Firefly and Western Literature
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Appalosa – a lesson learned.

Just seen ‘Appalosa’ the new Ed Harris Western which shows many of the problems with the continuation of a genre. It’s a good film, but struggles to do anything new with the genre. It resorts to the slowing-down process of so many recent westerns – translating ‘realism’ through pace into a presumed intensity. If it’s slow it must be significant and meaningful; if the speeches are drawn out, if must be ‘like life’. OK, but problematic as drama. There is a sense in these westerns that we are watching in all through a microscope, looking for the details, the buttons on the shirt-front, the whiskers, the attention to language. What gets lost here? Well, the intoxication, the cinematic, the beauty. I liked the film, but thought it highlighted the Western’s problems. Sitting in an audience of 6 watching a film made by a Hollywood actor trying to capture something of the past … (a la Costner, Lee Jones, Eastwood, and now Harris). This is perhaps why the studio worried so much about Firefly, about Whedon’s Dreamof the West-in-Space. How could it be different and draw in the new audience?


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