Chris Versus the Movies: Whit Anderson’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer
By now you’ve probably heard, because it’s all over the internet, that Charles Roven is moving forward with a new movie of Buffy the Vampire Slayer — a movie the production of which will NOT include Joss Whedon, and which will be written by a credit-less actress that no one has ever heard of. Roven, in the press release, says things like “Whit [the writer] has a fresh new take,” and “There’s an active fanbase eagerly awaiting this movie.”
Probably this is just producer unspeak, because seriously, what was he going to say? ”Whit’s idea is basically exactly the same, only this time, I’LL be making all the money.” Or “There’s an active fanbase eagerly waiting to kick me in the nuts for doing this, but the cost-benefit-analysis suggests that they don’t matter enough to hurt our ticket sales.”?
Let’s assume though, for the purposes of this exercise, that what he’s saying is, in some way, TRUE. And, likewise, let’s assume that Whit’s fresh new take isn’t, “Hey, you know what property you could buy up pretty cheaply, due to some irregularities regarding its copyright and ownership situation?”
This must be a pretty GREAT idea, because Whit Anderson didn’t come to Atlas Entertainment script in hand. That would have made sense to me — novice writers sometimes produce great scripts, and a good script is a good script, regardless of the author’s credits. But for a completely novice writer and actor to get a relatively high-profile property based on nothing more than a treatment? That’s got to be a seriously good treatment.
Do you wonder what it is? FEAR NOT, MY FRIENDS! For I, Braak! — freelance film dramaturg — using my INVINCIBLE KUNG FU INTELLECT will now divine several possibilities for what this “new” reinvented Buffy the Vampire Slayer could be.
So, let’s consider. In the first place, we can’t be look at a straight up update. Sure, the first movie came out in 1992, but the show continued until, what, 2007? And seamlessly absorbed new cultural, political, and social trends; meaning there’s no reasonable way that we could say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is historically isolated from our modern era.
Likewise, we’re probably not looking at an update in tone. The mid-90s was characterized by a kind of grim, wankery earnestness — but part of Buffy’s success was the sense of wit and self-awareness that it included, which actually presaged the more ironic approaches that would characterize the early Aughts. So, the idea of an “ironic” Buffy doesn’t even make any sense.
No, what we really must be looking at are actual variations on the premise. Let’s consider.
When millionaire heiress Buffy Wayne Summers’ parents are murdered by vampires, she undertakes a decades-long journey of revenge, learning the techniques that she will need to combat the hidden threat of vampires. In distant China, she meets Liam Neeson, who attempts to induct her into a ninja-esque anti-vampire organization, only to discover that his ambitions include far more than vampiric genocide.
Will Buffy see her thirst for revenge tempered into justice? Will she be able to stand against her former mentor? Will she become…not the hero that we want, but the hero that we need?
Miley Summers, Vampire Slayer
Poor Miley! She’s stuck juggling her two identities: as a regular old ninth grader at Sunnydale High, and as Buffy Bonanza, lead singer of a teen-pop rock band. Things couldn’t possibly get any worse, until she discovers that she’s ALSO destined to be a vampire slayer! At first, she thinks she can manage all three of these disparate identities — but when her concert is attacked by a horde of NIN-loving grunge vampires WHILE her class is visiting on a field trip, everything looks set to unravel!
Will Miley able to choose which of her three lives is the most important? Or will she realize that no matter what path she takes, she’ll always be all three?
Buffy Summers Beyond Thunderdome
In the near future, the Vampire Apocalypse has devastated America, making it look mysteriously like the Australian outback. After seeking refuge in a shantytown, Buffy finds herself forced to participate in gladatorial combat at the behest of the town’s nominal ruler,
Tina Turner Rhianna. After fleeing the town’s collapse, Buffy discovers a group of children who’ve recreated a strange facsimile of 20th century life in an old shopping mall.
Will Buffy succumb to nostalgia, and abandon her vampire-fighting destiny? Or will she lead the children away from their precarious illusion, and help them survive the harsh future in which they live?
Vampire Wars, VIII: The Return of the Slayer
After defeating all the vampires on earth, Buffy Summer is put into cryogenic stasis until she’s needed again. She’s revived two thousand years in the future, after human civilization — which has moved to technologically-advanced orbital rings called “halos” — is threatened by a sudden outbreak of computer-controlled cyborg vampires. Buffy tries to fulfill her duty, all the while devastated by the knowledge that everything she ever knew and loved is gone, never to return.
When the sinister master-computer that controls the vampires offers her the chance at limited, one-way naked time travel, will she abandon her duty in the future to return to her own world? Or will she choose to stay and fight against impossible odds?
Joss Whedon’s New Nightmare
Kristy Swanson is an actress who hasn’t seen a lot of work lately — so when Charles Roven and Whit Anderson offer her the chance to consult on their new Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie she leaps at the chance. But mysterious murders begin to take place on the set — murders that seem suspiciously like the work of vampires.
Are the characters from the movie somehow being brought to life? Or is this all a ploy by Joss Whedon to attract attention to his Avengers movie? Will Kristy Swanson embrace her destiny as a REAL-LIFE vampire slayer, or will she be defeated by Whedon’s deadly machinations?
Buffy Summers Versus the World
Even though she’s the best fighter at Sunnydale High School (which is now located in Canada), Buffy is still a directionless slacker, who cares more about her crappy band and ironic t-shirts than she does about slaying vampires. But then she meets the handsome and mysterious Angel Flowers, and now she’s got no choice — if she wants to date her new man, she’s going to have to defeat his seven evil exes: a vampire, a wolf-man, Frankenstein…uh…Freddy Krueger or something, too. Finally she fights Dracula.
Will Buffy learn that following your heart is great, but not if it’s going to lead you around by the nose? Will her impressive fighting skills enable her to gain what she’s always needed — self-respect?
Buffy McBeal, Single Female Slayer
Buffy Summers is a career girl who thinks she has it all — a great job as a prominent attorney, an adorable daughter, and a destiny to kill vampires. But when she takes on the case of a handsome stranger, she starts to realize the one thing that’s missing from her hectic life: love.
But when the stranger reveals that he is a vampire, Buffy is torn between love and duty! Will she fulfill her destiny and kill the man she’s fallen for? Will she reject her career and her destiny all for a vampire? Will her adorable daughter be TOO PRECOCIOUS to live?