Twilight (2008) Blu-ray Review: Young Love Can Be Scary

For the tenth anniversary of the first film in the franchise based on Stephenie Meyer’s young adult book series, Twilight has been released on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital) and all five of The Twilight Saga films have been released on Blu-ray Combo Pack (2 Blu-rays, 1 DVD, plus Digital) and Digital 4K Ultra HD. The Blu-ray in the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack contains the theatrical version. The extended cut, which is five minutes longer, is available digitally.

As the movie opens, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), a 17-year-old girl, leaves her mother’s home in sunny Phoenix, Arizona to live with her father Charlie (Billy Burke) in the frequently cloud-covered Forks, Washington where he serves as the chief of police to a town of approximately 3,000. She is reunited with Jacob (Taylor Lautner), a Quileutes boy she knows from summers years ago when she used to visit her dad. He has a crush on her, but she’s oblivious to his interest.

At high school, she is embraced by a group of local kids, including Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who initially reacts to her like she making him nauseous. They eventually start to chat in class, and later Edward saves her from a car accident thanks to his super speed and strength. Bella discovers that Edward is part of a family of vampires, though since they met at school, it’s clear there’s variations to the traditional depiction. What she doesn’t know but the audience is let in on is that Jacob and other Quileutes are werewolves, a natural enemy of the vampire, but a truce has been achieved with the vampires agreeing to limit their blood thirst to animals.

Twilight is a melodramatic romance, more fantasy than horror, although there are some moments intended to scare and chill. Teenage love is fraught with its own difficulties. Being in love with a vampire compounds them. But when vampires break the truce and dead bodies start turning up, matters become quite dangerous for Bella and her loved ones.

Can’t speak to the way they appear in the books, but there’s not much depth to the characters, both major and minor, in Melissa Rosenberg’s script. While Edward is locked into being a 17-year-old in appearance, it’s surprising he doesn’t behave more mature considering his actual age. The actors are certainly nice to look at though. While I haven’t kept up with vampire mythology, super speed and strength abilities make them seem no different than typical superheroes/villains.

The Blu-ray doesn’t appear to be different from past releases other than new unique box art from illustrator Justin Erikson. The video is presented with a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. Most of the Forks scenes find Elliot Davis’s cinematography skewing towards teal, which throws off the colors, especially white. The colors are more accurate under sunny skies. Blacks are inky. The images are presented with strong clarity and present fine texture details.

The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The track has a wide dynamic range as evident through the songs and Carter Burwell’s score boom throughout the surrounds, and softer ambient sounds such as the crickets. The dialogue is always clear. Bass can get too loud at times, causing slight distortion.

The extras include a commentary with director Catherine Hardwicke, Pattison, and Stewart. Music Videos (HD, 14 min) – Muse “Supermassive Black Hole” live from a concert at Wembley Stadium, Paramore “Decode,” and Linkin Park “Leave Out All The Rest” also a live performance. Five Extended Scenes (HD, 10 min) and Five Deleted Scenes (HD, 6 min) with introductions by Hardwicke. The Adventure Begins: The Journey from Page to Screen is available as PIP-enabled feature or the seven segments are accessible on their own (HD, 55 min). The Comic-Con Phenomenon (SD, 8 min) – Like a Beatles concert with teen girls screaming incessantly. I was in the audience (sans screaming) and it was as wild as it appears. Theatrical Campaign (HD, 12 min) presents sneak peeks and trailers. The UHD Combo Pack include a new “Twilight Tour…10 Years Later” Featurette.

Twilight delivers what one expects from a young-adult romance, but that’s a low bar for some. Sure to appeal to teens and young adults, the movie never delves below the surface of its characters or its ideas. Fans should be happy with the Blu-ray’s HD presentation’s pleasing video and immersive audio.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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