If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Buffy Season 8 Blu-Ray/DVD Set
This is the first of a few spontaneous reviews I'll be making every now and then(hence the amazingly original name). It may be video games, TV, movies, or whatever else I feel like reviewing at the time. We'll see what happens.
Well, a couple of weeks ago I bought Buffy Season 8. I watched it soon after I got it, and now a couple weeks later I've decided to share my opinion.The following will contain spoilers for every season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that aired on TV, so if you haven't watched those yet:
1. Why are you even reading this?
2. You should go do that now, they're all on Netflix.
3. If you continue reading anyway, don't say I didn't warn you.
The Motion Comic
The motion comic itself has many problems, some that can be overlooked, and some that are too glaring to ignore for a die-hard Buffy fan. First of all, the story's not that bad. This is before the second half of Season 8, where it gets batshit insane and stops making sense (but that's a review for another time). Overall, the story is a fun ride that leads to a somewhat ridiculous yet thoroughly enjoyable climax that all Joss Whedon fans can probably enjoy. I won't spoil it for those who never read the comic, but it involves going to Japan eventually, so that should tell you something.
This is what I got when I Googled "Japanese culture". Those who didn't
understand what I was trying to say before sure as hell better now.
The biggest problem is the voice-acting. While some (like Xander, Faith, and Giles) are decent, and others (like Dawn, Buffy, and Amy) are passable, a few (Willow and a couple others) are just plain wrong. And it's obvious that most (if not ALL) of them have never watched Buffy before in their lives.
The biggest glaring problem for me involves a flashback of Faith's beck to her days with The Mayor (whose voice is completely wrong). Outside of the flashback, the actress does a pretty good job of keeping the Faith attitude present in her performance. However, in the flashback she makes Faith sound like an innocent teenager all of a sudden. Which means no one, including their director, new ANYTHING about the Buffy continuity! That's a huge misstep, especially for Whedon fans, who notice things like that instantly.
One thing that led me to believe the actors never watched Whedon before beyond that was the delivery of the dialogue, which was missing that “Whedon-esque” flair I think those who watched Buffy always detected in the actors' performances in the original show. It's all done wrong most of the time. It sounds like they got a brief character summary on a sheet of paper for the main characters, maybe heard a sound bite or two of the actors, and did whatever they could to imitate them. Most do not succeed. And this is the biggest flaw in the entire production.
I don't want to mislead anyone, it's something you can deal with most of the time and not be bothered by. But there's those few moments here and there that will bug the crap out of you that they got wrong (like the instance with Faith I mentioned before).
The animation is pretty good by motion comic standards. It's not the best I've ever seen (for that you need to check out “The Walking Dead Motion Comic”), but it's passable, and it gets the story across well enough. The action can be a bit sloppy at times, but it's still entertaining, which is all that matters in the end, right?
I'll say it now: this isn't the entirety of Season 8. It's only the first half of it. You get the first 19 issues of a Season that's a little over 40 issues. However, the main story for this half of the season gets resolved, so you won't feel too empty by the end of it.
Included with the Blu-Ray and DVD is a small little comic of the first issue, which is kind of neat. It's not clear if this will always be included or if it's exclusively for the first printing, however.
With the Blu-Ray you get:
Under Buffy's Spell
A not-documentary about the impact of Buffy that they claim is an actual documentary. What it really is is a cameraman walking around Comic-Con getting interviews from the writers and fans of the comic and show. It's so uninteresting I nearly fell asleep watching it.
The Buffy Trivia Experience
The basic half-assed trivia “experience” you always get in these things. It's boring unless you REALLY like trivia.
Comic Book Covers and Art Gallery
It's a gallery of comic book covers and art from Season 8. That's it.
You get everything mentioned above (except separated on two different sides of the disc), with the addition of a DVD-ROM game entitled “Create Your Own Graphic Novel”. I didn't bother looking at that, I already had to suffer through what they call “Bonus Content” on the Blu-Ray and I was finished.
So, In Summary...
The actual motion comic is worth the money for Buffy fans that can overlook a few missteps in the voice-acting, and was an enjoyable watch for me even though I had already read the comic. To be fair though, I watched it while drawing. However, I did actually stop drawing every once and a while to pay attention to what was going on in the story, and I don't do that unless something's interesting enough to catch my eye.
It didn't blow me away, but it wasn't offensive and entertained me enough to not regret purchasing it. I recommend it for die-hard Buffy fans.
You can buy Buffy Season 8 HERE.