Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's: "The Movie"

Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui

Buffy: “How do you know all this?”
Merrick: “Because it is your birthright and I’m a part of this. You come with me to the graveyard and I will show you.”

So this movie’s been released for the last seventeen years and it’s taken me now to review it? My bad but hey for a movie that’s supposed to be so abysmal, my urge to chuck things at the screen during its duration was nowhere to be seen. What do you make of that?

It’s been documented enough times on the series that prior to being a slayer, Buffy was little more than Cordelia. Apparently learning that your destiny is to slay vampires can be traumatic, humbling and increases your savvy. Buffy went through virtually all three of these emotions within the movie.

For the first few minutes we saw Buffy as a cheerleader with shallow mates, a dumb jock boyfriend named Jeffrey and obsessing about a school dance while taking the piss out of stoners Pike and Benny. Then Merrick showed up and she was forced to confront the fact that her destiny was a lot bigger than wanting to marry Christian Slater.

Maybe I’m a sucker for slayer/watcher scenes because all of Buffy and Merrick’s scenes were an absolute joy to watch. Her attempts to reject her birthright ran absolutely true and despite tension between Buffy and Merrick, there was some wonderful moments where they actually bonded with each other.

The scene where they discussed jobs and Buffy’s gentle poking about Merrick making a joke was endearing. Then again in a totally weird way, so was Merrick showing Buffy that catching a knife meant that she was chosen. Yeah, that’s a real convincing argument there.

Kristy Swanson might not have garnered the same acclaim that Sarah Michelle Gellar would deservedly get during the series run years after this movie but I had no problem adjusting to her Buffy and similar enjoyed Donald Sutherland as the otherwise doomed Merrick.

In fact Merrick’s death about two third into the movie struck a chord for me. The first time Joss Whedon has murdered a beloved character in his popular franchise. That should’ve been foreshadowing for some of the deaths we would have to endure on the series itself.

With Merrick dead, the only other person Buffy had in her corner was Pike. Luke Perry isn’t a bad actor, though he does seem to vary with certain roles. Here, he’s quite enjoyable, quirky and even a bit cute. Pike’s also sort of Xander like in a way but that might just be me. I certainly had no problem with him spending time with Buffy than the vacuous bloke she was dating in the movie.

Pike also proved himself to be useful in the fight where Lothos and his pals showed up at the school dance. Cheesiness aside from Rutger Hauer, even he’s more fun than some of the vampires we’ve seen on the series. His minion who lost an arm courtesy of Pike, not so much.

If there is a flipside with the movie (a serious one, aside from the inherent cheesiness and lack of depth provided for Buffy’s pals), it’s that Lothos and Buffy don’t actually have that big a confrontation. Yes she killed him quite publicly and he did blather on incessantly about them being connected but it did feel he died too easily in the end.

The actual vamp attack on the dance was hilarious in a sort of bad way. I laughed my head off with some of the other kids getting knocked and even Pike’s stoner mate Benny didn’t get to enjoy being a vampire for all that long. Plus the vampires didn’t exactly exude that much menace but if you don’t take things too seriously, you’ll find this movie is a lot more palatable because of it.

The end scene with Buffy and Pike sharing a dance before they left Los Angeles was nice. It’s almost a shame that Pike never actually made it to Sunnydale but at least we have this movie to enjoy him in.

Also in “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”

I loved the slayer dreams we got to see in this movie. Too bad none of Buffy’s predecessors were mentioned by name though.

Pike: “What’s your name?”
Buffy: “Buffy.”
Pike: “Yeah, figures.”

It’s funny watching this movie and seeing the likes of David Arquette, Ben Affleck and Hilary Swank, the latter who played the most irritating character of the movie.

Benny: “I got a newsflash for you. Another shot of this and I’ll have sex with you.”
Pike: “Yeah and you’ll never call me.”

Buffy (to her friends): “How do you not tread on the Earth? You kind of have to, right?”

Merrick talked of wanting to be a bookmaker, which Buffy instantly dismissed. She wanted to be a buyer.

Buffy: “I never hit anybody before.”
Merrick: “Well, you did it perfectly.”
Buffy: “I didn’t even break a nail.”

Amilyn (to Pike/vampires): “You ruined my jacket. Kill him a lot.”

One of the places that Buffy and her friends hung out was a coffee bar called Café Blasé. It’s where her and Pike introduced themselves, despite first meeting in the cinema.

Lothos (to Buffy): “Has our time finally come, have you ripened so fast? Come closer, look at me.”

Merrick (to Buffy): “Remember about the music. When the music stops, the rest is …”

The rest is silence. Buffy used that silence to get from Lothos thrall at one point in the movie and Amilyn was still alive by the end of it.

Buffy (to her friends): “Guys, I think reality stepped out of here about five minutes ago.”

Pike: “Will I get my ass kicked if I ask you to dance?”
Buffy: “Maybe.”
Pike: “You know, Buffy, you’re not like other girls.”
Buffy: “Yes I am.”

Pike was actually in some of the pre Season 1 comics that Dark Horse used years ago. I also loved the news cover at the end of the movie.

Pike (to Buffy): “We’ve got a problem. I got a bag full of solutions. What do you want to do?”

Lothos: “You are just like the other girls.”
Buffy: “Maybe I’ll surprise you.”

Standout music: “I Fought The Law” by Mary’s Danish was the one I found most interesting.

Lothos (to Buffy as he dies): “Now I’m really pissed off. Oops.”

Pike (re mess of dance hall): “Did I do all that?”
Buffy: “No.”
Pike: “Did you do all of that?”
Buffy: “Yeah I did.”

Chronology: The movie was released in 1992 but maybe for continuity with the series (despite this movie not being referenced in the show), let’s say 1996.

For a movie that’s supposed to be so bleeding awful, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” isn’t actually that bad. Okay, there are some segments that are seriously cheesy and the vampires aren’t going to illicit fear but if you don’t take it too seriously (even though there are some emotional moments), it’s actually a lot of fun.

Rating: 7 out of 10.


Nat said...

I have seen the movie, but reading your review, I realise I remember very little of it!
I think it was an okay movie not amazing but decent enough. Lets face it though, it would've been lost is movie history had it not been for the show.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Exactly and the only reason I reviewed it now was because Channel 4 aired it last night at the ungoldy hour of 1.25am.

It's not a terrible movie, extremely cheesy yes but still worth watching.