BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 8 MOTION COMIC
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
When Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” left the air at the end of season seven, the world had changed. There were hundreds of new slayers, and Buffy was looking towards a bigger, more fantastical future. While the television show didn’t get an eighth season, Whedon continued the stories in comic book form. Now, those 19 installments in the ongoing story are animated in motion comic style and available on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time.
WHAT I LIKED
Anyone who knows me and my tastes knows I’ve never been a fan of Joss Whedon’s work. With the exception of the “Toy Story” script (of which I’m unsure how much he contributed), I’ve never liked his writing. I’ve also never watched the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” television show, though I am told by pretty much every genre fan I know that I should. (To be honest, I always liked the original movie version with Kristy Swanson quite a bit.)
But I respect the fans, and I respect their love for Whedon, his words and his characters even if it’s a love I do not share. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic” is not a good way to start the Buffy experience, of that I am positive. However, even without the pre-knowledge of the first seven seasons, I can see the continued use of all the characters the fans love.
What’s neat about putting something in comic book form (and then later in motion comic form) is that you are not constrained by special effects and production value. Whatever you can imagine and draw can be part of the story. The use of fantasy elements in Season 8 has been taken to a high degree here because they can. This allows the story to be opened up to the farthest reaches of Whedon’s imagination. So in this sense, Season 8 is one of the most visionary chapters in the Buffy saga.
As a motion comic, the stories flow, and the art looks fantastic, especially in high definition on a big screen. And while you don’t have the kick-ass kung-fu action you’d get in the show, it still looks slick and brings the pages to life.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
As I said before, if you’re curious about Buffy, this is not the place to start. You will be terribly confused, even if you have a passing knowledge of the character. But most likely, the vast majority of the people that are going to watch this motion comic have already bought, read and re-read the actual comics.
My two big gripes with this Blu-ray is that they don’t use the original voices from the series. I understand this was probably a budgetary issue, but how busy can Sarah Michelle Gellar really be? And couldn’t Eliza Dushku have found some time while in the looping station for “Dollhouse” to read some of her lines? You’d think Whedon would have been able to swing this.
Finally, for the most part, the motion comic animation is cool. However, there are places where the shakycam handheld style puts too much motion in the motion comic. And some of the magnified images do tend to pixilate, especially when viewed on an HDTV.
The Blu-ray also comes with the DVD. Both discs include the featurette “Under Buffy’s Spell” which talks to fans at Comic-Con about the show and the comics, “The Buffy Trivia Experience” you can play along with the feature, the test pilot and covers gallery.
The DVD includes a “Create Your Own Buffy Comic with Tooncast Studio” for your DVD-ROM.
Finally, the whole package is bundled with a mini comic book of the first issue.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Acolytes of Whedon and Buffy fans the world over.