I have to start this movie post out with a few key definitions.
A ‘nerd’ can be anyone. In fact, most of the people I know are nerds. A nerd is someone who loves a particular subject a lot. You can be a nerd for philosophy, math, computers, tv shows, movies, cults, or anything you like.
A ‘geek’ is a particular brand of nerd. We geeks are the nerds of the computer world. We live and breathe this stuff. We read up on tech news, pay attention to tech blogs, and raise up shows and artists we find humorous in our own geeky way.
You’ll find that I am a geek here on this blog, which is why it has its name. I’ve recently started giving kudos to the sites and artists and shows and movies that I find awesome. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this movie has combined the awesomeness of geek power with its own batch of nerds.
One can hardly talk about this movie all by itself. While the movie is great, it isn’t the same without its context. There was a show called Firefly produced by the ever-nerdy Joss Whedon. It lasted for a single season, and like many others was tanked and has actually grown in popularity since. In that show we explore a crew of space travelers who live in and operate a transport ship. We have the pilot Wash, the doctor Simon, the grunt Jayne, the pastor Book, the mechanic Kaylee, the captain Mal, the ‘companion’ Inara, the second-in-command Zoe, and a crazy girl named River. They all have their own histories and motivations. And they were all attracted to this ship called Serenity for different reasons. The TV show explored this dynamic cast pretty well, all the while providing intriguing storylines and witty dialogue.
The movie is partially a spin-off tale. It redoes some conversations for the sake of the audience that already happened in the television show. But despite that it mostly fits in a timeline after the tv show ended. This is supported by the fact that Book and Inara are no longer on the ship at the beginning of the movie.
Now for a history lesson! The show takes place in the future, and in order to get there we need to know what happened. Basically the US and China continued on their path to world domination, and eventually succeeded in producing the dominant language spoken. Most people speak in English all the time, reserving the Chinese they know for coarse, rude, inappropriate phrases and swear words. We can all figure out what some of the ‘gorram’ words are by their context.
After the language issue, there was space travel. Yay for settling on other planets! In fact, ships got so good that some people flew out and started their own colonies and own governments. Which of course led to injustice and mistreatment on some worlds. In an effort to ‘unite all planets and provide equal treatment and protection to all’, the Alliance of planets was formed. They began growing and traveling to other planets and ruling over them.
And wouldn’t you know it, some pesky folk don’t want to be ruled or governed. They don’t want some giant Alliance poking its nose in their business. Recently I made a correlation between the North and South in the US Civil War with the Alliance and the Browncoats, or Independents. Come to find out before writing this that my correlation was correct; Joss Whedon came up with the idea for the show after reading commentaries on the US Civil War, in particular the Battle of Gettysburg (source: Wikipedia). Much like in that war, the Browncoats lost their fight for freedom to do things their own way.
Anywho, the story picks up after this war, with Captain Mal and second-in-command Zoe slowly gathering this hodge-podge crew, most of which are perfectly fine surfing the outer rim of planets to stay off the Alliance’s radar. There are also some bad guys floating on the outer edge of the galaxy called Reavers. Story for them is they flew out to the edge, saw the emptiness beyond and went insane. So now they eat people alive! Boo cannibalism.
Well that should be enough to get you started. Obviously I am both a nerd for this movie and a geek in general. But I’m far from alone! A talented writer wrote a 169-page book called “My Own Kind of Freedom” by Steven Brust based on this show and movie (largely without the studio and owner’s blessing), ThinkGeek is one of the many sites to stock gear based on the movie, and I even saw knitting/crocheting directions for how to make the Jayne hat. So even after enjoying the movie, there’s plenty of stuff to keep someone engrossed in the world Joss Whedon created. The cast has also gone on to diverse roles in other things, and I do my best to stalk them on all their future projects (heck, Kaylee’s why I started watching Stargate Atlantis!)
Hopefully I didn’t talk too long about the wrong stuff. There’s just so much I could still talk about! I wish you all pleasant days, and hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did.
And what I didn’t give away, I’m sure this ‘trailer’ will!
P.S. The book is free online in multiple formats! Follow the link above to get it for yourself.