Assumption of Command

25 September 2005

"Think of it as Star Wars, if Han Solo were the main character, and he still shot Greedo first."*

Here's how it is: The Earth got used up, so we moved out and terraformed a whole new galaxy of Earths -- some, rich and flush with the new technologies, some, not so much. The central planets, them that formed the Alliance, waged war to bring everyone under their rule. A few idiots tried to fight it, among them, myself. I'm Malcolm Reynolds, captain of Serenity. She's a transport ship, Firefly class. We got a good crew: fighters, pilot, mechanic. We even picked up a preacher, for some reason, and a bona fide Companion. There's a doctor, too -- took his genius sister out of some Alliance camp, so they're keeping a low profile, you understand. You got a job, we can do it. Don't much care what it is."
--Malcolm Reynolds, narrating at the opening of each episode of Firefly

I don't go to the movies very often anymore. I think it has something to do with having worked at a movie theater. You know how people who used to work at, say, Wendy's oftentimes will make a point of never eating at Wendy's? Especially upon finding out how the chili is prepared? It's the same with me -- after having been a bow tie & vest-wearing monkey behind the box office glass at the AMC Ward Parkway, I have a hard time going to a theater without suffering flashbacks:

"I want two adults and three children to 'Striptease'."
"It was too dark in the theater; I want my money back!"
"What do you mean, 'A Mid-Continent Public Library card is not a student ID.'!?"

You people can be really irritating sometimes! You've ruined the allure of the movies for me. Well, you and the fact that I used to be able to get in for free, and have grown averse to paying.

(It wasn't all bad, though. As a twenty-two year old college graduate with a degree in chemical engineering, I got to scare the living hell out of a bunch of teenagers by telling them that if they stayed in school and studied hard, they could end up in the box office, just like me! I take my entertainment where I can get it.)

Anyway, I can count the number of movies I've seen in the theater over the last two years on one hand (and one of those -- Episode 3 -- I wish I could un-see). But, Tuesday night, I'm heading back to the scene of so many nightmares, and will do so happily in order to attend a bloggers-only press screening of Joss Whedon's Serenity!

Why get so excited about a movie based on a television show that was cancelled after only eleven episodes? Because they were a really good eleven episodes, and because I'm convinced that if the programming executives at Fox weren't collectively brain dead (whose idea was it to air the two-hour pilot episode last?), the show would have caught on in a big way. Because those of us who watched the show and made the DVD release of the series a surprise hit worked hard to make such a movie possible. Because I believe that there's a place for smart dialogue, imaginative storytelling, fully-realized characters and settings, and a quirky sensibility in cinema. Because the character of mercenary Jayne Cobb is worth the price of admission.

Regardless, Serenity is the one movie being released this fall that I'm really looking forward to, and thanks to this blogging gig, I get to see it in advance (and for free! Thanks guys!). Actually, thanks to this blogging gig, Em gets to see it in advance, too (the studio is hosting these blogger screenings all over the country). She and I will both be posting our reviews after seeing the film -- me here, and Em at her blog, "Random Musings of a Grammar Nerd.". Until then, check out the movie's web site, read the studio's capsule summary of the film below, and purchase your tickets for the premiere on Friday, Sept. 30!
Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family – squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal."

*I can't come up with a better one-sentence description of the much loved, much cancelled television show, Firefly. It's not my one sentence description, of course; I stole it from an M.E. Russell article at The Weekly Standard. But it captures the spirit of the show.