On DVD: Alluring extras 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' for Twi-hards
Friday, March 19, 2010
Let's be honest about "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." Anyone who cares only marginally about the story of a teen girl (Kristen Stewart) torn between her vampire lover (Robert Pattinson) and her buff werewolf buddy (Taylor Lautner) will probably find much of this movie -- out on DVD ($32.99) and Blu-ray ($34.99) on Saturday at the stroke of midnight -- a little silly.
But what one viewer might find ridiculous (all the melodrama, the perpetual need to show us Lautner's rippling abs) is nothing short of pure beauty in the eyes of a Twi-hard, a fan so devoted to Stephenie Meyer's novels and their film adaptations that she frequently dreams of someday, somehow, marrying into the bloodthirsty-yet-civilized Cullen family.
Those Bella Swan wannabes should be pleased with the special edition of "New Moon," which features the film -- a definite step up from the first "Twilight," at least in terms of visual allure and production values -- and a couple of choice extras, most notably a compelling six-part documentary about the making of the movie and a happily laid-back commentary track from director Chris Weitz and editor Peter Lambert. Borders and Wal-Mart are selling separate editions of "New Moon" with additional content, including extended scenes and, in Wal-Mart's case, a sneak peek at the next movie, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse."
While the standard DVD lacks those features, that hour-long documentary almost makes up for them. "The Journey Continues" admittedly gets off to a shaky start, bogged down in too many interviews with cast members either wearing spooky-colored contact lens or lavishing praise on Weitz. ("He's one of the most compassionate human beings I've ever met," Stewart says.) Once the focus moves to the production, though, things improve considerably. Even non-"New Moon" fans will admire all the behind-the-scenes details, from shots of Stewart and Pattinson as Edward fighting off mosquitoes during a crucial breakup scene to footage of Stewart's stunt double leaping off a 70-foot building, a jump that magically morphed into Bella's dramatic plunge from a staggeringly high cliff.
As it happens, "The Journey Continues" isn't the only "Twilight" documentary debuting this week. Another DVD -- "Twilight in Forks: The Saga of the Real Town" ($19.99) -- also arrives in an attempt to both explore the history of the Washington state setting of "Twilight" and make even more money off the fans desperate for anything remotely related to the vampire saga.
"Twilight in Forks" is a bit sloppy from a filmmaking perspective; at 84 minutes, the doc drags at times, especially when sources repeat the same information multiple times. But tread through that and you'll find an interesting story about a tiny timber town that boasts just one stoplight but has found a new identity (and a touch of economic salvation) thanks to the rabid fans who trek there to pay homage to bloodsuckers in love.
In 2006, 6,000 people passed through the Forks visitor center, the film tells us. During the first half of 2009, 23,700 people from around the world traveled there, many of them eager to go on the "Twilight" tour or visit the myriad "Twilight" shops.
"There is not a place you can find that somebody hasn't come from," says Marcia Bingham of the Forks Chamber of Commerce. "Except Greenland. We've had nobody from Greenland."
John Hunter, a science teacher at Forks High School and one of many locals interviewed, describes the impact of the "Twilight" spotlight this way: "It was kind of like waking up and realizing you're teaching at Hogwarts."
Some fans are profiled, too, including a few who admit they moved to Forks because of their "Twilight" obsession. Which may seem a little weird. But to me, it's further proof that this community of ardent Edward admirers is filled with just as many fascinating characters as the "Twilight" books and movies themselves.