Trying to fit one more movie into the DailyView today, but the time was limited. As I was going through the list of Starz movies, I came across the cult film that spawned a huge hit TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I had never seen the movie, but I was a big fan of the TV series with Sarah Michelle Geller as the Slayer. I had always heard that the movie Buffy was not very good and so I had avoided it. However, this felt like a good moment to sample it (especially since it was just 85 minutes).
You know what? I did not hate it.
Yes, it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the series. You could tell that the series took the best parts of the concept and built something awesome out of it.
Joss Whedon was the writer on the movie, and he would take the ideas and build a great series later, but the writing on the film was a drawback. This did not have the typically witty and funny dialogue that Whedon is known for. In fact, the dialogue here was the biggest weakness of the movie.
The cast was deep and strong with Kristy Swanson as Buffy Summers leading the pack. Then we had Rutger Hauer, Paul Reubens, Donald Sutherland, Luke Perry, Hilary Swank, David Arquette, and Stephen Root. This is a really strong cast. Unfortunately, they just did not have enough to do for this great ensemble.
Kristy Swanson did a solid job as Buffy, but she is always going to pale in comparison to Sarah Michelle Geller. Still, her efforts here keep the film on a path.
The story felt too crammed into the time frame of the film. A TV series is a much more effective way to tell this story and you can tell why the TV show was such a hit. The tone was a bit too goofy in the movie. In the TV show, even the ridiculous parts were treated seriously. That helped make the humorous parts stand out more. The movie had silly reactions and moments that undermined the action/story with the response (aka Paul Reubens’ death scene for example).
I also missed the vampires turning into dust when stabbed with the wooden stakes. That is an effect that was added to the TV show and made a very solid visual image.
Now, it may not be fair for me to compare the TV show to the movie. The TV show had the advantage of improving the areas that needed improving and spreading out the story elements. The movie did not have that benefit. Looking at it only as a movie and not comparing it to the TV show, the movie was okay. It was better than I thought it would be. It had some story issues and the pacing was off, but I have certainly seen worse movies.