Blu-ray Review: ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1’ Comes Loaded With Special Features

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CHICAGO – From the very beginning, one can tell that “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” has been dramatically stretched to meet the running time of two feature-length films. And let’s just saying pacing was never this franchise’s strong suit to begin with. More time for moping, more time for pained expressions, more time for shirtless action equals more time for the film’s most significant problems to take over. And that’s just what they do here. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

But you don’t care. No one cares what critics think of the “Twilight” movies. If they did, they wouldn’t be such a box office juggernaut despite some scathing reviews. Trust me — we don’t want to hate on your favorite movies. Reviews for franchises like “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” should prove that critics are happy when filmmakers treat their fans right. “Twilight” fans — you deserve better. You deserve better than these paper-thin scripts, leaden direction, and frankly half-asleep performances. I know — fans of these movies couldn’t possibly see their flaws and I admire that kind of devotion to a franchise. I just wish I could get on-board.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1 was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 11, 2012
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 11, 2012
Photo credit: Fox

What about the Blu-ray? That’s all you really care about, right? As for video transfer, it’s good not great. Summit HD transfers still seem a little more muted and less detailed than some of their colleagues (Universal, WB, and Summit still lead the way in HD). The audio is a bit better. It felt well-mixed with dialogue, effects, and score. And the surround mix is just about right without being overwhelming.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1 was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 11, 2012
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 11, 2012
Photo credit: Summit

As for special features, it’s a very sturdy collection, including a commentary from director Bill Condon, a six-part documentary, and more. The documentary runs about an hour and half and features a TON of behind-the-scenes material and interviews about how absolutely spectacular everything “Twilight”-related is. At one point, someone even compares the wedding scene to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I’m all for people who make a film like this one thinking that it’s the greatest thing since the Bard, but perhaps a little perspective might have helped ground the franchise and iron out its flaws.

Wait. I’m putting on my film critic hat again and what I really should be doing is reviewing the Blu-ray and not just the movie. And the fact is that this is a strong Blu-ray release. I can’t imagine fans being unhappy. They get behind-the-scenes stories, interviews with all of the main players (in which they’re more charming than their critics might believe), and tons of details on how their favorite movie got made. They also can watch the documentary picture-in-picture as the movie rolls, so they’ll never be too far from Bella, Edward, and Jacob. The movie should have been better but the Blu-ray really couldn’t have been. It even has a feature so Twi-hards can jump to their favorite scenes like “Wedding” and “Honeymoon.” Or you could just jump to the anti-climactic end and hope that Bill Condon and his team end on a stronger note this Fall.

In the highly anticipated fourth installment of The Twilight Saga, a marriage, honeymoon and the birth of a child bring unforeseen and shocking developments for Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) and those they love, including new complications with werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

Special Features:
o 6-Part Making-Of Documentary (Standard and Picture-in-Picture Mode)
o Wedding Video
o Jacob’s Destiny
o Interactive Jump To Feature
o Audio Commentary with Director Bill Condon

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Bill Condon, Anna Kendrick, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli, and Elizabeth Reaser. It was written by Melissa Rosenberg from the book by Stephenie Meyer and directed by Bill Condon. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 11th, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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