[extropy-chat] Sigh!... fi

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Mon Oct 3 18:07:51 UTC 2005


Review of Serenity, by Gary Westfahl

<the film ... asserts that certain sorts of knowledge should never be 
employed ­ specifically, knowledge that might be used to "improve" the 
nature of humanity. The problem with the evil Alliance, Mal explains, is 
that they think "they can make people better," and Mal disagrees: "I don't 
hold to that. I aim to misbehave." Of course, when the only evidence on 
hand of efforts to improve humanity is a drug that turns some people into 
inert statues and others into crazed cannibals, the film's deck is pretty 
much stacked against human-transforming technology, and one might also 
protest that "making people better" could be said to include putting them 
in spaceships and giving them terraformed worlds to live on, which nobody 
in the crew of Serenity seems to object to. But after all, science fiction 
films that overtly or covertly oppose scientific advancement are hardly a 
novelty and, in fact, include in their numbers many of the genre's most 
cherished masterpieces. To underline his point, Whedon names one important 
world Miranda to recall William Shakespeare's The Tempest, the story of a 
powerful magician who ultimately resolves to stop using his amazing powers, 
which is exactly what the film argues the Alliance should do. >

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