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February 23 2006

TwoP recaps Serenity. "He stands, so illuminated it's blinding, the harsh light of Miranda behind him like a halo: "I aim to misbehave.""

And a surprisingly fun and thoughtful recap it is, too! I'm glad Jacob is the one who wrote it.
Heh, Jacob's been doing some pretty good justice to the Battlestar Galactica recaps too... Glad to see it's getting a bit of love there, even though they never quite liked Firefly too much!
It's a very good recap. Done with affection. I like. And I added a line from the recap to the description field, as the yin of your headline needs a yang.
Oh, I am so jealous, that I didn't find it first, since I look up what's new on TwoP a couple a times a day. I am glad, they had another recapper do the recap. Can't wait to read it...
I love Jacob's Battlestar Galactica recaps, he's going to do a Farscape recap and now he's done Serenity!

Jacob is way cerebral and very insightful. And he loves Warren Ellis so he's totally my internet boyfriend.

I'm reading this slowly, to savor the goodness.
There's a cruelty that pertains to this, because Mathias can't be expected to understand or approach this situation from the Operative's highly-developed code of bushido or whatever, because of the sword slowly sliding through his guts and stuff, but it's essential to the Operative that he maintain his point of view regardless of what happens next. Compare the Mayor on Buffy, his often-hilarious obsession with etiquette and germophobia -- everybody builds these walls so they can live, but only heroes can see over them.


This guy so needs to record a commentary.
Wow. That was a great recap. Almost certainly the best TWOP recap I've ever read.
It's a very good recap. Done with affection. I like. And I added a line from the recap to the description field, as the yin of your headline needs a yang. (um...how do I quote in this?)

Yeah, sorry about that, was kinda in a hurry when I posted. Found it before class, while sitting in the classroom waiting for it to start, and posted right before it started. I'm a bad student :(
You can find out how to quote in our How To page. Or if in doubt put double speechmarks around the text.
Beautiful, just beautiful.
Man, I normally trail off on TWOP recaps after about 5 pages, but I just sat and read that whole damn thing. I particularly liked that it was scholarly to a certain degree... I totally did not catch the references to "The Tempest" before (Miranda, Ariel...)
I loved the movie too much to complain about...well, any of it really...but Jacob put into words how I felt about Jayne throughout most of it:

"I would have to say that my chief disappointment with this film has to do with the focus on him, and stripping down of him, as some kind of gonzo Hollywood meathead, because it's just one joke over and over: "Hey, he'll eat the last chocolate out of the box and he won't even apologize! Seriously! And then he might masturbate! He likes guns! And also your chocolates, of which he will eat the last without apologizing! He has some questions, if you'd like to explain a bunch of basic shit to the audience, via him! He also has guns!" His bastardy is pointless in this context, because he's usually the dark half of Mal, the "what would you do, where is your line," and in this movie, that role is played by...Mal."

Sure, some of those lines were funny. Or at least for the sake of nostalgia, they felt familiar as something Jayne might've said in the TV series format...but he still wasn't quite up to snuff, unfortunately. Minor quibble though, IMO, not a chief disappointment as it was for Jacob. Jayne was only a notch above Kaylee on the importance ladder of main characters anyway in the film, so it's a little more forgivable than if Joss had, say, not given engaging and entertaining lines to Mal or River.
sorry Simon. Old habits die hard. =)
"They're after this girl with a powerful will. I look to hear the tromp of their boots any moment." I'm sorry there's so much verbatim transcription, but the language!

Wow, a TwoP employee who actually loves the language and doesn't think it's ridiculous. I like that Joss went for something different than your standard sci-fi near-contemporary bore-speak, so Jacob calling attention to that was another nice piece of the review (as I slowly make my way through it in between meals and prepping for work tomorrow--35 pages is long, even for a TwoP movie recap).
I did catch the Tempest/Huxley's Brave New World reference of "Miranda", but not "Ariel" before.. Wow, loved that analysis. It got so many things that I missed, and captured so much of the stuff that I love about "Serenity".
I'm sorry there's so much verbatim transcription, but the language!


Ah, no need to apologize.
Yes, that language. Reading and hearing that language gives me the same feeling I get when hear the writing in Ken Burns' The Civil War series. Makes my brain all tingly.
This is a really nice re-cap and I, like non sequitur, loved the analysis:
Without pride and the choices it presents, there can be no faith: no assertion that one's relationship with God, against all reason, is imperative and real. Without envy, there is no hope, no comparison, no competition, no dissatisfaction, no reason to try, to succeed. Without gluttony, in a world where greed is eliminated, there is no way to choose charity. Without lust, we all die, and without acknowledgement of lust's universality, there is no fortitude. Without anger, without the holy anger of the proletariat, of the people against the unlawful, there can be no justice. Without greed or sloth, there is no moderation, no temperance or prudence -- we are unable to look at ourselves critically and see long-term v. short-term effects. We stop growing them when the state mandates these lacks, takes away these choices: we all go to sleep. And we don't wake up. And Oceania keeps fighting, and the signal is silenced.

Damn. You better work it, Jacob. I could cry.


[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-02-23 06:54 ]

[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-02-23 06:54 ]
Okay, I finished. That was a beautiful and thorough review.
I suck. I'm only on like the second page and already I'm having trouble getting in the zone to just enjoy the flow of it; I keep getting hung up on details or assertions that are wrong. Heh.
Which assertions in particular did you think were wrong? Most interpretations of Jacob's just felt like personal opinions to me, not iron-fisted "THIS IS THE TRUE MEANING OF SERENITY". A few made me go, "Yeahhh, I'm not sure if Joss has ever implied that he intended that" or, "Joss has specifically stated otherwise to the meaning of that", but none of that really matters since you're still free to take it how you like.

Did he get some of the continuity or maybe the quoted lines wrong? I didn't notice.
There were a few errors with quoted lines, especially ones that the subtitles have wrong. Also, for example, the guys monitoring River's escape were not blue hands. *shrugs* Minor stuff for me. The only other thing is I feel Jayne did have his nobler sides represented.
It's been minor bits so far. That's why I said I suck for getting distracted by it. ;)
I think i'm maybe alone in missing the usual (from the recaps i've read) snarky tone of TWoP. The best ones make it clear they love the show/movie but still take the mickey a bit which I enjoy.

I also disagree with his assessment of Jayne's treatment since we see him do a few unselfish things (e.g. strapping folk in before himself, trying to get the signal out at all) - not the kind of thing the early super pragmatic Jayne would entertain - and tho' the analysis mentioned by AmazonGirl above is beautifully written I almost completely disagree with its thrust. I don't accept that the possibility of "sin" is required to lead a good life or to be noble or achieve lofty aims tho' the possibility of committing "sinful" acts is probably necessary to freedom, which I think is the actual point 'Serenity' is making (scare quotes because i'm not religious and so don't really believe in the concept of sin).

That said, it's quite insightful (tho' i'd already noticed the Tempest references thanks to someone here mentioning a while back that they thought Jayne might be Caliban), often poetic and clearly heartfelt.

edit cos it's frikkin 'Caliban' not 'Caledon'. Yeah, no-one will ever know but it was bugging me

[ edited by Saje on 2006-02-27 20:46 ]
One can't be "good" if one has no choice to do otherwise, if "sin" is not a possibility. That's not good; that's just tame.
I don't accept that the possibility of "sin" is required to lead a good life or to be noble or achieve lofty aims tho' the possibility of committing "sinful" acts is probably necessary to freedom, which I think is the actual point 'Serenity' is making (scare quotes because i'm not religious and so don't really believe in the concept of sin).


"Sin" or the notion of it, is a construct. It is a way to quickly define or slap a lable on human behaviour. That's my take on it.
Greed, sloth, anger and the lot are just opposite sides of the behavioural coins so to speak. And you can't have the other things without 'em. Not to say that one has to be greedy, for example, to be generous. It's just that greed has to exist. Just like darkness has to exist for there to be light.
When the Operative asks Mal "Do you know what your sin is?" and Mal says he's a fan of all of 'em, he's saying that it doesn't matter what his "sin" is. It's his "sinning" that's part of what makes him a human being. What gives him the opportunity to be redeemed.
The bottom line is that you can't "make people better." They're not people (See Reavers) if you do that. They're not alive (See everyone else on Miranda) if you do that. The Pax (Which means "peace".) sure prooved that
Then there's the whole "evil" thing. But I have to go to work now. Rats! Isn't it fun when a movie brings out this kind of discussion? : )

[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-02-23 16:56 ]
zencat, that's actually an interesting point since by that logic God (who is perfect by definition) cannot be good since it would be impossible for God, again by definition, to do a bad thing.

However, it may be that we're mixing definitions. I see 'good' (as in 'the good life') as not actively bad and showing a decent amount of consideration for your fellow man (which I believe to be humanity's default position), you may see 'good' as requiring an active attempt to commit good acts (or thwart bad ones). Both, I think, are reasonably serviceable definitions but with somewhat different consequences (tho' I noticed I also said 'noble' which surely must imply activity so may have to take that bit back).

I think I may have got myself into a semantic quagmire here (which is what happens when you make poorly thought out sweeping statements ;).

AmazonGirl, there's nothing worse than the slaying of a beautiful conversation by an ugly day at work (with apologies to TH Huxley ;). The thing is, darkness doesn't really 'exist', it's just the absence of light. Imagine a world with permanent sunlight (multiple suns, no moon or magic pixies did it or whatever) and no buildings of any kind. No-one who lived there would ever have seen darkness but does that mean light doesn't exist for them ?

I totally agree with your other points tho', Mal is all about the freedom to choose (after all he only beats the Operative due to an injury incurred after he volunteered for a war) and tho' I think you probably can 'make people better' I agree with your gist that you really, really shouldn't.

ETA: kurya because I closed an i tag with a b closure. I am a bad man. There should be lines or detention or something ;). Sorry.

[ edited by Saje on 2006-02-23 18:46 ]
Hmmm ... interesting. I have to read it b/c 35 pages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I want to read it, but can't now:( It is interesting that it illicits this discussion. You know, my friends are well aware of my obsession with Serenity. And after watching Brokeback Mountain I said I found the movie too slow. They responded: this is an arty movie, this is not Serenity. I pleaded that Serenity is artsy, but they don't believe me. I didn't know how to justify to them that Serenity was more than an action flick, and that the people are who fans of this, aren't blind devotees.

Now while there are cool action scenes, and amazing effects, discussions like this which sprout from this movie, proves to me otherwise, that there is a message... nuances that are present in the movie, that lie just underneath the surface, as long as people are willing to dig in a bit. Thanx to posts like AmazonGirl's and Saje's , I can say that Serenity has artsy tendencies in it, since discussions are brought out. I knew it, but I didnt know exactly how to phrase it to my friends :P.

ETA: why is my post in italics??

[ edited by kurya on 2006-02-23 18:43 ]
Kurya said:
"I pleaded that Serenity is artsy, but they don't believe me. I didn't know how to justify to them that Serenity was more than an action flick..."

You show them the series. That's how you prove it's more than an action flick. 'Cause at first glance, or even a full first viewing of the film, I can see how many might take it as a straight-up action flick if they're not paying attention to what's being said/implied/felt. But the film is really a culmination of threads (both the plot kind and the philosophical beliefs and ruminations) that were spun in the TV series.

As much as some may argue that the movie can stand on its own and even be watched and enjoyed by newbies without any knowledge of the series (and obviously it can--since people did, and many liked enough/so much that they then watched the show), I still think the experience is so different if you've got the series in your head already. That the movie would be far more satisfying/enjoyably frustrating and that you'd be way more attatched to it.
Wonderfully done commentary that really made you thinnk while reading, especially in regards to the nature of villiany in the Operative.

I'm still excited that when I saw the film for the first time I recognized right off Joss was doing a one-shot to introduce us to the ship, just as he did in 'Serenity: Part One'. Clearly, I had listended to the DVD commentaries a bit too much. :)
Wow, that's a different review then the usual snark TwoP offers (and while I miss the snark, I enjoyed the review). But I am with Bix on being distracted by the details that are wrong. They are small, but a few leave impressions other then what was on the screen. For instance, he often gets the facial expressions the actors had wrong; saying they were smiling when delivering such-and-such line, when instead they were pointedly not smiling, for instance, or he gets the emotion wrong. It bugs because it shifts the tone in some scenes. I also noticed some of the lines were miss-quoted, but it was small stuff that only an uber-fan would notice. I also disagree with what he has to say about Jayne, and thought the fact that Jayne went along with trip to Miranda and then back to Mr. Universe’s proved he wasn’t as one-dimensional as the reviewer thinks. Otherwise, I found it quite an interesting read, putting into words things I have be trying to say myself about the movie.

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