The Twilight Saga: New Moon - Special Edition Blu-ray Review
New Moon comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p High Definition video transfer in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. The first movie was done on a comparatively small budget, and filtered through a blue hue to make it all look like an episode of CSI: New York. This second movie wasn’t exactly big budget, but it did have a markedly bigger budget, and they also dropped the blue hue completely (perhaps the new director didn’t like it?!), returning a video presentation which, whilst far from demo quality, still seems to be a marginal visual improvement. Detail is generally good, with fine object detail, and a nice natural quality to the proceedings, only dropping in quality in some of the broader (often more effects-laden) shots. The image comes across without any abhorrent softness, eschewing the use of overt edge enhancement and showcasing a clean print that seems entirely free of defects. The colour scheme, although benefitting from a lack of that blue hue, is still quite limited – countryside locales boasting rich greens and sombre blacks, the pale skin of Bella, the anaemic, almost translucent look of Edward, and the ridiculously tanned bodies of the metrosexual dog boys dominating many of the shots. None of it looks quite real, not even the stand-out barrage of reds and yellows in Italy. Still, with deep, inky blacks to round out the proceedings, we have a video rendition that’s just shy of demo quality.
On the aural front New Moon boasts an engaging DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which easily supersedes the one found on the last outing. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, from the fey words of Michael Sheen’s ‘royal’ vampire to the angst-driven arguments of the three immature protagonists. Effects are well-observed throughout, the sound-stage often coming alive with not only the bigger noises, but also the smaller, more atmospheric offerings. Motorcycle engines spring to mind, but the real high points tend to come in the far too infrequent action sequences – these super-powered scenes land a hell of a punch in the sound department, and the track renders them particularly well. The score is utterly generic and totally forgettable, but does get reasonable presentation across the array, and there is a generally nice throb from the LFE, which comes into its own during the aforementioned, more combat-orientated, moments. It could be better – but only if there was more to showcase the strengths of the track – and, as is, this is a stellar presentation of the material that is on offer.
First up get a full-length audio commentary which is provided by the director, who has hooked in the editor by tele-con, but who largely takes the centre stage himself. The discussions are largely focussed on the technical side of things – the effects shots, pulling off some of the camera techniques, the look they were going for etc. – as well as some unnecessarily in-depth discussions of the art on offer, and the tiny trivial things that nobody but absolute geeks would want to hear about. I found it quite a grating offering, but there is plenty of information to absorb, should you be so inclined. The trouble with the two – as with any ‘proud’ filmmakers – is that they actually try and explain the plot holes in the narrative, which goes some way towards highlighting the flaws, more than covering them up. The dog boys can’t afford shirts? Seriously, that’s your explanation?! Often these things would have been better left unsaid.
The Journey Continues is a mammoth making-of documentary, which runs at over an hour in length, and is split into 6 parts: Life after Twilight, Chris Weitz Takes the Helm, The Subtle Details, A Look at the Production, It’s Not Magic, and Ready for the World, basically taking us on a behind the scenes journey from the end of the last movie, to the success and the fan base it created; the preparation for a sequel; the new director; the pre-production work, sets, costumes and casting; filming and stunt work; post-production and effects; and finally the editing and scoring. It’s a comprehensive offering but it is definitely tailored for fans, with so much inbred love going on that there’s very little room to breathe if you just want to learn about the technical side to the production.
Deleted and Extended Scenes
There are 3 deleted scenes and 3 extended scenes: Edward goes to Italy, Jacob Fast Forward and Interview with the Volturi; and Edward Fast Forward, Becoming Jacob and Introducing the Wolfpack, respectively. There’s nothing particularly interesting here, and the fact that two of the offerings are entitled ‘fast forward’ should give you some indication of what you should do whilst watching them.
Fandimonium takes a look at the die-hard Twiglet fans, who are really quite scary in their dedication.
Frame by Frame is a storyboard-to-screen comparison Featurette which compares the original sketches with the final product for some key moments.
Team Edward vs. Team Jacob takes a look at what is apparently ‘the ultimate love triangle’ (since Dawson’s Creek, I guess.
Fan Event Q & A offers up a UK-exclusive open discussion with cast members Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, together with director Chris Weitz, taking questions from an audience.
The Beat Goes On is Featurette focussing on the music of New Moon.
Here we get four music videos: Death Cab for Cutie’s Meet me on the Equinox, Anya Marina’s Satellite Heart, Muse’s I Belong to You (which is just behind the scenes rehearsal footage) and Mutemath’s Spotlight. If you don’t like the music, and feel it’s too emo/teen angst-y, then these will not be for you.
Finally we get a bunch of trailers as well as a 7-minute sneak peek at the third chapter in this insipid series.
New Moon is a bit of a filler episode in the Twilight soap saga, a jarring attempt at character development, which basically only sets things up for the third movie, and, as such, is pretty-much tailored for fans only. The plot is strikingly similar to the original movie, only with Romeo and Juliet clumsily thrown in as bookends to the overlong narrative. And even the presence of some irritable, fluffy CG wolves cannot make up for the relentlessly stilted acting, painful dialogue and irritating, plodding melancholy. The plus side? Well, the worse it is, the more unintentionally amusing it is, leaving us with a movie that has a few passable ‘good’ bits, and plenty of bad bits that are so bad that they’re actually pretty entertaining.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get decent video, superior audio, and a hefty selection of extras that’s sure to please any Twiglet fan. Honestly, fans will surely already have this special edition in their collection, and newcomers should know that they could probably skip this movie entirely and just move on to the third (if they really have to). For a part-time Twilight watcher like me, the only way to really endure these whiney teenage broodfests is to mock them relentlessly throughout, and just laugh at the foolish angst-driven antics. It’s the only way to enjoy them.
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