Thursday, October 06, 2005

Can't stop the signal.

Just saw Serenity. Damn. Have you seen it yet? It will make you say, "Damn." Here are some reasons.

Joss knows how to tell a story. In particular, he knows that he has to play all your emotions, not just a few, and that means making you like characters, and then letting very very cruel things happen to them. There is a lot of Season Six in this movie.

Joss knows language. For the T.V. series Firefly, he tried something daring. The characters were to speak a pidgin of folksy cowboy talk and Mandarin. At first, his actors sounded a little hesitant with it. By the time the series ended, it was as smooth as Malcom McDowell speaking Nadsat. In the movie, it is still smooth.

Joss has themes. He's thinking about how to thread the needle between bullshit dogmatism and moral nihilism (still). Our hero, who fought for the good guys in the war and lost, has retreated into the selfishness of only caring for family. He is caught between an assassin named The Operative, who believes so strongly that he will commit any atrocity for a cause, and the crazed zombies called the Reavers, who will commit any atrocity for no reason at all. Other heroes have been disillusioned cynics called back to the battle (Rick in casablanca), but it has been a long time since we've the story of such a hero presented this well.

My only complaint is the one I picked up from Stephanie Z at Salon. Joss should have had a full T.V. season to tell this story. Then the subplots, like the romances between Kaylee and Simon and between Mal and Inara would have gotten their due. Joss belongs on T.V. I don't want a second Serentity movie. The whole thing should go back to T.V. Joss is a third generation T.V. writer. He's a fucking Homeric rhapsode for our age. He needs the long format.

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