Blu-Ray Review: ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic’

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CHICAGO – As the weeks, months, and years make it clearer that we will never get a live-action continuation of one of the best television programs ever, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (it’s just cruel that there are two “Sex and the City” movies and we can’t even get a “Buffy” reunion special), fans of the franchise are forced to turn to alternate advancements in the universe, such as the Dark Horse Comics series. The very-popular and critically-acclaimed comics have been turned into Motion Comics and released in a 2-disc Blu-ray set with mixed results. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

The first issue of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” comics was released in March of 2007 with an arc written by show creator Joss Whedon. Naturally, that arc, “The Long Way Home,” kicks off the Blu-ray set and it does so with the melodramatic abandon allowed only by the print form. If “The Long Way Home” was on TV, it would cost way too much for a broadcast network. And the freedom to be completely unconcerned about budget or scope is one of the most enjoyable elements of “Motion Comic.”

“The Long Way Home,” split into four parts, features your primary favorite characters (Buffy, Xander, Willow, Dawn) along with a few that you haven’t seen or even thought about in years, including Amy and a character previously thought of as dead. It’s interesting that the “Buffy” canon can be changed so drastically long after the show has ended. One of the most memorable moments from the show basically has another chapter.

In print, the “Buffy” comics are all about the power of the writing and the creativity of several of the most talented writers in the history of television. “The Long Way Home” was penned by Whedon. The other standalone stories or multi-issue arcs included in motion form with their writers and initial comic publication are “The Chain” (Whedon, July 2007), “No Future For You” (Brian K. Vaughan, September-December 2007), “Anywhere But Here” (Whedon, January 2008), “A Beautiful Sunset” (Whedon, 2008), “Wolves at the Gate” (Drew Goddard, March-June 2008), and “Time of Your Life” (Whedon, September-November 2008). Future issues featured plots by the great Jane Espenson, Drew Z. Greenberg, and more.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 4, 2011
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 4, 2011
Photo credit: Fox Home Video

Clearly, the writing pedigree for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic” couldn’t be more attractive to fans of the show. You surely know the name Joss Whedon but if you need a refresher on the other two, Brian K. Vaughan wrote the great comic book series “Y: The Last Man” and was on the writing staff of “Lost.” As was Goddard, who also worked with Whedon on “Buffy” and “Angel.” The man rules.

Here’s the bad news: Everything other than the writing on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic” is a bit sketchy. The way that the images are put in motion can often feel a bit inconsistent and repetitive as if you’re simply taking a book and moving it back and forth in front of your face while someone else reads it, although I will openly admit to not understanding the “Motion Comic” phenomenon. Just read the book.

Far more damagingly, the voice work ranges from mediocre to simply awful. Those of us who have watched every episode of the TV series will take some time getting used to new voices for Xander, Buffy, etc. The most important role, the title heroine, works out relatively well but Xander and Dawn simply don’t sound right. It may sound like a minor complaint, but you can’t call something “Season 8” if it doesn’t flow with the first seven and the voice work here can put a dead stop to that flow. It is sometimes truly awful.

What’s perhaps most interesting about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic” is how much it made me want to revisit the universe, just through other products. I wondered when the original series would be available on Blu-ray and longed for that day to come while also being drawn to the Dark Horse series itself, wondering if I shouldn’t pick up a few. I guess that’s a mission accomplished for a release like this in that it rekindled my love for what used to be one of my favorite shows. We’ve missed you Buffy.

Special Features:
o “Under Buffy’s Spell”
o “The Buffy Trivia Experience”
o Test Pilot
o Comic Book Covers Gallery
o DVD Version
o “Create Your Own Buffy Comic with Tooncast Studio”

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic” was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 4, 2011 and is not rated. It runs 224 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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