FireflyHeadgames : Knowing "Serenity" Movie
By Steve Head
Tuesday 13 September 2005, by Webmaster
And the audaciously disturbing Audition.
September 12, 2005 - I’m a bit puzzled. Is there an expectation out there that Serenity is supposed to suck? I saw the movie last week and I’ve since received inquiries in the general form of "How bad was it?" ... Bad?
Audition: Special Edition (On DVD)
Leaving the theater I wasn’t thinking anything less than Serenity is a terrific movie. It’s a thing of goodness. Great characters. Extremely funny. Ultra-cool action. (Particularly the scene in which River (Summer Glau) flips it mental and trashes a bar full of thugs Bruce Lee-style. Hooray for the art of choreographed fighting!)
Mind you, I didn’t have an expectation for Serenity. I didn’t impose rules upon it. I knew almost nothing of Firefly, the TV show upon which it’s based. I went in cold and came out warm; you know that happy-fuzzy comfortable feeling when you’ve seen a movie that "gets what it’s all about."
So Friday night I’m at Boston Beer Works talking with my buddy Chris. I tell him, "I dug the movie but it has these moments where it’s really just like a TV movie. You know, it’s lame but it’s good because it’s lame. There’s a drawn-out death scene where I was thinking, ’Stop talking and die already.’ And there’s the Captain (Nathan Fillion) and he’s just like this standard leading man. Hokey and standard."
"That’s what it’s about," he says. "You have to see the TV show. You can’t really understand it unless you’ve seen it."
"Don’t mind me. Just checking the sprinkler system." I’ve been exposed to all of perhaps 5 minutes of the end of an episode of Firefly. It kind of grabbed me. Inevitably, I was never able to find it again. And I feel like I’m not alone in saying so.
Chris may have a point. I’ve likely missed something that would have added to "getting" Serenity on another level. For fans of the show, the good news is the movie does play to you, which was evidenced by some big laughs to lines that, at least from my perspective, had no additional meaning. Anyway, I think it’s safe to say the majority of people seeing Serenity opening weekend will be unfamiliar with the original show.
That gets me wondering. From the perspective of Firefly-o-philes, is there anything the unfamiliar must know before seeing the movie? Any concern there? It’s not like we’re all going to be able to run out and get the DVD set. What should we know? What should anyone who hasn’t seen the TV show know about it before seeing the movie? Really, is there anything?
Let our readers know. We’ll cover your answers in the IGN Mailbag.
From Serenity I turn to audacity - a word that applies to the last half hour of the Japanese movie Audition, which is now on DVD from Lions Gate. There isn’t really any other way to describe it. It’s like, what the f*** did she just do?
Audition is all about the set-up and the pay-off. The set-up: a middle-aged TV executive decides to produce a movie, kind of. His ulterior motive is to audition prospects for a new girlfriend. Turns out there’s one lady who really hopes she gets a callback. And the payoff... about a half hour of the most... well... um, in good conscience I can’t hint. If you want to know, I’m sure there’s somewhere online where you can find out. Resist the temptation. For Audition to effectively freak you, the less you know, the better.
Says Asami, "Words create lies. Only pain can be trusted." Bravo’s 100 Scariest Moments in Movies puts Audition at number 11. "I never get creeped out when I watch a movie," says Rob Zombie in his interview for the program (included on the DVD). "That was the first time I ever watched one and I started to feel: this movie is creeping me out. It’s like so out of control."
Among the DVD’s special features is a five minute introduction from director Takashi Miike, known for such films as Gozu and Ichi the Killer. "Relax while you watch it," he says. "The film will change as it continues. You can experience the film with the main character. I hope that you’re able to keep your eyes on the screen. In the second half, it’s painful. If you feel sick, pause the movie and watch the rest of it tomorrow."
Take a deep breath. Be brave.