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Old January 8 2009, 01:41 PM   #31
DigificWriter
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Since we're still on the subject of Simon and the contradictions in his character between the film and the series, it was one of the many things that myself and the other people involved with Virtual Firefly (see my sig) had to take into consideration, and what we ultimately decided was that, based on past experience and behavior, Joss would have most likely not introduced Simon's direct involvement in his sister's rescue had he been able to tell the events of the film as a second season of Firefly as opposed to a movie, and adjusted things accordingly, while still not undercutting what Joss did with the film or Simon's character. The way Joss handled things in the film ultimately doesn't have any real detrimental effect on Simon's character as a whole, which is a further testament to his writing skills, but the contradictions are there nonetheless.
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Old January 8 2009, 06:11 PM   #32
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Shawnster wrote: View Post
I simply assumed the security recording we see at the beginning of the movie was faked. We're led to believe that The Operative is watching security footage the whole time we see the flashback. Disinformation is not beneath the Alliance and it gives them better credibility in making Simon a fugitive.
But he's a Parliament-level Operative. He has clearance higher than anyone in the Institute, hell, higher than anyone in the government. He's the one who'd be doing the deceiving, creating the fakes. And he'd be able to penetrate any attempt at a fake because he has the clearance to dig down to the deepest levels of the Institute's security systems.

Besides, Simon was already a fugitive. He'd been under pursuit from the Blue Hands for eight months at the point the Operative was called in. Not to mention that he wasn't their real target; River was. Given the very real threat River posed, there was no point in playing up Simon as a fake threat so that people would go after him. They weren't supposed to go after him, they were supposed to go after River.

Also, you're getting it a bit backward. The whole time we're seeing the breakout, we're led to believe we're seeing it "live" or in flashback (depending on the viewer's prior familiarity with the series), but only when it pulls back to the Operative do we learn that it's actually security footage.


DigificWriter wrote: View Post
Here is a script excerpt from 'Serenity' (the pilot, not the film) that concerns Simon's explanation of why River was in that box:
SIMON
Money. And luck -- for two years I couldn't get near her, but I was contacted by some men, some underground movement. They said she was in danger, that the government was playing with her brain. If I funded them they could sneak her out in cryo. Get her to Boros and from there, I could take her... wherever.
In the movie, as previously stated, Simon is directly involved in River's escape, which, as shown by the above excerpt, is in direct contradiction of what was established in the 2-hour pilot. It is also slightly contradictory to his character development throughout the early episodes of the series, although not to any real detrimental degree.
Haven't we already covered this? Nobody's denying that a surface inconsistency exists, so there's no need to convince us. The point is that the change was done for a good and logical narrative reason, and that it's a minor enough discrepancy that it can be easily rationalized away. Any long-running fictional series contains contradictions; it's trivial to point that out. But it's okay as long as the contradictions are minor enough to be rationalized, or justifiable enough to be forgiven. And this is easily both.


Hirogen Alpha wrote: View Post
Yeah, but it undercuts his character. He was a very smart guy--a genius, even--but in certain situations (romance, action) he is completely awkward and incompetent. While it is a cool moment in the movie to see Simon confidently impersonate an Alliance doctor, precisely drop the stun grenade, and confidently break River out, it doesn't line up with the television series. Not the television series I ever saw, anyway.
Did you not see "Ariel," then? Simon could be awkward and uncertain when he was out of his element, dealing with frontier situations and frontier people and getting caught up in other people's messy agendas. But when he was the one making the plans and setting the agendas, when he was in a situation where he understood the environment and was in control, he was ultracompetent. "Ariel" proved that beyond all doubt. He masterminded the whole operation to break into the hospital. He planned it down to the last detail and trained the rest of the crew in how to enact it. He was cool, collected, and completely in control throughout the operation. In short, he was the same Simon we saw in the Serenity prologue. The only one who was awkward and incompetent there was Jayne, because now he was the one who was out of his element.

And the other key thing about Simon's plan in "Ariel": he was doing it for River. No matter how clumsy or unsure he might be at other times, when it came to helping his sister, he was a force to be reckoned with. That was true in the series, and it was true in the movie. There's no contradiction, just a shift in emphasis.
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Old January 8 2009, 06:29 PM   #33
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Christopher: I don't disagree with you that, when push comes to shove, the change doesn't detrimentally affect Simon's character as a whole, or that it was done for legitimate reasons. What I was trying to do was refute a post or two earlier in the thread that downplayed whether or not what Simon said in the Firefly pilot and what we were shown in the film constituted an inconsistency.
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Old January 8 2009, 08:45 PM   #34
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

As I said, I don't think anyone has claimed there isn't an inconsistency -- merely that it's a superficial inconsistency that can easily be rationalized away as not being truly inconsistent.

And I don't think merely quoting the dialogue in any way refutes the idea that it can be downplayed. It's only a statement in dialogue. Just because a character says something doesn't prove that the statement is absolutely, irrefutably true. Hearsay is never proof of anything.
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Old January 8 2009, 09:16 PM   #35
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Nardpuncher wrote: View Post
The biggest contradiction is that the TV show was very good and the movie was very bad.
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Old January 8 2009, 09:23 PM   #36
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Neopeius wrote: View Post
Nardpuncher wrote: View Post
The biggest contradiction is that the TV show was very good and the movie was very bad.
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I don't think the movie was very bad. Just not nearly as good, or fun, as the series. Don't know if that counts as tripling your numbers or not.

And, yes, Christopher, I have the box set and have watched the lot more than once. We're just going to have to agree to disagree on this point.
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Old January 8 2009, 11:10 PM   #37
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

one thing that got me about the movie is that i feel "the operative" was already done in Firefly by Jubal Early in the episode objects in space.

When i first saw the movie i kept thinking swop bounty hunter for black ops guy and its not too different to whats already been done.

Even though i was not overly impressed with the movie i am glad they did it to bring some closure to the story. Rather than me hoping they someday pick up the series.
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Old January 8 2009, 11:18 PM   #38
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Yeah, I mean, they were totally identical. One of them was a wry existentialist, while the other was a total zealot. One of them quietly stalked the crew before sneaking on board, unseen, and methodically disabling each one of them, and the other devastated like a dozen planets in order to flush Mal out like a rabbit. One was getting to River through Mal, and the other was getting to her through Simon. One carried a slug-thrower, and the other had a laser pistol. One was a short haired black guy, and the other was a short-haired black guy.

Okay, maybe there was only the one thing they had in common.
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Old January 8 2009, 11:42 PM   #39
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

David cgc wrote: View Post
Yeah, I mean, they were totally identical. One of them was a wry existentialist, while the other was a total zealot. One of them quietly stalked the crew before sneaking on board, unseen, and methodically disabling each one of them, and the other devastated like a dozen planets in order to flush Mal out like a rabbit. One was getting to River through Mal, and the other was getting to her through Simon. One carried a slug-thrower, and the other had a laser pistol. One was a short haired black guy, and the other was a short-haired black guy.

Okay, maybe there was only the one thing they had in common.
Nice try, portray me as a racist in a 'they all look alike' kind of way. Rereading my post in the context of yours it could be read that way but i assume most members would not read it that way.

I just got the feeling when watching the movie that one was a totally in control in his own mind, thinking of every situation, sure of himself, smart, a contol freak in every way and the other was.....


Same charracter in my eyes just changed slightly from one acting on his own to another who has the full power of an intergalatic goverment behind him. You know in the same way as Darth Vader and the evil middle manager at the worst job you have had.
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Old January 9 2009, 01:18 AM   #40
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

^^I don't think anyone's accusing you of racism, simply of being too influenced by a superficial resemblance. If they'd both been blue-eyed with wavy blond hair, I think David cgc's post would be exactly the same except for one sentence.

Early and the Operative were nothing alike. At best, the Operative was the kind of man that Early only liked to imagine he was. Early acted smart and philosophical and self-controlled, but he was really a neurotic sadist. He had pretensions to intellectualism but was a thug at heart. His motivation was to make a profit and to hurt people in a way that let him pretend he was doing it for a justifiable reason. He had no ethics beyond self-gratification and self-aggrandizement.

The Operative was just the opposite. He truly was an intelligent, sensitive man, but he was unassuming and humble. He had no illusions or pretensions about what he was. He was an idealist who had to act like a thug for the greater good. His motivation was to protect a system that he believed worked well for the majority of people, even if it regrettably meant sacrificing the minority in the process. He got no profit or pleasure from it, and was convinced he would be forever deprived of the fulfillment he strove to give others. His ethics were questionable, but profoundly felt and deeply self-abnegating. And he did the right thing at the end, something Early would never have done, because for him the right thing was merely to satisfy his own needs.
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Old January 9 2009, 03:55 AM   #41
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Christopher wrote: View Post
^^I don't think anyone's accusing you of racism, simply of being too influenced by a superficial resemblance. If they'd both been blue-eyed with wavy blond hair, I think David cgc's post would be exactly the same except for one sentence.

Early and the Operative were nothing alike. At best, the Operative was the kind of man that Early only liked to imagine he was. Early acted smart and philosophical and self-controlled, but he was really a neurotic sadist. He had pretensions to intellectualism but was a thug at heart. His motivation was to make a profit and to hurt people in a way that let him pretend he was doing it for a justifiable reason. He had no ethics beyond self-gratification and self-aggrandizement.

The Operative was just the opposite. He truly was an intelligent, sensitive man, but he was unassuming and humble. He had no illusions or pretensions about what he was. He was an idealist who had to act like a thug for the greater good. His motivation was to protect a system that he believed worked well for the majority of people, even if it regrettably meant sacrificing the minority in the process. He got no profit or pleasure from it, and was convinced he would be forever deprived of the fulfillment he strove to give others. His ethics were questionable, but profoundly felt and deeply self-abnegating. And he did the right thing at the end, something Early would never have done, because for him the right thing was merely to satisfy his own needs.
Exactly. If anything, Early and the Operative represent two different philosophical systems.

The Operative is the true believer who, at the end, finds out that the God he's been serving is a false God -- in finding out that the Alliance created the Reavers in their attempts to pacify people and then covered their role in the Reavers' creation up, the Operative discovers that the previously mostly-benevolent Alliance was, in fact, fundamentally corrupt and authoritarian. He becomes the Existentialist who realizes that God is dead but that he still needs to empathize with other people and treat them morally.

Early, on the other hand, is a Nihilist. He's the man who realizes that there is no God, but takes this as meaning that since nothing inherently means anything, there is nothing wrong with hurting others. He's the Nihilist who takes the death of God to mean the nullification of life and existence itself, who believes in nothing real. He's a much simpler, much more immoral person.
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Old January 9 2009, 05:15 AM   #42
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Sci wrote: View Post
The Operative is the true believer who, at the end, finds out that the God he's been serving is a false God -- in finding out that the Alliance created the Reavers in their attempts to pacify people and then covered their role in the Reavers' creation up, the Operative discovers that the previously mostly-benevolent Alliance was, in fact, fundamentally corrupt and authoritarian. He becomes the Existentialist who realizes that God is dead but that he still needs to empathize with other people and treat them morally.
I don't agree that it means the Alliance is fundamentally corrupt and authoritarian, just that it had fallen too much under the influence of corrupt leaders. That doesn't mean it isn't a basically sound system. Even a well-intentioned system can go wrong if the wrong people end up in charge of it (as we Americans know all too well after the past eight years), but that doesn't mean it can't be redeemed.

The whole point of Serenity, after all, is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions: that the Alliance was founded in order to foster peace and prosperity, but it was taken too far. But the ending of Serenity suggested that the exposure of Miranda might be the first step toward redemption.

Early, on the other hand, is a Nihilist. He's the man who realizes that there is no God, but takes this as meaning that since nothing inherently means anything, there is nothing wrong with hurting others.
Kind of the opposite of Angel's epiphany: "If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do." I.e., if the only meaning in an action is in the action itself, rather than some cosmic consequence or reward, then it's important to make that action positive rather than negative. I think that's basically Whedon's view of the world.
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Old April 2 2009, 11:50 AM   #43
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Another inconsistency is how in the series Simon said he had no idea what the alliance had done to her. Yet in the film he has time to question the chief doctor before rescuing her.
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Old April 2 2009, 01:21 PM   #44
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

^That's not really a contradiction. They didn't give him details of what they actually did to River, just what the results were.

Simon did not break River out on his own. There's no way he could have. He needed to acquire the uniform he was wearing, the various security clearances needed to get in, someone to fly/drive the getaway vehicle, someone to get the plans of the facility and so on and so on.

It makes sense for him to go in because, not knowing what state River might be in, she may have needed immediate medical attention before being extracted, and him being a familiar face doesn't hurt either.
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Old April 2 2009, 05:06 PM   #45
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Yes there are inconsistencies (most of which can be explained "in universe"), but they really come down to transitioning the story from television to film.

Whedon needed to sharpen Simon's backstory and make him much more pro-active in the movie, hence the noticable and sometimes jarring changes in the good doctor's demeanor. But his appearance was also noticably different. The television Simon had a boyish quality; his hair was tossled and he dressed in foppish Western attire, as if his mother had picked out his clothes for him. The movie Simon's hair was slicked back and the Western garb was gone. He looked "harder", more utilitarian. Either "foppish" Simon was an act (not an inconceivable idea) or Whedon did indeed retcon him to move the film along.

As for Mal, it was mentioned upthread that Fox thought his portrayal in the pilot was too dour, wounded, and grim. They wanted Whedon to lighten him up, hence the Mal we know from the series. When given the chance to make the movie, Whedon returned Mal to his original concept. Indeed, the Mal Reynolds in the two bookended "Serenity" films (pilot and movie) are the same guy; it's the television Mal in between them who was different.
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