CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
DVD Review: ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ Two-Disc Special Edition
CHICAGO – Only those completely unaware of any happenings in the world of film and DVD would still be unaware that “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” is hitting stores tomorrow, March 20th, 2010, with some outlets even holding parties tonight in advance of a midnight sale. Of course, we have our copy already and are here to break down what to expect when you finally get your hands on it.
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
As for the film itself, my opinion of it has not changed, so I will merely point you to my theatrical review of one of the biggest movie
events of 2009, which I concluded thusly:
“Even with all of the acting problems, most of the blame for what sinks “New Moon” has to be placed at the feet of screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. She has taken a pulpy, timeless plot (the film references “Romeo & Juliet”) and played it deadly seriously and melodramatically without finding the true emotion of the piece. The 130-minute running time could have been trimmed by at least a half-hour if every line…wasn’t…delivered…with such…false gravity.
The action sequences - including a few werewolf on vampire fights and a great sequence with Sheen and Fanning near the end - are significantly better than the first film and a few of the supporting performances have improved, allowing for a slight upgrade, but there was hope that “New Moon” could really deliver where “Twilight” fell short. I guess we’ll have to wait for “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” to turn this franchise around.”
The Twilight Saga: New Moon will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 20th, 2010.
Photo credit: Summit Entertainment
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I’m fully aware that my negative opinion of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” is not going to change that of any of the legion of fans of this mega-franchise, so let’s focus on what to expect from the DVD and Blu-ray release (Summit Entertainment, once again, couldn’t get us a Blu-ray, but, of course, that’s always the way to go if you have the option).
As for the standard DVD, the presentation is pretty average with an anamorphic widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio transfer and a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. I’ve become so spoiled by Blu-ray presentations that all standard ones are starting to look and sound the same to me - neither good nor bad but what you should expect from DVD.
(Left to right) Robert Pattinson stars as Edward Cullen, Kristen Stewart stars as Bella Swan, and Taylor Lautner stars as Jacob Black in The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
Photo credit: Kimberley French and Summit
Fans of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” will be wildly entertained by a comprehensive and impressive series of special features that breaks down thusly:
Audio Commentary With Director Chris Weitz and Editor Peter Lambert (130 minutes) - Fans would surely love to hear from one of the three genetically blessed stars of the film but it’s always nice to hear a director talk about the film he made and Weitz is an intelligent, interesting speaker.
The Journey Continues: A 6 Part Documentary on the Making of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” (65 minutes)
Life After “Twilight” (4:31)
Interviews with the major and minor players about the whirlwind of fame and publicity that their lives became after the release of “Twilight” and before shooting “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”. Too much of this feels scripted, the same kind of talking head responses that you would see on “Entertainment Tonight” and not particularly revealing.
Chris Weitz Takes The Helm (4:07)
Clearly drawn from the same series of EPK interview but a bit more informative than the first part as it focuses on actual filmmaking. Once again, bizarrely short. If you’re going to advertise a six-part documentary, shouldn’t the parts be more than 5 minutes long?
The Subtle Details (7:49)
A look at the set design, location scouting, and general aesthetic of the film. The documentary is getting richer at this point, moving beyond the faces that sell the franchise to focus on some of the people that make the film work. Considering so many fans of “Twilight” are probably young enough that they don’t know about production design or the importance of choosing the right location, this could truly shed some light on the art of moviemaking.
A Look at Production (30:10)
Now that’s more like it. This is the meat of the 6-part documentary, a detailed look behind-the-scenes of actual shooting on the film. Well-made, interesting, this is a quality featurette that makes the relatively light first two features more understandable.
It’s Not Magic (10:28)
A look at the green screen usage and special effects of the film. The overall doc is starting to get a little repetitive and dry at this point but it’s interesting interesting to see how your favorite shots were actually produced.
Ready For the World (8:21)
A look at the final stages of production including editing and the film’s release that offers a glimpse at a deleted scene that I bet fans would have loved to see more of as another special feature.
“Meet Me on the Equinox” by Death Cab For Cutie (3:50)
A great, great song but a truly boring video that consists mostly of clips from the movie and shots of the band looking mopey in an old house.
“Satellite Heart” by Anya Marina (3:48)
More of the same - clips of the movie intercut with shots of the singer, this time wandering through a forest and near waterfalls in a hooded outfit. Not a very good song at all unless you’re having trouble sleeping.
Behind the Scenes Rehearsal of “I Belong to You” by Muse (1:35)
A weird, black-and-white clip of the great band Muse performing part of their soundtrack contribution. I’m a big Muse fan but I’m not sure this needed to be included. It’s not really a music video and not even the entire song.
“Spotlight” by Mutemath (from “Twilight”) (3:43)
Easily the most creative video of the bunch comes courtesy of the soundtrack to the first film and actually seems divorced from the “Twilight” phenomenon as it doesn’t include any footage from the movie. Good tune too.
So what’s missing? Deleted scenes, a commentary by the stars, and maybe a bit more on the fandom that surrounded the release of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” but that’s ultimately very little. The documentary is interesting, the film includes a commentary, and even the music videos offer a little entertainment. But who are we kidding, right? Most fans will be too busy watching the actual film for the 100th time to notice.
For how to be the first person you know to get a copy of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”, click here.