As I’m sure many of you have guessed, I’m a child of the 90s, dear Wanderers. I grew up in the heyday of Xena and her ilk, females who kicked ass, and took names, and generally were all around badasses to out-badass any of the guys who came near them. And in this era, there is one name that still lasts as a heralding call; a name that will call fans worldwide together. That name? Buffy. Buffy Summers. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
But we are not looking at the fantastic seven seasons of the television show, or even the spin off media like the comics or tie in novels. Looking at the comics and novels would have to be their own series since I am fairly certain there’s enough material amongst them to create a few new seasons, and that’s even before getting to the ‘official’ seasons 8 and 9 comics. No, today we are looking further back in the history of Buffy, to a little known film from 1992, a summer popcorn flick that was more fluff than substance but still stands the test of time as a cult hit. Yes, people, we’re looking at the Buffy movie today.
So, where to start with this film? Well, how about with the admission that this movie is different from the others we review. This movie is actually bad. Yeah, I know, how can that be? It’s Buffy isn’t it? Written by the hands of the geek god Whedon himself? How can one of his projects be anything close to bad? Well, due to one actor (who shall remain nameless, but you can all use Google) rewriting the majority of his dialogue, and the studio letting him, well, the brilliance of the original script by Joss Whedon was mostly chipped away. While fragments of it remain in the finished product, it’s no where near the quality of the script. And, well, early 90s fashion, people. It was not the greatest period in clothing history, and some of it is very horrifying in a very unintentional way (purple lyrca jumpsuits?)
Despite the movie being bad – and, yeah, as I’ve said, it really is – it’s still fun to watch. Yes, I know, hard to understand, Wanderers, but this really is a fun little movie. And I say that as someone who has willingly watched it, and does a rewatch of it every year when she decides to rewatch the show from beginning to end. Buffy is still our lead and she still kicks ass and takes names; she’s just a bit more … shallow in the beginning. She does grow out of it though – in that respect you could claim the movie has a coming-of-age aspect to it. The Watcher is as pompous as ever – though nothing on Giles of course. Even sidekick Pike is brilliant; and this writer is of the opinion he should have shown up in the series proper, that’s how cool he is.
Primarily, the movie deals with Buffy’s first becoming a Slayer back out in sunny old LA and the events that lead to her moving to Sunnydale in the series. So, yeah, it’s a prequel. Of course, the movie has her as a senior, which is changed for the show, but minor quibbles people. The movie follows Buffy as she comes to accept her destiny, however reluctantly, and deal with the vampire problem happening in her home area. All in all, for the stakes of things in Buffy terms? Pretty non-world-threaty. But it’s compelling enough to make you care. For the record, it’s the original script of the movie that is considered to be canon rather than the movie itself but we’re not reviewing the script – though seriously, go give it a read.
Actually, that’s a thing, or rather the thing that I should mention, now I think on it. If you come to the movie from having seen the show, well, yeah, firstly you will be surprised at the badness. You cannot say you have not been well warned by this review. But you will care about the characters. Kristy Swanson provides us with a surprisingly hardy Buffy, who regains her sense of self in the movie, and Luke Perry’s Pike is a good mix of Xander and Spike and plays off of Swanson’s Buffy engagingly. Like I said, he should have turned up in the series.
All in all, yeah, nothing I can say can change the fact that this is a bad movie. But it’s a fun movie, and if you’re looking to kill an hour and a half, well, there are worse things you could be watching.
Just … follow it up with some of the show, kay?
Z McAspurren (was rewatching ‘Hush’ while writing this)