Sunday, October 02, 2005

Joss Whedon's Serenity

We went to see Serenity last night with some friends. Half of the group had seen all the episodes of the TV show from the DVDs, and half hadn't seen any. (I'm in the latter group.) All of us were familiar with Joss Whedon's work from Buffy and Angel. Everyone enjoyed the movie, so if anyone was worried that the movie might not have been able to reach those who hadn't seen the TV show, this may be a relevant datapoint. Of course, all of us are libertarian or somewhat libertarian, so that may skew the sample some.

What a good movie! I thought the story was very well told. Joss included enough information to catch us all up with the characters and the milieu, and the action came fast and furious. The characters were well motivated; we were quickly shown who had a crush on whom, which characters had long standing friendships, and so on. The conflict was interesting, the antagonists were powerful, but beatable, and there were plenty of mysteries to solve.

I'm not going to try to do an in-depth review of the themes and subtexts. There are people who are far more into this than I, and I'm sure there were subtleties in the interactions between characters that weren't apparent from the movie. But it was still fun to watch, and the themes that Julian Sanchez Reason described were apparent even though I wasn't already immersed in the canon. River Tam voices the laissez-faire creed in the movie's preface: "People don't like to be meddled with." It's clear that that's the conflict right from the start, and keeping out of the way of a meddlesome government is Mal's goal. When he finds out that he's gotten hold of something with deeper implications, he struggles with it, but finds that the only way to live with himself is to do what he can to ensure that the alliance won't continue meddling.

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