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Blu-ray Review: Summit’s ‘Twilight’

Below you’ll find David Harley’s review of the Blu-ray release of Summit’s Twilight, which is only available at Best Buy, Target and MovieStop as of right now. It goes wide in May. The film is about a high school girl named Bella falls in love with a vampire. The new couple leads a rival vampire clan to pursue them and attempt to force her to decide if she, too, wishes to become one of the undead.Last November, Twilight premiered to theatres full of screaming adolescent girls who propelled its box office take to a hair over $190 million, besting Quantum of Solace’s opening weekend and total domestic gross. I caught the flick during its theatrical run (review) and found it to be a mostly harmless piece of juvenile junk food, akin to the Eragons and Unfortunate Events that came before it. The Twilight series is a pop culture phenomenon and while I don’t understand what the big deal is, I can’t say I didn’t laugh my ass off at the ridiculousness of the first film. Kristen Stewart blinks faster than she can generate negative publicity, Robert Pattinson dons awkward facial expressions that confuse and inspire laughter more than they convey a sense of longing, and the theme of sexual frustration is handled as unsubtly as possible.

Summit’s Blu-ray release offers up a great 1080p encode, with visuals that are as crisp as they come and no noticeable compression artefacts. My only problem with the transfer is that it looks really unnatural, kind of like how some films with a lot of CGI look unbelievably fake in high definition. Here, however, it is due more to the fact that numerous filters were used to give Twilight a blue tint, thus altering the natural color scheme of the entire film. The DTS-HD 5.1 lossless track on the disc provides a very rich auditory experience and manages to balance out the sound effects, music and dialogue adequately. The sound effects, in particular, are showcased excellently in the baseball scene, the final confrontation and anytime there’s a storm brewing in Forks (an almost daily occurrence).

Special Features

Commentary – Hands down, this is one of the worst commentaries I’ve ever heard. Director Catherine Hardwicke offers up the occasional insight into the film’s production, such as how the apple scene in the cafeteria was achieved (fishing wire!), though she is rarely given the spotlight. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson basically hijack the track from her, joking around the entire time and asking each other why they look so sexy in the film. I’m sure the audience the film was made for will appreciate the camaraderie between the two actors but I didn’t find anything they said particularly funny and, more often than not, they take the conversation way off-topic. In other words, the whole track is very annoying and should be avoided.

Music Videos (13:43) – Two of these videos aren’t even traditional music videos, but rather live performances: Muse’s Supermassive Black Hole (a band who was cited as an inspiration for author Stephanie Meyer while penning the series) and Linkin Park’s Leave Out All the Rest. The only actual music video in this section is Paramore’s Decode. Also, I found it odd that there’s an introduction by Catherine Hardwicke for Muse and Paramore’s contributions and not Linkin Park’s.

Extended and Deleted Scenes (15:29) – Catherine Hardwicke introduces each of the extended and deleted scenes, with the majority of them being romantic blather between Edward and Bella. A scene with the two characters walking through the woods was cited as a favorite of Hardwicke and Stewart and no reason for its exclusion from the film is given, save for a rather basic deleted scenes section introduction from Hardwicke, where she states that the following scenes were cut because they slowed the film down or just didn’t fit well. I’m kind of curious as to why it was cut, since the director and star seemed to really like it, but then again, this thing is already 122 minutes long.

The Adventure Begins: The Journey From Page To Screen (54:28) – Viewers will have a choice of watching this behind-the-scenes documentary as a PIP feature or on its own, which is actually kind of cool. The documentary itself is fairly basic, starting with how Stephanie Meyer came up with the story and characters – she dreamt them – and ending with the film’s post-production, which examines the editing and scoring, along with the work ILM did on the visual effects. It’s far more informative than the dire commentary track, though all of the interviews were done before the film was released so there’s a lot of back patting going on. Furthermore, since the documentary is only an hour long and the film is slightly over two hours, there’s a lot of down time when playing it as a PIP.

The Comic-Con Phenomenon (7:58) – A highlight reel of Twilight’s Comic-Con panel, with backstage cast reactions and lots of screaming girls. And, yes, someone asks Robert Pattinson what it’s like to play the sexiest vampire ever.

Theatrical Campaign (12:23) – The two teasers and the final trailer are included, as well as the promotion reels shown at New York Comic-Con and the sneak peak from the Penelope DVD.
Note: The Blu-Ray edition is only available for purchase at Best Buy, Target and Movie Stop until May 5th, when it will be available at all retailers. It can also be rented from NetFlix and Blockbuster right now.

Film: 3/5
Blu-ray: 3/5