After watching the Firefly series, I finally watched Serenity. (Spoiler ahead.)
It was a brilliant critique of the dark side of holding to an ideology and offered an honest alternative.
The villians, the centralized government and the Believer, could represent anyone holding any belief above question. The parallel between political parties and religious communities was obvious and the harm that it leads to only too accurate.
They did a great job of showing the horrors, atrocities, and acts-worse-than-murder that came as a result of wanting world peace. The Believer murdered entire planets in his quest for peace. Nothing could stop him until he was confronted with the real results of one failed attempt to force utopia.
It was eerily reminiscent of the history of dictatorship. Motives – peace and stability. Means – whatever necessary. Results – death of any dissention, people and ideas.
The Believer lost his beliefs when confronted with the truth, hidden by those of the centralized government who commanded him.
The heroes of the story left their own solution to the imperfections in the world.
There are no absolute answers. We will make mistakes, but we can learn. Love hurts, but not loving is worse. Its ok not to know what is best but to try anyways.
I would have loved the movie unreservedly if the producers hadn’t listened to Faux critics. They complained that the women characters were too strong and the men not strong enough in the TV show. I thought it was balanced. The power dynamics were fluid, respectful, and exciting. The captain of the crew was the clear leader, challenged only by a passenger who used his ship for her business. It was clear that he loved her for it.
For the movie, the producers changed this power dynamic and gave the role of challenger to the doctor onboard. This clashed with his character of quiet persistence. Previously he was a peacemaker personality who would only take a radical stand when his sister’s life was in danger. Not an agitator, but a gentle man driven by love, strength shown in other ways than punching people in the face. His character, now trying to vy for power, was flattened. He punched too quickly, thought too slowly.
The woman he replaced was not in the movie at all. Her body was, but that was all she was allowed to be: a docile, submissive, breasted body. Without the personality and spunk of her previous character, Inara was gone. And gone with her was the vibrant sexual tension between the captain and her. None of their scenes together were believable and he came off more as a self-assured jerk than the complex character of the TV series.
It was a fine action movie. It wasn’t afraid to go into mental illness or to challenge the blind devotion that people with good intentions attach to something that offers hope for perfection.
The villians were shown to have good intentions. The heroes, to have mixed intentions. They were all so very human. Except for Inara. She was gone and I missed her.