Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hole

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Gaith, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Did you watch the series? Simon spent most of it putting his foot in his mouth repeatedly when it came to Kaylee. It wasn't a time issue, he was just out of his element. His reaction to her advances was always a bit awkward, which I can completely understand.

    It might be a bit non-obvious since movie Simon was a lot more take-charge than series Simon. In the series, Simon only ever really took charge once, in "Ariel", when the plan was playing out in a setting he knew. The rest of the time he seemed very much adrift, and pretty much clung to River as his only link to something familiar.

    I never got the impression anything was "incredibly" difficult about maintaining ships. It wasn't something anyone could do, but it obviously didn't require a PhD.

    "The parts are crap, but you put them together, you got a Firefly. Thing'll run forever, you have a mechanic who's even half awake. It's a good catch. She comes this way, you prep the nets."
    -"Our Miss Reynolds"

    On the other hand, "Out of Gas" showed that the entire ship could be disabled by the failure of one part, which shows the design does have some flaws.

    "Catalyzer's a nothin' part, captain."
    "It's nothin' till you don't got one. Then it appears to be everything."

    On the third side, once Mal *got* the replacement part, it seemed to be just a matter of plug-and-play to get it installed.
     
  2. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    I have the same problem with the modern (Star Trek III and later) Klingons that you have with the Reavers: I don't believe for a moment that these people are capable of inventing the light bulb, much less achieving any ongoing technological culture over periods of centuries, because they're just too stupid and violent.

    So, I guess there's always some suspension of disbelief involved.

    I'm not sure this is exactly a plot hole, in either case; it is a conceptual weakness in both, though.

    BTW. the "rules of the franchise" are not that ships are "incredibly difficult to fly and maintain."

    The rules are just the opposite - craft like Serenity were mass-produced for purchase and use by settlers striking out from the civilized worlds to make lives as farmers and herdsmen on less developed planets. We see that a young war vet with a little money can buy one secondhand in order to launch a small cargo (smuggling) operation, find a young woman with an intense interest and native skills but no formal training to maintain it as the chief mechanic, etc. These things are nearly the equivalent of trucks or small steam boats. So while you have a point - it's hard to see the Reavers keeping a big rig on the highway past the point of needing to change a tire - the ships are anything but incredibly advanced or challenging technology in the Firefly 'verse. They're workaday transportation.
     
  3. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Didn't Whedon backpeddle furiously on that one (after his plaintive "science is hard!" statement :rommie:). There were uh lots of terraformed space stations, asteroids and whatnot.

    Eh? Modern Klingons have been depicted as being boisterous and sometimes looney but overall I can see them having a coherent, successful spacefaring society. They are smart, aggressive, creative, adaptable, insanely courageous and occasionally over the top but not self-destructive. They have their places in society and it takes a lot to get one of them to dishonor themselves by stepping out of the bounds.

    They derive their social order from that "honor" shit they keep nattering on about to everyone's annoyance. There's a reason they make a fetish out of honor the way Vulcans make a fetish out of logic - those are both elements their respective cultures use to keep from imploding.

    Of the two, I think the Vulcans are the ones with the more endangered culture. Their emotions are more violent than humans and made it extremely difficult for them to cohere as a society. So the Vulcans came up with one adaptation to their inborn handicap. The Romulans presumably came up with another adaptation (extreme xenophobia and its mirror image, extreme loyalty within the group - I can't think of what else it might have been).

    Romulans and Vulcans have it much harder than Klingons. Humans have it very easy. That's probably why everyone is always hostile to humans - spoiled brats!
     
  4. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    The movie describes the hardscrabble planets as having been terraformed, yeah.

    If one were desperate to achieve the kind of consistency that some Trek fans pursue with regard to explaining away the many small (and large) nonsensicalities of nomenclature and backstory in that franchise, I suppose one could rationalize the idea that "inner and outer planets" don't refer to their astronomical locations but have some social meaning along the lines of "upper and lower," "greater and lesser" etc.
     
  5. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol


    In the movie that said they had very hard times the last few months.


    Times so hard that they got a hover car?
     
  6. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Hey, they stole the fucking hover car. Where's the problem? :lol:

    Actually, I think the transformation of the "mule" from a tractor or something into a hovercar was just one of the cinematic upgrades that they hoped we'd accept happily instead of demanding some OCD-required explanation - same as with the fact that the cockpit of Serenity was bigger, curvier and had better electronics. Or all the nifty new structural stuff in the cargo hold. Or the completely different cowlings on the ship's external engines. Or the fact that Alliance vessels and uniforms and equipment in no way resembled the Alliance vessels and uniforms and equipment of the TV series. Or...
     
  7. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Well, naturally they'd start the terraforming process on those worlds which were already most suitable for human life, so those rocks would get a head-start on infrastructure and development.

    As the initial population began to expand, they'd need to push terraforming on less and less hospitable rocks. "Shindig" established that terraforming was ongoing during the series.

    If one assumes that their particular terraforming techniques have an easier time heating a rock than cooling it, then it would make sense for the later-terraformed rocks to be further out from any star. And if one further assumes that some initially overlooked rocks actually had decent habitability due to proximity to secondary stars, that could explain why some outer planets seem to be fairly well-developed like Persephone.
     
  8. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    More troublesome was the implication that "terraforming" must include control of gravity on a planetary scale - those "dozens of planets and hundreds of moons" varied enormously in size despite all being terrestrial worlds...
     
  9. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Ah. Well, you see, in the future they generate artificial gravity by means of nanotechnology gizmos which invert the ploticon field. So essentially, gravity control is reduced to crop-dusting!
     
  10. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    I'll buy that, because science is hard and I don't fucking care! :lol:

    My favorite Whedonism on the general subject is "do not ask me science questions or I will cry."
     
  11. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Okay, I take your guys' point on the ubiquity of the ships... but not the ability of the movie Reavers to cooperate.

    @ Lindley: No, I didn't know that the TV Simon was so far different. Still, handsome, smart rich guys who have enough guts to bust someone out of a maximum security Alliance facility are rarely the type of guys who can't handle and reciprocate flirtation from wholesome, giggling hotties.;)
     
  12. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    I would describe Simon as extremely competent and assured within his own field, but not terribly adaptable. Impersonating a doctor in a high-tech facility is easy; that's what he's used to being. But his skills don't translate well to the environments Serenity spends most of its time in, and he knows it.
     
  13. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Or they got the hover car BEFORE times got hard. As far as plot holes go, this one is not too difficult to fill.
     
  14. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Chiming in here:

    A lot of the so-called 'plot holes' mentioned in this thread are either things that Whedon chose to ignore (i.e. the logistics of what it would actually take to terraform the planets we see in the 'Verse), or things that ended up being changed due to the necessities of the story being continued in movie form (Simon's characterization being the biggest example).

    Regarding how/when the crew acquired the hover-mule, that is explained in the comic 'Those Left Behind', which takes place prior to the movie and also explains how Book and Inara got to Haven and the training house, respectively.
     
  15. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    The movie simply wasn't as good as the series, unfortunately. It was enjoyable, and it succeeding in bringing some degree of closure, but it just didn't leave the fans wanting more in quite the same way the show did. I dunno, maybe we were all burnt out and grateful just to get *that* much.
     
  16. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    One turn-off in the movie for me was Mal. I know Whedon wanted him more serious, but he was damn near sociopathic in the film. That may have been the one "note" from the network that was right - I liked funny series Mal a lot more than cold-blooded movie Mal.
     
  17. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Mal was always a trifle sociopathic. The scene in "The Train Job" where he just offs the villain guy after his token intimidating speech comes to mind (or shooting a guy in mid-sentence in "Serenity"). It's part of his cool, badass, all-American attitude: If you can solve a problem quickly and effectively with a gun, why not?

    I was willing to roll with that, moreso than I was Firefly's tendency to romanticise him as an honourable thief (I assume Whedon figured audiences wouldn't like a show about a mere small-time smuggler, or maybe he just didn't like the idea... given our desire to see heroes, he may have a point there.)

    I found Firefly's universe the weakest aspect of the series. That's not a matter of plausibility when compared to other space opera universes - just how well thought out and/or interesting I considered it compared to other space opera universes. The show's strength are the characters and stories, but it's really best not to think about the universe in episodes like, say, "Hearts of Gold", which is so unapologetically a Western cliche it crossed my mind why they even bothered using the spaceship in the climax.

    At its heart, Firefly is of a mind with every single 'write a Western and tack on IN SPACE' cliche from the 1930s. It's not even spacing up Western cliches, it's just presenting them without comment (compare the Mos Eisley Cantina, Star Wars's 'spacey' version of the Western tavern of disreputable sort, to the numerous rote depictions of actual regular Western taverns of the disreputable sort on Firefly.)

    It does it a lot better than most of the more literal Western SF, and the addition of Mandarin and some Chinese references keeps the universe from feeling Anglocentric, and the whole 'lived-in' environment and designs, costuming, etc. are all above par... I guess what I'm saying is the Fireflyverse is a helluva lot better realised then it was thought out. A decent budget, sensible design and good writing raised what otherwise could have been a pretty awkward premise to success.

    And the big problem for me with the Reavers in Serenity is when we finally see them they're about as frightening and credible as Andromeda's Magog. Heck, Magog are apt in general: Both series go on and on telling us how awesomely evil and rapaciously disgusting these creatures are, but in the flesh they're just guys with ugly makeup/goofy suits jumping about.

    Firefly may have been better served by never or rarely showing the Reavers in its entire run, the less we knew of them the more effective they were.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  18. McCoy

    McCoy Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    But didn't the series establish that the Reavers weren't that good at maintaining their ships? That one ship flew by leaking radioactive material, and they referred to its state as 'suicidal'.
     
  19. Kaijima

    Kaijima Captain Captain

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Exactly. Look, it is of course a stretch; most sci-fi /is/ by definition.

    But the impression overall I got about how the Reavers are depicted is that they're loonies who go aggro on anyone who is /not them/, operating as a vicious, violent pack but the sinister thing about them is how they retain some vile imitation of intelligence and intent: they can rape, then skin, then eat, a victim in a specific order rather than just killing them and moving on. They can steal a spaceship and retain enough mentality to push the basic buttons that make it fly and move the flight stick around - I'm assuming that the computer systems on these /500 years advanced/ spaceships can, in basic modes, make flying one almost as easy as playing a videogame is today. An arcade game too. Not a flight simulator.

    So the crazies go mad, grab some ships, and become crazy pirates looking for more people to eat, pushing the flight sticks towards the planet icons on their viewscreens.

    But anything past their immediate goal and desire, such as thinking ahead to fix a leaky reactor, is beyond them. So over time their stolen ships break down. We see tons of dead ships around Miranda in the movie. In the series, dialog is also used to the effect that a ship full of reavers MIGHT not be a threat if they've just returned from a kill and are "full". Maybe the Pax-induced violent rage can be sated for a limited time by indulging the bloodlust.

    I don't know. I mean, it's not that impossible to me.

    However, I will agree that the inherent problem of ominous offscreen monsters such as the reavers is that it's difficult to show them. I didn't think the reavers were too bad, in the movie. But there was definitely no way to ever live up fully to the creepy space monster vibe established in the series.
     
  20. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    I do think the movie was as good as the series, but I do generally prefer stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end. Films and episodic television are more satisfying in that regard than open-ended or "arc-oriented" TV shows.
     

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