A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Friday, September 30, 2005

Can't Stop the Buzz

It's Serenity day! Wheee!

The Internet buzz on this film is the strongest I've seen in quite awhile ... which is precisely what creator Joss Whedon and company intended when they started their Can't Stop the Signal "viral advertising" campaign (ed. note: The Can't Stop the Signal web site now redirects visitors to the "Serenity" moive site; I have no idea if that's a temorary or permanent thing). I've collected some of what's being said below.

From around the blogosphere:

"I went to a sneak-preview of Serenity tonight. You know how you see the trailers for a movie, and think, "hey, that looks really cool", and anticipate seeing it, then when it finally comes out you go see it and are left feeling empty and disappointed? Well, enough about the Revenge of the Sith.

Serenity was nothing like that. Where Sith was fast food that left you feeling nothing but gas, Serenity was a seven-course meal. Serenity is shiny."

- robot guy, from "take me out into the black"

"Do I recommend this movie? Well, yeah. Will there be people who don't understand the appeal? Certainly. There are people who read Marcel Proust for fun, after all. If you've seen and loved the series Firefly, it's a definite yes. If you haven't seen the series, that's okay— I was watching carefully and Whedon laid the background well. You can go into it with no more idea than that the movie sounds good and understand everything. Even the one or two careful inside jokes that refer to things in the series can be taken two ways, both appropriate."

- booklore, from "Serenity II"

"Now you should understand that I've never watched a single episode of Firefly, nor am I someone who waited each week for every episode of Whedon's other TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I was able to walk into Serenity with a fresh set of eyes and a shortage of expectations.

Serenity is the best space opera film that I've seen since the original Star Wars came out over 25 years ago. It's bright, and funny, and upbeat, and occasionally deadly serious. There's plenty of action, but nothing that will overly traumatize your teenagers and nothing so revolting that you have to look away from the screen."

- Bill Roper, from "I Say it's Space Opera!"

And from the MSM:

"There are two sorts of people in the world: those who believe Joss Whedon is a genius and those who are wrong. And even if Whedon's first feature film Serenity doesn't quite match the dark, witty brilliance of his TV creations Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, it's still a lot more sweaty fun than the last three overhyped, sterile, for-dorks-only Star Wars cartoons."

- Connie Ogle, from "A Sci-Fi Tale for the Rest of Us"

"The result is "Serenity," a boisterous, semi-comic action thriller that more closely resembles a condensed season of a television drama than a three-act feature. But it is enriched by Whedon's typically bracing yet sensitive dialogue and appealing, misfit characters."

- Tom Keogh, from "'Serenity': TV's 'Firefly' takes wing"

"Serenity is the un-Star Trek: no aliens with prosthetic ears, no super-tidy spaceship filled with dedicated professionals, no ray guns and certainly no high-minded ideals like a Prime Directive. It's closer to Star Wars, with a twist of the Old West."

- Louis B. Parks, from "Dose of Serenity is easy to take"

And of course, in the interest of fair-mindedness, the obligitory bad review:

"It is based on the short-lived Fox TV show Firefly, which attracted a cult following, and writer/director Joss Whedon squeezes out a few clever moments. But the characters are generally uninteresting and one-dimensional, and the futuristic Western-style plot grows tedious."

- Claudia Puig, from "'Serenity' has moments, not much else"

I am being completely honest when I say that I had to sift through two dozen glowing reviews to find one that pooh-poohed Serenity. And Claudia can kiss my shiny white ass in any case; she's probably just mad at the world over having such a ridiculous last name. "Puig" sounds like something one does in a toilet the morning after drinking too much cheap tequila.

There is some discussion starting about the politics of the Firefly universe. My personal suspicion is that Whedon is trying to remain largely apolitical, even though his work has been overwhelmingly (and sometimes surprisingly) well-recieved among conservatives of all stripes. But if forced to expound on political undertones to his recent work, I'd guess that the man is libertarian-minded. The Alliance is a near-perfect similie for big government, and the reavers for unrelenting barbarism. Caught in the middle are the independents, who just want to be left alone and make an occasional buck. Anyway, I bet we're going to see more discussion along these lines as more bloggers see the film over the weekend.

Okay kids, our goal is an $80 million opening weekend. That means you must go see Serenity at least once. Yes, you!