ANGELUS ARCANUM

Does Serenity fetishise River???

POSTED BY: WYTCHCROFT
UPDATED: Monday, June 21, 2010 19:21
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Thursday, November 1, 2007 12:15 AM

WYTCHCROFT


linked to my other post - i was jumping around after watching the angel episode damage -
we all like to see some butt get kicked -

and joss is all for female empowerment...

but - i stopped - as i sometimes do and wondered again...

doesn't the short skirt, big gun, force of nature, killer training - risk becoming a very typical male fetish???

looking at the serenity poster

i was reminded of this book


DeathTripping by jack sargeant -
which is an excellent discusion of the ambiguities of such imagery in underground cinema.
(tho' i aint read it for some time...)

Also (and linked to my other thread) the series of firefly seems to avoid this - serenity seems to celebrate it.... is one better than the other???

what do ther viewers feel??

do any of you that write fics aim to deal with / explore / avoid this???

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 12:55 AM

AGENTROUKA


I definitely feel that the movie drove up the sex appeal for River in a way that they just plain didn't in the series, which made it harder for me to enjoy her character.

I suspect it was done to attract a wider audience, but considering the vulnerability and immaturity of River's character in the series, it was a jump that made me uncomfortable.

The "killer death goddess sex kitten" image is one that many River fans embraced, so obviously, he hit some peoples' taste, but to me it was a disappointment because it took away even more from the depth of her character.

The dangerous half-child of the series was much more interesting to me than the killer jailbait from the movie.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 1:45 AM

BLINDOUTLAW


well then it shows the diiference between movies and TV

movies, sex sell
TV, more story driven (fox not included)


thats why we need serenity made into a Deadwood like series that you see on the showcase channel (Aussie TV, dont know about US or Britain), what are those types of shows called i forget?

----------------
That was when i found out my pants were on fire, and that's my Courageous story.



[url] http://www.myspace.com/blindoutlaw [/url]

- Jimmy the Blindoutlaw

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 2:18 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Blindoutlaw:
well then it shows the diiference between movies and TV

movies, sex sell
TV, more story driven (fox not included)





Sadly, that's very true.

Although there are plenty of tv shows who take "sex sells" to heart, as well. Which is not to say that sex is a bad thing. It's done really well in Farscape, for example! But it's bad if it replaces character depth. Hmmph!

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 6:39 AM

WASHNWEAR


Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

...Which is not to say that sex is a bad thing. It's done really well in Farscape, for example!...


Well, I'm glad it's being done really well somewhere, 'coz it's being made a general mockery of over at my place.

...or was that too much information...?

It was all self-help manuals and unguents when we got here!

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 6:51 AM

CHRISISALL


I saw Serenity as a progression regarding River, plus, Summer was older, and she just naturally sizzles more 'cause of it.

Yeah, the production was aimed at squeezing out every drop of beauty- not just from her, but the whole crew (Don't tell me Nathans extra muscle didn't look great to the ladies when he took Inara's wave)

So..different...not better, but still great.

Critical Chrisisall

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 7:01 AM

AGENTROUKA


Well, Summer was 21/22 in Firefly, 25 in Serenity. Not that much of a difference. Like she didn't sizzle at 21! *G*


The thing that bugs me - since you mention the gratuitous half-naked Nathan, is that Mal was always a sexual character. River not so much. Not to say she wasn't physically attractive, but you could buy her being 16 and socially stunted and not a sexually motivated character.

Which is what makes her sudden sex appeal kind of creepy to me. The difference is profound, and in the movie, Rver had just aged maybe 6 months, tops, since the end of the series. 17, yes, but that number means little when compared to the character she was in the series.


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Thursday, November 1, 2007 7:17 AM

DEEPLYKIDDING


Wow - great topic. Really got me thinking...

I agree that the movie Serenity resulted in many changes in River from what we knew of her in Firefly, and those changes do fit in with your "fetish" idea. The movie added a touch of menace to her personality that was only hinted at in the series - she seems "darker." Her River-as-weapon abilities were triggered, which again were only hinted at in the series (thinking specifically of "War Stories"). And her wardrobe changed from oversized, ill-fitting clothes (mostly), to very fitted, somewhat skimpy dresses.

I do think, though, that this is where River may have been headed in the series, but we never got the chance to see that developed slowly. The movie had to accelerate & amplify that process. I think it was further amplified by the fact that her character was a catalyst for the storyline, moreso than in many of the episodes, which further draws our attention to her and the fetish-izing of her.

However, there were many character & style changes from the show to the movie, and I think it is because of the movie medium. As viewers we have very different expectations for movies than we do for tv. We need some of that exaggeration of character and visual style to keep us immersed in the fantasy, especially in an action-heavy film.

As an example of our expectations, I noticed that the appearance of many of the actors changed between the show & the movie.
I noticed that Nathan, Ron, Jewel, Adam, and Sean all got thinner/leaner. Why did they do this for the movie? Why not for the tv show, too? I think its because as actors they know movies carry a different set of viewer expectations, including the appearance of our actors. The large scale of the theater screen draws our attention to their physical appearance even more than a tv screen.

Also, their characters changed to more narrow definitions of their tv personalities. Mal seems a little angier, more sullen. Jayne somehow became more articulate and considerably more violent. Book is more worldly and sage-like, with a touch of cynicism. And Inara seemed like an after-thought (after so much of her scenes were cut).

So I wonder if its not just that River was fetishized, but that the nature of Serenity as a whole needed to be different from Firefly because of the change in medium.

I'd rather be a smartass than a dumbass...

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 7:18 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
you could buy her being 16 and socially stunted and not a sexually motivated character.


Suspension of disbelief for me; when she got out of the freezer nekid, I knew she was no kid

But I do see your point Chrisisall

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 7:25 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Here I thought this would be a thread about her feet


Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 7:59 AM

DEEPGIRL187


Gee, I guess I'm just oblivious. I mean, I can see you guys' point, but even in retrospect, I don't think River's increased sex appeal diminished her character any. I thought in many ways, her pain was more apparent in the film than the series. But I guess that's just me.

***************************************************************

"This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes ding when there's stuff. Also, it can boil an egg at 30 paces, whether you want it to or not, actually, so I've learned to stay away from hens. It's not pretty when they blow."

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 8:36 AM

WYTCHCROFT


Deeply Kidding that was a great reply - i've struggled to put my finger on the sense of difference in the BDM - beyond what characters do or say - i find i use phrases like 'harder', colder, more bluey looking stead of brown.

those pics show exactly that!:)

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 4:34 PM

DEEPLYKIDDING


Thanks, Wytchcroft. I can't always articulate my thoughts with words, so I appreciate the feedback. I've been mulling over the differences betwn series & BDM for some time, and the change in physical appearance of the actors really struck me. This idea of River as fetish figure got me to pause & figure out what it was that I saw.

I love the phrases you used: "'harder', colder, more bluey looking stead of brown." I didn't even realize I put that into the picture until you pointed it out, but that was a big visual theme differentiating the BDM from the series, which is a common theme in futuristic sci-fi : colder harder future (although I don't know about more bluey!!)

All in all, liked River in the series, liked her in the BDM, even if she was a somewhat different character. I think the movie format was just another way for Joss to tell yet another fantastic story.

I'd rather be a smartass than a dumbass...

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 11:25 PM

WYTCHCROFT


yes i am a great fan of river of myself - but i think it's a good idea to step back now and again and look at these things...

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Friday, November 2, 2007 12:24 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
Gee, I guess I'm just oblivious. I mean, I can see you guys' point, but even in retrospect, I don't think River's increased sex appeal diminished her character any. I thought in many ways, her pain was more apparent in the film than the series. But I guess that's just me.




Well, we certainly watched her cry more and watched her do more, but she seemed sort of blank to me. Like a glittery canvas. Nothing to hold onto to, lots of projection surface. A fetish, really.

Her face tended to be in control, wearing a sort of superior, all-knowing expression when she wasn't currenly having a break-down. There was very little of that curiosity of the series, or a calm, conscious observance of something. It was all either ethereally focused and calm or.. hysteric.

I was missing that middle ground where her personality used to be. Like picking berries in "Safe" and pretending to poison Simon. Or drawing dolls in "Ariel". Squinting into the sun in "Safe", again. Messing with Book's bible in "Jaynestown"... Those moments were River to me. They made her madness and her brilliance in "Objects in Space" truly fascinating to me.


"I swallowed a bug" is a very lonely moment in the movie, there.



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Friday, November 2, 2007 12:27 AM

WYTCHCROFT


and the goggles on the mule:)

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Friday, November 2, 2007 12:33 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by wytchcroft:
and the goggles on the mule:)




Yes, those, too! :D Loved the goggles!

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Friday, November 2, 2007 5:06 AM

MAL4PREZ


Now here I was going to say that I thought Nathan was less pretty in the movie than the seies - the lighting always made his face look harsh and lined and older. But then deeplykidding goes and posts that picture... *guh*

Yeah, good pictures. Clearly everyone got sexy'd up in the BDM! But I agree with Wytchcroft - the lighting was more blue, a harsh blue-white, often from above to make actors look very angular, instead of the warm, soft, even glow of lighting in the series. I like the BDM lighting much less, but I guess Joss did what he had to do for the big screen.

Ditto with River. I don't like her near as much in the movie, but what can you do? There's not enough screentime to show her lovely little moments.

I'm sad that we never got to see the development of the little girl side of her. I have a hard time seeing the sex appeal of the River in the movie as something non-fetish/creepy, because I can't get past the 14 year old emotional state she had in the series. I never saw her realize and grow into her own sexuality, so I can't see her as empowered or self-aware of all that, no matter how hot she looks beating up Reavers. Hmm... I guess that's why I find River pairings creepy... I just can't see her as owning her own sex appeal.

Good thread, wytchcroft!

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Friday, November 2, 2007 5:21 AM

DEEPGIRL187


Couldn't River's change in characterization also be reflective of the situation the crew has found themselves in? It's obvious they've went through some hard times since Firefly. Maybe it was just a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to show the adversity they'd faced.

*****************************************************

"This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes ding when there's stuff. Also, it can boil an egg at 30 paces, whether you want it to or not, actually, so I've learned to stay away from hens. It's not pretty when they blow."

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Friday, November 2, 2007 5:29 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
Couldn't River's change in characterization also be reflective of the situation the crew has found themselves in? It's obvious they've went through some hard times since Firefly. Maybe it was just a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to show the adversity they'd faced.

I'm intrigued, but need more info. I mean: "We've had hard times, I think I'll wear sexy dresses with clingy fabrics and do cool things with my hair now" is probably not what you mean...

So, which characterization changes?

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Friday, November 2, 2007 5:42 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
Maybe it was just a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to show the adversity they'd faced.




It's very difficult to draw a line between what was done to "translate Firefly to a different medium" and is thus acceptable, and between what was perhaps an unfortunately rushed development or where quite simply sacrifices were made in terms of characterisation.

Maybe a lot of things about the movie were attempts, as opposed to well-thought-through decisions, and some worked and some failed.


Shouldn't stop us from criticising, though. We only abuse it because we love it, really. ;)

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Friday, November 2, 2007 5:53 AM

DEEPGIRL187


I was referring to River being less child-like and curious and more emotionally distraught and serious (if not at times threatening). I think the style choices had more to do with them trying to sell to a larger audience.

*****************************************************

"This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes ding when there's stuff. Also, it can boil an egg at 30 paces, whether you want it to or not, actually, so I've learned to stay away from hens. It's not pretty when they blow."

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Friday, November 2, 2007 6:01 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
I was referring to River being less child-like and curious and more emotionally distraught and serious (if not at times threatening). I think the style choices had more to do with them trying to sell to a larger audience.




But couldn't her personality have been used there, too? My problem is not so much that she is serious, but that she has only two modes: Ethereally Calm or Freak-out. With very very very few exceptions. That doesn't make a personality to me, which I blame Joss's writing for in that instance.

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Friday, November 2, 2007 6:15 AM

COZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:...she has only two modes: Ethereally Calm or Freak-out.


Ever known an acute (aka 'manic') depressive? Despite the fact that during their high moments they can stave off the necessary evils in order to facilitate saving the 'verse from suppressing knowledge of the Alliance's failed Pax experiment, you really don't want to share the effects of the low times, and would certainly appreciate their subtle and brilliant contributions during the 'tweener moments. Like for instance, in Season 3 when River pilots Serenity with love.

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Friday, November 2, 2007 6:25 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by cozen:
Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:...she has only two modes: Ethereally Calm or Freak-out.


Ever known an acute (aka 'manic') depressive? Despite the fact that during their high moments they can stave off the necessary evils in order to facilitate saving the 'verse from suppressing knowledge of the Alliance's failed Pax experiment, you really don't want to share the effects of the low times, and would certainly appreciate their subtle and brilliant contributions during the 'tweener moments. Like for instance, in Season 3 when River pilots Serenity with love.




Uh. River is not a manic depressive. Or a depressive at all. At least not exclusively. Her brain was messed with externally. That's got to be a bit different.
Not to mention, not all manic depressives are like River. You speak as if they all are?

And... There is no Season 3. Nor a season 2. I'm sure you speak of the last scene in the movie.

Which that one moment was not a 'tweener. It was an 'afterwards'. And she's pretty close to ethereally calm there, too.

I would have loved to see more modes. How much different from "Hysterical" can those low times be, really?

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Friday, November 2, 2007 6:50 AM

WYTCHCROFT


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:


Yeah, good pictures. Clearly everyone got sexy'd up in the BDM! But I agree with Wytchcroft - the lighting was more blue, a harsh blue-white, often from above to make actors look very angular, instead of the warm, soft, even glow of lighting in the series. I like the BDM lighting much less, but I guess Joss did what he had to do for the big screen.




oh - i think it was a definite choice - hence River's electric blue dress.
And the 'blue' extends to the posters and spin-offs such as Those Left Behind - which is definitely Serenity and NOT Firefly.
There's a touch of the 'harsh light of day' about the movie colours and light...

but is that like a BAD thing???

i like Rubber Soul - Kinda autumnal, mellow russet toned and warm.
i like The White Album - hard, lean, messy, and well, cold.
i play em when in the mood.
Firefly - Serenity both feel like different albums from the same band.

as for the fetish - well, it's an argument in iteself as to wether a fetish is necessarily good/bad... i guess.

my natural inclination is to be a little negative about it but -
i can't be hypocritical...

everytime i buy an audrey hepburn postcard, watch the first Tomb Raider movie or...
wotever -
am i not indulging some kind of fetish...

hello, didn't i mention the Beatles already....
so it's tricky...
but interesting...

especially as this thread has broadened out to show the changes in ALL the cast -
and I may focus on River - but what does that say - that to me she's already a fetish???
becoz others may wonder about Kaylee or Mal or Jayne (who genuinely seems fetished in fan fiction).

scattered thougths...

i don't think River's intelligence is diminished - the opening schooling scene tells us all we need to know....
i think her transformation was built into the series - it just happened more quickly coz of a lack of transitional episodes.
As for being sexed up - i've said it before - i'll say it again -
she gets 'triggered' in the 'maidenhead' which, y'know, (shudders) gah...

i think River's 'My turn now' is a lovely moment -
i think the whole final flight deck scene is a wonderful River moment as much as Mals...

i agree that a sexually active River seems creepy to me but if it had been handled well in a future show -
who knows...
i mean she's not THAT young -
but yeh, kinda not right given her vulnerabilities.

i don't think she's a manic depressive -
but it's very possible she carries memories "not mine" of some Alliance Officer/Parliamentarian/Blue Sun Guy...
many of whom are probably depressives!!!

sorry for such a long and probably incoherant post...

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Friday, November 2, 2007 7:35 AM

COZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
[BUh. River is not a manic depressive. Or a depressive at all. At least not exclusively. Her brain was messed with externally. That's got to be a bit different.
Not to mention, not all manic depressives are like River. You speak as if they all are?



I humbly offer, "Bullet in the brainpan, squish". Trust me, if ever you've experienced the horror of acute depressive behaviour, that line sums up the downside rather neatly. I don't think that how a depressive personality came to be, externally or internally, makes a whole lot of difference to such a personalilty, other than, obviously, for seeking the correct approach to curing the ailment.

Of course not all depressives are like River. Some, or most, are not quite so talented. However, it has been my experience that all are highly intelligent. You may have statistics which prove otherwise, in which case I'll defer to your expertise. I'm speaking from the humble levels of personal experiences, is all. Experiences which draw me to the characterisation of River, and all of River's talents, and all of the prices she pays for having those talents. Regardless of whether or not those talents were internally or externally induced.

I do agree with you that River was not exclusively a depressive. There was depth to that character that greatly pisses me off in light of the fact Joss lost (Fox trumped) the opportunity to expand upon them. Cuz, it ain't right to exclude folk, eh?

***

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Friday, November 2, 2007 7:57 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
I was referring to River being less child-like and curious and more emotionally distraught and serious (if not at times threatening)

Definitely threatening LOL! I agree - I think her seriousness follows from being triggered and dealing with Reaver issues. And even before that, she's come to an awareness of her situation. She knows she's a danger to the crew.

But I don't see that translating to sexual independence. I mean, I agree that she looks pretty incredible in the first fight scene, and certainly Summer Glau and the movie crew put a great deal of effort into the sex appeal factor. But River Tam knew nothing of that. She wasn't out to be hot. For all we're shown, River's adolescent sex drive was completely shut down while she worried about more pressing things.

So, yeah, I can see the fetish thing, if that means sexualizing something which isn't inherently sexual... hmm, must go visit dictionary.com...

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Friday, November 2, 2007 8:08 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by wytchcroft:
oh - i think it was a definite choice ... but is that like a BAD thing???

To my taste... yes.

OK, insert disclaimer here: Joss made a better movie than I ever could, that's for damned sure! So I don't mean him to kick him off anyone's pedestal, but I will criticize with love, because I think he likes an audience who thinks, even if it means disagreeing...

Certainly, style choices were made for the movie. But I feel like so many of those choices were made to sell the movie to the widest possible audience (I blame the studio and the industry, not Joss!) and not to bring as much life as possible to his original vision. Sadly, a lot of what I loved about Firefly was tossed out. Even more sadly, it didn't make for a blockbuster. I think they tried to make Serenity follow the path of other sci-fi movies that have made it big, when they could have made it what Firefly was - beyond definition.

It's not just the facets of River's personality, which are beyond any manic depressive definition, or anything else we have in our pathetic Academy-free 21st century textbooks. There's the warm lighting and quiet moments of the series that made me feel like this verse enfolded me, even when there was action or unpleasantness, it had a warm texture...

When I watch the series I'm pulled into it. With the movie, I feel like I'm at a distance. Now, I know that the big screen can have intimacy and warmth and small moments (Donnie Darko?) Serenity didn't do that. The choice was made to make an action movie, and they made a damned fine one, for sure!

But I'd of preferred a drama. That's just me!

Quote:

as for the fetish - well, it's an argument in iteself as to wether a fetish is necessarily good/bad... i guess.
I am unsatisfied with what I read on dictionary.com. Could you describe what you mean by "fetishized"? Here's what I got:

    1. An object that is believed to have magical or spiritual powers, especially such an object associated with animistic or shamanistic religious practices.
    2. An object of unreasonably excessive attention or reverence: made a fetish of punctuality.
    3. Something, such as a material object or a nonsexual part of the body, that arouses sexual desire and may become necessary for sexual gratification.
    4. An abnormally obsessive preoccupation or attachment; a fixation.

(Edited for clarity...)

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Friday, November 2, 2007 8:47 AM

DEEPGIRL187


If we're gonna get into River's mental state, then from a psychological standpoint, she probably has undifferentiated schizophrenia (I know they say paranoid schizophrenia in the film, but she really doesn't show any instances of paranoia). The hallucinations, occasional word salads, would all point to it. Manic depressive wouldn't cover all of her symptoms. Of course, this being Hollywood, mental disorders are never portrayed with a great deal if accuracy.

I can't say River was making a conscious choice to be "sexy". With that level of instability, it would be kind of hard. I think her choice in clothing has more to do with selling a film than River behaving in a sexualized manner.

***************************************************

"This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes ding when there's stuff. Also, it can boil an egg at 30 paces, whether you want it to or not, actually, so I've learned to stay away from hens. It's not pretty when they blow."

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Friday, November 2, 2007 10:18 AM

MACBAKER


River's first appearance was NUDE!

A short skirt in the movie seems like less of an issue than that!

I'd given some thought to movin' off the edge -- not an ideal location -- thinkin' a place in the middle.

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Friday, November 2, 2007 10:29 AM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


I don't think Serenity Fetishizes River. Yes, she seems more sexy, with clingy clothes and flowy skirts, but this is compared to the 'Kaylee Rejects' She'd been wearing previously. Maybe she picked out her own clothes in between the BDS and the BDM. Also, they aren't really skimpy clothes. Her skirts are all around knee length, and the décolletage of her tops was within the bounds of decency. And none of her clothes were midriff baring, or spaghetti strapped.

I didn't have trouble with Summer's characterization of River during the movie either ((I hesitate to say 'brilliant' characterization only because I haven't yet supported this claim)). Her character had morphed, as had they all, since OiS and things hadn't been going well. She's also deteriorating mentally (("There's not a medicine her body won't eventually break down.")), and to top it off the Alliance just "activated" her programming. It makes sense for some of the wonder and curiosity to go away, as she's now forced to focus on killing and maiming stuff. That internal conflict accounts for the "oddly focused/crying moonbrain" shifts. She's trying to cope, and not constantly succeeding. To top it off, she's got the whole of Miranda on her chest and doesn't have a way to articulate it. She's confused, violent because of the Alliance, and probably a bit pissed off with everyone not understanding the importance of her incoherent babbling.

Granted - None of the above applies to her feet. These were obviously fetishized, and rightly so, cause they're nice.

"I'm not going to say Serenity is the greatest SciFi movie ever; oh wait yes I am." - Orson Scott Card

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Friday, November 2, 2007 10:44 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by cozen:
Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Uh. River is not a manic depressive. Or a depressive at all. At least not exclusively. Her brain was messed with externally. That's got to be a bit different.
Not to mention, not all manic depressives are like River. You speak as if they all are?



I humbly offer, "Bullet in the brainpan, squish". Trust me, if ever you've experienced the horror of acute depressive behaviour, that line sums up the downside rather neatly. I don't think that how a depressive personality came to be, externally or internally, makes a whole lot of difference to such a personalilty, other than, obviously, for seeking the correct approach to curing the ailment.

Of course not all depressives are like River. Some, or most, are not quite so talented. However, it has been my experience that all are highly intelligent. You may have statistics which prove otherwise, in which case I'll defer to your expertise. I'm speaking from the humble levels of personal experiences, is all. Experiences which draw me to the characterisation of River, and all of River's talents, and all of the prices she pays for having those talents. Regardless of whether or not those talents were internally or externally induced.

I do agree with you that River was not exclusively a depressive. There was depth to that character that greatly pisses me off in light of the fact Joss lost (Fox trumped) the opportunity to expand upon them. Cuz, it ain't right to exclude folk, eh?




I'm glad we agree that River was not just a classical case of manic depression. (And I'll withhold any and all opinion on manic depressives in general, as I have none.)

I guess I'm just not certain what point you were trying to make.

None of what you said takes away that in the movie she displays (with very very few exceptions) exactly two modes.

And we know from the show that there is more depth to her than that. If she had just reversed her earlier improvement and deteriorated mentally, Mal would not have trusted her to do the job during the bank robbery, so she does have control.

The decision to make her all blank and (to me) boring, compared to the series, was a deliberate one.

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Friday, November 2, 2007 10:53 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
I don't think Serenity Fetishizes River. Yes, she seems more sexy, with clingy clothes and flowy skirts, but this is compared to the 'Kaylee Rejects' She'd been wearing previously. Maybe she picked out her own clothes in between the BDS and the BDM. Also, they aren't really skimpy clothes. Her skirts are all around knee length, and the décolletage of her tops was within the bounds of decency. And none of her clothes were midriff baring, or spaghetti strapped.



They are pretty clingy, though. They wouldn't have had to be. They could have still been sort of baggy and comfortable. They deliberately went for the sexy look.

Quote:


She's also deteriorating mentally (("There's not a medicine her body won't eventually break down.")), and to top it off the Alliance just "activated" her programming.



he cannot be that far gone, though, considering Mal is taking her on a job and trusting her to be in control there.

Quote:


It makes sense for some of the wonder and curiosity to go away, as she's now forced to focus on killing and maiming stuff. That internal conflict accounts for the "oddly focused/crying moonbrain" shifts. She's trying to cope, and not constantly succeeding. To top it off, she's got the whole of Miranda on her chest and doesn't have a way to articulate it. She's confused, violent because of the Alliance, and probably a bit pissed off with everyone not understanding the importance of her incoherent babbling.



However, they chose to write the movie that way. It's not like they got the script from someone else and had to follow. They could have introduced her differently, if her character had mattered as something other than the reduced, sexified version they chose.

They left a lot of blanks in favor of an easily recognized stereotype that the average Joe can recognize and find attractive.

Quote:



Granted - None of the above applies to her feet. These were obviously fetishized, and rightly so, cause they're nice.



Very true! Summer's feet would probably have earned their own spot in the title sequence had the show gone on! *G*

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Friday, November 2, 2007 1:24 PM

WYTCHCROFT


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:

Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
I don't think Serenity Fetishizes River. Yes, she seems more sexy, with clingy clothes and flowy skirts, but this is compared to the 'Kaylee Rejects' She'd been wearing previously. Maybe she picked out her own clothes in between the BDS and the BDM. Also, they aren't really skimpy clothes. Her skirts are all around knee length, and the décolletage of her tops was within the bounds of decency. And none of her clothes were midriff baring, or spaghetti strapped.



Quote:

They are pretty clingy, though. They wouldn't have had to be. They could have still been sort of baggy and comfortable. They deliberately went for the sexy look.




which is where it all starts to become subjective - i don't think there's an easy answer... and it's a helluva dress - got auctioned recently, very nice piece of work - but yeh - is it River???

i mood swing on this issue constantly....

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Friday, November 2, 2007 3:51 PM

STAPLES


Huh...

I guess I had always just looked at it as a change in age. I buy new clothes every year, and my tastes change as do everyone's...I realize there is no proof to back up this claim, but I figured that, since Mal trusted her with the bank heist in Serenity, maybe he had trusted her with another job between the BDS and the BDM.

What would a teenage girl generally buy with a paycheck? New clothes. (glittering generalities, I know)

I think she was already showing change by Objects in Space. She was wearing a dress in that one wasn't she? It may have been kind of baggy, but I think it shows that her character WAS changing, and it was just never given as much time to develop.

As for her two modes of personality - sleep, and kill - I can agree that, for the most part, you are right about this. The movie wasn't long enough to show much more, given the story that was taking place. If she wasn't such an integral part of the story, I thinnk she may have had berry-picking, bible-fixing moments...but since she was so engrained in the story, there weren't very many chances for those moments to really shine (though I can't help but laugh whenever I see her investigating Simon and Kaylee's tongue-tangled adventure - which is clearly what River from the show would do)

I personally think that River's tight dresses are trying to go along with the overall feel of the movie - darker, sleeker, and...bluer.
I think her dresses show that there IS more depth to her - the way they all have several layers to them, I think has a lot to do with physically embodying her mental state. When her blue dress is all flowy and blowing, ti has different layers - like River. I think they were trying to match the clothing to the character - and in doing so, an extreme costume change was neccesary. She went from the wilting flower in the corner with baggy clothes, to the main attraction - kicking ass, and wearing clothes that matched her current attitude.

*I thought of an example from "Psycho." In the beginning of the movie, the female lead's underwear was white, signifying a sense of freedom and clarity in the character. Later, she is seen in black underwear, showing that she had a sense of guilt and something weighing down on her. I think Serenity does this too.

The whole movie did change the lighting, but, once again, that was neccesary for the story being told. Serenity is the dark and depressing story, so the lighting (even in familiar, normally warm-lighted places) mirrored the instability, hostility, and depression of the crew, and the situation they were pushed into.

As for sexy-ing up the cast? I think that they did that themselves. Kaylee had to gain thirty pounds to get her role...after it was cancelled, she probably lost the weight. Book's hair probably justv signified the time that had passed, and Mal buffing up...well...wouldn't you beef up if you were doing a shirtless scene? I know I would try...

Overall, I think that the decisions were made deliberately, and, more importantly, CORRECTLY, to fit the mood of the characters and the storyline of the film.

(Phew...that was long!)

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Friday, November 2, 2007 5:31 PM

ROMANCEGURU


From River’s comment in Those Left Behind, “It smells like sex in here,” to a scene in the original Serenity script in where she acts out a sexual memory of Inara’s, (complete with moans) I really think Joss was trying to show that River was becoming sexually aware.

There obviously wasn’t enough time to show a more involved progression of River sexuality, something that would have been explored more leisurely had Firefly lived. It seems that it was important for Joss to show that River was indeed becoming a woman in what little or subtle ways he could without shifting the focus from more pressing stories.

River definitely looked like she was donning hand-me-downs and the series and didn’t have much choice in the way of fashion. I agree with some of the others in thinking that River was able to make a few shopping trips before Serenity, and her style is a personal choice. Also, I really don’t think her clothes are all that revealing. Buffy’s mini-mini skirts in season 1 & 2 are though!

I don’t discredit the fact that all things were shinned up for the film, that’s going to be a given. I just don’t think it’s entirely fair to blame River’s character growth fully on some fetishization. If anything, blame it on time restraints. If you don’t think her character was headed in that direction, then you can just call that denial.


---


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Friday, November 2, 2007 6:14 PM

PLATONIST


Gosh, Let me think on this, wytchcroft, I just don't know ...hmm...let us see, 90% of the current fanfic I DON'T click on in this verse is Rayne and the other 10% is Maliver, written by a large age range. Where do you think such ideas come from...hmm...is it subliminal?

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Saturday, November 3, 2007 4:20 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Romanceguru:

I don’t discredit the fact that all things were shinned up for the film, that’s going to be a given. I just don’t think it’s entirely fair to blame River’s character growth fully on some fetishization.



I do, though.

They gave a time frame of six months between series and movie, and if her character had been the point, as opposed to an easily interchangeable image of what River might have become in time, they would have cared about that. New medium or not. They could have refrained from dressing her up in clingy dresses.

They didn't, though. Sexy was more important. Not because it's important to her character but because it's an attention getting. Which is a disservice to quality in favor of selling the movie.

I think it's vital, in terms of a character, to show that sort of development. Especially when it comes to things that carry very strong fetish/fantasy connotations. Which the kinda goth-looking killer sex kitten plainly is.

I know why they did it, of course. Doesn't mean that they didn't do it.

Quote:


If anything, blame it on time restraints. If you don’t think her character was headed in that direction, then you can just call that denial.



I think she was headed there. In a much much loooonger time than they gave. A nice long stretch of time that would have made this development credible instead of creepy.

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Saturday, November 3, 2007 6:52 AM

MERRYK


I agree with parts of just about everyone's post... Yup, River looks much more appealing in the movie. Most of the characters do. I think when it comes to the women, Joss and crew can't seem to help but fetishize them a little, and River only gets the treatment now because she is growing and changing. I don't think it's out of place to have her look like a young woman rather than a girl, because that's important to her character arc. Because of what has happened, and because of the protectiveness of Simon, we are constantly seeing River as a child. It's not totally misguided: in the series, she is in need of the same amount of care as a very young child. But while she struggled to come to grips with what had happened, she was maturing.

War Stories gave us the first glimpse of her outside of her psychic craziness, and then Objects in Space showed us that she might have a chance to no longer need so much care. By the movie, she has continued on this path, so that Mal thinks she is ready to go on a heist, but then the triggering and Miranda memories drop her back into a state where she needs constant care. It is on Mr. Universe's moon that she graduates, becomes the young woman that she needs to become. She couldn't stay the frightened little girl forever.

And now, back to her appearance. She can't be killing Reavers in the clothes she wore in the series (which I personally believe are handmedowns from Kaylee and Simon's purchasing...hence the not-so-flattering), because that would give the wrong impression. She needs to look like what she is becoming. I don't think we were supposed to believe that she was becoming sexually aware. I just don't see any evidence of it in her portrayal or how others treat her. However, she has to look more grown up, and at first glance that may appear sexed up. I agree with the poster who said that she probably bought those with her money...her outfits look to me like something she would like, and something she would be especially inclined to buy after seeing Simon's reaction to them.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Saturday, November 3, 2007 7:18 AM

WYTCHCROFT


Yes - River never wanted to be 'dressed like a doll' - the BDM may be her steppin out a little...

for every time i feel uncomfortable with the notion of a sexualised River -
there are those equal and opposite moments when i get creeped at the notion of her as 'the eternal child' -
which in its own way can become a fetish!!:)

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2:39 AM

KRELLEK


Well I am not sure, but Hotpoint at some point describe River having gotten more clothes fitting her age in his Fanfic(i know it do not cover Serenity the movie)due to the intervention of Inara and Kaylee, and a characther of his own making, so is it too hard to believe that Inara and Kaylee might have done what they could to pretty River up a bit during the six months, even through Simon might bark a little at that, to get as comfartable in her femininity aas possible

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 4:02 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

River's first appearance was NUDE!

A short skirt in the movie seems like less of an issue than that!



That really wasn't a sexy or fetishized moment, that was supposed to be about broken innocence and vulnerability. She was naked, but the scene and all the camera angles intentionally didn't focus on that, the focus was more on her distress.

That's why, in most people, that scene brings out a paternal/maternal instinct. They want to hug her and cover her up, which is what Simon then does. It's really effective that way at bringing people into the moment.

But maybe you're a "Jayne" personality type.

EDIT: Hmm, this is an older one.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 4:42 AM

BYTEMITE


In regards to the original topic, yes, sexualized. Possible progression of River deciding to buy her own clothes, yes, and the new more flattering and flowing dresses seem to make their first appearance in Better Days, when the crew would have some money.

River AWARE of the sexualization? Of others maybe. She's definitely shown curiosity about them.

Of herself? Still not really seein' it. She doesn't intentionally strike me as trying to be "darkly cute action girl," she just is, and it's the people attracted to that who are adding the "sex kitten" part on top of it.

Which is why there's so much fanfic tending in that direction, particularly in River being aware of how Jayne might have reacted on seeing her like that, and deliberately fostering that.

Maybe they're seeing a layer I'm not because they're attracted to that and I'm not. But until canon contradicts me, and we get more information, I can only conclude that the people the fetishizing is playing to are only seeing what they want to see. River doesn't strike me as someone particularly interested in any romantic foils at the time of the movie, so why would she be trying to sex up her looks? I think River might be trying to look pretty and "normal" in some way, but I don't see her as trying to impress anyone.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 10:17 AM

HKCAVALIER


Quote:

Originally posted by Blindoutlaw:
well then it shows the diiference between movies and TV

movies, sex sell
TV, more story driven (fox not included)

I'm sorry, I can't buy into this. You're actually saying that TV is the more cerebral art form of the two? Sex sells everywhere if you intend to sell sex. With Firefly, Joss was aiming for something else. In Serenity he was not. It's called selling out. Sexing up Firefly for the big screen denies the fundamental aesthetic of the show.

So, what, was it REALLY FOX's fault that Firefly got cancelled, or was the show a no-starter anyway and actually NEEDED to be sexed up to make it a viable commodity?

Joss wanted to make a movie that made huge money so the suits would give him more money to make more movies. He sold out Firefly to serve his career goals. It's his show, he gets to do what he wants, but puh-lease don't excuse his dreams of $$$ by saying it's the medium's fault. No, it's Joss's.

Serenity pushed ALL the characters in the direction of over-sexed pulp cliches. Look what he did to Simon the timid, sincere doctor--gave him this absurd James Bond Super Hero make-over. So, yeah, sex up the crazy girl, why not?

Who knows how a real Firefly movie might have played? Joss went for the easy money and crapped out. Serenity is actual evidence that sex does not necessarily sell at all or we'd be dissecting Serenity 2 by now.

HKCavalier

Hey, hey, hey, don't be mean. We don't have to be mean, because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 3:40 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Maybe they're seeing a layer I'm not because they're attracted to that and I'm not. But until canon contradicts me, and we get more information, I can only conclude that the people the fetishizing is playing to are only seeing what they want to see. River doesn't strike me as someone particularly interested in any romantic foils at the time of the movie, so why would she be trying to sex up her looks? I think River might be trying to look pretty and "normal" in some way, but I don't see her as trying to impress anyone.

Fetishism? Is that about feathers? Surprised me to learn that, in abnormal psychiatry, it is sexual feelings excited by a nonsexual object. Is this River statue appealing to a Firefly fetishist? Will a normal person buy? The advertisement came in the mail today.
www.tfaw.com/Profile/Serenity-River-Tam-Limited-Edition-Maquette___367
614


[Edited after Bytemite (see below) gave me a clue.] What does Summer Glau think of this statue? Probably shocks the hell out of her. And her parents. And her sisters.

From the photo, QMx made River's breasts huge, raised her hemline high, spread her legs wide. Look at those bare thighs covered in delicious strawberry jam. Yummy! (I'm part Homer Simpson) QMx says it is, “...offering a sexier, more heroic take on Big Damn Heroes.” QMx turned River into a cast-resin sex fetish, which is very kinky of them. If you buy this statue, hide her from all the other women in your life for she is your secret River, for you alone.

There will be a label on River that says something like: “The materials used to decorate this product have been tested for lead content and conform to normal safety standards.” Be cautious about licking her.



The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 3:59 AM

BYTEMITE


It's also any off-mainstream style, fashion, or lifestyle that are fairly centered around sex or emphasis on particular traits in partners. Like BDSM, or the vampire scene. And some kinds of otaku, especially when they obsess over characters and real people idols to a, erm, possibly unhealthy degree.

We're not talking abnormal psychology, we're talking the relatively normal(-ish?) attraction that some males feel towards dark, cute, and dangerous girls. I'm leaving out the underage thing for now.

Quote:

n.

1.
An object that is believed to have magical or spiritual powers, especially such an object associated with animistic or shamanistic religious practices.

2.
An object of unreasonably excessive attention or reverence: made a fetish of punctuality.

3.
Something, such as a material object or a nonsexual part of the body, that arouses sexual desire and may become necessary for sexual gratification.

4.
An abnormally obsessive preoccupation or attachment; a fixation.



We're using it as kind of a mix between 3 and 4. It's really the only way to describe some kinds of fan fixation on particular personality types and/or appearances.

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Monday, June 21, 2010 6:48 PM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!


You know, River was a " 17 yr old girl " for a damn long time.

She'd eventually have to grow up...


I'm just sayin'.


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Monday, June 21, 2010 7:21 PM

BYTEMITE


She's mentally a 14 year old. The question is if she's trapped as a 14 year old by her madness.

She might be.

I mean, point about the disturbing possibility that River might be fetishized for THAT too, being underage. Erk. But at the same time, that's how I see River continuing to be like. I don't see her character arc is one about "growing up."

Look what she's been through. I'd say she's mature, or at the very least, not naive. That doesn't make a relationship with her right, though, nor is her getting into a relationship another expression of her "growing up."

She's very damaged. I don't see her arc going towards romantic relationships at all. She's a MacGuffin Girl. She's there possibly to gain confidence in herself and overcome her fears long enough to get retribution on the people who made her the way she is and to make things right. She's also likely to die doing so.

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