Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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I am a leaf on the wind.

Actor Ron Glass

Has Thirty-Seven Visible Hairs
In His Left Nostril

How do I know this? Well, Raz and I decided that we wanted to see Serenity again, both of us only having seen it opening weekend. After that, of course, my grandfather's situation took most of my attention, and seeing the film again was not possible. The film was still playing at the AMC 25 on 42nd Street, a fact we discovered Monday in our roundabout path to see Capote. Unfortunately, we ended up getting to the movie late and had to sit in the front row. While the art of theatrical exhibition has gotten rather shabby in the 'burbs, in Manhattan it is still going strong, and the screens are quite large at this theater; the experience was perhaps a bit too vivid. The aforementioned nostril was the height of suitboyskin.

Seeing the film the second time and knowing what was going to happen actually made several moments of the movie more intense and poignant. With less importance being to understand the plot, I was able to concentrate more on the characterizations and textures of the film. In particular, I was impressed with how well Mal was handled.

I have no idea what people who haven't watched Firefly must think of Mal as the film unfolds. The series took a lot of time explaining who he is, why he is where he is and does what he does. The character is introduced as a worn-out and disillusioned shell of his former self. He does have some saving graces left, but he has given up on causes. The story of Serenity is about him finding a cause again, and how his belief - not in a god, as Book points out, but his own innate sense of morality - makes him the hero. We therefore have Mal going through quite a lot over the course of the film, and the changes his character goes through are engrossing because they feel so real. Nathan Fillion is great at communicating Mal's conflicts, and the film really does concentrate on him.

I suppose that I was a bit surprised at how Malocentric the movie was the first time I saw it. Upon reflection, I think it makes sense both in terms of Serenity as an extension of Firefly, as well as fitting easily into Joss Whedon's oeuvre. Buffy the Vampire Slayer always concentrated on Buffy herself. There were other storylines going on, and the characters around her developed, but she always remained the center of the show. Angel was slightly different, being a different style of storytelling. While Angel himself is the primary reason for us to be following all of these characters, Angel would essay a much larger scope, encompassing characters such as Lilah. Firefly seemed to be developing along this route as well... but Mal was always an interesting character. That the leap from the small to the big screen would concentrate on the captain is not a new idea - as suitboyskin has often mentioned, the Kirk that one sees in Star Trek: The Motion Picture is perhaps the most interesting development for that character ever. But Mal isn't the captain of Serenity merely because he owns the ship. He is in charge of it, and he feels responsible for everybody on board. This comes up in several episodes, perhaps the most obvious being "Out of Gas," and is one of the main reasons why his acceptance of Book as a member of his crew is such an important moment.

Mal begins to show a side of himself that the rest of the crew, with the exception of Zoe, have never seen before. As a hero, he must work towards redemption through a peril-laden journey, and he does this indeed. What is interesting is not so much what he must do, but rather that this character is even bothering in the first place. In addition to fitting the idea of making Firefly more accessible to a wider audience, it also presents a sufficient leap in scale from the television screen to the movie screen.

The deaths of Book and Wash fits this as well. I felt that Wash's death was, while extremely disturbing, a stroke of genius. The first time I saw the film, that moment made the last fifteen minutes a complete unknown. There was no safety net; I had no assurance anymore that other characters would survive. Again, it also matches the format change, justifying this as a bigger, longer Firefly.

My impressions of the film are entirely informed by the series. I can't help but wonder how the film works - or doesn't, which may be the case - for somebody unfamiliar with it. What I find most interesting about it, and most emotionally involving, is watching Mal's development in context of his portrayal on the television show.

The Strange Case
of the Finicky Smart Card

I had an installation today. I took the requisite equipment; that being a smartjack (how we hand the circuit off to the customer), a smart card (which goes in the smartjack) and a repeater card (which goes into the mux, and converts the light into an electrical signal that can be transmitted upstairs on copper). Being a fairly cautious guy, I also brought spare cards with me.

I got to the site and installed the circuit. When I had finished, I went to the smartjack to check out how it looked. The card had power, but it wasn't working properly. Having checked all of my facilities fully during the installation, I knew that there wasn't a problem with the mux, the house or the ties (house is the copper that runs up a building; ties are the connections between where the house terminates on each floor and the customers premises). That left the card. I took the card out and went to replace it with my spare, only to find that the spare I brought was the wrong kind of card for this type of circuit. In frustration, knowing I would have to go back to my hole and get a new card, I tossed the card that wasn't working over my shoulder. I then put all my tools back together in my toolbag in preparation for the trip back to the hole. I had to get my keys out of the smartjack (they have a lock so that only trained technicians can open them) and close it, so I picked up the card off the floor and put it back in the smartjack.

It lit up.

The circuit started behaving completely normally. I tested it extensively, and had our bureau tester do the same. There was nothing wrong with it.

I brutalized the circuit into working properly.

So, let this be a lesson to you that you can solve problems with violence.
Tags: cinema, work
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