Friday, May 24, 2019

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) Retro Movie Review

Josh Whedon need we say more? Yes, a lot more!

The script had a concept for a powerful new type of female superhero, a mix of dark humor with comedic tongue-in-cheek horrific stylings thrown in, focusing more on personal relationships than a plot or a point. A genius has a vision, idea, a tremendous leap forward in entertainment marvel for the masses. But, its too far from the normal cookie cutter movie formula for anyone to understand it, much less foster it into life on the silver screen. Yeah, don't listen to the guy who came up with the concept...

Looks like the problems on the film started once the Kuzui's jumped on board to get the movie made. Joss Whedon sold the rights to Sandollar with Fran and Kaz coming in to help put the financing together for the film. Then Fran was given the director position. Her only other director experience came from 'Tokyo Pop' (1988). A small art semi self biographical film that got some critical acclaim. In the end, she didn't 'get' the material nor could she reign in the actors. The casting agent completely nailed the casting. But all the actors did their own thing. Giving the movie a disjointed feel. The feud between Whedon and Donald Sutherland has been well documented, leading to Whedon leaving the production. A lot of people liked Paul Reuben's over the top zany performance but it takes the viewer out of the scene due to the tone being completely different. Seth Green getting left on the cutting room floor is a direct slap to pop culture nerdom in every way possible. He already had created a strong body of work and recognizable to most moviegoers and horror fans (he was in 'It' (1990)). Re-watching this, maybe the only actor or person who got the concept, outside of Whedon, was Luke Perry.

People will point to Wonder Woman (1975-1979) as a man hanging back as a girl does the fighting. But Steve Trevor didn't know Diana Prince was Wonder Woman. He had no relationship with Wonder Woman. Most of the time a superhuman goddess comes out of nowhere solves the case beats up the mere mortal bad guy laughably easy, tells a bewildered Colonel Trevor what happened and who to arrest than disappears before he gets the stupid look off his face and has a chance to hit on her. After which old Stevo has to go back to the nerdy Diana who has this hot Liberian thing going on.

Pike, on the other hand, learns Buffy is the chosen one. Not being emasculated by Buffy being an army-of-one. He hangs back dutifully holding her purse and occasionally handing his better half a stake before scurrying back to where he can get a nice safe view of Buffy's backside. Perry played this role with a soft touch, the end one believes the heartfelt moments, and he doesn't have any alpha male issues boiling under his sweet smile. Kristy Swanson was born to play Buffy! Unfortunately, they had her play the character dumb. She's isn't mentally challenged, she is just a typical teen focused on going to prom, then Europe, and then marrying a famous actor, and then dying.
Letting Whedon leave production is akin to someone firing Steve Jobs from Apple, or turning off Stephen Hawking's computer, or locking Albert Einstein in the bathroom during a meeting, or publishing Stephen Kings script for the Stand after only a thousand pages, or letting a studio head green light a DC movie that isn't Lobo, or ending Games of Thrones before the last book is published. Just shows a little bit more how clueless Fran Rubel Kuzui was. She didn't recognize Whedon's utter total reality smashing genius or how this game-changing script worked. Further proved by the tv show being a huge hit.

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