Sunday, 16 June 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More With Feeling DVD Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Written and Directed By Joss Whedon

Genre
Musical, Horror, Action

Cast

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
James Marsters as Spike
Alyson Hannigan as Willow
Anthony Head as Giles (Billed as Anthony Stewart Head)
Hinton Battle as Sweet
Amber Benson as Tara

Certificate 12

Synopsis

The vampire hunters from Sunnydale find themselves in the world of musicals - a very special episode, featuring the hit 'Walk Through The Fire' in which the stars prove their talent for singing and dancing impressively. During a visit to the graveyard, Buffy suddenly feels the urge to sing. A supernatural power plays a trick upon her and her friends, as suddenly they all begin to sing and dance. Soon the whole of Sunnydale is struck by musical fever...

Special Features
  •  'Buffy: Inside the Music' Featurette
  • Interview With 'Dark Angel' Star Jessica Alba
  • Season 1 Overview For 'Angel'
  • 'Angel' Seasons 1-3 Trailers
  • 'Dark Angel Season 1' Trailer

Review

 As someone who wasn't that big a fan of the 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' series, I'd never gotten around to seeing this episode despite all the good things that have been said about it.

After seeing it mega cheap in a second hand shop, I decided to give it a go to see if it was as good as all the fans of the show had made out.

I have to admit, while it wasn't as good as the fans have said it is, it's still a really enjoyable and quite camp episode of a much loved series.

Growing up, I had caught the first two series of the show and then a few episodes here and there so I wasn't completely lost with some of the things and secrets that were revealed during this episode.  However, if you have never seen an episode of 'Buffy' show then you might be quite lost during certain places.

That said, there are some absolutely brilliant songs during the story itself.  The best of these, in my opinion, was the one sung by the vampire character Spike, played by James Marsters.  His ticked off, cynical character gets nearly all of the funny dialogue.  Joss Whedon always has been brilliant at giving his characters full personalities no matter how small their part is and it's easy to see why Spike was one of the most popular characters from the show.

The cheesy and camp nature of this episode really makes it a hell of a lot of fun to watch.  The songs are all incredibly well suited to the characters that sing them and are a varied bunch of genres to choose from.  The song that the character Xander, played by Nicholas Brendon, and his wife-to-be Tara, played by Amber Benson, is absolutely hilarious in it's classic musicals style.  Some of the other songs were really heart felt and were most definitely written to their characters personalities.

That personal touch to the writing and the cheesy songs really combine to make this an episode that is a blast to watch.  I will admit that it's not as good as the mass of hype made it out to be but that's probably just because I'm not a hardcore 'Buffy' series fan.  That said, watching it has made me want to check the series out again to see if maybe I've missed anything.

All in all, if you are a diehard 'Buffy'  fan then you either will love this DVD or already own it, so what ever rating I give it will be a moot point.  If you're not a fan or you've never seen an episode before then you might find yourself a bit lost here and there but keep on watching it, even if just for the songs themselves.

Show 4/5
Picture 3.5/5
Sound 4.5/5
Special Features 3/5
Overall 15/20

4 comments:

  1. I just watched episode for the first time, and not because I'm particularly a Buffy fan, but because I saw the complete sixth season really cheap in near by store and because I was recently very impressed by "Much Ado About Nothing" (the connection is the same person directed that Shakespeare adaptation).

    I am posting this comment because for non-fans the context of episode is really relevant (by context I mean the five episodes preceding it.) In context it is more a brutal attack on the idea of musicals than camp. The preceding episodes had spoofed stories where the hero is believed dead, but magically brought back to life. The joke is the hero is bitter about being pulled out of heaven, but never told her friends that their witchcraft was not appreciated. Hence, our friend Buffy is singing songs with a happy beat when she has genuine death wish (wishes she were back in heaven). There are a number of equally morbid jokes built up before this story starts, and treating the episode as a standalone probably diminishes it considerably.

    According to various internet sources, the existence of this episode as a stand alone was based the story being given a limited theater release where hard core fans were given a chance to sing along. I assume these fans knew the context inside out and backwards. The reason is not that it works particularly well as a stand alone episode. Buffy, I believe, consistently used season long arcs as its format (i.e. one complete season is one complete story), making the unit of sales logically the season.

    To, the extent you can dived the show into episodes it is the best Buffy episode I have seen.

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  2. Great comment - indeed my personal favorite episode of Buffy - and there were tons of great ones!

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  3. Xanders wife to be is called Anya,played by Emma Caulfield not Tara who is Willows lesbian lover ;-)

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    1. I was about to say the same thing. Both wonderful in their respective characters, but very different indeed.

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