Blu-ray Review: The Twilight Saga: Extended Editions - Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse

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Lionsgate has put together an economical way for newcomers to acquire most (though not all) of The Twilight Saga on Blu-ray. This new “Triple Feature” contains the first three films in the five-movie series, watchable either in their original theatrical form or as unrated extended cuts. The added material (about 16 minutes total between the three films) has been available before as deleted scenes on the some of the previous Twilight home video releases. The draw here is the ability to see the extra scenes edited back into the films. Though viewers can choose the original versions, the extended material is not viewable on its own. In fact, there is no bonus material contained on any of the three discs in the set.

Twilight 1 (380x254).jpgSo is this just another cash grab designed to sucker Twilight diehards out of more money? If you don’t already own these on Blu-ray, this isn’t a bad option. Hopefully, however, Lionsgate is planning to follow suit with another release that will contain extended editions of both parts of Breaking Dawn. Without those concluding films, this is a strangely incomplete package. As it stands, the Blu-ray transfers are uniformly strong and each has a robust DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix (from what I can ascertain, these tech specs are the same as what has been available before on earlier Blu-ray releases).

Twilight New Moon 2 (380x253).jpgAs a Twilight newcomer myself, I find it perplexing that anyone would want the already bloated original running times to be lengthened even further. The films are what they are. While I don’t personally find them riveting, I also can’t imagine why they would inspire so much vitriol from certain circles. It’s not hard to understand why tween and teen viewers fell in love with this series and its angsty characters. It’s also not hard to see why horror purists cringe at the liberal tweaks given to long-established vampire and werewolf lore. But the army of filmmakers who brought Stephenie Meyer’s novels to life obviously knew exactly what they were doing given the insane commercial appeal they have garnered.

Twilight New Moon 1 (380x253).jpgIn terms of general observations, Kristen Stewart does an admirable job as the heroine Bella Swan. She really anchors the movies with a believable performance of a sometimes unbelievable character (exactly why she wants to become a vampire is never satisfactorily established, outside of puppy love). Robert Pattinson has very little to work with in terms of character, especially when considering that the 109-year-old vampire Edward is not written to act his age. In order to fit in, given that he physically won’t age beyond 18ish, he’s play-acting as a sullen high school student and always comes across like one (despite a penchant for classical music on vinyl). Taylor Lautner exhibits far more energy (and common sense) as laddish werewolf Jacob. I realize that Bella “loves both,” but it seems illogical that she would choose the cold-blooded walking corpse over the hot-blooded, testosterone-driven lycanthrope (guess that establishes me as part of Team Jacob?).

Twilight Eclipse 2 (380x253).jpgBottom line: The Twilight Saga: Extended Editions gives us the original Twilight (2008), New Moon (2009), and Eclipse (2010) in one three-disc Blu-ray package, watchable in their original or extended form. The package also includes UltraViolet Digital Copies of each. If you already have the movies you might take a pass on this one, but if it’s important to you to have the deleted scenes edited back in, then you might want to grab it.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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