Thursday, March 19, 2009

DVD review: "Twilight"

“Twilight” is one of those movies that lives better on the page than the screen. Stephanie Meyer’s novel about a teenager who falls in love with a vampire was not exactly literature, but it was a fast-paced, fun read that got tween girls’ hearts going pitter-patter.

Despite a solid performance by Robert Pattinson as immortal Edward Cullen, the tortured heartthrob who’s forever 17, the movie is a mostly bloodless affair. It’s great-looking as directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and Melissa Rosenberg’s screenplay was extremely faithful to the novel (perhaps too much). But Bella, the protagonist who returns to her childhood home in the perpetually rainy town of Forks, is simply too passive a character to anchor a movie. She has little to do except wait for Edward to turn up again and do something amazing, like leap through trees at bullet speed or stop a careening van with one hand. Kristen Stewart’s glum, vacant performance doesn’t help.

Luckily for the movie’s teeming legions of female fans, the two-disc DVD comes packed with enough extras to keep them entertained for hours. It will be released Friday at midnight.
There’s the usual theatrical trailers and other promotional material, like a Q&A between the cast and fans at Comic-Con, plus three music videos by bands whose songs appear in the movie.

There’s a decent hour-long making-of documentary that shows how Hardwicke eschewed computerized imagery to film as much live action as possible, plus quite a raft of deleted and extended scenes.

Hardwicke, Pattinson and Stewart also team up to do a feature-length commentary track. It’s a pretty giggly affair, as Hardwicke coos warmly over her young stars, and Pattinson repeatedly remarks on vital topics like how much they had to pluck his eyebrows. A few interesting tidbits emerge, such as the fact that a then-17 Stewart attended classes in the same high school where they shot the film.

Disappointingly, there’s no mention of Hardwicke’s very public split from the sequel, which was announced shortly after “Twilight” came out. DVD extras isn’t the place to air dirty laundry, apparently.

Movie: C-minus
Extras: B-plus

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with you regarding Kristen Stewart's performance. Glum and vacant are two great adjectives for her not only in "Twilight," but also in "real" life. (A picture from her latest movie premier for "Adventureland."

    I do feel that the "Twilight" audience should read the book before seeing the movie. Without full story, I do think a lot of the passionate love between Edward and Bella is lost. I also think it's hard for audiences to understand Edward's conflict between killing Bella or kissing her.

    I am what's called a "Twi-Hard." So, I did enjoy the movie - I saw it 6 times in the theater. I do plan to buy the DVD tomorrow. I basically ignore Kristen's performance and focus completely on the story line. I recommend the director's notebook and the illustrated movie companion.