I saw Serenity a fortnight ago... I haven't seen it again because I'm in the UK. I'll see it again on Friday, cinemas permitting (I work in a capital city so I should get lucky).
Now I'm not one of these people that blindly worships Joss. If you start me on season 7 of Buffy you'll get a tirade. If you start me on Angel on an off day, you'll get a list of things I don't like about it. It seems sometimes though that you can't love and adore this movie without being a Joss worshipper; I respect the man hugely, and I would sell my toes to have an iota of the intelligence he has. However he is not infallible. We know that. Some of us aren't happy about Serenity. Others, like myself, adored it hugely. And then other people say there's a big divide among us because of it; is there? Will there be? Does there HAVE to be? I don't think there does. I think, also, the dust needs to settle.
Why did I love the movie? It told another story of characters I never thought I'd see again. It answered some things, and it didn't answer others - the latter of which is a criticism, but do you really want the real answers? When all speculation is gone, when the story's over, you don't get to throw your theories in the pot anymore. Which is fun! And personally I don't want this to be over yet.
Also, there were only two hours. Something has to give, there was no way, none, this film could do everything that everybody wanted. Zoe didn't show enough emotion when Wash died? Quite simply, there was no time. Wash was not the only one in danger. Zoe probably didn't even quite realise, at that point, that her husband had gone. Not in the middle of so much danger. That doesn't make her any less well-written. She was brave and she did what she had to. If we get a sequel, I find it hard to believe we would't see Zoe's emotional fall-out. As it was, I think it played well.
When you look at it, Serenity's not your average brainless Hollywood slop. How many other films this year, designed to be seen by as many people as possible, designed to deliver big thrills, designed with shiny soecial effects and a sci-fi premise, have people remembered after they left the cinema? How many others have you immediately wanted to discuss at length, rather than saying "that was good" or "I didn't like it"? Films like Serenity are usually as cold as the metal in the background: they don't give you anything but escapism. They don't make you think and they sure as hell don't make you care about the characters. As I said before, I find it hard to be objective. I saw Firefly. But I'll wager that those that never knew these characters before will love them too. They're important to the plot. The plot's not just big scary monsters that exist for no reason, no consequences, no substance. And there are consequences for those characters. They are not invincible.
Which brings me to my last point: the deaths in the movie. (Have I missed something by the by, or has hardly anyone mentioned Book? I mean, come on! All those mysteries never solved! That's one thing that bugs me, because I want to know more about his past. That's the way it goes, though...) Oh, people are not happy. Now don't get me wrong. I didn't want Wash to die either. I didn't want anyone to die, but... I didn't write the thing. I don't think it happened for no reason. It happened because this was a dangerous, horrible situation Serenity's crew found themselves in. And they all got banged up, injured, nearly thrown off a very tall thing, nobody got away unscathed. As I said, I didn't want a movie where they're all mighty invincible superheroes anyway. What's the point in that? If I want invincible superheroes fawning over their relationships I'll go watch Smallville! (And I LIKE Smallville but it's about as realistic as this pink dinosaur sat beside me right now. Ahem.) Serenity's a futuristic drama with spaceships, space cannibals, and so on. Realism, you say? Where? ...it's there anyway. Reavers are men gone wrong, not aliens. The people still act like people. Just with more technology we have, but there's still realism in there. It's awful to say but if someone hadn;t died, with the stakes as high as they were, I'd have found it less believable.
Allow to me to contradict myself now: I will say this. Joss killed my favourite character in Buffy. He did it again in Angel (and I don't mean Doyle, I know why HE had to go). I didn't stop watching. I can't hate the man for that. Because no matter how much of my time and my heart I invest in these characters in this world, no matter how much I went "no way, that didn't happen" when Wash met his fate, no matter how believable I think they are... Wash still isn't real. He's a character in a movie. Used to be a character in a television show. I can't be all depressed and down as hell about it because... my brain won't work that way! Maybe that makes me a terrible hellbitch, I don't know. Wash was a well-drawn, entertaining character. He had heart, he didn't like violence, he made me laugh and he played with dinosaurs. He was brilliant. Now the character's gone. Call me strange but I don't see that as a reason to hate the movie. And believe you me, I know it's coming now and I WILL weep in the cinema on Friday. But it won't stop me enjoying the many, many more things I loved about it than I hated.
So those are my thoughts. I just wanted to share them. Maybe this'll start some controversy, maybe it won't, maybe no-one'll read it... but I'm still in love with that 'verse.