Mark Watches ‘Serenity’: Open Post

In the interest of collecting my thoughts in a more organized manner that’s easier to read than trying to search for my comments in our super awesome liveblog, I thought it best to allow us all to drop them here.

Because it would be seriously too difficult to run through things in a chronological manner like I usually do (and because you don’t need a plot summary of the movie YOU JUST WATCHED), LET’S BRING BACK LISTS fuck yeah.


  • This is one of the better expositions I’ve seen in a movie, and certainly for a movie dealing with a television show. I thought it introduced the plot to strangers while still being intelligent and valuable to all of us who had seen the show; the sudden shift to River’s point of view was an even greater insight into her mind. I liked it because it was Whedon’s attempt to make sure we sympathized with what she was going through by showing us what her mind was like.
  • The fact that Whedon never made the Alliance an entirely evil entity is also appreciated. River’s flashback scene at the beginning showed that there were people who meant well and that the Alliance certainly provided a meaningful life for some people under their rule. The key to understanding the main conflict is in this opening scene: there are people who don’t want to be a part of the Alliance, and they’ve been given no choice otherwise.
  • Watching Simon free River was so wonderful. Dude’s a badass and sometimes we forget that.
  • The Operative, played brilliantly by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is very, very creepy. Early is worse for me, but this is also another man convinced of his moral standing and the pragmatism that comes from it.
  • It was bittersweet to watch Whedon cycle through his introduction to all the characters we’d come to love. I knew that this would be over soon. noooooooooooooo
  • I was impressed with how seamless this segued from the final episode, only really skipping over two larger stories: What Inara and Book had each been up to.
  • As soon as the Reavers showed up during the raid, I secretly hoped we’d see more of them in this movie. I was very happy we did.
  • SERIOUSLY, FUCK THE REAVERS. Oh my god, they are so awful.
  • Could we expect an extension of Firefly without a scene of moral ambiguity? Watching Mal shove that man off the ship and then shooting him as the Reavers took him was difficult to watch and even worse when Zoe confronted him about. Shooting him was an act of mercy, but where does Mal draw the line about saving another life? It builds on the idea that the only people that truly matter to him are his crew.  “Maybe that’s why we lost,” says Zoe. Ouch.
  • Which…that does explain his very angry fight with Simon immediately after this. Simon is mad that Mal used River and you know what? I have to agree with him that while River did save their lives, Mal is using her to his own ends. It’s creepy and kind of rude how practical he is with her at this point in the story.
  • Fanty and Mingo are so scummy. I love it.
  • RIVER’S TRANSFORMATION SCENE. There were plenty of hints towards her identity as an actual weapon in the run of the show, but after that commercial triggers a memory of Miranda and she turns into THE ULTIMATE FIGHTING MACHINE. Holy shit. Also, I found it funny she kicked Jayne’s ass, since he sort of deserved that after his actions in “Ariel.”
  • I know it’s not funny, but the fact that Simon has a safe word for his sister is…well, it made me laugh. I can’t help it.
  • Mr. Universe is awesome. His female sexbot? Not so awesome. Really, really creepy, actually.
  • UGH SEEING INARA HURT. I like her so, so, so much. But I will say that the scene with the entire crew watching her and Mal talk was FANTASTIC. There aren’t many moments where they’re all together anymore, so I appreciated seeing it.
  • Mal and Zoe knew it was trap right off the bat. A+++++ forever.
  • I was sort of indifferent to The Operative until the battle in Inara’s place. Dude, you are fucked up. No thank you.
  • So we find out Miranda is a planet at the edge of the system. At first, I thought they’d discover it was actually Earth-That-Was, but oh god, it was so much worse.
  • That worse? That the Operative decided to go after every hiding place Serenity was known to frequent, which included Haven, where Book was hiding. When he died, I knew it was Whedon’s nod to us: Shit is so fucking real right now and you are not goddamn prepared for what I am about to do.
  • Mal’s first Reavers plan is TOTALLY FUCKED. Hey, let’s strap Book and a bunch of bodies to the hull of our ship and pretend to be Reavers. THAT’S TOTALLY WHAT BOOK WOULD HAVE WANTED. I mean, it does work, but…wow.
  • The Miranda story. Jesus fucking christ, this is the most important scene to the entire series. It re-contextualizes EVERY episode. We knew they wanted River because she was a weapon, but that hint in the very beginning of the movie came true: River had the ability to read the secrets hidden in the minds of “key members of Parliament.” That secret? The Alliance tested a chemical that sought to eliminate aggression. It worked, to the point that it killed every person on Miranda because they simply lost the will to live. All of them except a small percentage, who had the opposite reaction: they became so violent, they became the Reavers.
  • I thought Mal was walking into a trap unknowingly when he contacted Mr. universe about spreading the message to the entire ‘Verse, but his SECOND Reavers plan was even more brilliant than the first: trick the Reavers into following them through space and dropping them right on top of the Alliance ships. FUCK YEAH.
  • And just when you think everything is fine….Wash. Oh my god, Wash. You know, I expected them to return to Serenity afterwards and find out he was all right, but no. Whedon doesn’t work that way. They took a risk and Wash was the casualty. Seriously one of the most depressing scenes, especially when they try to avoid locking the doors and Zoe shouts, “He ain’t comin’ back!” Endless. Tears.
  • No, wait, not endless tears. Simon is shot, badly. WHEDON PLEASE STOP THIS IT HURTS TO WATCH.
  • Oh wait, what’s that? River turns into the most epic badass of all time? Her fight against the Reavers is SO AMAZING. Oh man.
  • There is a huge difference between The Operative and Early: Early would never have given up his mission, but The Operative, after observing the Miranda feed, realizes he’s been fighting on the wrong side the entire time.
  • The small graveyard scene is so fucking heartbreaking. His dinosaurs. 🙁 🙁 🙁 Though, I thought Simon had died? But no, he’s standing right there!
  • There’s a beautiful symmetry in River becoming the new pilot and for Mal’s newfound respect for her.
  • “What was that?”

This isn’t quite over yet, for the record. I ordered all three of the graphic novels that span the gap between the TV series and the movie. In the next week or so, I’ll put one-off reviews of each one up on Mark Reads. And THEN we will be done and we can all cry forever.

So now I turn things over to all of you. What did you think of Serenity? Likes and dislikes? Best quotes? I didn’t include very many quotes because JESUS CHRIST THERE WERE SO MANY GOOD ONES. Also, MOAR GIFS OF THE MOVIE.

Your turn!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Firefly, Serenity and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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