Ok, so this one may very well cost me a friend or two.
Good ride, but it's over now
Good ride, but it's over now
So there are a lot of readers of this blog who proudly self identify as geeks. I suppose, in some respects, I fit that mold. In others, I really don't. To look at some of my tastes in movies for instance you might assume that I was really into science fiction. I'm actually not. I mean, I love a good movie. But frequently I don't care for a lot of Sci-Fi. Fuck Doctor Who. That's right, I said it. Fuck him. I don't give a damn. (actually, I just found out that the current Dr. Who series stars Billie Piper, who in certain alternate realities could have been the less fucked up Britney Spears, and I'm suddenly almost a little interested. But still, fuck him!) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Well, at least they blew up the planet earth. I never much cared for it either. Fuck them too. But I loved the series Firefly. Why? Because there are three kinds of movies/tv shows, I have a special place in my heart for. Westerns, Boat Movies, and Babes from outer space. Firefly had all of that. Serenity was the return of that, but on the big screen.
A lot of my LJ friends out there seem to be advocating seeing the film over and over again so that they'll make sequels. I'd like to implore everyone to go out and see the movie once (it really was quite good) and then never again. The only thing that can come of seeing it multiple times is it will make a lot of money and that will make the studios think $EQUEL!!!! And that would be awful, because God forbid they make another one.
I actually saw the movie opening night, but I waited a while to talk about it to give people a chance to see it without me spoiling it. So this is your last chance. Turn back now, if you don't want spoilers.
So yeah, I liked the movie, but I want it to be over now. That may be kind of an unpopular opinion. And to be honest, if there is a Serenity II, I'll probably give it a chance and go see it. But I really don't want there to be. The biggest problem with Firefly was that it ended abruptly. It really didn't end at all in fact. All of a sudden things were just cancelled, and all of those characters and subplots were left out in limbo. Serenity solved that. It let me know the answers to pretty much everything I wanted to know. I know what River was running from. I know how things work out with Simon and Kaylee. I more or less know how things work out with Mal and Inara. I don't know what the deal was with Book, but he's dead now and I can accept that. I got to see the Reavers, and I learned where they came from. All the big questions were answered, and there was a logical end to the series. I am left with a world of possibilities for the crew in the new world they are flying out into. I like the ambiguity of not knowing what's next, but feeling in my heart that everything is going to be ok.
There are some things I would have done differently if it were me. I would have killed Zoe instead of Wash. Not because I like Wash better (though in fact, I find him hilarious), but just because from a storytelling point of view it means more. With Wash dead, we know how Zoe reacts. She moves on. She keeps working with Mal. She's the perfect soldier. With Zoe dead, we'd have to deal with not only what does this do to Wash (he's not as strong as she is) but what does it do to Mal. Mal needs Zoe. She is the one real reminder for him of the Battle of Serenity. She grounds the past for him. However her death would have effectively forced him to let go of that old world. He doesn't need that battle anymore. He is fighting the new fight, he's in the new world now, and he seems to have accepted it. Killing Zoe (hehehehe Killing Zoe, get it!) would have been a great metaphor for the old war being over and the new war beginning. Also, it would have meant that we'd have to reconcile what keeps Wash on the crew now that Zoe is gone. (Zoe just stays with Mal out of loyalty. Wash doesn't have that, so there's chance for character development).
I also would have killed River. But that's just because I'm an ass. Don't get me wrong, River is my favorite character, but as Hilary Masters often taught me. Sometimes you have to kill your darlings. There was no drama in the River/Reavers fight for me. The second she dove through the portal, I knew she was going to be ok. I never doubted it for a second. I was actually much more worried for all the other characters. I knew Mal was going to get the tape broadcast, but I thought he might die in the process. And when Zoe asked Jayne if he thought any of them would get out of this alive, I actually doubted it myself. But when River decides to take the Reavers on alone, I never for a second thought she would fall. If it had been me, I would have let her kill all the Reavers, and then when the troops broke in through the wall just after she won, I would have had them swiss cheese the fuck out of her. That, people, is how you set up a sequel. It gives Simon and the others something to continue to fight for. As it is, I don't need to see another movie. The Reavers were the most feared evil in the universe. River beat them all by her lonesome and with no injury to boot. I have no problem with that. But I now have no doubt that she can't get them out of any jam they encounter in the future, so I don't need to see it again.
I'm a big fan of Joss's. But I'm ready to see him move onto something else. Its for a similar reason that I don't want to see a new Buffy movie. Buffy ended. It ended in exactly the right way. In point of fact, one could argue that it went on a season or two too long. But I was happy with where things were on the final episode. Of Firefly, Buffy and Angel, Angel was actually my least favorite of the three, but at this point its the only one that has questions left open that I'd want to see explored further. Questions that I could easily see wrapped up in a good solid two hours of silver screen time. But even that doesn't really have to happen. I'm ok just letting it go.
What I really want is for this to be it for Serenity. Let it go away. Let it sleep for 20-25 years and become a cult classic. And then in 2028, some UK production company manages to remake it with a with an update look and feel and reversing the genders of half of the crew where suddenly Book is played by some hot asian babe that I can lust after in my naughtiest dreams and sell it to the Sci-Fi channel.
If I've learned anything over the years, its that sometimes you just have to let the characters go. Remember them fondly in the past. And let it end before it gets ruined. Maybe there is another Serenity story to tell. But I'd much rather wait to see it or maybe not see it at all, than have the whole damn thing ruined. It's the difference between being the next Battlestar Galactica and being the next Highlander.