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August 26 2005

(SPOILER) Two new 'Serenity' reviews from Edinburgh. One mixed ("I enjoyed watching it but I never felt I was watching anything more than a good b-movie"), one positive ("In short, it rules") from the Edinburgh premiere.

I think Whedonites are edging dangerously close to the Scientologist arena.

What is that supposed to mean? Seriously, I don't see any similarities between Joss fans and Scientologists at all. I live right next door to the Church of Scientology and those guys? Cree-py. But Joss fans? We're just excited about the stories we love. Something wrong with that?

...Eh, ok, anyway, back to the review...

HudsonVC, please mark this with a spoiler tag. The second review hints at something spoiler-free people won't want to know.

The first reviewer just doesn't get the way Joss writes. Too jokey? I guess some people just don't like Joss' style. Fair enough. But I don't agree. Serenity is as humorous as the show, in my opinion. It fits.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-08-26 07:44 ]
From the first review: "I can live with one character getting funny lines but does every single character need to crack a joke at some point?"

Umm, you're totally right, I only know one funny person and the rest of us make sure never to crack jokes, 'cause, you know, that would be too much. One thing you definitely don't want in a movie is more than one person being funny. What's most important is that you have a funny guy, a nerdy person, an angry person, you know, enough cliched archetypes so that its just like every other thing that comes along... definitely want to avoid having to think or being challenged by what you see.

Sorry was that sarcasm? Lemme check... oh, hey, look, it does say zeitgeist below this post, must be :)

ETA: I'm trying to ignore the Scientologist crack as Quint baiting Herc, though my eyes hurt from rolling at it.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-08-26 07:38 ]
Hey, zg, cliched archetype is how we do it on Whedonesque, so that's how everyone else should do it. You're the zany guy, I'm the eccentric Brit-in-L.A., ZachsMind is the . . . well, he knows what he is (and where is he anyway?), Willowy is the snappy gal . . .OK, I'm running out of epithets. Silly idea anyway. And all-too silly comment.
SNT, which one am I? Oh, wait. Maybe I don't want to know.

Zeitgeist, you crack me up.
Quint must have had some bad experiences with uber fans. But he shouldn't let that colour his views of the Whedonverse. After all, AICN is full of uber fans of many stripes, why should the appearance of another strain be worthy of a putdown. And yeah, ZG , the scientology crack is uncalled for.

I haven't seen the movie so I really can't comment, but the second commentator made much more sense especially because he/she actually argued his/her points. And it is also good to have the view of a writer (the first one) largely unfamiliar with the Whedonverse.
SNT, electricspacegirl -- :)

Drifter -- yeah, considering that Quint puts up with people in AICN talkback forums, you would think that he knows from bad/scary/rabid... guess not ;)
Not to get serious, but it is the middle of the night and I should be packing or sleeping and instead I am reading Whedonesque and reviews of Serenity...so what was my point? Oh yeah. That comment about everyone cracking jokes bothers me.

Someone else somewhere made that kind of comment saying that the characters should not be cracking jokes so soon after serious things happen. The problem I have is that there is a big difference between someone making a joke and someone saying something that a audience would find funny but that to them is quite serious. As I recall there is very little joking by characters but there are a lot of things that happen that the audience finds and is meant to find funny. The characters do not find what is being said or what is happening funny. That is a huge difference.
Hey, zg, cliched archetype is how we do it on Whedonesque, so that's how everyone else should do it. You're the zany guy, I'm the eccentric Brit-in-L.A., ZachsMind is the . . . well, he knows what he is (and where is he anyway?), Willowy is the snappy gal . . .OK, I'm running out of epithets. Silly idea anyway. And all-too silly comment.

Can I be the weird, spacey chick nobody understands who can kill people with my brain? Please? Not cliche enough? OK. I'll just kill people with my looks.

Not to get serious, but it is the middle of the night and I should be packing or sleeping and instead I am reading Whedonesque and reviews of Serenity...so what was my point? Oh yeah. That comment about everyone cracking jokes bothers me.

Are you me? Because it seems like I got out of my body and jumped into you to write that? I have to leave for an 8 hour drive in 90 minutes, and instead of sleeping (it's 3 a.m.), I'm posting on here! Not funny at all!

Some people seem to believe you have to keep genres separate. Jokes happen in comedies. A science fiction action film or a tragedy should not have more than 2 jokes in it. It should be dark and serious and somber and morose. (A freaking director destroyed one of my shows with that same kind of thinking.)

It's a simpler, more compartmentalized way of thinking, and I kind of feel sorry for people who think this way. They miss out on so much in life! Still, considering the limits of the first reviewer's perspective, it wasn't an awful review.

OK. I know this is long, but you probably won't be hearing from me for 9 or 10 days. ;-)
I remember people saying that Joss' Alien script was too jokey as well - and in a way, they were right...the way the actors were directed, every time there was a punchline, it was like they were on a sitcom, waiting for the laugh track to kick in. Joss writes funny dialogue that needs to be spoken naturally - he's very good at doing it in a way that doesn't undermine the drama, but it's a fine, fine line. I think, however, that it totally works in Serenity (also, nearly all of the biggest laughs are in the film's first half...after that, it's a dark, serious film, with a few laughs here and there to break the tension...at least that's how I remember it).
Scientology eh? Hmmm... Maybe I should start charging all the people I convert to the Whedonverse? That's where I've been going wrong! I could make a fortune!

And I can only think of a couple of times in Serenity where someone says something that they mean to be funny. Most are things that we, as outside observers, find funny.
About the funny and mixing of genres in Jossverse. Some time ago I tried to show Buffy to my friend. He likes serious movies (e.g., Kieslowsky) so I chose "The Body". Well, it was not success. And one of his biggest complaints was the scene when Xander gets his hand stuck in a wall. My friend thought that this scene has been put there just for laughs and that is really inappropriate for a serious (as I advertised in advance) episode.

[ edited by lince on 2005-08-26 11:27 ]

[ edited by lince on 2005-08-26 15:29 ]
ARGH!

I feels like everybody's seen the film already in the States. I don't suppose anybody knows the release dates for Hong Kong? Good god... they better be releasing it in Hong Kong!!!

As for negative reviewers... some people are sadly never going to enjoy Serenity or Firefly. Nitpickers, cynics, loudmouths... whatever. We've all seen too much good stuff from Whedon to expect anything less than a real good yarn with some big ol' humour.
In RL, people often joke at serious times. Not only does it relieve the stress, but it sometimes allows one to focus better on the crisis at hand. I've always taken Joss's jokes in serious moments not only as a means to relieve audience tension, but as a natural way to relieve stress on the part of the characters. I'm a little surprised at the comment.
The first reviewer just doesn't get the way Joss writes. Too jokey? I guess some people just don't like Joss' style. Fair enough. But I don't agree. Serenity is as humorous as the show, in my opinion. It fits.


Guess some people think, that serious stuff must be necessarily flat and all gloomy. Maybe he thinks that sarcasm is for people who doens't take things seriously.

Scientology eh? Hmmm... Maybe I should start charging all the people I convert to the Whedonverse? That's where I've been going wrong! I could make a fortune!


Maybe I should do that too. It's like saying that being passionate about something that's not "grounded on reality" it's wrong, or just makes you an religious fanactic.

Onto that Xander punching the wall scene in "The Body", I didn't think it was for laughs, it was something that made us even more uneasy. They were grieving. Anya, Xander and Willow were already broken down, and they knew they had to be stronger, so they could support Buffy and Dawn. But they were grieving also, and the "punching the wall" in my view, was Xander's equivalent for Anya's "death speech" (I can't watch this scene many times, it makes weep really hard every single time).

And yes, every single word that palehorse said.

Irrelevatchangeling, I've sent an email for Taiwan's UIP, still expecting a response from them. Maybe the release date will be close. Try checking if Hong Kong has an official UIP website, and start from there. Brazilian UIP has already done something by creating an official website, I'm working on an email to be sent for them later on, lobbying for something more. With some work we can make "Serenity" become something big, even outside the North American, European and Australian circles.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2005-08-26 14:08 ]
It is not Xander's punching the wall per se, but the fact that his hand got stuck and required some time to free from the wall made my friend complain-y.

As for myself, I think that drama, romance, pain and humor are all parts of life, so trying to strictly separate them into different genres is quite a stupid idea. I prefer Joss's way of mixing these things in a moving, heart-breaking but at the same time enjoyable way.
lince, he thought that was supposed to be funny? He doesn't know people who do stuff like that, I suppose. (shrugs)
I get to be Cowboy Guy!

'Cos, you know, I got here on time...

Agree with zg, SNT, et. al...a ridiculous sentiment.
lince, I completely agree with you. Furthermore, I happen to love Kieslowski too, but I hardly think that rules me out of loving other genres and movies. I also love Animal House, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and When Harry Met Sally. What of it?

Xander punching the wall was perfect because it was just what he would do: a loss of emotional control resulting in an inappropriate and somewhat futile gesture, but which was an attempt to do something, to make things right. And leading to inadvertent laughs, which is something he did time and again. The gesture and aftermath didn't break the tone of the scene - that *was* the tone: everyone on edge, fragility of feeling, numbness.

And why is there a cowboy in Death of a Salesman anyway? ;)
SNT, how about the following combination: "Before Sunrise/Sunset", "Groundhog Day", "Sound of Music", "Solyaris" (and several other Tarkovsky movies), Kieslowsky's "Blue", "Amelie", "Memento" ... :)

Well, we are a bunch of Whedonites, we are supposed to be tolerant to diversity by definition :)

[ edited by lince on 2005-08-26 19:36 ]
Yes, yes! I love all of those (well, except Memento which I have yet to see for some reason . . .)!

How about Galaxy Quest, Dog Day Afternoon, Sixteen Candles, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, The Bandwagon, and Visconti's The Leopard? :)
The Leopard is phenomenal.

Me: Henry V (Brannagh), The Producers, The Man Who Would Be King, Blade Runner (I love PKD), La Strada, Animal House, Persuasion, Babe, Braveheart.
Chris inVirginia, The Man Who Would Be King rules, plus IMHO Reed's The Third Man, Hitchcock's Vertigo, The Princess Bride, Harvey, The Maltese Falcon, and La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (which ruined stake-burning for Safe and Gingerbread).

Speaking of PKD, are you planning on seeing the (apparently) somewhat cartoon-rendered A Scanner Darkly?
I think that reviewer has an irony deficiency.

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