Update to my ‘Serenity’ Beat sheet.


Breaking news – there’s more to the Blake Snyder beat sheet for ‘Serenity’ than I first thought.

Or maybe there is. I was watching the movie for the first time in months, at the screening today, and something occurred to me about that big long stretch of the film before River goes kung-fu fighting in the bar. At first, I couldn’t put that into any other slot than ‘setup, and a bit of fun and games’ – because the hovercraft chase sequence definitely made the trailer, and Joss even said on the audio commentary that if he didn’t get to play with a hovercraft he was ready to take his Firefly and go home – if that isn’t fun and games, I don’t know what is.

But my new theory is that Joss is being a lot more clever than he seems. At the point when Simon and River leave the ship on Beaumonde, it looks like that might be the break into Act 2. And then, River starts beating up people, and we realize that that’s only the catalyst. So, we have a false break into two, and that would mean:

  • Simon confronting Mal before they land is a false catalyst.
  • All the stuff in between is a false debate – will they or won’t they actually leave the ship?
  • This almost creates ‘Act one and a half’ out of the true catalyst, debate, and break into two.

I think I like this way of analyzing the movie, especially because it shows that a gifted writer can do more than just play with the timing of the beats, he can actually repeat beats and still end up with an entertaining film. Just because you know the structure, doesn’t mean that you have to follow it too closely.

The next installment of the ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ series will hopefully be done by Monday evening. I’ll have a special Father’s day post for tomorrow.

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