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TWILIGHT ($35) is definitely far more Romeo & Juliet than it is creature feature, so I can definitely understand its appeal to throngs of teenaged girls who have outgrown Harry Potter as their main source of fantasy fiction. As for the movie version, considering the PG-13 rating, the lack of bloodletting and gore, itís obvious that the moviemakers were targeting the lucrative teen demographic of the bookís established fan base. Cinematically, TWILIGHT is not the CITIZEN KANE of vampire movies, but it is certainly a likeable film, which has been populated with a boatload of attractive performers, something that didnít hurt its appeal theatrically, and I am sure will only enhance its performance in home video sales.

Based upon the novel by Stephenie Meyer, TWILIGHT tells the story of seventeen-year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) who relocates from her motherís home in Arizona and moves in with her father Charlie (Billy Burke), who is the Sheriff of the small Washington State town of Forks. While Bella make many new friends at the local high school, and attracts the interest of several of the male students, she finds herself attracted to the brooding Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who initially seems to be revolted by her. Their relationship seems to change for the better, when Edward saves Bella from a traffic accident, but the ever-reluctant Edward quickly warns Bella against becoming friends with him.

Bella eventually uncovers the underlying reason for Edwardís reluctance, it seems that he and his extended family are vampires, who feed on animals instead of humans, and Bella is a difficult temptation for him to resist. Despite his initial hesitation, a romance quickly develops between Bella and Edward. However, the relationship it proves more dangerous than Edward initially anticipated, when three nomadic vampires arrive in town and one of them sets his sights on making a meal out of Bella. The cast of TWILIGHT also features Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli, Cam Gigandet, Taylor Lautner, Anna Kendrick, Michael Welch, Christian Serratos, Gil Birmingham, Elizabeth Reaser, Edi Gathegi, Rachelle Lefevre, Sarah Clarke, Ned Bellamy, Gregory Tyree Boyce, Justin Chon, Matt Bushell and Josť ZķŮiga.

Summit Entertainment has made TWILIGHT available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is pretty impressive and certain to please anyone watching the film in high definition. For the most part, TWILIGHT is set in a perpetually cloudy, misty, foggy section of Washington State, so there is a certain level of gloominess that overtakes the picture. Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing, with TWILIGHT having an intriguing look, as well as giving everyone in the territory an excuse to have the pallor or a vampire. Image sharpness, clarity, dimensionality and fine detail are all strongly rendered on Blu-ray, despite a number of digital elements that are introduced into the picture. As for the colors, TWILIGHT has an intentionally desaturated look, except for a few sequences away from the filmís primary location. Blacks are accurate and the whites are crisp. The image can be a somewhat contrasty, but is usually quite smooth. The elements from which TWILIGHT has been mastered are pretty much without flaws. There is a light veneer of grain within the image, which maintains the organic quality of the presentation.

TWILIGHT is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound design is solid, but TWILIGHT is far more talky than it is action oriented. A couple of sequences do feature a bit of activity and effectively engage the outlying channels, but the track isnít exactly one for the demo pile. Fidelity is quite strong, with the song heavy musical component benefiting from the lossless encode. The bottom end of the track is full bodied and carries weight, but not to an exaggerated degree. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable. A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish.

Animation and sound have been added to give the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Catherine Hardwicke, and actors Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Aside from the commentary, the main supplement is The Adventure Begins: The Journey From Page To Screen, which is a seven-part, fifty-five minute documentary that can be viewed as a standalone feature or as a Bonus View picture-in-picture track (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Comic-Con Presentation is an eight-minute fan based Featurette. Five Deleted Scenes and five Extended Scenes with introductions by director Catherine Hardwicke are also provided. The disc also features three Music Videos; one for the Linkin Park song Leave Out All The Rest, one for the Muse song Super Massive Black Hole and one for the Paramore song Decode. Theatrical and Teaser Trailers, plus Bonus Trailer close out the standard supplements. TWILIGHT is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

TWILIGHT is a likeable film that is targeted to a teen audience. Considering that the film is more romance than horror, most older moviegoers will find the vampire story lacking bite (pun intended). The Blu-ray presentation provides terrific visual qualities and more than respectable audio. Recommended to fans and anyone else intrigued by this pop culture phenomenon.



Twilight [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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