SPOILER - SPOILER - SPOILER
I want to get this over with from the get go, DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE.
I went to the library and grabbed the TV series. The little props and I enjoyed it very much (I enjoyed it almost as much simply because they enjoyed it). So, when we ran out of episodes (too quickly) I picked up the movie. We decided that the movie might be a little too much for little prop eyes and they didn't watch it (I'm glad they didn't), but I did.
I am disappointed and happy.
I'll talk about the things I liked first.
It was actually Sci-Fi! I'm so glad the Western part fell behind the actual SF. The TV series was often TOO Western and they could very easily left the "boat" behind. The stories didn't need the science to make them work. The movie could not have worked if the science weren't involved (okay, it could have worked with magic, but ANYTHING could work if you just say it was magic). This is what defines SF and I am so glad they finally got that right.
As a writer I have to say, I'm glad they weren't afraid to kill some of the main characters. Yes that's right I'm glad they killed main characters. That isn't a bad thing in and of itself. I know that sometimes it just works. If you are too in love with the characters to kill them then they could stop being real in your story. You remember when MASH stopped letting the characters be real in the story, about the time Winchester came along. To me that also happened in Angel in the second season. They didn't let that happen too much in this movie and I'm glad.
I liked the Shepard's death. He shot down the ship, he managed to keep himself alive long enough to talk to Mal, he gave Mal good advice and then he died. He had a good death. I'm not happy that any further Firefly/Serenity things cannot have Ron Glass and his Shepard character, I'll miss him, but his was a good death.
I didn't like what they let the River character become (played by Summer Glau, which we all thought was funny, that River was played by Summer). She ended up being Buffy the Reaver slayer. What the heck was that? She was a weapon, okay, but a mental weapon. In the TV series she shot three people, but she did it with math.
I listened to Joss Whedon's comments for the big, River vs. the Reavers scene and he even said he didn't know why all his movies/TV series involve a super powered adolescent girl. I don't know why either, maybe you should get help (that's why I chose the photo I posted here: no River).
Two other minor problems about River, why did the reavers stop shooting during her big fight and couldn't you have used some different makeup to at least TRY to make Summer Glau look 17 still?
The song was gone. It was very charming to hear my six-year-old walk up the stairs to her room singing, "Take my love, take my land…" I missed the song.
Now comes the proverbial straw…
Wash's death SUCKED! Not because he died, and not just in how he died, but in everyone's reaction and especially in ZOE'S LACK OF REACTION!
That was wrong, wrong, wrong. I listened to Joss Whedon's commentary for that part too and he said that he had to fight Gina Torres (Zoë) to get her not to react. Hey Joss, she got it right!
I said the Western thing got on my nerves. I said that my three young daughters liked the show. What made the show good was the characters and how they worked with each other. I loved the fact that Zoë and Wash (Alan Tudyk) were married. I didn't realize it until the movie, but Zoë had actually taken his name. I love that.
I'm a sentimentalist and a romantic. I didn't want them to be lovers; I wanted them to be husband and wife. In the episode "War Stories" you got to see that taken to the extreme. I loved that. The bond between a husband and wife has got to be as strong or stronger than any other.
They completely lost that in the movie. Zoë doesn't EVER mourn Wash. Okay, she's tough. She was shook up. It made her move too close to the reavers and get cut. She stabbed one reaver kind of a lot. I expected at least that. It made sense, she was tough, she had been through the war and had seen many of her comrades die, but COME ON! She was more broken up when that nut job that used to be in their unit got himself shipped to them as a dead body and eventually did die than she did when her husband, her soul mate, her better half died.
Not only did he not get the chance to have an heroic death like Shepard Book, fighting to save everyone else, making the ultimate sacrifice, but now I have lost all respect for the Zoë character. How can you respect anyone who can't cry for their spouse's death?
That ruined the movie for me.
Oh yeah, and in the movie, the spaceships make noise in space. UGH!