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  1. #1
    Attebery's Avatar
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    Default 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic' - High-Def Digest Review

    Josh Zyber has reviewed 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic.' He's a long-time Buffy fan, but he must sadly deem this release a bust. This Blu-ray features unremarkable video, audio, and extras. Hardcore fans will be best served with a rental, at best.

    Full review here:
    http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/4203/buffy_s8_mc.html
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    I think this being presented at 16:9 and the show episodes being transferred to 16:9 are different issues. I think he dislikes the foreign DVDs because the show was shot for 4:3 and the 16:9 tranfers either cropped or stretched it, messing with the intended shot composition. I understand this was made for 16:9, not designed in 4:3 then screwed up by some incorrect disc authoring. I don't think he was so much against the idea of the show being 16:9 as he was against those particular eps that were shot for 4:3 being converted to 16:9.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hastor View Post
    I think this being presented at 16:9 and the show episodes being transferred to 16:9 are different issues. I think he dislikes the foreign DVDs because the show was shot for 4:3 and the 16:9 tranfers either cropped or stretched it, messing with the intended shot composition. I understand this was made for 16:9, not designed in 4:3 then screwed up by some incorrect disc authoring. I don't think he was so much against the idea of the show being 16:9 as he was against those particular eps that were shot for 4:3 being converted to 16:9.
    exactly, he didnt like the dvd situation because the show was filmed, made and framed for 4:3. so there are some instances on the widescreen versions where you'll see lighting equipment and whatnot on the sides because that part wasn't supposed to be seen by the audience. and in other cases (the episode where her mom dies for example) where he framed a shot that gets ruined once shown wide.

  4. #4
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    I completely agree that this motion comic is a lifeless, poorly acted cash-in.

    But I disagree that the comic itself is a cash-in. Just like the TV show it's had its up and downs but there are wonderful moments throughout Season 8 that (IMO) manage to capture that Buffy magic.

    But it's terribly sad that Fox have shown it such disrespect here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hastor View Post
    the 16:9 tranfers either cropped or stretched it
    The 16:9 versions were neither cropped nor stretched. There was a 16:9 safe area for Seasons 4-7 so we get extra information on the sides. Any cropping I've seen on comparing the 16:9 versions to the 4:3 versions is (at worst) minuscule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bouncy X View Post
    exactly, he didnt like the dvd situation because the show was filmed, made and framed for 4:3. so there are some instances on the widescreen versions where you'll see lighting equipment and whatnot on the sides because that part wasn't supposed to be seen by the audience. and in other cases (the episode where her mom dies for example) where he framed a shot that gets ruined once shown wide.
    There are noticeable mistakes in the 4:3 versions too. And whenever the old 4:3 vs 16:9 debate comes on someone ALWAYS has to mention "The Body". Yes, it's an episode that should be seen at 4:3 and there are a couple of other episodes that (composition wise) should be seen that way too. But of the 88-odd episodes in those seasons, the overwhelming majority don't suffer from composition problems and look significantly better in 16:9.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe Buffy should be seen in 4:3 because that's the way Joss wanted it and the episodes are composed for it. Simple. Case closed. But don't delude yourself with specious excuses, the dirty secret here is that (more often than not) Joss is wrong and Buffy does look better in 16:9.

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    I started reading the comics as they were coming out, but gave up after four or five issues. A friend of mine told me some of the basic plot-points, and quite frankly, I think I made the right decision. There's something to be said here about art and adversity. Buffy, without the constraints of being a live-action TV show, is a bit too silly.

    The only thing I'm not sure I agree with in Josh's review is his take on the ending of the show-- did the show really end on a high note? The final season was pretty bad for the most part, and the last episode in particular I thought suffered greatly from seeming rushed, resulting in large plot-holes and glaring deus-ex-machina plot points. I guess I liked the idea of the ending though, even though I thought the execution was severely lacking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Motorheadache View Post
    The only thing I'm not sure I agree with in Josh's review is his take on the ending of the show-- did the show really end on a high note? The final season was pretty bad for the most part, and the last episode in particular I thought suffered greatly from seeming rushed, resulting in large plot-holes and glaring deus-ex-machina plot points. I guess I liked the idea of the ending though, even though I thought the execution was severely lacking.
    I will agree that Season 7 as a whole was the show's weakest. Between Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, Whedon simply stetched himself too thin that year. However, I thought the finale itself brought everything together nicely.
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    I thought Six was the worst, despite the inclusion of some fantastic episodes. Mainly because the Dawn plotline annoyed the hell out of me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamma626 View Post
    I thought Six was the worst, despite the inclusion of some fantastic episodes. Mainly because the Dawn plotline annoyed the hell out of me.
    Personally, I always thought Season 6 was the most underrated season of the series. But yeah, Dawn is an annoying character. I never understood it, but in both Buffy and Angel, at some point somebody said: "You know what this show needs? A new annoying teenage character."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
    I will agree that Season 7 as a whole was the show's weakest. Between Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, Whedon simply stetched himself too thin that year. However, I thought the finale itself brought everything together nicely.
    I don't know, I guess I can't blame the actual final episode for everything built up to it, but the entire second half of the last season just kind of bugged me. I didn't think the villain was at all interesting (the first), and I also hated that the problem with the final episode was solved by this random magical necklace handed over by Angel, which he obtained in his own show which otherwise had nothing to do with what was going on in Buffy. If you weren't watching Angel (which I was), he basically just appears out of nowhere and hands it over.
    Also, they wrote themselves into a corner by making the uber-vamps too powerful, then not being to figure out how the hell the heroes were actually supposed to defeat an army of these things. I remember there was one where Buffy takes an entire episode to kill one of those things, but in the final episode, Xander and Giles are fighting these things off with swords-- they should've been killed in 5 seconds.

    But I did like some of the ideas behind it, like the final moment where Buffy is no longer a lone chosen one anymore. So there's a thematic element behind the whole thing I liked, but overall I considered the finale a letdown.

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    I don't really buy the show should be seen 4:3 because that's what "Joss wanted." Back then, most TV shows, if not all, were still mainly 4:3. So it should be seen in 4:3 because that's the original format they were presented in, not because Joss specifically wanted it that way.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Landy View Post
    I don't really buy the show should be seen 4:3 because that's what "Joss wanted." Back then, most TV shows, if not all, were still mainly 4:3. So it should be seen in 4:3 because that's the original format, not because Joss specifically wanted it that way.
    It's a controversial topic among fans. The show was photographed in a 3-perf format that yields an image approximately 16:9 on the camera negative, but it was broadcast in a 4:3 center extraction. DVD editions of Seasons 4-7 were released in Europe in 16:9 transfers with extra picture on the sides. Joss Whedon has denounced those DVDs and explicitly stated that the show was composed for 4:3. So, among purists, 4:3 is the one and only "OAR."

    I've watched it both ways, and to my eye the 16:9 versions are generally superior. The 4:3 versions look too cramped. There are countless scenes of the characters standing side-by-side in groups where the outer members are partially cropped off screen. The 16:9 version looks more natural and balanced.

    Whedon may say that the show was composed for 4:3, but he didn't direct every episode. It looks to me like his camera people weren't necessarily on the same page as he was, and favored the 16:9 framing most of the time. Also, the visual effects were rendered to fill the whole 16:9 frame, which suggests that there was some thought that the 16:9 version would be seen by the public.

    Those on Whedon's side will argue that the 16:9 transfers occasionally expose flubs (like exposed lighting equipment) on the sides of the frame that wouldn't have been visible in 4:3. That's true, but the 4:3 verison is equally filled with flubs, like this boom mic that swings into the frame and nearly hits the actress in the face:



    I don't see anyone arguing that the show shouldn't be watched in 4:3 either.

    For me, what it comes down to is that Whedon has his preference for the show as 4:3, but that doesn't necessarily de-legitimize the 16:9 version for the rest of us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

    For me, what it comes down to is that Whedon has his preference for the show as 4:3, but that doesn't necessarily de-legitimize the 16:9 version for the rest of us.
    True-- there can sometimes be a conflict with what the "artist" wants and what the viewer thinks is actually better <cough Star Wars cough >

    For me, the issue is even simpler. I bought the DVD sets in America, so hey, they're Joss Whedon's preferred 4:3-- cool. If I lived in the U.K. or something, I've got them in 16:9-- t.s. Joss

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    I’m sorry but I found that this review made a lot of inaccurate and unfair assumptions. Whedon did not name S8’s Big Bad “Twilight” to take a dig at Stephanie Meyer’s novels. S8 was released in early 2007 which meant Joss would have started working on S8 in mid-late 2006 and that was well before Twilight became the phenomenon it is now. Meyer’s series didn’t really catch on until 2008 and Joss has publicly stated that he had never heard of the series when he came up with the name “Twilight” and that, if he had, he would have changed it. The series does poke fun at Meyer’s novels much later in its run but, no, Joss most certainly didn’t name the Big Bad that because of the books. It becomes quite apparent throughout S8 why Joss chose that name and what it’s supposed to symbolise.

    I also have to disagree that Joss was basically sell-out and continued the BtVS franchise for cash. People tend to forget that Joss Whedon is a multi millionaire and that the money he earns writing comic books is pittance in comparison to the pay checks he gets working on TV/film. If he really was only motivated by money, as Zyber implies, he certainly wouldn’t bother with comic books as he’s joked many times about how poorly they pay (as have many other writers, including Brian Lynch who wrote Angel: After the Fall) and it’s not as if he needs the money anyway. Besides, Joss is still very enthusiastic about writing S9 and Scott Allie (DH editor) has stated how they gave him every opportunity to limit his involvement but he didn’t want to. Considering that he’s directing the major motion picture “The Avengers” it’s quite clear that he’s not continuing the franchise because of money. Whedon has stated that writing BtVS is a “release” for him and that he deeply cares about the story. I think it’s very insulting to accuse any artist of just wanting to “cash-in”, especially a guy like Whedon who’s got quite a rep of pushing the boundaries and not just doing whatever pleases people. He pushed the envelope with Dollhouse even though he knew it would cost him and he stood up to the network many times when they tried to push him around with BtVS (including when they wanted him to remove the Willow/Tara kiss from The Body because the WB already had “too much gay” that year). He’s earned better than these kind of accusations, regardless of anybody’s opinion on the quality of S8.

    I just think there’s a lot of inaccurate statements made in this review. We were never told that Dracula “became a good guy”, he made it quite clear how much he hated Buffy and her army and threatened to slit Renee’s throat. In the last arc of the season Giles even comments on how it was a very “unlikely alliance” but that it wouldn’t be the first time. I respect that the reviewer wasn’t fond of S8, even if I am, but I don’t see why it was relevant to make snide remarks about future issues (like the Twilight reveal) when he’s admitted he stopped reading very early on and they’re not even included on the Motion Comic Blu-Ray. Unfortunately, I also think it’s quite inaccurate to state that the motion comics follow the story basically “panel to panel” when they cut chunks of dialogue or even entire seasons out all together.

    I am no fan of the motion comics but I really wish the reviewer could have done his homework and avoided making unnecessary comments about future issues (it’s generally poor form for any reviewer to pass judgement on something they haven’t read/watched) or insulted the writers. The tone of this was mean-spirited.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    I’m sorry but I found that this review made a lot of inaccurate and unfair assumptions. Whedon did not name S8’s Big Bad “Twilight” to take a dig at Stephanie Meyer’s novels. S8 was released in early 2007 which meant Joss would have started working on S8 in mid-late 2006 and that was well before Twilight became the phenomenon it is now. Meyer’s series didn’t really catch on until 2008
    The first Twilight novel was published in 2005. It was an instant bestseller and a major cultural phenomenon long before the movies were made. The reason that the movies became blockbusters is that the books already had legions of fangirls eagerly awaiting them.

    I also have to disagree that Joss was basically sell-out and continued the BtVS franchise for cash. People tend to forget that Joss Whedon is a multi millionaire and that the money he earns writing comic books is pittance in comparison to the pay checks he gets working on TV/film.
    I think you overestimate how much Whedon gets paid for working in TV. Most of Whedon's producing career was spent working for the 5th and 6th place mini-networks UPN and The WB (which later merged to create The CW). His two attempts to work for a Big Four network (Firefly and Dollhouse) were both ratings flops. His first attempt to direct a movie was a box office bomb.

    Whedon is a prominent cult figure among fanboys, and I'm sure he lives very comfortably, but he's simply not pulling in George Lucas levels of money. There's a misperception that anyone who works in TV or movies must be rich, but that's far from true.

    If he really was only motivated by money, as Zyber implies,
    I don't think he was only motivated by money, but I do think that the creation of Season 8 was driven more by the franchise's licensors than by any artistic need to continue the story. The general poor quality of Season 8 speaks to this. Whedon may say that he put his whole heart into it, but it sure doesn't read that way. (Or, Whedon just really stinks at writing comic books, which could be part of the problem too.)

    I'm not a huge fan of Fray either, but there's a clear difference in committment and quality between that graphic novel (which I do think Whedon really cared about) and Buffy Season 8 (which feels like a needless cash-in).

    I just think there’s a lot of inaccurate statements made in this review. We were never told that Dracula “became a good guy”,
    Do we really need to be told this, like in dialogue? "Hello, my name is Dracula. I am a good guy now. Nice to meet you." He's cleary mellowed out, is buddy-buddy with Xander, and doesn't need hardly any prompting to fight alongside the Slayers - all despite the fact that the last time we saw him, he was totally evil and Buffy tried to vanquish him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motorheadache View Post
    Also, they wrote themselves into a corner by making the uber-vamps too powerful, then not being to figure out how the hell the heroes were actually supposed to defeat an army of these things. I remember there was one where Buffy takes an entire episode to kill one of those things, but in the final episode, Xander and Giles are fighting these things off with swords-- they should've been killed in 5 seconds.
    That does take some fanwanking, but it can be explained.

    The first Turok han or whatever they're called, was a better fighter than the others. Just like Spike & Angel could pretty much kick any other vampires butt, the first turok han was better than the other turok hans. Of course, that would have been nice if it was stated on the show.vampmogs brought up a few things I wanted to say, but I'll say it anyway.

    ***********

    Regarding the article;

    I actually wrote my reply before I noticed that there was no comment section, so I will be adresseing my reply to the writer of the article even though he may never read it. Everyone else, feel free to reply to it;

    First off, how you can review a comic series you didn’t even finish and seemingly have a hard time remembering well is weird to me, and then to compare those 4 issues to the motion comic. I have to be honest, I like season 8, even love parts of it, so I’m not objective, but I think it’s unfair how you compare a motion comic to the real thing, that none of the original creators of the comic worked on. It's just a adaptation of the real thing.

    I have only seen a few clips of the motion comics, not sure I want to see more, but I would be very surprised if they did a good enough job, considering that they had to assume what Joss wanted to show with each panel, since he wasn’t there to tell them “Don’t cut out that panel, it’s relevant later on in the show. And that voice actor is doing it wrong, that line is supposed to be delivered as if the character’s surprised, not angry.”

    I do have to agree that bringing back Warren that way (and partly Dracula) was bad. Joss admitted that he forgot that The First could only take the shape of dead people, meaning that Warren was 100 per cent dead, and not saved by Amy. This was later fanwanked by Joss himself (Amy apparently brought him back to life and lied to Warren, saying he hadn’t died at all). Dracula and Xander’s back story could be read in another canon-ish comic, but I still dislike him being brought back like that, without more facts. I felt it needed to be fleshed out, or not done at all. having said that, Wolves at the gate is still my favorite arc.

    Just curious, what useful thing, other than a MechaDawn should they have built? She was built to fight Dawn. Maybe they figured more wouldn’t be needed?

    Now for some nit-picking;

    ”It ran for seven seasons, and was ended not due to any ratings issues, but because Whedon and the other creative staff agreed that the story had reached its logical conclusion.”

    Not sure where you get your info, but I’ve read in several interviews that it was Gellar who said she didn’t want to play Buffy anymore, so the show had to end.

    “Yes, I imagine that's an intentional dig against Stephanie Meyers' sparkly emo vampires.)”

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read in a Q&A with a editor for Season 8 that it was pure coincident. Can’t give you a source for it though.

    “A subplot involving a surprising romantic partner for Buffy also feels really tacky and contrived. The less said about either of these, the better. The thought that middle-aged men wrote these issues is just kind of gross.”

    More gross than when they wrote how a two hundred year old vampire had sex with a seventeen year old? Lol. But seriously, Buffy is about 25 in the comics, what’s the eww? It’s not like she’s a child. And later on in the series, it's revealed to not exactly be a romantic encounter.

    “The end point of the motion comic offers no closure or conclusion, nor is the true identity of Twilight revealed.”

    It wasn’t suppose to, since when Joss and the other writers/editors planned the series, it wasn’t suppose to be broken off at issue 19. Although Issue 20 would actually have been more suiting. The motion comic guys should have thought of that.

    Other than my complaints above, I actually find your review useful. considering how you describe the audio and visual quality. One on hand, you think the comics ruin the ending of the show, and a part of me thinks that’s overreacting. But, I have to admit, reading your description of what the motion comic looks and sounds like, it makes me wonder if watching the motion comic would ruin the comics for me, just a bit. I don't want to see wonderful panles ruined through zooming and when reading the comics in the future hearing aweful voice acting when reading the lines.

    To sum up, a useful review in places, but can you really claim that season 8 isn’t good after only reading 4 issues of the “real” comic and watching 19 issues of a adaptation of the original comic? I myself didn't like the comic until issue 5, which made me cry. By issue 11, I was in love. Maybe you should have continued reading just a bit longer?

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