Twilight (2008) - Special Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Fantasy / Romance
Summit Entertainment || PG13 - 122 minutes - $34.99 || March 21, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-03-19


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writer(s): Stephenie Meyer (novel); Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed


Theatrical Release Date: November 21, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 7 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • 3 Music Videos
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I should start this off saying I know I may get some flak for my review of this film. Why? Well, I enjoyed the movie - a lot. Probably a bit too much. As someone who had not read the book (or series) before watching the film, I went in with an open mind and was not disappointed. I found the characters to be compelling, the love story clicked perfectly and a cast of pretty much unknowns (besides Stewart) who managed to keep me entertained for 2 hours. So why would I get flack? Because others did not feel the same way about it (more on this later).

After her mother decides to get married and move to Florida, Bella Swan (Stewart) relocates to Forks, Washington to live with her father, Charlie. Bella's mom left Charlie (and Forks, WA) when she was born and while she has talked to her father on occasion, its been years since she's come down to visit. Nestled in a quiet, rainy community, Bella quickly comes to realize why her mother left over a decade ago - the place downright stinks. Its either raining or freezing cold - who would want to live here?

Bella is soon enrolled in school where she quickly becomes to talk of the campus. Everyone knows that her father is the Sheriff and everyone is intrigued by their new, pretty classmate. With-in a short time, everyone boy seems to form a crush on her but Bella will have none of that Ė she is intrigued by the Cullen's; a pale-faced family that were all 'adopted' by the very young, and successful Dr. Carlisle Cullen. While be adopted and 'brother and sisters' according to the law, it obvious that there are two sets that are clearly in a relationship together; Rosalie and Emmet and Alice and Jasper. There is one lone member - Edward, who Bella takes an instant liking to. Bella soon realizes that Edward is acting a bit distant towards her and she soon finds out why - he and his whole family are vampires and while they kill for food, they only kill animals. Bella and Edward soon fall madly in love together but can a vampire and human relationship work?

So maybe the plot is not all that original. A human falling for vampires is nothing new; just take a look at "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Angel" or even "Moonlight". Taking it even farther, we have vampires who do not kill humans (Angel, Spike, Mick) and the humans who fall in love with them (Buffy, Cordelia, Beth). So what makes this film worth watching? It sets the stage for a series of films that will top one another as the series progresses.

While I enjoyed Twilight itís clearly not the best film to be adapted from the series (but obviously has to be the first). Twilight may be many fans favorite book out the series (which include Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn), it's clearly the jumping point for what may be a fantastic set of films. Why is that? Because it introduces the cast, gives us an idea of what kind of Vampires the Cullen's are and sets up the relationship for Edward and Bella. Action and suspense is kept to a minimum (even though they added several death scenes that were not present in the book) while the love story is pushed to center stage.

So why all the hate for this film? Several reasons. For one, fans really pumped this film up to be the "one". Twilight seems to be a beloved book among young tweens and they had incredibly high expectations for the film. Hot Topic was pushing the film for months with in store promotions, T-shirts, buttons, makeup, posters... and it became a mini phenomenon. After fans saw the film some felt cheated - they either didn't like the actors/actresses, or it excluded small details from the book. But really, what film was 100% adapted perfectly from a book? The film is 2 hours long and the book is over 500 pages! It becomes a game of picking and choosing what should be adapted and clearly not everything made it through.

The other big reason for the hate is director Catherine Hardwicke who many feel did not do the film justice. I have to agree with this one to a point - this film feels and looks like a pilot for The CW. Special effects are incredibly cheesy (Bella and Edward running through the woods for instance) and certain things just didn't translate well. Summit heard the cries from fans and Eclipse (sequel) will have new director, Chris Weitz. Since Eclipse is more action-packed and takes us to an exotic location I'm hoping Weitz does a better job than Hardwicke.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

This release includes a nice, embossed slip cover. All features presented in SD unless otherwise noted.

Commentary with Catherine Hardwicke, Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart

The Adventure Begins: The Journey From Page To Screen (PiP, Profile 1.1; HD) Identical to what's below but this plays while watching the film. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

The Adventure Begins: The Journey From Page To Screen (55 Minutes; HD):
- The Beginning The Partnership: A Look At Pre-Production
- The Vampires
- Capturing The Action: A Look At Production
- Vampire Baseball
- The Final Word On The Final Battle
- Putting It All Together: The Magic Of Post-Production

- - Now this is some meaty stuff! These featurettes are chock-full of information on set designs, casting and other things that fans will just eat up! Worth a watch!

Extended Scenes (10 Minutes; HD) & Deleted Scenes (6 Minutes; HD) - A real mixed bag. Extended scenes are either mere seconds or long, drawn out discussions. Only one worked (Bella and Charlie at the diner). The delete scenes are also rather useless. Not one added anything to film besides a "hot" make out session. Where is the scene from Midnight Sun (Canceled book that was Edwards POV from Twilight) that was promised?

The Comic-Con Phenomenon (8 Minutes) - One of the funniest things I have ever watched. This was filmed at last yearís Comic-Con and features the cast answering questions from the audience. Some are just so bad "What was it like casting hot guys?". Oh boy. And anytime someone goes to answer the crowd erupts with screams. At one point, they announce they will show a scene from Twilight and the camera pans the audience to see two women about the have seizures they are so excited.

Also included are 3 Music Videos (Muse, Paramore & Lincoln Park), a few Theatrical Trailers & BD-Live (not active yet - New Moon teaser trailer should be up soon).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Twilight is presented in 2.40:1 (AVC) on a 50GB Disc. Given the very cold look the film was given some may call this a poor transfer, but I found it to look incredible. Detail is visible and when there is color present (grass) it looks really good. The one big issue with the film being HD is you can tell how poorly the makeup was slathered on the Vampires... the first scene where we see Dr. Cullen it becomes painfully obvious. Still a solid transfer from Summit.

Summit has included an English 5.1 DTS MA track. While Picture Quality is nice, Audio suffers. The film is very front-heavy which means rears were used only a few times (more so at the end of the film). Dialog did sound great but the entire time I felt like something was missing.



.::OVERALL::.

Twilight may not be every ones cup of tea - and I understand that. The film is 80% Romantic and 20% Action & Suspense. And while I enjoyed it I can fully understand why most individuals over the age of 18 may not. But there is still a reason to watch this film - the other three books are pretty damn awesome. The romance plot is still there, but there is more of an emphasis on Vampires & Werewolves. So how's the Blu-ray rank? Incredible picture quality and average audio quality with a ton of Special Features that will make fans happy.