Monday, May 29, 2006

Firefly and Serenity

Firefly was a TV series that got cancelled after one season on Fox and Serenity is a movie that takes off from where the series stopped.

Firefly follows the adventures and misadventures of the space freighter Serenity and its crew led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds. It takes place in a future universe where humans have colonised a remote galaxy with many habitable moons and planets. The writ of the ruling Alliance doesn't run very well in the remote outer planets where Serenity's crew ply most of their illegal trade. The remote planets are portrayed with a wild-west feel, with run-down bars, brothels, local tough-guys and whatnot. The series has a mixture of western and space-faring adventure feel to it that is very appealing.

Captain Reynolds is very much an updated Hans Solo, pirate-with-a-heart-of-gold kind of guy. The rest of the crewmembers are also portrayed very well. Some of the characters are almost cliched but they are well written and well acted so it actually works out very well.

The series has a general upbeat feel to it, in a old-fashioned swashbuckling action-adventure kind of way. I very much enjoyed it.

The movie takes off six months from the last episode and is as good as the series episodes.

The series (and the movie) did not do as well, which is a good reason why one must not make popular reception the sole metric for choosing a movie. They have however, managed to pick up a cult following and I hope they do well in the DVD market.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Da Vinci Code

I found out today that the government is considering banning the movie in India. Ostensibly it's because it may hurt the feelings of a certain minority. This is ridiculous. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun hurt the feelings of a certain minority (namely me). So, did they ban it? Now, I am fairly certain that the movie is going to suck and I have no intentions of watching it, but I think that it will be a lesser of an insult on the moviegoer's intelligence than HAHK ever was.

Furthermore, no one is making the Catholics or Protestants or Muslims or Hindus go watch the movie. If it's that offensive, the offended parties can make their opinions known by not showing up for the movie. That will probably be a good thing too. As mentioned previously, I think that the movie is going to suck. Tom Hanks is going to do his earnest-guy-stuck-in-impossible-situations bit, which is starting to wear a bit thin. The cool puzzles that made the book so interesting are going to fall flat in the movie. But, I digress.

I sometimes think that this oversensitivity has to do more with the 'what will other people say' attitude that most of us Indians exhibit. The first reason for doing or not doing something is not whether it's moral or immoral, correct or incorrect but 'what will other people say'. This hamstrings people at an individual level and seems to hamstring the government too.

Freedom of expression takes precedence over hurt feelings.