*** Official SERENITY Discussion Thread

BrettGallman

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Chuck Mayer said:
I think Serenity is appreciated exactly as much as it should be...sometimes overly so
On here, maybe, but I really don't think the general public knows what it's missing. Not saying everyone would love the movie, but I think it would get a lot more appreciation generally if people would actually give it a look.
 

Sean Bryan

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Hardly evil. That's what made him compelling. And he is aware that his acts are evil acts...but he believes a "greater good" lies at the end.
Actually, that fits MY definition of evil (at least real world evil) pretty darn well.
He states clearly in the film, "I'm a monster. What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done".
I think what made him compelling is that he IS "real world evil". He's not evil because he "likes evil" and "doesn't like good". He's evil because he chooses to do evil acts in order to get what he wants (a better world).
He's not kidding himself that he is a righteous man and not evil because he is "only doing evil for the greater good". He knows his actions are wrong/evil, and that he has no place in the world he wants to create.
He chooses to do evil acts because of a greater, righteous cause he thinks he believes in. That's real evil. Not twisting your mustache and killing everyone because you like killing. It's someone who does terrible things to get what they want (whether that is something selfish or for the "greater good" as they see it).
There are plenty of real world examples that can be used here. Whether you're looking at people who blow up "clinics", or people who blow up embassies, these people typically are doing it because they have some misguided belief that it is for some greater good. That's what real evil is. Real word evil, not movie evil.
Of course typically these people don't believe they are evil because they think the ends justify the means or they are entitled to deal out "punishment" they think the "guilty" deserve. But I'm sure there are also those who know what they are doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. Yet they choose to do it because they think the ends justify the means.
The operative IS an evil man because he chooses to do monstrous things (murder children, etc...) because he believes these acts will help bring about something he wants...a better world. What makes this character (displaying real world evil) the most compelling is that he recognizes that because of what he is, he has no place in the better world he wants to create. He owns up to the evilness of his acts and what that makes him, even though he still has every intention of carrying them out.
He didn't kill the crew after the truth of Miranda was sent out to the entire 'verse because that no longer was necessary to protect the secret. It was already out. What was the point. He has no mustache to twirl.
Learning the truth himself certainly seemed to throw him into inner turmoil when he saw the horror of what he was trying to protect. "Evil" doesn't have to be someone who wants bad things. When he saw the truth he is likely to no longer be loyal to the alliance, but that still is unlikely to change his nature in that he will do whatever it takes (no matter how terrible) in order to accomplish something he thinks is important enough.
Whether or not this person could ever find redemption would be an interesting discussion.
 

Mary_P

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Sean Bryan said:
Whether or not this person could ever find redemption would be an interesting discussion.
Oh, I'm so dying to go here ... but I'll continue to hold out hopes that a sequel will do it for me.

All I can say is think about what you know about Shepherd Book.
 

BrettGallman

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Yeah, I really hope we get the story of Shepherd Book someday, be it in comics, or in a sequel which probably won't be made.

I'm guessing his origins weren't told in the comic? (I've never read it, obviously)
 

Chuck Mayer

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The movie (if you had seen the TV show) make very clear implications that Book might have been a Operative
, or at least a dangerous man with knowledge of them.
 

Mary_P

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Book's back story isn't revealed in the comic, no; just his departure from Serenity. I think there are enough clues in the movie and series to draw some conclusions. Here's one from the movie, at the end of the discussion of the type of man the Alliance is likely to send:
MAL: It's of interest to me how much you seem to know about that world.
BOOK: I wasn't *born* a shepherd, Mal.
MAL: You'll have to tell me about that sometime.
BOOK: No, I don't.
 

Tim Glover

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Chuck Mayer said:
The bad guy isn't evil...he DOES evil. Evil represents a malice he does not have. He is a believer. Like Book, he has faith. His just might be misplaced. but that faith causes him to subvert natural moral instincts.
Hardly evil. That's what made him compelling. And he is aware that his acts are evil acts...but he believes a "greater good" lies at the end. If he was evil, he'd have killed the crew at the end and walked off.
I think Serenity is appreciated exactly as much as it should be...sometimes overly so
Agree with you Chuck regarding being evil and doing evil. Good separation there. Now the part about ' Serenity being appreciated 'sometimes overly so'....not so sure about

For me the overdone love fest I think stems from 1. Lack of any knowlege of Serenity or Firefly before I saw the dvd. Really went into this expecting nothing and got back more than I could have ever hoped. and 2. Serenity is just so different than anything I've seen in recent years. Maybe ever. It's not the greatest film of all time for sure, but a great one that only true great films can do: Get better with each viewing.

So unique to really care about so many characters in one film but the crew of Serenity is one of a kind. Not a big fan of Jane although in the series he is more of a prick at times. The movie shows a softer side to me.
I also never watch the Sci-Fi channel. I don't even have that channel so this was something virginistic for me.
 

Quentin

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I don't know that I agree with you, Chuck. That's an odd, philosophical line you are choosing to blur.

Certainly, radical Islamic terrorists kill 'infidels' because they think it is good and will bring about a better world. But, I'm pretty comfortable calling them evil.

I definitely consider the Operative to be evil. He is an evil, goose-stepping, operative of an evil empire. He is close to amoral. He actually changes at the end and no longer believes in the evil empire, so he is on the path to redemption. Much like Book likely had done.
 

BrettGallman

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Quentin said:
I definitely consider the Operative to be evil. He is an evil, goose-stepping, operative of an evil empire. He is close to amoral. He actually changes at the end and no longer believes in the evil empire, so he is on the path to redemption. Much like Book likely had done.
I was about to post the same thing about the Book's path being like the operative's here. I am familiar with the series and do know about the implications of Book working for the Alliance. I'd really like to see what made him turn. Maybe he got in a situation and had to face the evil he was doing, like the Operative in Serenity.
 

Chuck Mayer

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I suppose I am blurring the line based on the perspective the Operative shows...he is aware his acts are evil. That insight somewhat negates the term for me. Like a cop shooting a 14 year old with a gun, he recognizes his act as evil but necessary.

A terrorist is not a good analogy. A CIA agent torturing a man to find the location of a nuclear bomb in a city is a better analogy.

Most calling him evil are coming from the "hero" POV that the Alliance is evil. He doesn't think it is.

I understand the notion that you are what you do. And he does evil. So calling him evil is OK. But it's not that simple.

And your redemption sounds suspiciously like the facile redemption some folks confer to Vader. We don't want that discussion. When you have done the things the Operative has done...there cannot be redemption. Merely some meager level of atonement.
 

Holadem

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To me, one simple action irremediably qualifies the operative as evil: the extreme cruelty of having a completely powerless man face the inevitability of his own painful impending death.

He didn't have to off the doctor that way. Can you imagine what must have been going through his mind as he stood there paralysed? "It's a good death" my ass.

That is the behaviour of someone who enjoys causing suffering.

That is a evil as it gets in my book.

--

H
 

Chuck Mayer

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Shoot...that was him being generous. The guy sucked at his job. The Operative let him go out with dignity...on a sword

Very roman,
Chuck
 

Quentin

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A terrorist is not a good analogy. A CIA agent torturing a man to find the location of a nuclear bomb in a city is a better analogy.
I'm not tryin' to pick on ya, Chuck.
But, this was too good to pass up.
This quote of yours is the incarnation of 'history is written by the victors'. You want an analogy where the 'culprit' actually is (or could be) doing good, so you pick a CIA agent. Fair enough. Of course, if the terrorists won, then they would most certainly see the CIA agent as evil. Just as we see the terrorist as evil.
So, yes...I'm speaking from the POV of the "hero". He hasn't won yet, but he is most certainly OUR hero. Which makes the empire and the operative evil.
Redemption/atonement is a fine line as well. But, since Vader dies when he attempts to gain atonement, I think it may be moot. I was more forgiving before I saw him kill a bunch of kids...
 

Tim Glover

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And your redemption sounds suspiciously like the facile redemption some folks confer to Vader. We don't want that discussion. When you have done the things the Operative has done...there cannot be redemption. Merely some meager level of atonement.
Any redemption discussion is difficult due to so much of our own personal beliefs being attached to it. Quite complicated indeed.
I will offer this though believing as Chuck that the Operative achieved some level of atonement.
BTW, his role was vital and key to the film. Extremely well acted and I eagerly look forward to seeing him in future roles.
 

DonRoeber

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Tim Glover said:
BTW, his role was vital and key to the film. Extremely well acted and I eagerly look forward to seeing him in future roles.
It hurt my head seeing him in Sexy Boots. He was quite good in it, but halfway through they movie I realized where I recognized him from.
 

Tim Glover

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DonRoeber said:
It hurt my head seeing him in Sexy Boots. He was quite good in it, but halfway through they movie I realized where I recognized him from.
Never heard of Sexy Boots. But then again I lived in an armpit of civilization.
 

Holadem

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Tim Glover said:
BTW, his role was vital and key to the film. Extremely well acted and I eagerly look forward to seeing him in future roles.
I saw Chiwetel Ejiofor in Love Actually and Inside Man. Pretty good, but nowhere near as cool and charismatic as in Serenity.
--
H
 

Tim Glover

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Just browsed Yahoo Movies: Here's a snippett:
With a disarming façade and quiet intensity, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor—or Chewy for those who can’t pronounce it—has seemingly come out of nowhere to poise himself as the next Big Thing to come out of England. Whether on stage or screen—both large and small—Ejiofor has carved out an impressive career in the short time he’s been an actor. But despite all the critical acclaim and good notices that he’s received for his performances over the years, Ejiofor has remained a relative unknown across the pond.
Ejiofor was born to Nigerian émigrés in Forest Gate, East London—his dad was a doctor, his mom a pharmacist. Ejiofor discovered his true calling at an early age when he became awed by Cary Grant’s performance in “Once Upon A Honeymoon” (1942). At 13, Ejiofor began performing in school productions and for the National Youth Theatre, where he tackled the title roles in Julius Caesar and Othello. Ejiofor continued acting at Dulwich College, located in the heart of London and founded by Shakespearean player Edward Alleyne in 1619 for the benefit of actors. Ejiofor moved on to the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, where he garnished a reputation as a commanding stage presence in productions at the Almeida Theatre Company and the Royal National Theatre.
He then made his first appearance on screen in the made-for-cable movie “Deadly Voyage” (HBO, 1996). The stylish suspense thriller told the tale of nine African refugees who sneak aboard a Russian cargo ship en route to France. Though Ejiofor’s role as Ebow wasn’t exactly high-profile, he did manage to catch the attention of Stephen Spielberg, who cast him in his historical drama, “Amistad” (1997). Starring Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Djimon Hounsou, the 19 year-old Ejiofor played the small role of Ensign Covey. But the high-profile gig allowed the still relatively green Ejiofor to find more promising parts.
 

Holadem

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His name is obviously Nigerian. But of course I would know that 'cause I am cool like that.

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H
 

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