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Holy Shit! River Is Made of Chocolate! - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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October 1st, 2005


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02:10 am - Holy Shit! River Is Made of Chocolate!
That was nifty.

Joss made a movie. Not a two-hour episode, but a bona fide film with enough exposition to allow those unfamiliar with the 'verse to follow. It was exciting, action-packed, heart-stopping, funny...everything you'd expect. I honestly don't think I can say anything that will affect whether or not you will go see this movie, so I will get right down to the discussion.

I thought the opening exposition was pretty cleverly done, moving from a classroom lecture (Walt's mom!) to River in the Alliance facility to the video being watched by the Operative. Funnily enough, the scene with River in the Alliance facility is the one scene more confusing to fans of the show because, what the hell is Simon doing?! Pretty cool to see the breakout. Simon used to be a badass!

I really liked the Operative as a villain. An over-the-top evil guy who's not really evil even though he acknowledges he's evil and...he's an amoral guy doing his job. And he really likes killing people. He's also a damn good fighter. Who, when it comes down to it, is terrified of Reavers just like everyone else.

I also liked Mr. Universe, who seems like he might have come in handy back in the days of the show. Much like Simon's fucking safeword. Yeah, Simon, maybe instead of all that wrasslin' with your sister you did, you could have just put her to sleep.

I was really confused by Mal's attitude toward Simon and River. The show spent a great deal of time integrated Simon and River into the crew. "Ariel" cemented their positions as members of Mal's crew, to whom no harm should come. "Objects in Space" was symbolic of his acceptance of River. And now, suddenly, it's all, "You're a guest, not part of my crew, I hate you all, let's kick you out." It felt inconsistent, but of course, it's nothing I'm allowed to criticize when evaluating the movie as a separate entity.

I thought it was a very well put-together movie, not that I really expected it not to be. But it moved along, it had setups and callbacks, it had themes and shit. Love is good, belief is good, drugs are bad.

Our audience was very receptive to the humor. Lots of laughs all around, even for the lines I'd heard many times in the trailers. Even some of those laughs where you miss the next line.

I wonder what a non-fan would think of Book. He has one scene, and then he's dead. What character development! I was a little surprised, but not too surprised, by Book's death, as he was the most expendable. But I thought we were going to fucking explore his secret past at some point. I remembered people urging everyone to remain unspoiled, and now I knew why. There was death!

Same thing for Inara. It's hard for me to fathom the way these characters would come off to someone unfamiliar with them, who doesn't know all their history and backstory. I mean, I don't think she's ever called a Companion. I liked that the fact that Mal and Inara didn't fight was a dead giveaway that it was a trap. And it was kind of cool that they didn't just make up at the end. They left that for Simon and Kaylee, which, aww. peri_peteia was happy, I'm sure. Although Kaylee didn't get a whole lot to do besides be horny for Simon. She got to be a mechanic with her line about not flying in ships with a certain engine because they just fall right down.

The River plotline finally let us know why the Alliance wanted her back so badly (and explained why the men in "Ariel" had to be killed just because River may have spoken to them), although I'm not sure it was big enough. Especially since the information only ended up "damaging the regime," or whatever. I think it's cool that the Alliance created the Reavers (which explains their constant denial of their very existence), but I assume Pax did some major genetic modification; otherwise, how could the Reavers breed? Also, it's pretty clear that the Alliance has been in touch with Rambaldi and his Big Floating Red Ball of Doom.

We don't know, however, what the Alliance really wanted with River in the first place. What they were planning to use her for, planting subliminal messages in cartoons and all.

Random: the Mule flies now! What the hell? I miss the old Mule. This one has Hindi on it for some reason. I couldn't figure out what it said, though. Wasn't a word I was familiar with.

Dude, the Operative annihilated Whitefall. Patience is dead!

Mal's idea to bring the Reavers to the Alliance fleet? Fucking sweet.

And then. No! Ow! Ah! Not the—no! I was literally cringing and whimpering at Serenity being broken. It affected me more than Book's death.

This was the thought in my head, that this breaking ship was hitting me harder than the death of a character, right before MY HEART FUCKING STOPPED BECAUSE OH MY FUCKING GOD HE KILLED WASH OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED. The entire audience fucking gasped.

For the next ten or fifteen minutes, my chest continued to feel faint, heated, dead, I don't know. I couldn't get my head around the fact that I was now living in a World Without Wash.

Now I knew why people were strongly advising not being spoiled. As a result, I knew Joss meant business, and maybe he figured that since he couldn't get his show back, he'd just start killing people off. Maybe it would make a sequel easier to greenlight. Fewer actors.

When Zoe got sliced in the back, I thought she'd join her husband. When Kaylee got hit in the neck, I thought she was a goner. When Simon got shot in slow-motion, I thought he wouldn't make it. Wash's death raised the stakes, confirmed that, yes, these people's lives were actually at risk. This may not be war, but there will be casualties.

River being a badass will never stop being cool.

That Mal hit the floor in the exact same way he did in "Out of Gas" was fucking awesome. I wish there'd been some more throwaway references like that. Come on, couldn't Jayne have been strumming "The Hero of Canton" on that guitar?

So. Did I love the movie as much as others seemed to? I don't know. I didn't really expect it to be the awesomest movie of all time. I did get a damn good movie, though. Didn't really have any major problems with it. The last thirty or forty-five minutes were killer. I hope it makes a lot of money, and I hope people who don't know the show see it and enjoy it.

Now, all you bitches who already saw the damn movie long ago (some, MULTIPLE TIMES), link me to your spoilery reviews so I don't have to go hunting, dammit. I must retroactively squee with you.

I eagerly await Serenity II: The River Is Gonna Get You.
Current Mood: indescribableindescribable
Current Music: Ladytron - Blue Jeans

(59 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:cerulgalactus
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:12 am (UTC)
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After Wash, in the bottleneck, I was “no, he cant kill them all…..but, dude, its fucking Joss — that is just what he will do”.
(Deleted comment)
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From:spectralbovine
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:17 am (UTC)
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No, he wrote Alien: Resurrection. And yeah, I know he's worked in movies before. But there's always a danger when you're adapting a television show.
(Deleted comment)
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From:briasoleil
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
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*sputters* But Wash! Wash can't die. I cried. I was devastated. There is no killing Wash. *dies*

That was cool. It wasn't brilliant like Lost in Translation or The Sweet Hereafter. But it was cool. It was good. And I will see it again.

I want more Firefly now. With the characters that I knew and loved. Including Wash.
[User Picture]
From:dlgood
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:30 am (UTC)
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Joss made a movie. Not a two-hour episode, but a bona fide film with enough exposition to allow those unfamiliar with the 'verse to follow.

Nah - he made a two-hour miniseries that works much better for TV. Having not been familiar with the show, there's a whole lot of this that doesn't resonate. It works okay as a nice little action/adventure tale, but it doesn't really stand out for me. Beyond which - the filming is clearly stylized for TV complete with everything being structured around coming in and out of commercial breaks.

I'm not saying it's bad or anything - I just think this belongs more on TV than the big screen.

I wonder what a non-fan would think of Book.

Not much. It's sort of a combo of the "Black Guy dies first" and "hero's mentor gets killed first" storytelling cliches.

[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:32 am (UTC)
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Beyond which - the filming is clearly stylized for TV complete with everything being structured around coming in and out of commercial breaks.

Really? I didn't see that at all. In fact, I commented that it didn't feel like that.
[User Picture]
From:peri_peteia
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:36 am (UTC)
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Here, whore!

peri_peteia was happy, I'm sure.

Damn straight, my bovine friend, damn straight.

I feel as though people react to Book less because he is old and has lived his life. P.S. He was totally an Operative.

I found that Wash and Serenity (omg the extender breaks off and I cringe and look away) hurt more the second time.
[User Picture]
From:eirefaerie
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:41 am (UTC)
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We eagerly await Serenity II: Jayne's Muscular Buttocks.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:43 am (UTC)
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I eagerly await Serenity II: Kaylee's Nethers.
[User Picture]
From:snoopypez
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:49 am (UTC)
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I still can not form words about Wash. Seriously, you would think I've never seen a Joss show before.

I actually read just today that Jayne WAS strumming the begining to he Hero of Canton. o.O But I didnt catch it, so I don't know.

I eagerly await Serenity II: The River Is Gonna Get You.

Fandoms collide: I'm totally hearing Logan sing that.
[User Picture]
From:missmarch
Date:October 2nd, 2005 05:52 am (UTC)
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Heh, I thought the exact same thing when I saw that quote.
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From:alliterator
Date:October 1st, 2005 07:07 am (UTC)
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Dude. DUDE. DUUUUUUUUUDE.

I totally, completely loved the movie. In movie terms, it was good. In Firefly terms, it was AWESOME in it's AWESOMENESS.

I was slightly surprised by Book dying - I would have though we'd learn his secret before that happened By the way, I totally believe that he used to be an Operative now. He even used the word "operative."

But Wash's death was... wow. It was Anya, but moreso because this wasn't the series finale and he's already killed somebody off, he's not going to kill another person, he couldn't, he wouldn't... would he? HE DID OMG WASH IS DEAD AND HIS FIRST NAME IS HOBAN.

After that, all bets were off. I thought EVERYBODY was going to die, a la the Angel series finale. And it seemed that way, too, until Mal came back down and the doors open to reveal... River in that total Buffy-in-Anne moment, with the hammer and sickle, only this time it's a sword and one of those weird knife things. Awe. Some.

And yeah, the Serenity being almost destroyed chocked me up. And I thought Wash was going to yell during the descent, "I am a gorram leaf!" or something and then he said it again on the ground and then HE DIED. Damn you, Joss! Why must you always kill the funny one? WHY?
[User Picture]
From:cerulgalactus
Date:October 1st, 2005 07:16 am (UTC)
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The one thing that would have made the River power reveal just that totally brilliant would be one little sentence -

"...No power in The 'Verse can stop me."
[User Picture]
From:cerulgalactus
Date:October 1st, 2005 07:34 am (UTC)

BTW....

(Link)
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 1st, 2005 07:41 am (UTC)

Re: BTW....

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Awesome, dude.
[User Picture]
From:alliterator
Date:October 1st, 2005 07:42 am (UTC)
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I just realized - this is the second time Mal has gotten stabbed by a sword in the gut. I think it would have been hilarious if Inara saw he had been stabbed at the end and said, "Again?"
[User Picture]
From:flymara
Date:October 1st, 2005 07:59 am (UTC)
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MY HEART FUCKING STOPPED BECAUSE OH MY FUCKING GOD HE KILLED WASH OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED.
Hee, this was me. I'm still not completely over it (although the VM premier has taken precendence on my OH MY GODs).
[User Picture]
From:teenes
Date:October 1st, 2005 08:53 am (UTC)
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And then. No! Ow! Ah! Not the—no! I was literally cringing and whimpering at Serenity being broken. It affected me more than Book's death.

Oh I forgot to write about this! Me too! I couldn't believe how much it was disturbing me when things were breaking off Serenity left and right. It was like..no!!!!

You're right. After that, and after he killed Wash,I literally didn't know what to expect anymore and was prepared for just about any character or all of them to die. Had to keep telling myself "he wants to do a sequel" but even then, I just couldn't guess what was going to happen, which really raised the emotional stakes.

Gah!!! That movie! Gah!!
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:starfyer
Date:October 1st, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC)
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*whimper*

OH GOD WASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everything you said. I agree.
[User Picture]
From:super_hoodzie_x
Date:October 1st, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC)
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superb review, i must say.
i caught the 11.55 showing last night after our homecoming football game.
TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME. the movie was one of the best and most original things i've seen in a long time but i'm sad that they didn't find a place to put the theme song, not even in the credits!

and OH MY GOODNESS. a world without Wash. i feel exactly the same, i was so shocked and our entire theatre gasped. i actually thought everyone was going to die at the end.
[User Picture]
From:kibarika
Date:October 1st, 2005 08:10 pm (UTC)
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Ah, but there WAS an instrumental of the Ballad of Serenity, at the VERY END of the closing credits.
[User Picture]
From:sweinberg
Date:October 1st, 2005 02:24 pm (UTC)
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Great recap! Glad you liked the flick. My review is where you'd expect: at Rotten Tomatoes, under W for "jew."

And you're exactly right re: Wash's demise. At that point everyone in the audience is thinking "Oh fuck. ANYONE can die!" And while I'm disappointed that one of the funniest characters is gone, I do respect Whedon's intent to keep his audience on their toes.

Would anyone have DARED to kill off Scotty or Data or Chewie? No effin' way.
[User Picture]
From:alliterator
Date:October 1st, 2005 04:04 pm (UTC)
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Actually, Data did die in the last Star Trek flick (Nemesis). But that was because Brent Spiner had gotten older and couldn't really play an ageless robot anymore. And yet they brought in a duplicate robot played by him, so... whatever.

And in some Expanded Universe Star Wars book, Chewie did die. Except the book sucked and his death sucked.

But none of them would have done it this way - in the middle of a joke, shocking, unexpected. Whedon is the master of the "OH SHIT!" feeling. You like, "Whew. They made it through. Man, they're lucky to have Wash as a pilot. Ha. 'I am a leaf.' That's- OH MY GOD OH SHIT OH SHIT THEY FUCKING KILLED WASH."
[User Picture]
From:roniabirk
Date:October 1st, 2005 02:32 pm (UTC)
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=D

Linkage. Although, I have no clue what I wrote ... I seem to have written about 4 posts over a couple of days.
[User Picture]
From:zimshan
Date:October 1st, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
And then. No! Ow! Ah! Not the—no! I was literally cringing and whimpering at Serenity being broken. It affected me more than Book's death.

This was the thought in my head, that this breaking ship was hitting me harder than the death of a character, right before MY HEART FUCKING STOPPED BECAUSE OH MY FUCKING GOD HE KILLED WASH OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED. The entire audience fucking gasped.

For the next ten or fifteen minutes, my chest continued to feel faint, heated, dead, I don't know. I couldn't get my head around the fact that I was now living in a World Without Wash.


Yup. That was my reaction in a nutshell. The ship getting scraped and hit and broken into pieces absolutely killed me. And just when I thought I couldn't be killed anymore, WHAM!!

Throughout the rest of the movie, I was just a wreck. Crying, "Joss. What did you do?!?!"
[User Picture]
From:super_hoodzie_x
Date:October 1st, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
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i might add that i don't think the reavers breed, i think they just sort of spread the insanity. Like in "bushwacked" when they rescue the guy off the abandoned ship and he goes insane and becomes a reaver.

Also, Kaylee did mention when they were looking at the video/picture of Inara that "they had a bonafide companion on board" but true, i dont' think most of the audience knew what that meant.
[User Picture]
From:sadiekate
Date:October 1st, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Our audience was very receptive to the humor. Lots of laughs all around, even for the lines I'd heard many times in the trailers. Even some of those laughs where you miss the next line.

Same thing in our theatre, which was great. I made a point of going opening night, even though I haven't gone to an opening night movie in years (I'm too anti-people). Even QB laughed a lot, and he never really enjoyed the show, and subsequently only watched a few eps - for him to follow along and be amused was a great thing.

When Zoe got sliced in the back, I thought she'd join her husband. When Kaylee got hit in the neck, I thought she was a goner. When Simon got shot in slow-motion, I thought he wouldn't make it. Wash's death raised the stakes, confirmed that, yes, these people's lives were actually at risk. This may not be war, but there will be casualties.

Man alive, after Wash's death, I kept gasping every time there was an injury. I was afraid the whole damn crew was going to die. I didn't get that sad about Book, but I loved Wash, and that death was so unexpected that I just flipped out. It completely raised the stakes, in such a compelling and shocking way.
[User Picture]
From:kibarika
Date:October 1st, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Replies to multiple points!

> I was really confused by Mal's attitude toward Simon and River.

Me too. This was my biggest wh-huh? the first time I saw it, but I have now (three viewings later) come to grips with it and it doesn't bug me as much. It's because I am allowing myself to just accept some stuff had to be rolled back or it would make no sense to the non-fans.

> I think it's cool that the Alliance created the Reavers (which explains their constant denial of their very existence), but I assume Pax did some major genetic modification; otherwise, how could the Reavers breed?

I asked Will how he thought Reavers got all those ships, if they all started out planetside. He pointed out that in Bushwhacked, Mal discusses how people who survive Reaver attacks tend to become Reavers themselves. THAT is how they reproduce.

> Also, it's pretty clear that the Alliance has been in touch with Rambaldi and his Big Floating Red Ball of Doom.

I thought this RIGHT AWAY the first time I saw the movie (which was just a few weeks after the Alias finale).

> Come on, couldn't Jayne have been strumming "The Hero of Canton" on that guitar?

I would bet that song is proprietary and the rights are owned by Fox. I'm not even being funny.
[User Picture]
From:petunia846
Date:October 1st, 2005 11:05 pm (UTC)
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OMG WASH! *sobs*

That was good. Dude. I might need to see it twice.

Also...I want your icon, where'd you get it?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 1st, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC)
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It was made by shmadyle. Feel free to take it and credit.
From:xo_willow_xo
Date:October 1st, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC)
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As I said to you before, Joss is a merciless bastard.
I was still teary half an hour after the movie ended, for the love of crap.
I loved it, though. Kaylee & Simon - FINALLY - made me happy. River's awesome. Mal's flaring nostrils on a 24ft screen made me grin.
The end part with Zoe at the graves killed me. Sunil, it KILLED me.
*sigh* Oh, I love Joss. I really do. He keeps me on my toes and, to boot, gives me beautiful people to watch and HORRIBLE THINGS to be disturbed by.
[User Picture]
From:tibicina
Date:October 1st, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm still sniffly about Wash. I just... it was... He'd /landed them/. And they were all ok, even if the ship was hurt and and and... They were down. They were supposed to be safe. At least for a moment. *sniffle* Though... it is true that that death at that moment did somehow raise the stakes and make it clear that none of them were safe. That anyone could die during this.
[User Picture]
From:sneaker328
Date:October 1st, 2005 11:56 pm (UTC)
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I read the spoilers, and I'm not seeing the movie, and I'm glad I'm not. I liked Firefly, but I didn't love it, and one of the few things I did love about it was Wash, so...no.

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