am so happy I saw this movie when I did and can't wait to hear was first, second and third viewers think!
I just came back from the Charlotte screening. Chris Buchannan was there. Serenity was beautiful. I'm wrapping my head around everything right now. Shiny.

It was really good! I don't think Joss has done a better directon job than this. It didn't seem like "just another episode" it was a movie. Big, loud, and in overdrive. The trailer made it look like the movie was nothing but CGI space battles but they were few and far in between. Alot of the cgi is very well done. It all looked finished to me and not like placeholders. The music also sounded mostly done. The reavers weren't silly like I thought they would be. They were very well done and fuckin scary. I don't think I've been that scared and disturbed during a sci-fi movie in years(during the reaver sequences) and The Operative was a great villain. Not a 2d mustache twirling bad guy that you see in most movies. Nah, this guy had LAYERS. I actually understood why he was doing what he was doing and liked how his story ended. Everyone got their time in the movie and good lines. Yes, not everyone had a "arc" but its only a 2 hour movie. You can't force 9 character storylines into such a short space. Everyone was served well and given their due. The character backstory in the movie didn't intrude on me. I mean, it didn't feel like the long convulted exposition of "Conviction". It was actually organic and felt like real dialogue. Theres one shot in the movie, you'll know it when you see it. Total "power shot", we all started clapping and whooing at that scene.

Thats all I can say right now. I'll post more later. Or edit this post again.

[ edited by eddy on 2005-06-24 06:59 ]
This is the spoiler thread right? The one where I can say how absolutely wounded I was at the second big surprise?
Oh, and we got Sean Maher at the Toronto screening. More later. I have to digest this.
Just back from the Hartford screening. This is the second time I've seen Serenity (the first being on May 26th), and it looked much closer to a finished film this time. I didn't see much, if any, variations in the film quality (no overly dark or grainy scenes) like the first time. The opening credits are much better, matching the new logo (which, however, was not changed in the film). There looked to be a few scenes where special effects weren't totally finished. Specifically, the shot from below the Mule/hovercraft when Jayne is being pulled back up, there's still no sense of motion. Anyone else notice that? Aside from that one shot, I can't think of any others that were noticeably unfinished (enough to pull me out of the movie anyway).

it was much easier to follow the film the second time around. The first time was a bit of a whirlwind, this one I was able to really take everything in and, well, I still loved it. None of the movie fell apart for me on a second viewing, in fact, things I wasn't sure worked or were setup clearly the first time around, all worked perfectly this second time around. I love love love this film. The relationship between Zoe and Wash really stood out for me this time. They have all these great little moments throughout the film that I didn't notice before.

I brought my sister this time, who NEVER saw FIREFLY. She said she had no problem following SERENITY. She said it was easy to get a handle on all the relationships. And also called the film, "very witty." I don't know if she'll be borrowing my FIREFLY DVDs anytime soon, but I do know she at the very least liked the film.
WindTheFrog is exactly right...I was to overwrought the first time...everything, and I mean everything, makes perfect sense, and Mal's grim determination is existentially overpowering...he will believe...and even a sword through his mid-section won't stop him...when you see all his former stopping off points destroyed, the people slaughtered, and the look on his face...sheer genius.

That is wonderful that WindTheFrog's FF virgin sister "got" it...

The Reavers, who once seemed a tad contrived to me, have become not only plausible, but an utterly essential component of the FF 'Verse...otherwise, why torture River? Why kill so many people who've been in contact with her? Why be, after all, Evil?

Zoe's "She's pretty torn up, but she'll fly true, sir" went over my head last month, but not this time...bring on the water works...

What an incredible piece of work...just splendid...
WHY JOSS WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm gonna go cry in the corner.......................DAMN YOU JOSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love you man.
"Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo." :*(

Fantastic though. River's choreography was *brilliant*. I'm interested in reading the comics to see what happened between the series and the BDM...

I said it on the other thread. My first time - loved it - Morena there (NJ/NYC)

Finally winding down. Beginning to want sleep. Drained.

Q: How come I liked Wash better in this movie than ever before? A: Because Joss is really good at this movie making stuff and he wanted me to.

I will not give into name calling even at someone as dasterdly as Joss. No, on th eother hand, to hell with it I incredible filmmaker. There, I feel better now.

That is the second time someone mentioned the power shot. What was it?

I'll look for the answer tomorrow. B e d n o w.
newcj, when they open the door and you see all the dead reavers and River standing over them holding her swords. I said to a friend "if this was the tv show, that would totally be at the end of the opening credits".
The power shot. Or as we say in our house, the Buffy shot...
Ohhhhh. Thanks. I was trying to think of a group shot for some reason. Duh.

Really, bed now...really.
Ah, the power shot. Ah Joss, you delightful little jerk. Seriously. I love you. Even when you torture me so! The good news is we brought our friend, Captain Contrary, to the showing tonight to see what he thought. And he liked it, he really liked it. He plans on seeing it again and taking someone. . .

Liked it more this time. Loved the Power Shot. And ChrisinVirginia -- the same line knocked me over as well. Completely missed that the first time. . .
I went to the Houston screening. Summer was there with her father and grandfather (my mom even talked to Grandpa Glau!)

My mom has only seen 3 episodes of Firefly, but doesn't remember anything of it (she even asked me later "What's with the dinosaurs on the bridge? Did Wash always have dinosaurs?") but she really liked the movie. She even told the Universal rep that she was glad that she understood everything even though she wasn't very familiar with the show. I wasn't sure what she was going to think. She's not into fight scenes or violence of any kind. For most of the movie she was cowered in her seat with her hands over her face, but besides that she really liked it. She wasn't expecting it to be so funny and actually light at times. I think I may have FINALLY converted her!
Saw Serenity for the third time tonight. It looks much more like a polished and near-final film this time around. The new credits are great, the "River goes under the Alliance's spell" bright white/blueness at the bar in Maidenhead that also was new seems to go on a few seconds too long. I'm not sure if its new or I hadn't noticed it before, but Jayne has a line on Miranda which was in all three cuts about how all of the people died for no reason. This time, as he finishes the circling pan of the camera stops perfectly centered on Wash. It is a brilliant piece of foreshadowing.

Tonight also finally sealed the deal that my wife and I will be going to Comic-Con next month to see some Big Damn Heroes.

Joss should celebrate his birthday by inviting several thousand of his biggest fans out to see a great film that he wrote and directed every year!
Back from Portland. I echo the comments about the color timing apparently having been addressed in this cut. Also there appear to be a couple of extra beats in both the immediate aftermath of Wash and during the memorial at the end, which is reassuring from an understand-of-creativity standpoint because those were my only notes about the movie after I saw it the first time -- good to know Joss listens to me. ;)

Also: New mini-poster at this screening, which is actually a fold-out brochure. Point of interest: It no longer says "September 30" on the bottom -- it says "coming soon".
I noticed the changed lighting in Maidenhead as well. I was thinking that I wouldn't like it to stay that way through the entire scene, and it didn't. It gave a nice surreal quality to the scene and then snapped the viewer back to reality. Worked well for me.

All the actors did a fantastic job in my opinion, and I want them all to have very successful careers, but what strikes me more and more with my repeat viewings is simply that Nathan Fillion should be a Big Damn Star. He can convey so much without saying a word, takes a beating so well, gives a beating so well, and has great comedic timing. His performance is stellar no matter the scene - fast-paced, physical, funny, or still.

ETA: I forgot to mention the new, shiny fold-outs this time around, talking about Joss, his previous works, and each member of the crew. I was able to get two - so I can frame and cherish one and take the other to the office for my coworkers to view.

[ edited by Angela on 2005-06-24 09:52 ]
I'm glad that I've now seen it so that spoilers aren't even a remote temptation. It is good to see it unspoiled. But, ouch. And, ouch again. I am sad to not know Book's story, and I hurt for Zoe. I felt stabbed through the chest myself. But, through the pain, I still loved the movie. I'm ready to see it again. Well, maybe after a nap.
Yeah I got the brochure in my hand right now. I love having a bigger version of the crew shot.

Yeah Nathan was splendid. Theres this one scene, I've forgotten where it may have been when they're on the ship flying towards the reavers. He looks so sad and pained. I was afraid near the beginning that Mal would be *too* grouchy-pants but Nathan pulled it off with flair.

Summer Glau was also amazing. She had some of the most funny facial expressions like when Simon asks her "Are you Miranda?"

[ edited by eddy on 2005-06-24 09:55 ]
You know, k8cre8, I feel like I saw Book's story. I would love to see more of him - bring on the flashbacks - but I feel like The Operative's journey was a mirror of Book's. The discussion between Book and Mal when Book replies that he does not need to tell Mal his story one day strikes me. Obviously, he may well chose to keep it private and doesn't need to feel obligated to explain anything, but I also wonder if it wasn't Book feeling that Mal would see his story through what Book knew was coming.

I could well be reading more into that line than there is, but if we never see more of Book, I feel I know enough.
san francisco. just got back. it was my second time, and i echo that i was able to sit back and enjoy it more this time. still broke my heart in several places. all in all i liked it even more this time. no BDHs in SF. i love the fold-out brochure too. nice little summary and intro to the characters- wonder if this reflects how the new trailer will be different. oh, and miyu_tvp, if you're reading, thank you thank you thank you for the ticket. you're the best.
OK, I'll settle down and stop monopolizing this thread, but eddy, the scene that really hit me this time was when Nathan said, "This what I do." (Or was it "we do"? It's amazing that I forget something that simple after three viewings.) The camera stays on his face and an entire story is told simply by his eye movement and facial expression. Lovely.
Yes, the color problems from last time were solved this time, very crisp now in the beginning where before it was mega-grainy. And I didn't have timing issues, those have been resolved -- I thought the funeral was badly paced before but this time it was smoother and more grief-imbued.

We all signed the birthday banner in Providence and sang a REALLY off-key rendition of "Happy Birthday" for Joss.
I could well be reading more into that line than there is, but if we never see more of Book, I feel I know enough.

I don't think you're reading into it. The entire thread about belief is the key, and the intimation is that just as The Operative goes on an inner journey into his belief being taken away from him, Book once shared those beliefs and had something similar happen to him which took those beliefs away from him. Hence his search for new belief -- first in the Bible, and then in the crew of Serenity.
Angela -- you're right, I did get that image, that Book's story was much like the Operative's but, part of me was hoping to hear him tell it, or for it to be told. I'm not sure why. But, shooting down a ship is awfully telling, I guess. I'm also wondering how he came ot leave the ship in the first place, not that it matters, but, you know.

I wish Revenge of the Sith had been even 1/10 this good.

The banners went off well. The final count was 34 of the 35 cities. Can't Stop the Signal, indeed.
Also, 'Versal is now collecting hard data on repeat screeners. While the first Portland screening had a survey, the second did not. This one did, and it added a new question: "Including this viewing, how many times have you seen Serenity?"
Wow, so emotionally exhausted right now. As I come down off the roller coaster and digesting everything and reading everyone's comments, I can't help but love it more and more. It was my first screening (Vancouver, yay Jewel came!) and I'm so glad I stayed unspoiled.

Eddy, I loved that scene too. I think it was after he ordered the crew to make the changes to the ship so that they could go through Reaver space. The things he said to them, and the decisions he had to make .. but seeing his face alone in the corrider, it just made my heart break.

Never mind Sept 30, when can we get the DVD??

[ edited by plunk on 2005-06-24 11:24 ]
Just a wee note to say, I've added a link to the subject line to a transcript of the questions Joss answered at the Riverside screening.

Click here if you want to read what he said.
Well looks like someone beat me to it. Oh well. Sorry for repeating.

Back from Riverside, where Joss was. Second time seeing the BDM. Better than I remembered!!! Wrote some stuff on the non-spoiler thread, but here I'll say which five questions he answered.

First: "Why Wash?" He joked that Alan owed him money and then said, "The question should be why anyone? It makes the rest of the movie more compelling."

Second: "What was the pitch you gave to Universal to get this movie made?" "The 'Firefly' DVDs. That's it."

I don't remember the order of the last three, but they were:

"Who is Shepard Book really?" "Good question. Next question. Gotta save something" (for the trilogy).

"What is your favorite line?" He had a lot, but when Kaylee was saying goodbye to Simon on Beaumont and was telling him not to ride on anything with a certain kind of engine 'cause they fall right out of the sky (or something, can't remember the exact quote). He loved the way Jewel delievered the line.

"If you were given the opportunity to resurrect the series on TV would you? Or are you just interested in continuing in film?" He said he wouldn't pass up the opportunity. He's not done with these characters or actors and "I'm still Serenity's bitch!"

He mentioned the word "trilogy" a few times, but also said he didn't want to get his hopes up until "people other than us" saw the movie.
[ edited by einral on 2005-06-24 11:56 ]

[ edited by einral on 2005-06-24 12:01 ]
And yet again the spooky Whedonesque coincidence of two posters have the exact same thoughts strike again. What are the odds?

Cheers for your transcript einral :).

And I really wanted to be at that screening, sucks to live in Belfast sometimes.
I was at the Houston screening. I met Summer! She looked so beautiful! After she finished talking, I had to explain to my two friends (both Whedon virgins), "she's in the movie." And then when it started, I pointed and said, "that's her." They were like, "Oh, cool!"

Afterwards, she handed me my autograph and I told her that my daughters watch the show with me and that we totally loved her. She asked how old they were and asked if they came (they were out of town). Then she took the autograph back and wrote a personalized hello note to them! She's the greatest!

Summer: in case this part wasn't clear, your performance in the movie (and the series) was incredible and it was so obvious that you worked really hard to bring this great gift to us. Thank you so much for loving these characters and this story as much as we do; the crew of Serenity seems like part of our created family. Oh, and thank that Joss what's-his-name for us. I guess he's OK, too. ;)
I was at the Albany screening, and although I don't have much news to report, I did want to mention that my inside source (a manager at the Crossgates theater, incidentally the guy who hit the "play" button for us.) said that there were three Universal execs at our screening. Apparently they'd been there all day and had watched the movie twice before our screening. Oddly enough, Universal had rented out that theater for the entire day. My manager friend pointed one of them out to me before the screening, and he was talking like a maniac on his cell phone - arms waving all over the place. However, as far as I could tell, he was not present at our screening.

Another random tidbit - Albany got print #39 of Serenity. Oh, and the release date on the reel's box? Definitely said June 30th. I know that's not possible, but I asked my friend if he was *sure* the box said that and not September, and he gave me like 89089432 different reasons why it definitely said June. We got both the fold-out brochure and a mini-poster, and the brochure says "coming soon" but the mini-poster very clearly says "September 30". I wonder what Universal is trying to pull?
I saw it for a second time and thank god I did. For the first screening I was so overwhelmed with excitement and emotion that once the lights went down, I simply couldn't take it all in. There were huge chunks of the movie that were a blank to me afterwards. So frustrating and weird. This time I was able to relax and concentrate and wow!!! I lovedlovedlovedloved it. Serenity is an extraordinarily tightly constructed film. It's whip-smart, witty, scary, moving, sad and nail-biting. I'll eat Jayne's hat if this doesn't do well at the box office. I will eat Jayne's hat! Straw and all. I took my mother who's a Firefly fan but a Serenity newbie. She thought the film was dynamite, just superb.

The color was definitely better this time around. I didn't notice any real grainyness anymore. A few of the effects did seem slightly unfinished, though. Was it my imagination or was the music...well....louder this time? The first screening I barely noticed the music - it felt very placeholdery to me. I do hope that we didn't hear the final score last night, though. It wasn't up to the magnificence of Serenity.

Can I say again how amazing our BDH were on the big screen?

Book's death? Wash's death? They weren't any easier the second time around.
The Indianapolis screening was very cool. Ron Glass was there, watched the movie with us, then answered some questions afterwards. Very excited to see a BDH. Took two newbies with me, both were quite impressed. Also got a chance to help out a pair of fellow browncoats with some tickets, gotta love the Steak N Shake hookup!
Another random tidbit - Albany got print #39 of Serenity. Oh, and the release date on the reel's box? Definitely said June 30th. I know that's not possible, but I asked my friend if he was *sure* the box said that and not September, and he gave me like 89089432 different reasons why it definitely said June. We got both the fold-out brochure and a mini-poster, and the brochure says "coming soon" but the mini-poster very clearly says "September 30". I wonder what Universal is trying to pull?

I don't think they've done enough general advertising to make the release date next week! They don't even have a real poster out yet!

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-06-24 15:17 ]
Some of the pieces of music sounded quite....Fireflyish to me. But new. Either that's part of the actual soundtrack, or someone did a really good job of finding something that belongs in the 'verse.
lalaa, I agree that some pieces of the music sounded new and were more Fireflyish. Maybe part of the soundtrack is ready? But I want.....more. I don't mean that I want more Fireflyishness (although I'd love that; I loved the Western music flourishes), I just want *more.* I wasn't blown away by the music last night and I was on Firefly. Firefly's score rocked all sorts of ways. What I heard last night didn't. I dunno, maybe I'm being too picky?
Since Joss did say the soundtrack wasn't finished, then I think it is too soon too critique it. It was only a few minutes of stuff that sounded Fireflyish to me, so if that's what all was finished when the new prints were made, maybe they just threw that in there.
You're right guys. Last time I left thinking "And I didn't hear a single fiddle." This time I did. I might be crazy and I know I'm super exhausted, but I swear some of that music was new.

And do you know the very sad part about seeing the move a second time? Tears started streaming down my face a full 10 minutes prior to "I am a leaf on the wind."
You're not crazy, GrrrAargh. Definitely some of the music was new. I heard a fiddle or two, too. The credits were new, too. I was also fighting off a gigantic lump a full ten minutes prior to "I am a leaf on the wind." I was trying desperately not to let on to my newbie companion that a sad part was coming, or I might have started crying. And you're right to say it's probably too early to critique the score, lalaa. Even though the prints we saw last night were not the finished version, what we saw (and heard) was definitely new. Interesting. I had thought it'd be too expensive for them to strike 35 new prints of a not-finalized vesion. Perhaps they plan on more screenings? Otherwise, why do it for just one screening? Aren't prints extremely expensive?
Did anyone think that the music being played when River went all slayer sounded a lot like some of the background music in "Chosen"?
phlebotinin, I sat next to a few strangers last night (hubby and friend were in the row in front of me). Myself and the gal 2 seats over had seen the movie. The man in the middle had not. I'm sure he was wondering why both of us were crying through the gigantic space fight scene. He kept looking from one to the other to the screen. . .
Well glad to hear a good time was had. We almost went again ourselves since SNT kindly offered one of his extra tickets to us, but since we couldn't be sure to get the second one there, we opted not to go. (Can't really leave your wife out on the doorstep while you watch a movie, you know?) And of course now we learn someone had an extra ticket there that he couldn't get rid of.....grr argh. And yes we'd seen it already in Vegas and Joss was there then as well, but STILL!

We should be more adventurous and daring.....sigh.

Ahem, anyway I'm really glad to hear throughout all the screenings so far that there have been more than a few people who brought uninitiated friends and or family along and that the movie was generally liked as well as understood by them. It's really the closest we've gotten so far to unbiased non-fan reactions.
The BDM was great, of course. And this time was better than last. But there were a few minor things that took me out of the movie a bit:

1. When Mal is fighting the operative at the end, it seems like the wound he receives should be a little less severe. I really had trouble believing anyone could continue on like Mal does after being stabbed through the stomach like that.

2. Some of the Serenity shots (particularly at the beginning) seem unfinished.

3. I agree with WindTheFrog that something is a bit off (possibly regarding the sense of motion) during the Mule/hovercraft chase scene.

4. I still think if the Mule/hovercraft enters Serenity when they’re both moving quickly toward each other, it would be very difficult for the Mule to stop in time.

5. I’m still not crazy about those gravestones at the end.

6. I know this is really nit-picky, and I’m sorry, but during the River power-shot at the end, (when she’s standing there with her two weapons after killing the reavers) I couldn’t help thinking, “Ok, did she go up and press the button to open the door and then run back from the door and strike that pose to look cool for the rest of the crew?”
Yes, EdDantes, very gratifying (and relieving) that new viewers seem to be getting the movie.

Slightly off-topic, the SacBee article about the screenings earlier linked to Whedonesque was picked up by today's Washington Times. It's the exact same article, no editing, with the Serenity "primer", and a great cast photo. The article and photo take up more than half the page. They don't have it linked to their page, but I think it's great that other papers are now playing the movie up.

Re: River: Clearly, no power in the 'Verse can stop her!
Jewel Staite came to the Vancouver screening with her family; she was very sweet and funny and spent 45 minutes taking questions. It made me start considering if I had the money to go to the Flanvention in December.

What I am about to say may shock you - I am not a big "Firefly" fan. I love Buffy and Angel but "Firefly" just didn't grab me in the same way. I went to this screening because all of you were so enthusiastic about it and I do want to support Joss. The friend I took with me had never heard of "Firefly" before, nor does she particularly care for the genre, so I am happy to say we both loved the film! I am very glad I remained unspoiled for it because one of the best things about it was the tension. It was a "grip-the-edge-of-your-seat" thriller with (literally) heart-pounding excitement. Another wonderful, characteristically Joss element was the humour; it was very witty with genuinely laugh-out-loud moments. I am very much looking forward to seeing it again in all its finished glory (and hopefully in a decent seat this time). :-)
OK. Mal getting stabbed like he did and his still continuing at full force did seem a little problematic. He isn't Buffy, you know.
I wasn't bothered by Mal being wounded so badly yet carrying on as he did. His fantastically grim face at the end of the fight scene to me showed it all.....he was a fundamentally changed man at that point. He had found something to believe in (again). It felt to me like he had been fueled by the fires of transformative belief and that is what powered him through.

About the gravestones: the holographs seemed smaller this time and thus less bothersome to me. Am I nuts?

Great to hear about the non-Firefly fans loving the movie. These are the impressions I am dying to hear about. Bring 'em on! More! More! (Of course, I also love hearing from expert Whedonesquers who already loved the 'verse.)
Anne13, I echo phlebotinin's point about you non-fans (flans?) loving the movie. As for it being a "thriller with (literally) heart-pounding excitement", my wife said that her heart was pounding furiously during the first encounter with the Reavers...she even didn't want much to do with the Reavers, because, well...Reavers...and when the mule was safe inside Serenity, she thought to herself, well, thank God that's out of the way...
Love the movie... but having seen it before, I did start to think (before the moment happened), "how the hell DOES that door open when it does to reveal River at the end?" I like the idea of the person above of her pushing the button then jumping over to pose. :)
"About the gravestones: the holographs seemed smaller this time and thus less bothersome to me. Am I nuts?"

I don't know, but I may be nuts, too. They did seem smaller or less "in your face" this time. I'm not sure if that's just a perceptual difference between viewings or if something was actually changed. It did seem some of that scene was presented at different angles than in the previous version.

One thing I forgot that my son's girlfriend - a complete Whedon virgin - said was that if people come to the movie expecting to see a lot of exciting special effects (a la Star Wars) they might be disappointed; but for herself she didn't see the special effects being peripheral to the story as a bad thing. The story was what stood out, which was a plus for her.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-06-24 18:51 ]
Never mind Sept 30, when can we get the DVD??

Agreed, we'd pay $50-100 to be able to buy an official DVD of Serenity at our first "official" screening. Fanatical? You betcha.
I picture River attacking and hurling a Reaver at the door opening button. :]
I know this is really nit-picky, and I’m sorry, but during the River power-shot at the end, (when she’s standing there with her two weapons after killing the reavers) I couldn’t help thinking, “Ok, did she go up and press the button to open the door and then run back from the door and strike that pose to look cool for the rest of the crew?”

I wondered about that as well. I decided she had a third weapon which she threw at the door lock and opened it that way! or something.
Also, she can hit the button with her brain.
brownishcoat beat me to it. :-)
Man, wish I could have been at ALL of these, sounds like great stuff. When I went to the last PHX screening, there was no swag left, and we didn't have a BDH, but hey, Serenity! So no complaints here.

Could maybe a couple of you from each city clue us in as to what was said by the actors? Joss' Q&A has been posted, but not so much from the others...

My son made it to the Houston screening and was flabbergasted to meet Summer. He got her autograph but was too shy to ask her to personalize it (he's 18). He did snag her empty water bottle from her cupholder, though. He thought that was the coolest. And he LOVED Serenity. Although he did say that he had a hard time enjoying the rest of the film after Wash was killed. Oh, and he was a little freaked out by the ROARING standing ovation that Summer was greeted with, even though he yelled for her too. I told him that *hey*, we Browncoats luurrve our guys and we're not shy about showing it.
About Mal getting stabbed at the end and being able to continue the fight, I caught a line the second time around that I didn't before. He told the Operative that the nerves in that area were damaged in the war. I was like, "Oh! Okay, now it's not so unbelievable!" I laughed out loud, but was like the only one, so I don't think many people caught the line.

[ edited by einral on 2005-06-24 19:39 ]
Re nerve damage: That was about the paralysis hit that the Operative uses, bot the sword stab.
Amazing. Wash and Book's deaths broke my heart. I know I shouldn't trust Joss with loveable characters, but *sob*!

Ron Glass was at our screening. Incredible guy. Sat right in front of me, and since I was a total fan-boy, and brought my DVD set with me, he signed the cover of disc two for me... :) I am fairly certain he didn't sign anyone else's stuff, so I am incredibly grateful and lucky that he was so nice.

Very funny in his question and answer session. He grew up in Indiana, so he felt at home. :)

I also wanted to say how incredible the other flans were. It always makes me laugh when I have to introduce myself using 3 names.. (Hi! I am Melanie, angellove, and Jossian) and see the other person's face light up. The guys we sat next to (Thomas and Paul) were very funny and nice and Lucelia was very sweet. I also met Jerry Gordon (shakespeare), and he was so friendly and warm! Lots of hawai'ian shirts (wash! *sob*). Amazing group. We sang Jayne's song and the theme song, and then Happy Birthday to Joss.

I never thought Indianapolis would get a BDH... but I am so grateful and thankful we did. We also had 3 or 4 Universal reps who were very vocal, took pictures and notes. They seemed a tad surprised by the enthusiasm at times, but thought it was very cool. I can't imagine they will have anything bad to say back at the home office!

I took my roommate, who hasn't seen a lick of Firefly (but seriously plans on it) and she enjoyed the movie quite a bit. Followed along and even helped me understand one part!! I think I knew too much, or was too overwhelmed or something!

I was a serious spoiler whore at the end of both buffy and angel, and really regret it. I have been spoiler free for Lost and for Serenity, and I am so very glad.

I can't wait to see it again!
I saw Serenity on May 26 and decided to give others a chance this time. The one thing that I missed in the movie was the score...I feel that music can make SUCH a huge difference in your emotional experience. Thank you so much for reporting that you heard the sound of a fiddle!!!! I can't wait to see it again!
Summer didn't do a Q&A, so there wasn't much she said beyond her welcome when she arrived. Though she did have a lot of little conversations with the fans while she was signing autographs. I was behind two women who looked alike, and Summer asked if they were sisters (they were) and she told them that she has sisters and they all look the same too. I was also near two ladies wearing Jayne hats, and Summer was extremely impressed when they said that they finished knitting them while they were in line for the movie. She excitedly exclaimed, "Oh! I wish Adam was here! He'd love that!"

Summer was extremely nice. Maybe a little shy and quite softspoken, but she was definitely genuine and seemed to enjoy talking to the fans.

In person, she's so small and has such a soft little voice. But on screen--wow. That girl kicks ass!
theonetruebix said:

Re nerve damage: That was about the paralysis hit that the Operative uses, bot the sword stab.

Oh. Okay, well I just hadn't heard anyone mention it before. I guess that makes more sense.
Man some people are really upset about Wash. I guess I kinda was too, but upset in that good way when something that upsetting makes sense thematically. The more I thought about it, the more I started to think that Joss probably would've killed him first in the Series too. If you think about it, no single character's death would have had more impact on any other character than Wash's did (or would) on Zoe.

[ edited by ringworm on 2005-06-24 20:06 ]
There were a couple of great re-edits and lots of nice little effects shots (glow from guns and stuff of that nature, along with the River flashback involving Miranda) added. Couple of scenes seemed a couple of lines longer to me and loved the little tweaks, they made it just so much better, especially Mal taking a little time alone and looking pained before the Reaver flyby on the way to Miranda. Color and luminance balance was an incredible improvement as was the other cleanup and post changes for lighting. Very nice. Also loved the musical changes and additions. As impressed as I was before, I was blown away again. Imagining River tossed something or someone at the button :)
Thanks, zeitgeist, I was wondering about the differences.
New dialogue? Really?
Re Mal's wound - regular joes have been known to lift cars with enough adrenalin and the right motivation. Forcing himself to keep going with a gut wound for a few minutes is not remotely unbelievable for an experienced soldier and outlaw who truely believes in what he's doing. Five'll get you ten, he collapsed more than once on his way back to the group though ;p

Re the opening door - Now i'm confused on this... I thought it could only be opened from the inside? Didn't one of the crew have to have opened it? What use would hiding behind blast doors have been if the Reavers could just hit a button and make them open?

One thing I noticed last night that was, imo, pretty damn cool artistically: tonally this is an incredibly dark film, yet we spend an amazing amount of time in incredibly bright locations, especially like the high shot on Miranda which looked almost like the White Room from Angel.

[ edited by Bayne on 2005-06-24 20:59 ]
The place Inara was living at was gorgeous. Did they ever give a planet/moon name?
She was at 'the Academy' which one might guess would be the Companion's Guild Academy... I think the series said that was on Sihnon, didn't it?
Wee question here, how many people who have seen the movie will be buying Keith DeCandido's novelisation?
Of course, knowing that Joss is a Peckinpah fan, after Wash's death, (and I swear, I felt like I was hit in the chest too, it was that shocking and painful), I had this horrible feeling that Joss was going to "go all Wild Bunch" on us, and it gave me real fear for Kaylee and Simon, and, really, everyone. In those moments, I cried again, feeling that any hope of any of them surviving was slipping away, despite the fact that such a thing would make any sequels, well, pretty difficult. This *isn't* the Buffyverse, where the dead can easily re-appear.
Novelization- I doubt I will buy it. But yes to the Serenity comics.

I saw the movie for the first time last night in Chicago with my boyfriend, also a huge fan. I cried a lot when Wash was killed - then kinda kept crying the rest of the movie - except when I was laughing. Also Book dying was not making with the happy. It was surprising in a way but this is the Joss that killed Fred and also Tara. The survival of the rest of the characters is then made so much more precious.
I'm probably not going to buy the novelization. Maybe. This is one I'd consider buying. But, I don't usually buy them, I've read a few, and was disappointed.
"Why Wash?" If Joss won't tell you, I will! (Well, in a rank-speculation kind of way....)

I had actually guessed that Wash might die based on Joss's MO, which is to be horrible to his characters and kind to his actors. Think of what a gift he gave to Amy Acker with the character of Illyria, while also doing the single most horrible thing a writer could do to a character in a supernatural context.

Joss HAD to get rid of at least one and probably two of the characters in this film. Nine is a lot for a TV show and near impossible for a film franchise. Of all of the actors, Alan Tudyk's career has really been taking off recently, popping up in all kinds of movies, replacing Hank Azaria in Spamalot, etc. All signs point to a very healthy, long career as a go-to character actor regardless of how "Serenity" does.

The others I'm sure will do reasonably well, but they "need" to be in Serenity II a lot more than Tudyk who might reasonably fear that getting typed too much as Wash could actually limit his choices in years to come.

That's why I think Joss chose Wash and I think the way it was handled was near perfect. Fans of Western and war pictures realize, I think, that these moments of tough, ugly decisions, like the decision to use the bodies to "dress up" Serenity, have to be made in life and death situations and it's part of the fascination of the genres. It's also actually true that people in those situations tend to numb-out when tragedy happens so they can deal with the moment and "save" the inevitable grief for later. Zoe's definitely tough enough and has quite possibly lost people almost as close to her before in similar situations. I totally bought how it was handled.

When I was playing the guessing game, I thought. "But if he kills Wash, who'll be the pilot?"...I thought the answer to that was pretty freakin' clever, too.

I have far more concerns/quibbles about the death of Book (I wonder if there was studio pressure on account of age), but I'll leave that for another post, maybe.

[ edited by bobster on 2005-06-24 21:48 ]
I have far more concerns/quibbles about the death of Book (I wonder if there was studio pressure on account of age), but I'll leave that for another post, maybe.

I post this too often in various places, originally after the first screening, but let me do it again, because Book's death is necessary from a mechanical standpoint of constructing the story. What follows is a segment reprinted verbatim from what I posted to the 'Versal boards after the first screening.


One thing I think I've rarely ever seen a film pull off is the sheer sense of real threat and danger at the end, which would not have been the experience without the death of Wash. Here we get Joss doing what needs to be done in order to tell a proper story, even if it means pissing off the very fans for whom he made this movie to begin with. But that's why we trust him: He goes where the story requires going. Period.

It's difficult, to have lost two of our Big Damn Heroes. But the story intent was clear: Book's death is there to make the audience think that the "oh, a character close to them died, so the threat is real" moment has happened.

But that's just the bait. Wash is the switch which moves the film beyond the cliche of having a character die. In the cliche version, it doesn't FEEL like a threat or like danger, it merely STANDS FOR the idea that the threat or danger is real. But you don't FEEL it.

In a lesser movie made by lesser hands, Book's death -- the "stands for" but not the "feel" -- would have been the end of it.

What happens to Wash needed to happen in order for the entirety of the rest of the final battle to play out in a way that made us feel entirely at sea, convinced at that point for real that at any given moment, we might very possibly lose yet another one of our BDH, a third one, as impossible as the idea might seem.

We don't, of course, lose a third. But I know that I, and as near as I could tell most of those around me as well, felt very much like all bets were off once Wash was killed.

That's a ballsy and rare thing for a filmmaker to pull off, and Joss cements my opinion of him for daring to do it, as much as it hurt.
I too was devestated by Wash's death. I was numb after that, I think that's why I couldn't think to say much to Sean when he was signing autographs.

It's the next day, and I still feel numb, and I need to figure out how to keep this from my best friend until she gets to see the movie...
4. I still think if the Mule/hovercraft enters Serenity when they’re both moving quickly toward each other, it would be very difficult for the Mule to stop in time.

They're actually moving in the same direction. The reaver ship is chasing the mule, with Serenity moving towards them in the opposite direction. The mule does a U-turn (now in the same direction as Serenity and facing the reaver ship), Serenity scoops up the mule, the reaver ship crashes head-on into Serenity and front of that ship goes into the cargo bay, which is how the reaver gets on the ship.
I think you make some very good pointsTheOneTrueBix. People expect the kind of death Book has and are used to it. It makes Wash' end all the more of a shock even when you're not a fan.

I also think that Book was the other side of the coin of the Operative. In being that he used to be probably something very similar. It fitted perfectly with the belief theme of the movie.

Wee question here, how many people who have seen the movie will be buying Keith DeCandido's novelisation?

Well, normally I'd say 'not me'. I've never been a fan of novelizations of movies. But I did read 'Sith' recently and I was (while not blown away) pleasantly suprised by how it added to the movie and gave insight into characters that the screen version lacked. And probably the best swordfights in prose form I've ever seen. So I might give Serenity a try. (And a definite yes to the comics)
"He told the Operative that the nerves in that area were damaged in the war. I was like, "Oh! Okay, now it's not so unbelievable!" I laughed out loud, but was like the only one, so I don't think many people caught the line."

Oh, I got this both times. I just thought it was a little out there as an explanation.

Oh, and regarding Book. I think he's the show's Angel character. He had a dark past, probably as an operative for the Alliance. He did unconscionable things as an operative and at some point something happened that he realized he couldn't live with. He spent the rest of his life trying to atone for what he'd done by being a man of God and working to help (the helpless).

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-06-24 23:08 ]
I don't think Book's "atonement" was about being a man of God. It was about having belief in something to replace the belief he lost during his previous life as... whatever he was.

This is precisely why, once on board Serenity, Book finds himelf able to do things that might not seem particularly Godly. Since the issue for him was one of belief in and of itself, he found that he could believe in that crew.

It didn't matter what he found to beleive in. It only mattered that he found something to believe in.

Which is wher we leave The Operative at the end of this movie.
theonetruebix, I think you are right about the deaths. We didn't feel as much when Book died because he wasn't a big part in the movie, and for nonfans his death wouldn't mean anything. But no one unspoiled expected the Wash hit however. I was so sad, and felt worse for a girl behind me who couldn't stop crying. So yes, I'm totally laughing as Wash cracks his last little joke and then is gone. And then not laughing.

(I had read it was Simon, so not that I was happy but that accidental 'spoiler' had me waiting for Simon's death the whole time and I'm glad that didn't happen.)

God! Joss DID rip my guts out, and I knew it would happen but it didn't lessen the shock. I wasn't pleased that Book died without any more exploration of his character. My only consolation is hoping we can still learn about him somehow after he's gone. At least a little. I like the observations about the Operative and the paralells. I think they are on key.

So we pondered all the way home who would fly the ship. New pilot maybe? River's just gonna do everything? Who knows.

My GOD the money shot was MONEY! I loved it!!!! And of course someone right next to me made the inevitable Buffy comparison... but I didn't mind a bit because I was thinking the same thing. River kicks ass better than we thought, eh?

I thought late in the movie I hadn't heard many fiddles, just a bit here and there. Seems to me more music will be added. There seemed to be gaps and editing things left, but certainly nothing major.

And of course I never expected Serenity dressed up like a Reaver ship. Damn cool.

So, Jamie, Paul, Tyler, and Adam, it was great to meet you all and so fun to see the movie with others who care just as much. Afterwards, I think we all just felt like Drusilla... Do it again! Do it again! I don't think we'll ever get enough.

If Serenity doesn't offer hope to some in this summer's drought of great movies (ok, there are some good ones but you know), nothing will. Do you know what it means that I couldn't even leave to go to the bathroom? This never happens in movies. I always get up two or three times. Ida stayed put for 4 straight hours last night.

You just don't need loads of CGI for a Big Damn Movie. Not when a real story is there! If the movie lacked anything, it was TIME and I don't fault Joss a second for having only two or so hours to tell the story. My only concern is waiting another three months now for the release. Don't know how I'll do it. I plan to see it every showing the day of the release, at the very least. I know I missed some lines and of course some foreshadowing. I can't think of when I've last seen a film so jam-packed with s t o r y.
I don't think Book could of been an operative, because remember the operative said there was no record of his existance, while book has to have had a record based on what happened in the Firefly episode Safe.
I don't think Book could of been an operative, because remember the operative said there was no record of his existance, while book has to have had a record based on what happened in the Firefly episode Safe.

Obviously, The Operative had some kind of record, because his handprint recognition was enough to make the scientist realize he had a Parliamentary Override. Book's ID information could have simply said "Parliamentary Override" or some such.
I wasn't convinced Book was dead until I saw his grave. Wash's death was so hard! The whole theater was laughing at his "leaf" bit and then *wham* silence.

When Wash died, I wasn't convinced any of the characters were safe, not even Mal! When Zoe, Kaylee and Simon got hurt everyone sitting around me kept saying "Is Joss going to kill them all????"

It is an amazing feeling to be affected so deeply by a movie, especially since it is so damn rare these days. Thank you, Joss.
Did anyone else find the kids in the opening sequence to be jarringly "look-at-me-I'm-in-the-school-play-and-now-I-get-to recite-my-lines"?
I think the school play aspect (although I didn't really notice) can be explained away easily by the fact that this is a "dream" that River is having as opposed to an actual memory.
I still believe that Books past will come back to haunt us in the future. With River's story being the centerstage of the first Serenity, one of the main running threads of Firefly was well solved. Joss know pretty well, which are the other huge holes in the Verse mythos, that still need to be touched upon.

Okay, i'm already spoiled, couldn't resist, from the thread of the first screening. I'm one of those people that get so desperate reading a book, that will even flip through the final pages of a book, just to have a glimpse of what's about to come. But reading it, is still not the same thing, now I'm expecting the impact of it flashing in front of my face, and how will I process it during the episode. Joss tend to hit me hard in these things. Even now rewatching, old Buffy, Angel or Firefly episodes, I still get moved, almost the same way as the first time, I've watched them.

You think waiting three months is long? I have to wait until November 11th to finally get an official release. I might not resist, and decide to explore alternative loopholes granted by the magic of internet. I really wished they'd do a test screening over here, but marketwise is not as interesting. The number of people touched by firefly, is not as large as in the North Hemisphere, or even in Australia. We don't have a accessible way to promote the show, since there's no local release of the DVDs (people, like myself, who own a set, all had to import it).

I'll be getting myself krad's novelization, I might read it only after watching the movie itself, but I'll be purchasing mostly due to my fanatic collector personality. Does someone know when does it come out?

Been wondering myself, who's going to pilot the ship from now on? Does this question gets answered at the end of the movie? I do agree wiyh boster assesment, on the need to trim down the cast in the movies. You did post this same argument before didn't you? Cause I do remember reading this in some thread before.

I was watching yesterday, that video from wondercon panel. And Joss was asked about whether he'd consider hiring asian actors to the cast. I know technicaly the Tams, are chinese descedents I suppose, on the show, but we've never seen clearer chinese characters interact with the cast in a deeper way. Does this western-eastern culture mix up, gets touched in Serenity?
I'm one of those people that get so desperate reading a book, that will even flip through the final pages of a book, just to have a glimpse of what's about to come. - Numfar PTB

Wha! Gasp. Sputter. Bad Numfar. :)

Back to what m'cookies said about the kids in the opening sequence. Since this is an implanted memory, I see the other kids' exuberance being strategic. In attempting to plant the views as expressed in the sequence in River's head and form a solid opinion for her, the eagerness obviously apparent in the kids around her is another way that the memory could have been more easily assimilated into her thoughts.
angellove, I felt the same way at the May screening! I went into the movie with the idea that Book was probably gonna die, but I really didn't believe any other character was expendable. Then I was convinced that Simon was gonna die and was like, "Ah! This is too much on my heart!" I was so sad with Book, but I agree with most anyone that I felt like I was stabbed in the chest when you see that spear go through Wash. I lost it all over again when Kaylee was like "Where's Wash" and Zoe said "Wash isn't coming". The whole movie from that point on just killed me. It sounds like there was much improvement in the film (not that it wasn't already near perfect!!) and I am so excited for more! Hopefully, there will be atleast one more screening so I can go once more before September (unless it gets an earlier release date...) BTW, I watched 'Ray' last night and Mr Universe was in it :) I was so excited...anyways, glad everyone loved it!

"Been wondering myself, who's going to pilot the ship from now on? "

This is basically answered during the ending sequence of the movie. It appears that Mal is taking over the reins, along with River who apparently also knows how :) Also, the dialouge that goes on between River and Mal at the end very much reminded me of the end of Objects in Space when they have their little moment on top of Serenity. Just a thought :)

[ edited by MySerenity on 2005-06-25 01:22 ]
I have a Tshirt with Wash on it and the lines "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal". I couldn't wear it today. And it suddenly struck me how apropos the line was. Joss does it to us everytime. It is inevitable. And oh, how painfully sudden.
MySerenity, "Mr. Universe" is also on Numbers, a new this season show playing a math genius. Its good, I enjoy it. And isn't he a hottie, now? I remember him from Slums of Beverly Hills, and wow, he really changed his appearance since then.

And Lioness, you're so right about that quote.
You know, just after it happened, the line "Curse your sudden, but inevitable betrayal," went through my head, and wow did it take on such a different tenor.
haha, Willowy, I remember when he played a elf in that Tim Allen movie about Christmas (I don't know the name). He really has turned into quite a good looking fellow, if I do say so myself :)
A few details from the Q&A with Ron Glass. (This is an excerpt from my LJ post on the screening.) I see a couple of other folks from the Indy showing have posted here. Am I the only one who felt the Q&A was awkward considering the circumstances?

"As a final point to the evening, boy was the Q&A with Ron Glass afterwards awkward. For starters, his part was very small (he filmed for 3 days) and his character died! Sheesh, what do you say? There was complete silence in the theater during his death scene. By comparison with Wash there were laughs followed by horrified gasps. And, as someone mentioned during the Q&A, once 2 characters were killed you realized anything might happen. Mal could very well die with the mission uncompleted. Naturally, Ron was asked about his reaction to being written out and he held out hope for a prequel or, as Joss told him, "Anything can happen in the universe." Someone also asked him about the cliche that the black guy always dies. He turned that away by saying he was from Evansville and he didn't think that way. Another person asked how the other actors reacted to his character's death and whether he had known beforehand or discovered it while reading the script. At first he joked that Joss had called him saying the script was being sent over and that there was "good news and not so good news." Then he said Joss had warned him before he read it. He also said the other actors put their feelings into their onscreen portrayals, but then offscreen just went "Fuuuuuuuuck!" He also hinted that in the movie's final cut there might yet be more changes."
Gah... To paraphrase my girlfriend's verbal meandering's after the show:

"Why? Why couldn't Joss just let one couple be happy and alive? Nooooo. And how can he kill the plucky comic relief? That's not allowed!"

I knew it was going to happen (gorram accidental spoilers!) but it still hit me hard. And Book, too. The dialogue was great, and the revelation of the source of the Reavers was creepy and made perfect sense.

And the whole plan to get past the Alliance blockade is gutsy to the point of stupidity.
The second viewing for me yesterday, and it was intense. I mean, the print was so much better, and the film generally flowed better for me visually-speaking, and I sat there for 2 hours essentially trying to soak everything up I missed or glossed over the first time because it's gonna be months till I see it again, and I think I liked it better the second time.

It's like this: Joss rips your heart out, slowly, and make you love it. And every time you see it again, it hurts even more exquisitely and beautifully. The second viewing, when Wash dies and Zoe stoically says, "he ain't coming", I felt my stomach drop anew in sadness. Joss makes pain exquisite, and it gets better every time I go through it. Like the B/A scene in "Becoming, part 2" or Wesley's death in NFA, the sadness gets sweeter each time I watch.

I can't wait for general release, and the DVD. Just for the sweetness of the individual moments: Simon's near-death scene, River fighting the Reavers, Inara's smile souring as she meets the Operative, Jayne playing the guitar, Kaylee advising Simon away from X-class of ships, Mal's low-slung pants and lack of shirt... the first viewing, I loved the movie for impact and surprise. This time, I savored it. I don't know how other people experience their Joss-works, but he works for me better each successive viewing. I liked "Objects in Space" until I saw it the third time, and LOVED IT.

.. also, took a newbie and she was a friend of a friend, so I couldn't pump her as intensely as I wanted to, but she liked it a lot, could even remember Wash's name afterwards ("he was the pilot, right?"), would totally see it again in a few months, and wants the DVD. I'm really impressed b/c she's not a SF fan at all, more of a movie fan, and still liked it.
"Why? Why couldn't Joss just let one couple be happy and alive? Nooooo. And how can he kill the plucky comic relief? That's not allowed!"

Well, Simon and Kaylee looked pretty happy and certainly alive ;p
Mal and Inara were having definite possibilities as well.

As for the comic relief, though, he killed both Anya and Fred and removed Xander's eye... Joss's comic relief tends to be in more danger than the other characters ;p
Accepting that a couple characters had to go because 9 was really too many to do justice to in 1 or even 3 movies, and accepting that Book, as much as we love him and want to know more about him, was the one who was most on the periphery of the story, it made sense to me that Book should be first to go. It also made sense that Wash should be the next to go.

To the question, "Why Wash." I agree that arguements could have been made for most of the characters, but some of the ones that make sense to me for it being Wash were these.

1. He was the most settled character. He seemed to have everything he wanted. He had a wife who loved him, a job that satisfied him and kept him close to his wife. He did not have much inner conflict. He added light humor and a softer side that pointed up the hardness and conflict in the other characters. All of that is great, but it is also less important to the story being told than what some of the other characters bring who do not have settled relationships or who are not at peace with themselves. Bottom line: Wash was comfortable and this is not about being comfortable. Wash was not going anywhere very new unless Joss shook-up his story line.

2. It puts Zoe in a very different situation. Zoe is one of the most central characters and the closest to Mal. What happens to her affects him deeply. She is now maritally unattached, and in mourning. She had to put her feelings aside while they were fighting, which she was only partially successful at doing. When a person does that, they do not always have immediate access to their feelings again for a while. Also being trained to put aside feelings in a battle and get the job done, she is most likely going to have an even harder time dealing with Wash's death when it finally hits her. Her dreams have been smashed. She had wanted to start a family. Will she decide to have a baby anyway, will she give up on relationships of any kind or will she go a totally different way? ( Joss does not seem to like to deal with babies or small children in his work, but things could change and it certainly would be interesting to see what that would do to the dynamics of the crew. )

3. With Kayle and Simon's relationship having actully started and the indication that if/when there is another movie Mal and Inara's relationship will be delt with, there is a lot of coupling among the characters. With Wash gone, that is going to be that much harder for Zoe. (see 2) It also means that one or more relationship story can have some happiness without it getting sappy and seeming like everyone is going to pair up and live appily ever after. (Can't have that.;-) )

4. River seems to have been "cured" by doing what she had been programmed for. She can go in any number of directions and fill some of the empty spots that Wash's absence will leave, while at the same time being an extremely complex character.

5. It hurt everybody including the audience. Wash was the totally nice, totally moral guy who everybody, characters and audience liked to some degree. And if Wash's death did not get you because of your own feelings for Wash, it would because how horrible it is for Zoe. She had already lost so much and yet managed to find a balance that included loving a good man. It tears at the heart for her to have lost that after what she has already been through.

There is more, but this is way too long already.
Something else on my mind: did anyone else think that Early's (Objects in Space) character beared a resemblance to the assassin in Serenity? When I first saw the previews, I assumed it was the same character (just a different actor for other reasons). He had the same calmness and creepiness. Obviously the assassin in the movie (The Operative) had more character development, but I still see similarities.
I don't see a resemblence. Early's face is thinner than Nameless(operative).
4. River seems to have been "cured" by doing what she had been programmed for. She can go in any number of directions and fill some of the empty spots that Wash's absence will leave, while at the same time being an extremely complex character.

I'll agree with your other reasons, newcj, but I don't think River's anywhere near cured. She's better and the Miranda secret was probably one of the worst by sheer volume that was floating in her head, but there will be more secrets in there as well. She was in close proximity to several 'key members of parliament' and this kind of governing body is pretty much the breeding ground of those things. She also spent over a year next to those scientists doing illegal medical experiments on her and others. And beyond all that she isn't out of it, imo, just because of the pain of the secrets. There's going to be a certain amount of damage there forever because they physically cut into her brain repeatedly.

Something else on my mind: did anyone else think that Early's (Objects in Space) character beared a resemblance to the assassin in Serenity? When I first saw the previews, I assumed it was the same character (just a different actor for other reasons). He had the same calmness and creepiness. Obviously the assassin in the movie (The Operative) had more character development, but I still see similarities.

On the surface, they're fairly similar, but dig deeper - the similarities don't last very long. The Operative is the ultimate assassin working to build a world without sin. Early is a heavily disturbed bounty hunter who gets off on pain. Early's creepy calmness was only skin deep, whereas the Operative's is rock solid standing on a core of religious fanaticism. River managed to fake out Early with just a few well chosen words. The Operative was still calm and hanging on like a bulldog even after Mal shattered every expectation he ever had by escaping repeatedly and then dragging the Reavers into the Alliance fleet.
I would have to agree with Bayne regarding River. Regardless of her saying she felt "normal" again, what does that mean? She has effectively been tortured, her brain cut into, etc. Is it even possible to be "normal" after that? And this raises questions about her suitability to pilot or co-pilot Serenity. OK, she seems to know what she is doing, but could she be emotionally stable enough? Without her finding some role within the crew, however, she becomes somewhat extraneous -- so it will be interesting to see what Joss does with her next (notice the way in which I assume there will be a "next"). I just cannot believe he would resort to having her be suddenly cured after this film, without any aftereffects. Too cheap. And I don't think doing away with Wash was a way to trim the crew for the benefit of future films. Serenity will still need an experienced pilot, IMO, and that opens the possibility of a new castmember, and potential tensions, romances, etc.
Ooooh, can you imagine how much Zoe would hate the new pilot? That would make for some great tension! As long as it was a man, anyway. I can't see her sniping a woman pilot. I don't think that would remind her enough of her husband. But to see another man in that seat? Angst alert!

I also agree that River should still be troubled. Perhaps less insane than before, but still an unpredictable head case. That said, I would like to see her experience some stillness of mind. She's earned it.
Dottikin, I agree whole-heartedly. I loved the movie the first time and would willingly have sat through it again right away if I'd been given the opportunity, but Thursday night was even more intense in a way. The first time we had an 8-hour car trip to think about it and meeting Browncoats in a different city, so I was distracted, while simmering underneath. I came out of the theatre after the Q & A with Chris Buchanan (in Portland on the 26th) not able to talk about the movie, but kept waking up all night thinking about different scenes and then on the road trip home the next day, every few miles, one of us would bring up a scene or a thought - and for days after, especially since we could only talk about it with three other people in our group!

This time I distracted myself with a lot of organizing ahead of time - the birthday banner for Joss, making brownies for the Browncoats and chocolate chip cookies for the theatre staff - but underneath I was calmly waiting for 10 o'clock. Of course, first of all, I got to be the one to supply the tickets for Jewel's mother, husband and friends and we presented Jewel with her own fan-autographed copies of the DVDs. (Apparently someone borrowed hers and didn't return them.)

Then it was time for Joss's message which makes me tearful, no matter how many times I hear or read it. And then, the show. I did notice the quality of the film had improved and that some of the music sounded more as if it belonged, and was a bit more aware of some of the camera angles and the impressiveness of the long shot at the beginning, but mostly I was fully drawn in. Until - the beginning of the descent and Wash first says "I am a leaf on the wind". I wanted to grab the arms of my friends on either side of me, but I figured that would be a giveaway, especially once they were laughing and I was not, but still clutching their arms, so instead I practically mangled my bottle of water and completely tensed every muscle in my body from my neck down. I also felt as if I hadn't breathed for about 10 minutes.

The biggest compliment I can pay Joss about this movie is that I didn't cry. I couldn't, I felt as if my heart had been ripped out. I couldn't cry, I couldn't breathe, I could hardly talk. He did that to me several times in Season 7 of Buffy, and yet I still come back for more.:)

And now that it's two days later and I've been able to process things better, I still haven't been able to talk to anyone who was seeing it for the first time and get their reactions! And I still woke up several times Thursday night with various scenes and themes in my head. But that's one of the many reasons I come to Whedonesque.
Bayne & Palehorse, I agree with you. Actually that is why I put "cured" in quotation marks and pointed out that she was still a complex characcter. As the post was already so long, I did not want to go into a long thing about River when the post was supposed to be about Wash and by extension Zoe.

It was indicated in the movie that she was better (it should be very interesting to see what that actually means) and she was shown to be functional at the end of the movie, but of course experiences like hers do not just go away. Even if she had not had all the horror of the alliance torture, the experience of slaughtering as many humans as she did during the fight would have enormous repercussions. She is a character that is rich with possibilities. On one hand she is a teenager, who seems rather sweet, seeing the universe for the first time. She is also an amazingly compent and valable asset. At the same time she has experienced horrors and has had unknown things done to her that she and anyone around her will have to deal with. Anything could be triggered, as no one knows all of what has been done to her.
Has anyone considered the possibility that Book was a former member of the Parliament? I think it makes sense and explains why he left the Alliance in search for God. And also why he could talk himself out of sticky Alliance situations in the past. Heck, Book could have been the main proponent of the Miranda project! I think it was at least hinted at in the movie (though I could be reading into things), and even if it isn't what Joss had in mind, it makes sense to me, so I'm running with it. :p

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