Serenity recap on TWoP that sums up elegantly why Jayne is woefully served in the Big Damn Movie:
“Because he’s the Mel Gibson in this movie, we lose a lot of the moral ambiguity that made this character bearable in the show. I would have to say that my chief disappointment with this film has to do with the focus on him, and stripping down of him, as some kind of gonzo Hollywood meathead, because it’s just one joke over and over:
‘Hey, he’ll eat the last chocolate out of the box and he won’t even apologize! Seriously! And then he might masturbate! He likes guns! And also your chocolates, of which he will eat the last without apologizing! He has some questions, if you’d like to explain a bunch of basic shit to the audience, via him! He also has guns!’
His bastardy is pointless in this context, because he’s usually the dark half of Mal, the “what would you do, where is your line,” and in this movie, that role is played by…Mal.”
All good, but then what the fuck does this mean:
“And yeah, ‘brave new world with such people on it,’ but also, ‘daughter of a wizard who controls the whole world, playing everyone like chess, because he’s trying to teach them how to think.’ To elevate them from their sinful, base impulses, to a life of pure reason and control.
It was on Ariel that River died away, locked in a cloven pine, and reawakened with her powers, as a tool of the Alliance, restored. Where Jayne revealed himself again as a creature without higher purpose, without self-forged belief beyond the acquisition of pleasure and riches, not honored with a human shape, a creature of the world, a savage without the nobility of his fellow savages, and was nearly judged with death by the Captain, and earlier, by his victim River herself.”