Not everyone is bound to give this week’s DVD release of the vampire romance Twilight a second thought. But if you, like us, tore through Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels (that would be Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, and the unfinished Midnight Sun) within the span of a few days, barely stopping to eat, breathe, or sleep, inexplicably unable to pay attention at work or school thanks to an endless swarm of thoughts of Bella Swan and her vampire beloved — dare we say his name? — Edward Cullen…well, then you’re going to need a little help deciding which of the various upcoming Twilight DVD and Blu-ray options you should pick up this Saturday (March 21). And did we mention the enormously enticing box sets that Summit has created for your viewing pleasure?? Twilight — it’s like our own personal brand of heroin, only much, much more addictive.
The savvy folks at Summit will release the first film in the Twilight franchise on 2-disc, 3-disc, and Blu-ray versions with enough bonus materials to satisfy your Twilight jones. But how satisfying is Twilight‘s DVD release for fans of the book and film? Below, we review the wealth of bonus materials that accompany the standard 2-Disc Special Edition, available nationwide on March 21. (See where you can pick up your copy this Friday at midnight!)
The standard-issue 2-Disc Special Edition DVD comes with an impressive array of extras, headlined by an audio commentary with director Catherine Hardwicke and her two stars, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. For any Twilighter, this is the essential extra — two hours of the real-life Bella and Edward shooting the breeze! While it’s not the best commentary out there in a technical sense — Hardwicke mentions things like CG-added trees and the “rain dance” the cast and crew did on set one day, which any Twilight fan has already seen in behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube — the trio is comfortable and familiar which each other (at least, as comfortable as the notoriously press-shy Stewart and the nervously self-deprecating Pattinson can be).
Sample commentary moment: “This is the scene where it really mattered that we felt you guys had to be together,” Hardwicke says of the lab project scene, in which Edward talks to Bella for the first time. “Like, that inexplicable attraction. That magnetic pull.”
“We have very similar eyebrows,” Pattinson then comments to Stewart.
To which Hardwicke laughs, “Rob, we had to pluck the heck out of your eyebrows!” Ah, the metro-sexual necessities of movie acting.
Another gem of an exchange: “I’ve already aged about six years,” laments Pattinson as he watches Edward save Bella from the swerving truck. “I look haggard. Might as well recast.”
“Yeah, I’m sure we can do better now,” Hardwicke jokes. (With all the talk of New Moon in this commentary, we imagine she’d not yet broken with Summit at the time of recording.)
“Definitely, it made money — where’s Efron?” Pattinson deadpans.
That’s what kind of commentary this is; Hardwicke throws in little details of filming, Stewart mourns for takes that didn’t make the final cut, and Pattinson throws out pithy self-critiques (“I look like an anime character”) whenever faced with himself onscreen (and yes, he seems to know that the vampire growl sounds silly).
Elsewhere on Disc 1, Hardwicke introduces five extended scenes. The best of these are, naturally, Bella and Edward moments: in “A hundred years’ worth of journals,” we get more of the couple’s “getting to know you moments” in Edward’s stark bedroom, where Bella talks about making rain sticks out of chinchilla droppings with her mom. Not stellar, but it’s the Clair de Lune moment! Even better is “You don’t know how it’s tortured me,” which extends the pivotal meadow scene with more chest-fluttering, heavy-breathing moments, right after Edward has revealed his true nature to Bella.
On Disc 2 you’ll find five deleted scenes with Hardwicke introductions. Most of these were wisely cut, though keen-eyed fans will recognize a few scenes from the trailer and the film’s credit sequence. For example: a scene in which Emmett (Kellan Lutz) growls at Edward, “Edward, she’s not one of us,” which appeared in trailers but was conspicuously absent from the film, and “Bella, your number was up the first day I met you,” in which Edward and Bella walk through the woods, fall to the ground, and she daringly puts her finger in his mouth “for a taste.”
But, Twilight fans, the very best deleted scene — arguably the best single element on the entire 2-disc DVD — is “That’s the first time I dreamt of Edward Cullen.” While Hardwicke kept Bella and Edward’s love scene relatively tame for the theatrical cut (reportedly at the behest of Stephenie Meyer), she filmed a way hotter version of the night Bella dreams that Edward is in her room. In her dream, before he disappears into the night, Bella pulls Edward into her bed for a brief but physical make-out session. Twilighters, this is the footage you’ve been waiting for.
And yet, there’s more. The longest feature (The Adventure Begins: The Journey from Page to Screen) sees Hardwicke and Meyer join cast and crew in a seven-part documentary about all aspects of the Twilight production. A Comic-Con phenomenon feature reveals the 2008 panel that took San Diego by storm, and music videos by Paramore, Muse, and Linkin Park give the MTV crowd a few tangential Twilight extras — nice and all, but while they offer supplemental and behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the film, these bonus features lack any real insight into what made Twilight (the books and the film) such a popular phenomenon.
Next: See what additional features will be included on retailer-exclusive versions of Twilight
So why settle for the standard DVD when you can get much, much more? A Borders-exclusive 2-disc release offers additional cast interviews and ten exclusive collectible cards. (They sparkle!) If you weren’t one of thousands of screaming fans lining the Mann Village Theater at the Twilight premiere, an added extra feature brings the experience to you via video interviews with the cast on the red carpet.
The best DVD option for die-hard Twilight fans appears to be over at Target, where you’ll find a 3-disc exclusive edition. This set enhances the standard 2-disc Special Edition with a digital version of the film and a third disc of additional Twilight movie footage. A third disc!
Here you’ll find great fan-centric extras like Edward’s piano performance, Pattinson and Stewart featurettes, “Bella’s Lullaby” remix video, a conversation with Stephenie Meyer, and — most importantly — a vampire “kiss” montage created by Hardwicke herself. The director herself made a “music video” of sorts combining the best things about Twilight (namely, sexy vampires and their sexy scenes), and really, isn’t that why we came to Twilight in the first place?
Of course, if you’re more than just a casual fan of Twilight, you’re going to need more. Hence, the Ultimate Collector’s Edition box set (listed at $99.99 but selling at Costco for $59.99). In addition to the 2-disc Special Edition DVD, the set comes housed in a Twilight-themed jewelry box and includes the best-selling soundtrack CD (two RPattz tracks — score!). Also included are a few essential accessories, like a Twilight charm bracelet, a watch, a bookmark (for reading New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn, naturally), and six photo cards. This is a gift set ideal for younger Twilight fans, unless you’re not too bashful to wear your Twilight charm bracelet around the office.
Twilight‘s Blu-ray release — available only at Target and Best Buy for the first few months — contains all of the extra features found on the various DVD editions. We highly recommend it if you’re equipped with Blu-ray capabilities, because it’s the only way to get the entire collection of Twilight bonus features in one place.
…that is, until Amazon’s Ultimate Collector’s Edition Box Set for Blu-ray hits in May 2009 (listed at $109.99 but selling for $79.99 exclusively on Amazon). Target and Best Buy have the monopoly on selling Twilight Blu-rays until May, which will give Summit and new director Chris Weitz enough time to come up with the BD-Live sneak peek at New Moon, an additional extra feature that will apparently only become available on the May 5 release of the Blu-ray box set! Other than the New Moon sneak, the Blu-ray set will be identical to the DVD Ultimate Collection.
Phew! That’s it as far as your Twilight options go. While you decide which set is for you, camp out for your local midnight DVD release party (this Friday night nationwide) and watch our exclusive DVD bonus clip below.