Serenity (2005)


“I aim to misbehave.”

The Scoop: 2005 PG-13, directed by Joss Whedon and starring Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau and Alan Tudyk

Tagline: Can’t stop the signal.

Summary: A group of space rebels out only for themselves find out perhaps everyone has a destiny after all

Kyle’s rating: I really don’t like westerns. But throw in sci-fi and it’s surprisingly tasty!

Kyle’s review: Now, I never watched Firefly when it was television or when it was being broadcast in marathons a ton of times to build up hype for the film. Sorry, but Joss Whedon is just hugely overrated as far as I’m concerned. His dialogue isn’t the end-all-be-all, his characters are realistic but not necessarily memorable, and his plotting is only occasionally mind-blowing. I do enjoy the genre-busting he is often credited for, since if nothing else it’s pretty obvious Whedon has watched a lot of television and films and knows about the usual cliches and wants his work to flirt with them but confound them as well. That I can respect.

I can respect Serenity as well because I liked it. I’m a little torn over whether I should say “I liked it a lot!” or “I liked it quite a bit.” It was a fun experience; not one I’m in a hurry to repeat and I can’t imagine I’ll want to see it on enough of a regular basis to ever buy it, even if it was used and dirt cheap. I’ll certainly agree it was better than Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, but so was The Dukes of Hazard. No, really.

I guess the major strength of Serenity is that is properly plays around with the fact that our characters in a spaceship (as in visiting plenty of different places, instead of the usual sci-if convention of the characters capable of interstellar travel but sticking to like two planets), everything is fairly logical, there are none of the usual great big emotional moments of spontaneous character development/upheaval, and it puts all its chip on Mal (Nathan Fillion) and River (Summer Glau). I’ve heard the entire cast is strong. Okay. The women are all certainly attractive and the guys have a good grasp of physical and comedic action, but otherwise they’re fairly bland.

And don’t tell me the movie had to streamline everything, because I flipped through a few episodes of Firefly and no one really stood out too impressively. My perceptions from seeing ten accumulated minutes on television carried over the to the film: Fillion is a great tortured heroic lead, that lady was on 24, her husband is lame, that selfish guy is so untrustworthy omg why do they keep him around lol!!!!, ooh Glau and the mechanic girl are very attractive, well, I can’t tell if Glau is attractive or not and this companion woman is attractive as well or maybe she just stands out or something, is she trying too hard? I can’t put my finger on it. No, you know what? Summer Glau IS attractive. I’m hungry.

That’s how my brain usually works. Impressive, no?

I was able everything in the film without knowing the television show, so don’t be worried. And my showing wasn’t besieged by those “browncoat” Whedon superfans that get made fun of and occasionally wear shirts proclaiming “Joss Whedon is My Master Now” (in Star Wars font, taking a nice deserved swipe at George Lucas) so you probably don’t have to worry about fanboy stench or overactive laughs or stuff like that. At certain points in the film (you’ll know them when they happen) a few audience members reacted so strongly it was clear they were Firefly devotees. That’s cool. They probably got a lot more out of the film than people like me did, but I’m pretty sure we all left entertained.

Still, I just can’t go crazy recommending Serenity, because while it’s solid sci-fi and the blending of western/civil war themes into the mix is more deftly handled than I expected, it just wasn’t memorable. I’m curious what my Mutant brethren think, since I’m fairly certain a couple are Firefly enthusiasts. I walked out happy, but without plans to pick up the series on DVD or even to purposely click onto and continuously watch any of the episodes replayed on television.

So, sorry Whedon-freaks, but this is one geek who didn’t get sucked into your Whedon-verse via my Serenity film ticket. It’s a nice place to very rarely visit, and it’s great you can parrot all the “cool” Buffy/Angel/Firefly dialogue to each other as a method of recognition at Applebee’s and geek conventions. But just please validate my parking and let me leave in peace, please. Just let Whedon’s actresses out to play every once in a while, yeah?

UPDATE: I had to collect all the Mutant extras for this review, so I was able to rethink things and change anything before I sent it back in. Ultimately, I was pretty happy with everything I wrote. That is, I don’t feel like editing myself, so whatever I wrote last weekend before I went to bed is what gets published. But I thought I would add that among a lot of film sites out there, the big controversy is that a lot of people are taking great delight in the perceived box office failure of Serenity, not because Firefly or Serenity particularly bothers them, but because the Whedon fan-atics (known officially as “browncoats”) are so hugely annoying to them. I tend to ignore a lot of that sort of stuff. But it does go to show you: if you want other people to like the things you like (if you care about that sort of thing), it’s best to be somewhat reasonable and allow the work/art stand on its own. Serenity is a pretty good sci-fi movie. But stamped from the start with a cultish “greatest thing EVARRRR!!!!!11!!!1!!” tag almost certainly played a part (thus far) in its failure to be embraced by the mainstream. Does it matter? Does anything? Who can tell anymore?

Justin’s rating: That’s why I don’t kiss ’em on the mouth.

Justin’s review: There are a few things you must know about writer/director Joss Whedon — a Whedon Primer, I guess — if you’re not familiar with his cult TV shows Buffy, Angel or Firefly. The first: Joss writes great stories, plays against clichés, has created fully fleshed-out characters that are easy to grow attached to, and often whips up cliffhangers that were among the best in the biz. The second: Joss hates his imaginary TV folk. Honest and true. It may be a strong blend of love and hate, but after watching so much of his stuff, it’s apparent that he loathes having his characters be happy — despondent people in crisis are more interesting to watch, I suppose.

It’s part of Whedon’s worldview that I often come into conflict with, as I see him unable to create a happy situation that he can’t resist tearing apart with hopelessness and anguish. He’s lauded for his emphasis on strength of friendships, but ultimately he’s feels the need to show betrayals, failures, and separation… and where does that leave us?

Sorry. That’s kind of the heavy stuff we critics shouldn’t open with, unless we’re pulling for a Pulitzer (*cough*). I got to say, Serenity is one of the toughest films I’ve had to review this year, because I’m conflicted about it. Now, that doesn’t mean BAD, nor GOOD, just something a tad more complicated that’ll need your utmost attention.

It’s impossible to separate Serenity as a movie from its predecessor, the 13-episode Firefly TV show that was cancelled in 2003. Make no space-bones about it, Firefly is terrific TV. It took outer space scifi in a new direction, with no aliens, a Western/post-Civil War/Chinese-American genre blend, and a cast that was as atypical from your generic grab bag of Starfleet uniforms as you could want.

It’s the sort of show that would get you hooked, loving the imaginative stories, the rustic feel and the meta plotlines… and then became the sort of show that broke your heart when you got to the end of episode #13 and realized there was no more. If it wasn’t for the enormous fan base and the great DVD sales, that would’ve been that. As it was, several stories were left hanging (this was only the mid-first season) and time went on.

I was all for Firefly being made into a movie. It even makes a terrifical endeavor, something far off-course from what you’d expect from typical scifi blockbusters, and more in line with a devil-may-care attitude of cult storytelling and pinache. Unfortunately, it’s regrettable that the movie loses a lot from the show that made Firefly so special.

Set a few hundred years in the gritty future, Serenity opens with a different angle on Firefly’s main storyline: A Very Special Girl named River was kidnapped by the Alliance, who experimented on her to make best use of her psychic and physical abilities; River was rescued by her loyal brother and doctor Simon; and the pair end up on a weaponless transport ship named Serenity, which is crewed by a wild bunch of rebels, hookers, and cutie-pies. The Alliance wants River back at all costs, and end up hiring an Operative to hunt her down.

Meanwhile, as Joss is wont to do, the crew of the Serenity is fractured from the previous events of the TV series — space prostitute Inara is gone, preacher Brook is off somewhere, and Simon and River are considering their own departure. Only the double threat of the Alliance hunt and the eerie space cannibal clan known as the Reavers give the crew enough of a reason to stick together.

Serenity is a cold, dark movie that does have heart somewhere in it, as long as you’re willing to wade through harsh images and (seemingly) unfeeling characters to get there. The cool steel of Firefly’s innards are a far cry from the warm tones of the TV show; the same goes for Captain Malcolm Reynolds (who’s always two brays short of a full-fledged jackass) and many of the crew. Again, don’t get me wrong: they’re an enormously entertaining ensemble to watch, and each character does get his or her moment to shine. It’s just that Whedon seems to really enjoy batting them around in this flick, and suppresses most of their more likable traits from the show. By the end, it’s not so much a trial by fire for the crew as a witch burning, and without giving anything away, I’d say that Whedon’s just plain mean by the end.

Hard movie to review, remember? Great scenes and well-crafted smaller moments are all about what I love in both the show and the movie. Here, we’re treated to thrilling chases, firefights, and a visual universe that’s so unlike the normal scifi star romp. The dialogue is witty and the musical score engaging — it’s a movie worth listening to, if nothing else! I’m always a big fan of the Chinese influence used in the show to suggest a true multi-cultural race, and it‘s of course nice to see it in use here. With the darker tone comes one of the more horrendous elements of the series, the Reavers, raping cannibals who are made all the more horrible by the fact that most of what they do or look like is largely left up to the soundtrack (oh, the screams) and our imaginations.

Serenity becomes its own animal in the end, apart from its mother show. There’s a lot I don’t approve of in the changes: the loss of most of the “western” feel, the lack of humor (except in a few notable spots), the slew away from the tight-knit family that the Firefly crew was becoming. I am, however, extremely glad that several of the show’s main storylines are given full treatment and answered to satisfaction, which is a lot less frustrating than another cliffhanger that says “Stay tuned for Serenity II: The Search for Jayne’s Gold.”

We’ll see, in time, what the ultimate verdict of Serenity will become. Will it’s gloomy atmosphere smother the prior fan love of the show? Will new fans of the movie be compelled to go back and discover the show? Will the TV series’ fans be let down or vindicated by this adventure? Is it able to be appreciated as is, without any other bias?

See what I did there? Cliffhanger. Boom.

Lissa’s rating: Still a leaf, but now I’ve gone splat on a windshield. (Oh, by the way, spoilers.)

Lissa’s review: So, I’m back. Yes, I’ve already reviewed Serenity before. But that was before. This is after. In case you can’t figure it out, I mean before and after watching the Firefly series.

After watching Serenity the first time, I knew I was going to watch the series. And I wasn’t completely shocked when Duckie gave it to me for Valentine’s Day (a far preferable gift, I might add, to chocolate or flowers!). We watched it. We loved it. We even discussed it at the dinner table. The theme song got added to Ducklet’s library of inappropriate lullabies. I’ve seen every episode twice, and Jaynestown more than twice, because that’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen. And we eagerly watched Serenity again, because we were sure we’d have a different view on the movie.

To be brutally honest, I was a little disappointed.


Seriously. One of my favorite things about Firefly was the humor. Part of the problem with the movie is that the characters that generally provide the bulk of the humor — Jayne, Wash, and Kaylee — were the three characters pushed furthest to the background. And Mal seemed to have lost his sense of humor completely. I thought maybe Inara took it with him, but he didn’t seem to get it back when she came back. So that sucked.

But let’s talk about Jayne a little more, because it makes a great segue to what I want to say next, and what I felt was wrong with the movie.

Jayne started out the show as a complete (Justin, can I say that word? Probably not.) erm, jackass. (Justin used it, so I can too.) There was always something likeable about him in that you could see good facets of him, but he wasn’t just rough around the edges. He was out for himself, and totally motivated by money. The character did have to change some, or it would be unbelievable as to why he’d stay on. After the episode “Ariel”, you did start to see that change, and it worked. However, in the show, Jayne never really lost his rough edges or his jerkiness. And he and Simon never really got on, and probably never should.

That said, where was Jayne, and why was he replaced with someone who actually sort of philosophized with Kaylee there? Why was he getting along with Simon? Where was the undercurrent of hostility between them? Even if they are doing the mutual respect thing, I can’t see them ever getting along. Scratch that. I don’t want to see them getting along. I like them sniping at each other. The movie sort of picked up where the series left off, but I felt like it didn’t pick up the spirit of the series. (Although I was very pleased to see Jayne wearing his hat.)

It wasn’t just Jayne — Jayne was just an example of what I felt was wrong. Each character lost their three-dimensionality (except River) and sort of became a single personality trait. Simon was summarized as “the doctor brother who loves River.” Mal was “bitter captain searching to bring the truth to the people.” Inara was “love interest of said bitter captain.” Kaylee was “love interest of doctor brother that loves River.” Jayne was “the guy that likes weapons.” Wash was “the guy that croaks.” Zoe was “wife of guy that croaks.” Book was “not here.” Before I saw the series, I could kind of accept that. Now that I’ve seen what the characters can be — and in a single episode — that disappointed me. To be honest, I didn’t care about these people as much as I might have.

I hate saying that.

Don’t get me wrong — there were still good things about this movie. It was still pretty tightly written, and Wash’s death hit me even harder this time around. (As did Book’s. Especially since we never found out what was going on with him. And Joss made it pretty clear through Book we aren’t going to, didn’t he? Please insert muttered swearing here.) There were still things I really enjoyed, and I’m sure I’ll watch it again. I’ll even watch a lot of the special features and probably the commentary, which is more than I do for a lot of movies. Also, a lot of things I thought would be explained or come up in the series (Mr. Universe, for example) didn’t, so it’s still easy to follow. And I wasn’t at all bored.

So, yeah. Before the series, loved it. After the series… not quite as much. But hey, it made me finally watch the series, and that alone makes it a worthwhile movie.

Shalen’s rating: Two out of ten nethers. What? No one has ten nethers? I’ll bet SCORPIONS do.

Shalen’s review: WARNING: This review contains spoilers!

Normally I try to be more or less impartial when I review a film.

No, wait, that’s a lie. Okay, normally I try to be sly and sarcastic and at least make some pretense that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to the technical aspects. But I’m going to be even less impartial than usual when I say this film sucked deeply.

I’ve seen the entire Firefly series, most episodes more than once. It’s only a matter of time before I buy it for myself on DVD. I would characterize myself as a moderate Whedon fan, meaning someone who enjoys his shows, but does not buy the merchandise, constantly use Whedon-related avatars on forums I join, or define my existence in terms of fictional characters with laughably ridiculous angst over things like whether or not they will have their soul sucked from their body and replaced by a demon if they have sex with their girlfriend.*

I was surprised and charmed to find a sci-fi series that was neither another Star Trek clone nor a bleak apocalyptic blah blah aliens invading blah blah. I liked that the settings and characters were interesting and original, and if they borrowed and sanitized some things from American history** that was okay with me. I was truly impressed that the captain and first officer were a) of different sexes and long acquaintanceship but b) not sexually interested in each other. The dialogue was witty. The plots did not ever involve time travel or creatures who could imitate the appearance of the characters, a trap into which even very non-Trek shows like Stargate have fallen.

So I freely admit that my expectations for the film were high. I wanted to see some trailing plot threads sewn up, to watch Mal get beat up one more time, to hear Wash say the kind of semi-incomprehensible things that I always say myself and watch River finally get really savage all over several armed people at once.

The film had some of those things. That’s why I gave it a two instead of zero.

But mostly it was like this.

The characters all look skinnier, grittier, and more tired. Kaylee, terribly cute when sunny and bright, is not so when she alternates cringing and whining. Jayne and Wash both get far fewer lines than before, thus eliminating considerable humor. There are some good lines, but they are eclipsed by the creeping grimness. The Blue Sun folks (“Two by two… Hands of blue…”) are never present at all, bar one label mentioned by Justin’s review. Instead, we get another African American assassin character who speaks in a very literate fashion and is, in fact, virtually indistinguishable from the Jubal Early character in the last episode of the show.

And — big spoiler here — they killed Wash and Book. I was sitting in my seat, frozen in horror, trying to figure out why, when I had this realization. I could just see Joss Whedon thinking to himself, “Hmm. I need to kill someone off, so the critics will take my movie seriously even though it’s from a sci-fi television show. Not Reynolds. He has too many fans. Ditto River. Kaylee and Simon have that unrequited love thing going, so they’re still pulling people in. I want Inara to attract in the horny guys who want to look at cleavage and Zoe for the ones who want a pretty face. That leaves Book, Jayne, and Wash. And I gave Jayne all the good lines. I’ll just kill both of the others. Heaven forbid we should keep a happy marriage and a religious character for a Hollywood film franchise.”

It’s not as if there was a sound dramatic reason for either of them to die. The deaths are abrupt and pointless, particularly Wash’s — I kept expecting it to turn out that he had somehow survived.

I’ll probably watch whatever further movies are made, if only for River and Jayne. But I will not be buying any more on DVD. The magic is gone.

*Yes, as it turns out. Oh, and apparently sex is also the key to perfect happiness. But that’s another show.
**Such as refighting the Civil War without having the South be slave owners. Did anyone else notice the use of the phrase “purple bellies” instead of “blue bellies?”

Mike’s rating: This is the reason Han Solo should have gotten his own movie.

Mike’s review: For more than a few reasons, this “little movie that could” holds a special place in my withered, nerdy soul. First, I am a lifelong hardcore fan of everything Joss Whedon does, and have been since a certain vampire slayer staked her way into my dark places. Secondly, “Serenity” — through an amazing coincidence — happens to be the name of my very first girlfriend, who, if she’s reading this, needs to return my Klingon hockey jersey. Third, I happened to have seen this movie, for free, the day before it was released thanks to the good people at Samurai Comics who gave me a free ticket to the sneak preview (there, you got the plug, now kindly return my family). Fourth… Kaylee. Do I even really need to say anything else?

With expectations heightened by the sheer brilliance that was Firefly (ironically showcased on the Fox network, known for it’s rampant idiocy, and I know what you’re gonna say, but The Simpsons is a fluke), it was a very real possibility that Firefly would be disappointing. It had been, after all, many years since this story had seen any sort of production, and things that come around like this for a second shot have a way of going stale or not being what you’d expect or hope for (Star Wars prequels, anyone?).

So with my dad in tow, (himself also a big fan of the show) I headed towards the theater. It was a bit nerve-wracking getting there as it was in the middle of rush hour and neither of us really knew exactly how to get where we were going. I became convinced we were going to miss it. Finally we arrived at the mall, and I was not the least bit surprised to find that the line had stretched all the way around Scottsdale Fashion Center twice. After waiting something like three hours, and then another hour as the line slowly trickled into the multiplex, we made out way in and took our seats. I could breathe easy, I was actually going to see it. Then we waited through another half hour of people talking about how this was a sneak preview for Serenity, which we already knew as we had gotten into the theater for free.

Wow, I’m into the fourth paragraph of the review and haven’t even talked about the movie, but have mentioned my ex-girlfriend and gone on a pointless tangent. I really AM a Mutant Reviewer!

Well, let’s just start with the gushing. Yes, I loved it. The characterization, the epic story arc, the action sequences and chase scenes, the mind bogglingly huge reveal about one of the most enigmatic characters of the original series, Kaylee (…mmmmm Kaylee). I absolutely enjoy the “less is more” approach Joss and crew took in making this movie. The digital effects in this movie are top notch, but not in a “hey-check-out-how-cool-this-is” way, but instead indistinguishable from the other shots of the film. George Lucas should watch this for pointers on how to make a movie where the effects DON’T completely take you out of the story. The actors, as per usual, are top-notch, with special nods going to Nathan Fillion and Summer Glau taking the responsibility of being the two leads very seriously. Ultimately, the reason this is such a good movie is because it is, from start to finish, a labor of love. The fans of this show achieved the impossible by bringing this story and this universe back from the dead, and everyone involved in this production, from the director on down to the dolly grip, committed to giving those fans the epic adventure they wanted along with some much lacking closure for the misfit crew of Serenity. They succeeded in a way beyond anything the fans could have hoped for.

Ok, I’m not gonna sleep well if I get through the review and don’t address Shalen’s gripes about the film. First, the Blue Sun guys. Most fanboys with no life (I’m including myself in that) will explain that they were private contractors hired by the Alliance and they’re dead now, which is dealt with in the three-part comic series released prior to the film. Then there’s the deaths in the film. Most any of Joss’ Buffy or Angel fans will tell you that he’s a big fan of the “things-are-darkest-before-the-dawn” style of storytelling. While the show had comedic and lighthearted moments, this is the series finale that you just know Joss intended but never got to do. The final battle would’ve meant nothing if the crew hadn’t risked anything to fight it. The scene in the kitchen as they’re contemplating what is essentially a suicide mission is made that much more poignant and powerful because they are willing to give their lives to get the signal out. To say that the deaths are pointless… well, I would say that Book’s death was exactly that. Death is pointless sometimes, and a good storyteller knows that, but in Wash’s case he died for something he believed in. I can get behind that.

So to sum up, if you’re a fan of the show, of course you’re going to see this, and you probably already own it on Blu-ray. If you’ve never seen the show, give it a shot. You may be surprised to learn that you just came across the most innovative and thought provoking sci-fi film made in years.

“What’s up?”


  • The Sex/Love-bot is a nod and a wink to a few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where Buffy died and was temporarily replaced by a robotic lookalike (who was also blonde)
  • Jayne taking a swig from the bottle and passing it to Simon… a small detail, but something carried over from the series (where the crew would often pass a bottle while talking around the table)
  • The spacesuits that Mal, Zoe and Jayne wear were taken directly from the show
  • Mal’s shoulder scar (seen while shirtless, talking to Inara) is from the episode “The Train Job”, where he got stabbed with a knife
  • Kaylee playing with a catalyzer and smiling, an engine part that was quite the pickle in the episode “Out of Gas”
  • The three infamous “startup” switches that the pilot of Serenity flips to get the ship going
  • Reaver ships have spiffy decorations
  • In the show, the secretive Alliance organization known as the Blue Sun Group were the main people chasing after River. No mention of them is given in the film (other than a label on a bottle).
  • Apparently, Nathan Fillion is the closest thing to a modern Han Solo there is. Whether that is good or bad is up to you
  • River doesn’t like shoes very much
  • The use of Chinese profanities, words, and motifs continue into the film. Thankfully there isn’t too much of that sort of thing, otherwise it could have confused “normal” viewers. Joss Whedon revealed that the implication is that the USA and China were the last of the Earth’s superpowers and after they merged, culturally the mix continues to express itself in the culture
  • The Reavers were rather purposely kept to vague glimpses and stuff, so that you could never truly see their faces and know how self-mutilated they really were. That was a nice touch!
  • The initial scene aboard Serenity is shot in a single take and moves through many of the ships locations including the bridge, the corridor with the bedroom doors, the engine room, the lounge, the sick bay, and the main cargo hold. From the time the camera “comes through” the windows on the bridge to the time the camera cuts is 4 minutes, 24 seconds. This does not include the beginning of the “shot”, which starts with the ships name painted on her side and pans across her surface before going through the window.
  • [Spoiler] The Pax (the drug that made the citizens of Miranda so placcid) is a not so subtle homage to the British SF show Blakes 7 (a favorite of Mr. Whedon’s). In it, the police state Federation puts drugs in the water to keep the populace sedate. [Thanks Sitting Duck]
  • Massive Spoiler Alert for the show! If you don’t have the patience or desire to go back and watch the show to learn more about the backstory and events that lead up to the movie, here’s a quick recap to get you in the know. Malcolm and Zoe fought as “browncoats” in the Unification War against the Alliance (and lost at the Battle of Serenity Valley, hence the name of the ship). They then went and bought a Firefly-class transport as a sort of business venture, doing both illegal and legal jobs for both the more civilized inner core of planets and the rough-and-tumble outer rim planets. Their crew grew to include Wash (who married Zoe before the start of the show), Kaylee (the mechanic), Jayne (muscle guy) and Inara (a glorified space hooker). At the start of the show, they pick up a few new passengers: religious Shepherd Book, uppity doctor Simon Tam, and Simon’s crazy little sister River. It turns out that they’re on the run from the Alliance, and Firefly becomes their hiding spot. During the 13-episode series, the crew has a brush with the after-effects of a Reaver attack, learns that Book isn’t all he appears to be, finds out the River has amazing psychic powers, Keylee and Simon flirt a lot, Malcolm and Inara flirt a lot, and there’s all sorts of inter-crew tensions. By the last episode, Inara leaves Firefly because of her unrequited love for Malcolm, and River has finally started to become accepted as part of the crew.
  • The official site for the film details how Summer Glau had to endure a rather ruthless training regimen to prepare for her intense fight sequences. It certainly helped that she was a trained dancer, but what comes across the most in all the information available online is how Glau and all of the cast were so enthusiastic about making a big-screen adventure of the crew that they were willing to do anything to make it follow the vision Whedon had for the film.
  • The special effects crew for Serenity was the same group of people who had worked with Whedon on Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. They were able to rehaul the Serenity sets and basically do all the things for the film that they couldn’t do with the television show’s small budget.

Groovy Quotes

Wash: If she doesn’t give us some extra thrust to offset the burnthrough, this landing is gonna get pretty interesting.
Malcolm: Define “interesting”.
Wash: “Oh, God, oh, God, we’re all gonna die”?

The Operative: I want to resolve this like civilized men. I’m not threatening you. I’m unarmed.
Malcolm: Good! [quick-draws gun… BANG]

Malcome: We’re just ghostin’ this.
Jayne: Shiny. Let’s be bad guys.

Malcolm: This recording was made about 12 years ago. Alliance buried it, and it stayed buried..until River dug it up. This is what they were afraid she knew. And they were right to fear, cause there’s a whole ‘verse of people out there who are going to know it too. Someone needs to speak for these people. Y’all got on this boat for different reasons, but y’all come to the same place. So now I’m asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this – they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin’. I aim to misbehave.

River: I swallowed a bug.

The Operative: It’s worse than you know.
Malcolm: It usually is.

Wash: I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.

Zoë: Do you really think any of us are getting out of here alive?
Jayne: Well, I might.

Malcolm: Do you want to run this ship?
Jayne: Yes.
Malcolm: Oh. [beat] Well, you can’t!

Malcolm: Dear Buddha, I would like a pony and a plastic rocket.

The Operative: [to Mal] You cannot make me angry.
Inara: Please, spend an hour with him!

The Operative: Are you willing to die for your beliefs?
Malcolm: I am. [he fires] …’Course, that ain’t exactly plan A.

Wash: Can I suggest something that doesn’t involve violence, or is this the wrong crowd for that?

Wash: Can we start with the part where Jayne gets knocked out by a 90 pound girl? Because that’s *never* getting old.

Malcolm: While I’m gone, Zoe is in command. Now, if I’m not back in an hour, I want you to take this ship, take off… and you come and you rescue me!
Zoë: What? And risk my ship?

Malcolm: Y’all were listening in, I take it?
Kaylee: Yeah
Malcolm: Did you see us fight?
Kaylee: No.
Malcolm: Trap.

Kaylee: Going on more’n a year  I ain’t had had nothing twixt my nethers didn’t run on batteries!
Malcolm: Gah! I can’t know that!
Jayne: I could stand to hear a little more.

Malcolm: Yes, I have read a poem. Try not to faint.

The Operative: You know what your sin is, Malcolm?
Malcolm: Aw hell, I’m a fan of all seven. But right now… I’m gonna have to go with Wrath.

Zoë: How much ammo is left?
Jayne: Three mags and my swinging cod!

Jayne: Shepherd Book once said to me, “If you can’t do something smart, do something right.”

Wash: It’s okay, I’m a leaf on the wind!
Malcolm: What the hell does that mean?

Simon: In all that time on the ship… I’ve always regretted… not being with you.
Kaylee: With me? You mean to say… as in sex?
Simon: I mean to say.
Kaylee: To hell with this. I’m gonna live!

Malcolm: I am taking your sister under my protection here. That means that if anything happens to her, I will get very choked up. Seriously, there might even be tears.

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  1. At RavenCon last April, there was a panel called I Hate Firefly where the panel and audience discussed elements of their favorite and not so favorite shows which bug them to no end. One of the major issues the panel had regarding Firefly was the absurdity of having seventy-odd worlds not requiring artificial aids to live on all within sublight travel distance (astrophysicists must hate Joss Whedon). During it, I realized the truth as to why I hate this movie. Basically, it focuses on my least favorite aspect of the TV series, namely the Academy angle. It struck me as the least Western aspect of the show (the whole space Western concept being what attracted me to the series in the first place). Plus Simon is easily my least favorite character.

    Of course I’ve always had issues with him taking a deliberately non-epic TV series and making it epic, with it resulting in a sort of Star Wars Lite. Maybe it would have helped if he had seen Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, so he could get an idea of how to take a non-epic SF series to the big screen and keep it non-epic.

    And the reason Wash died? Obvious in retrospect. So he could have a Buffy/Angel homage.

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