The best movie I never want to see again

I just saw Serenity, the movie based on Joss Whedon’s TV show Firefly. Nearly everyone who’s seen it so far has loved it. My reaction was more complex. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I’d have to say something like “that was the best movie that I never want to see again.”

I think it was the excellent writing and the familiar characters that did it. This was the first movie where I didn’t have that subtle disconnect, the sense that I was watching a movie. Instead, I was caught up in the reality of it — it really felt like I was watching real people deal with a real situation.

And normally, that would be a really good thing in a movie. A REALLY good thing. But… that meant my sense of reality was also engaged at other moments during the movie. Like the scene that’s still haunting me, two hours after the movie’s over. No spoilers here, but if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know which scene I’m talking about. It’s the one where they’re on a planet, and they find a holographic recording of a woman describing something that happened on that planet. I really, really needed my normal “I’m watching a movie, this isn’t real” detachment for that scene. Especially the end of it. And because the writing was so good, the scene just slipped underneath my normal emotional “armor”.

It’s three in the morning right now. Two and a half hours after I walked out of the movie theater. And I’m still desperately looking for distractions, trying to forget what I heard in that one scene. I don’t intend to go to bed anytime soon.

It’s been a very long time since a movie did that to me. On the one hand, that’s some really good writing. On the other hand, I never ever want to see this movie again, and I almost wish I hadn’t seen it in the first place. Not that it was bad — as I said, it was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. If it hadn’t been such a good movie, it wouldn’t have left me this profoundly disturbed.

Make of that what you will.

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