…and the quest to see everything

HMWY Best Shot: Serenity’s Characters

It’s surprising that a “Buffy” fan like me – I’ve seen and love the movie too – wouldn’t catch “Firefly,” but I had my stupidity to blame. I wanted a “Buffy” 2.0 – so why didn’t I read “Fray?” – and it seemed too much of an outlandish concept for me. But Nathaniel, probably the only person guiding me through my schizophrenic viewing habits, chose “Firefly’s” movie adaptation for his best shot series, keeping in mind that creator/writer/director Whedon’s having a big year this year. So why not? Above is a shot of carnage fitting for the movie’s ‘space western’ genre mash-up and that although Joss Whedon isn’t on top to direct Blood Meridien but he should at least be in consideration.

This experience is making me regret that I didn’t watch the series, the logical reason should be Whedon’s sharp writing and I suppose it’s nice to see futuristic cowboys but it’s really because of the characters and casting, including Alan Tudyk, David Krumholtz and Sarah Paulson. Specifically, of Adam Baldwin of Full Metal Jacket fame. I wouldn’t say that this part of the movie’s premise is ludicrous, and that his character Jayne butts heads with the titular Serenity‘s Captain Malcolm (Nathan Fillion) a lot and wants to kill the mysterious River Tam (Summer Glau). But like come on guys, his tight, short-sleeved shirts makes me think that the show should have given him a love interest. Things would have totally been different if I was on that ‘boat.’ Looking at his iMDb “Firefly” isn’t the only show I should watch for him. Apparently he was in “Angel” too and fuck do I have to watch “Chuck” now too? What kind of fan am I?

The best lines and situations saved for Malcolm, or Mal for short (Why isn’t Fillion, this movie’s star, getting the Jeremy Renner roles? The guys look alike but he’s taller yet yes, more intentionally awkward). And there are some good shots of him being framed by the movie’s well-done mix of multicultural sci-fi punk ethos, contrasting yet perfectly complementing his character as this old school masculine gunslinger. Above is him moving a fan to see what River is up to and below is him being irreverent, mocking Buddha – one of the religions and ideals that he as a character questions – for his love interest Inara’s guilty pleasure. Kudos to the movie’s art director Daniel T. Dorrance and costume designer Ruth Carter for this awesomeness.

But the movie’s most visually compelling character is River, who only gets into and stays in the boat because she’s the younger sister of one of the newer crew members (Sean Maher) and because she’s psychic. She looks like a friend of mine here in Toronto who also blogs about movies, actually. My best shot actually involves the movie’s intricate opening sequence, a series of scenes that would get novices like me confused as to what the movie is about. There are wide shots of different planets followed by a teacher explaining ‘the verse’ in an outdoor elementary school – thank God the future has smaller class sizes, am I right or am I right? – which turns out to be a dream sequence, Matrix style. Her brother helps her escape her almost permanent comatose state, which is actually hologram-recorded by Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character, Javert looking at his Valjean and waify Cosette and trying to find out where they could be hiding.

But the fun of watching her doesn’t stop there. She has two kinds of entrances, one where her leg(s) and the seam of her flowing dress come into the shot and one where the camera zooms or shock cuts into her perma-startled face. She also climbs up the ceiling to hide sometimes. And the one below? Bad. Ass.

8 responses

  1. yaykisspurr

    Cool post…I really enjoyed the movie. Not sure why people hate on the space western so much but they are continually disappointed. You can’t really be a movie fan and not love westerns so why don’t movie fans give props to more of the space westerns! (Like Cowboys vs. Aliens…) I was sad Firefly didn’t make it on tv but I suspect it has to do with the hate toward the genre…Cheers 🙂 (This might be off topic, sorry!) hehe

    April 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm

  2. YAY, your favourite shot is one of mine.

    Incidentally, despite my love for the movie, and okay I might be being a little bit facetious – Fillion doesn’t work so excellently for me. Comparatively, he’s my least favourite in the cast – but then, they’re all doing outstanding work so it doesn’t mean much. For eg, there’s humour throughout the tragedy and his humour lands LEAST effectively for me. But, it’s not a legitimate issue I’m just being a curmudgeon.

    And, umm, Chiwetel as Javert. Please.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:23 am

  3. yaykisspurr: I know a girl who hates Westerns. I guess it gets stereotyped for being the male version of campy, and even that aspect of the genre surfaces when Nathan Fillion and co. drop their g’s. It takes a long time to like but it’s a reward to do so.

    Andrew: The humour works best with that character who falls in loe with River’s brother. I didn’t catch her name. I think everyone in the cast toes the line of being annoying (also see Edgar Wright’s actors), even her. And it’s also weird that a man is reciting Whedonesque humour because I’m used to Buffy. But this cast still saves it.

    The ‘please’ sounded ambivalent lol.

    April 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm

  4. Adam Baldwin in real life seems like a total jerk, but he is nice to look at certainly. He was great in his bit part in Angel and fantastic in Chuck if you ever wanted to check those out. It’s funny you mentioned Jeremy Renner since he too had a bit role on Angel many years ago! You should definitely check out the series though (Firefly). It’s only 13 episodes after all and definitely worthwhile.

    As I said in my blog in response to your lovely comment, I shouldn’t have been shocked that River was a lot of people’s choice for HMWYBS, but I still was since she’s not even my favorite character (or second or third). But she’s definitely the most visually arresting in her movements and her poses. Whedon made sure of that.

    April 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm

  5. fun post and it’s nice to see props for the art direction and costume design.

    small class sizes for the win!

    p.s. i also died at the LEs Miz shout out. well done.

    April 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

  6. Ryan: I’ve always held on to this adage that nice people play good jerks, and since Baldwin plays such a good shit disturber in here I’ll assume that he’s nice in person. And I’ll add those shows to my list. I haven’t even caught up on this season’s Mad Men.

    Nat: I’m a liberal who completed his BA with teachers and was in a country where forty kids in a room together was normal. When I saw that scene I didn’t care if
    their teacher was indoctrinating them in colonialist propaganda, I wanted to leisurely sit on the grass too!

    And if only Whedon had rights to the musical, cinema would be different. He already had the bones of the perfect cast in perfect age in 2005. Which reminds me of him directing a Shakespeare play in his backyard recently. Whatever happened to that.

    Thanks to both you for stopping by! 🙂

    April 20, 2012 at 1:29 am

  7. If you enjoyed Serenity enough that you want to see it on the big screen, Can’t Stop The Serenity is showing it in Toronto on June 23rd at the Underground Cinema. All proceeds to Equality Now – Whedon’s fav charity. Details at Torontobrowncoats.com It is one of many CSTS screenings around the world this summer.

    April 20, 2012 at 8:22 am

    • Sounds likea great indea/Willthere be Shadowcasting too?

      April 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

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