Alright, y'all, it's time to get down to brass tacks about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I am one of the biggest fans of the Buffy TV show EVER. Seen every episode so many GD times it's hard to count. I love Joss Whedon and his other TV shows (well except Dollhouse, I could never really get into that even though I have a mad girl-crush on Eliza Dushku). I also know that he and most of his fans have perhaps never been too pleased with the original film that the show is based on. Me... I've actually always loved the movie for what it turned out to be and see it as separate from the show.
Vamp plot: Buffy (Kristy Swanson) is a vapid L.A. girl whose life revolves around cheerleading and shopping. Her priorities are almost nil until she's visited one day by a strange man named Merrick (Donald Sutherland) who tells her that she is the next in a long line of girls chosen to hunt and kill vampires - the slayer. But she better be ready to accept her fate, because the vampire king Lothos (Rutger Hauer) is in town and he's coming after her.
Buffy was different from other vampire movies. No longer was the girl the victim, helpless against the blood-suckers. She was the fighter, the one protecting the men, the one person in the world who had the strength and skill to kill vampires. This slayer in particular, Buffy, has her own life and her own way of doing things. She has the confidence and the cajones to be herself and live up to her birthright which in a weird way makes her a good role model. Van Helsing this girl is NOT.
As a teen comedy (maybe with a little romance thrown in there) the movie is successful. Quirky one-liners and pop culture references abound, all very quotable, of course. The comedy is perhaps dated - okay, it's A LOT dated ("Get out of my facial!" "What's the sitch?") but fans of Joss Whedon can probably still immediately recognize his signature wit and other crazy use of the English language.
There is nothing particularly genius or well done about the camera work or effects or anything. It's all what you would expect from a campy teen comedy with vampires, including the super-cheesy smoke/fog effect which I absolutely HATE. It doesn't look real, people, so please retire that ridiculous fog machine, it's really unnecessary.
Kristy Swanson pulls off the title role well, both as a vacuous Valley girl and as a young woman with new, enormous responsibilities. She has spunk and vulnerability at the same time. Luke Perry is okay, nothing different than what you remember from 90210, probably. Donald Sutherland is, well... he's Donald Sutherland. And he's got some great moments of comedy and suave in this movie. The best part is when he's talking to Buffy in the locker room right before he throws the knife at her and he does this weird move where he flicks up the ends of his mustache with his fingertips. I kinda loved that. Paul Ruebens as Lothos's sidekick Amilyn is the next biggest highlight, for while he's quite creepy looking as a vampire, he is also amazingly hilarious.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually turned out to be a great jumping off point for the art you really wanted to make so why can't you accept the film for what it is and how it represents the time? It started a great tradition and a fantastic TV show, so seriously, quit your bitching. The movie is hilarious and PeeWee Herman is a one-armed vampire with hair like the dudes from Poison. I like it, and gosh darn it, I'm going to keep liking it for the rest of my life probably.