Twilight - Special Edition Blu-ray Review
Twilight comes to Region Free UK Blu-ray complete with a 1080p High Definition video rendition in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.35:1. It’s difficult to rate this one as being particularly good, mainly because a) it was made on a relatively small budget b) the location was intentionally dreary and c) the filmmakers have gone for a certain style; none of which lend themselves to assisting in a visually breathtaking presentation. Detail is generally very good, but far from excellent, with a few instances of softness, but no signs of any edge enhancement or other digital artefacting. There is a sheen of grain – a side-effect of all of the aforementioned elements, and something which does not help this presentation to be anywhere near impressive. The colour scheme is intentionally restricted – not just by the chosen location, but also by an obvious blue filter which gives the majority of the film a more CSI: NY feel than it would otherwise naturally appear. Black levels are strong and there’s no sign of bleeding across blacks or any of the other colours. Honestly, it’s not a bad video presentation, but it’s also certainly not demo worthy in any way, shape or form. I guess this was largely what the Director was intending, but given that the ‘look’ of the sequels is far glossier (no doubt enhanced by the greater budget) I find it hard to accept that this particularly dour presentation was wholly intentional.
On the aural front we get a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio track which is punchy and engaging throughout the proceedings. Dialogue is pumped out through the fronts and centre channels, for the most part, and comes across clearly and coherently. The effects are reasonably well-observed, although there is a clear dominance towards presenting the louder thuds, bangs and attack noises far more attentively than any of the more subtle ambient effects. Sure, the film gets an enveloping soundstage as a result and, yes, the surrounds do spark up considerably during the more action-orientated moments, even offering up a little directionality, but there is a slight lack in refinement to the track, and you feel like they went more for bombast rather than atmospheric observation. Don’t get me wrong – crashing waves, bustling school crowds and chirping wildlife abound, but it’s slapped on aggressively without much attention to detail. Still, this works for the most part and, together with the suitably thematic but totally unmemorable score (populated by an expected plethora of whining emo tracks) which provides further action for the surrounds, and even a little bass, this is a perfectly good aural accompaniment, again just shy of demo-quality, but good nonetheless.
The Director Catherine Hardwicke is paired up with the two leads – Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson – to provide this track, and it is a disjointed offering right from the outset. With the young actors attempting to be ‘funny’ but ending up acting quite childish, and Hardwicke trying to largely avoid their immaturity and disseminate some more useful information on her film, it makes for a very uneven listen, and I can imagine many viewers switching off after just a few minutes. For avid fans out there, you’ll be too busy salivating over the sound of your respective heartthrob’s mellifluous tones to realise that the words being spouted are of interest to no-one, neither man nor beast.
The Adventure Begins: The Journey from Page to Screen is a marginally more interesting offering, available both as an in-movie track which plays out in 7 segments littered throughout the main feature, or accessible in its entirety from the main menu as a standalone Documentary. I would advise the latter as, given its under-an-hour runtime, sitting through the entire movie to get these bits is just not worth it – you’re better off watching it in one go. Even then, despite having some nice behind the scenes footage of the cast and crew putting together the scenes, this is a heavily promotional offering – I appreciate that you’re going to get some fluff in an hour-long Featurette, but they could have trimmed it down to a far more interesting thirty minute Documentary which viewers would have probably enjoyed a great deal more. Much of the interview material is provided in anticipation of the movie’s release, rather than with 20:20 hindsight, and it only avid fans are going to want to sit through the whole Documentary. Still, credit should be given for all the on-set material within this: the Director’s further discussion of the source material and the adaptation thereof, the effects dissection and the more interesting background into the characters and the world in which they live.
The Comic-Con Phenomenon takes a thankfully short 8 minute look at the ridiculous fan following that this movie has attained, taken from the perspective of one particular fan/geek convention.
A Conversation with Stephenie Meyers gives us 23 minutes with the author, who talks about her inauspicious beginnings, and how she had a dream about a girl and a vampire in a meadow – and the rest came from that. Fans will love this, others will wish she’d forgotten her dream.
Music: The Heartbeat of Twilight takes 6 minutes to look at the score compiled for the movie, complete with clips, samples, and cast and crew comments about picking the right piece for the right scene.
Becoming Edward is a painful 8 minute Interview-based Featurette about Robert Pattinson, with just about all the cast and crew talking about how perfect he is, both physically and for the role. (Apparently he got the part by doing the audition in a very tortured, pained fashion – no surprise that it turned out like this then)
Becoming Bella takes a similar 6 minute look at Kristen Stewart’s character, with similar tiring praise and back-patting. Stewart also pops up to discuss the part, and seems just as stilted in interview as she did in her performance.
Catherine Hardwicke’s Vampire Kiss Montage is thankfully just 3 minutes long – can you guess what it’s about from the title? Yes, it’s all the vampire bites in the movie, badly strung together with the theme music playing in the background. Seriously? Who would need this?
Here we get 3 different tracks, introduced by the Director – Supermassive Black Hole by Muse (performed live), Decode by Paramore, and Leave Out All the Rest by Linkin Park. If you loved the film, you’re going to like the tracks, and the reverse logic also probably applies.
Catherine Hardwicke’s Lullaby Remix Music Video is a 4 minute remix of the one of the key themes, with visuals and irritating dialogue samples from the movie.
Edward’s Piano Concert is 150 seconds of Robert Pattinson pouting and looking pained as he fakes playing a piano.
Here we get 16 minutes of extra footage split into 5 extended scenes and 5 deleted scenes, each with very brief introductions from the Director. On the Extended Scenes front there’s more from Bella’s dad here, more from the villains, and – unfortunately – longer versions of some of the key scenes between Edward and Bella. It’s really bad stuff, but if you like Twilight, you won’t be able to get enough of this. Then there’s the Deleted Scenes,
Finally we get a bunch of Trailers and TV Spots, as well as some UK Premiere Footage, to round off the extras-laden disc.
They say that Twilight is a love story first and a vampire story second but, for my money, it doesn’t get either right. The love story is painted in some ludicrously unrealistic gaze-at-each-other-all-day-long kind of way, with no real chemistry, friendship, relationship development or genuine emotion on show at all – just the playful whimsy of childlike infatuation as displayed by immature actors who are playing it way over-the-top. And the vampire story, for want of a better term, simply has no bite – it’s a tried-and-tested tale which we’ve seen in almost every bloodsucking tale from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV Show through to 30 Days of Night, only here it’s been sapped of any potency and threat, the vampires themselves little more than glittery immortals who have very little downside left to their supposedly damned existence. In the Twilight universe, everybody would want to be a vampire – there really is no reason not to be – and this major plot hole rips apart the already anorexically thin backbone to both the story’s premise and the ensuing ‘love’ arc. No, if you want a decent romance, go watch Garden State or Before Sunrise. And if you want a decent vampire movie, well, there’s more to choose from that I can possibly name here – and they are almost all better than anything Twilight can offer you. But if you’ve, for some reason, come looking for a cross between Dawson’s Creek and the Buffy spin-off series, Angel (only with less wit, on both counts) then look no further than Twilight. It’s a strange mix, and it didn’t particularly work for me, but I should point out that it’s also far from an offensive movie, and doesn’t warrant being completely and utterly condemned. Hell, those who take it as one of those so-bad-it’s-good affairs will likely find plenty to amuse themselves with here, as the hapless characters gaze off into the distance and spout meaningless tripe at one another like teen replicas of CSI: Miami’s Horatio Caine.
On Region Free UK Blu-ray we get decent video and audio, as well as a plethora of fan-orientated extras which will likely leave the rest of us out in the cold. It’s a good package for those who like the movie, superior even to the US release, but it’s still not the kind of demo-quality disc that’s going to convince anybody who is dubious about the film in the first place to rush out and buy it.
Twilight fans don’t need to read reviews: their love is eternal. All they need to do is gaze at the front cover, and their hearts will no doubt skip a beat. Everybody else, consider a rental, or just skip it altogether. And for all those worried red-blooded males out there, feeling their arms being twisted behind their backs: don’t worry – unless the unintentional laughter it provokes awards you a slap, watching it is not going to do you any damage, although that’s largely because this particular vampiric love story simply has no bite.
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