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Buffy The Vampire Slayer
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 86 minutes
Starring Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul
Reubens with Rutger Hauer and Luke Perry
Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui
Retail Price: $19.98
Features: Featurette, Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots,
Fox Flix Trailers
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Surround 4.0, English Dolby Surround, English Closed
Captions, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene
Selection (30 Scenes)
Released: Septembr 4th, 2001
Long before "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" was a critically
acclaimed, Nielsen charged show on the WB network and now
the UPN, it was a critically panned, box office bomb
released in the summer of 1992. While Joss Whedon, the man
behind both, has essentially created two different types of
"Buffy" mediums. While in addition to the action the show
features, it actually is down to earth in problems and
situations teens may come across as far as their social
life. Here... it's somewhat mindless and a lot less
The film follows the stereotypical, boy-obssed and
typical air-headed Buffy (Swanson). She's a high school
cheerleader, popular and just everything that fits that
stereotype. However, when a mysterious man named Merrick
(Donald Sutherland) tells her true destiny, that she must
fight off and kill vampires, Buffy is dumbstruck and doesn't
really buy into it all until she witnesses the unimaginable
and unthinkable. That's when she chooses to accept her
destiny and, uh... madness and vampire violence kicks in.
While the television show, as I mentioned, deals with
things that teens can relate into some aspects, the film is
more a rip on stereotypes that are featured and have been
featured in so many films and shows about Los Angeles high
school students. The emptiness and typical obsessions...
though I felt there could have been more focus on that.
While Whedon didn't direct the movie, through his writing,
we can see the wildly different directions he took with the
television series. Still, the characters here are fairly
interesting, let alone some snappy dialogue and the fun that
is featured. Kuzui's direction also fits rather well, and
she creates some pretty good shots that feature a fair
amount of detail and feeling.
The acting in the film is pretty perfect and all the
actors fit the character personas. Swanson makes a fine
Buffy, while Perry makes a suitable love interesting. Paul
Reubens (PEE-WEE!) is pretty funny and shows off some of his
character acting skills, while Rutger Hauer and a young
David Arquette are actually pretty fun. Though I believe
Donald Sutherland steals the show in his role, and brings a
good deal of dignity to it. Why he did this movie is beyond
Fans of the show have probably seen the movie, and some
have probably just been too turned off by the negative
things. In either case, it's a fun flick to watch when
there's not much to do or you're bored. It's not the
greatest vampire flick or satire of all time, but the time
zooms right by.
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the "Buffy"
transfer is rather poor and needs more cleaning up. Night
scenes struggle, while fuzziness is apparent in many shots.
Black levels are pretty good, and detail is simply decent.
Color saturation and fleshtones are also decent. Blemishes,
nicks, scratches and pieces of dirty are also on the print,
not to mention grain. Nothing earth-shattering here, and it
seems a print was taken and then just down converted to this
It's not a full 5.1 mix, but the 4.0 Dolby Surround
English mix is rather poor. There's not much surround use,
where there really could have been considering the music and
action scenes. I think a subwoofer would have helped, plus
an additional channel. The sound isn't in great shape
either, as I heard some distortion and hiss in some scenes
which can get rather annoying. It's a shame, considering the
material and what could have been. English subtitles,
English closed captions and Spanish subtitles have been
thrown in, plus a rather weak Dolby Surround mix.
Not much here. A commentary from Whedon would have been
nifty or some comparison of this and the show, but it's just
standard marketing materials. A fluffy Feautrette
with on the set interviews from Swanson, Sutherland, Perry
and yes, a young Hilary Swank! Behind the scenes footage and
clips are also included. It's your fun, standard Fox
featurette. It's fun because it's much older.
There's the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen Theatrical
Trailer (despite the movie being filmed in 1.85:1) and
two channel sound. The transfer is dirty. There also two
Rounding it out are some Fox Flix Trailers:
Trouble In Little China,
Legend Of Hell House and "Young Frankenstein."
It's not the TV show, but "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" is
still a pretty fun movie. While the extras, transfer and
sound mixes are disappointing, the retail is cheap, so fans
of it should check it out.
(3.5/5 - NOT included in
(2.5/5, NOT an average)