• Twilight (Lionsgate) 4k UHD/Blu-ray Combo Pack Review

    Released by: Lionsgate
    Released on: October 23rd, 2018.
    Director: Catherine Hardwicke
    Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Matt Bushell, Sarah Clarke, Taylor Lautner
    Year: 2008
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    Twilight – Movie Review:

    When Isabella "Bella" Swan (Kristen Stewart of Welcome To The Rileys and The Messengers) moves from her mom’s place in Arizona to live with her cop father Charlie (Billy Burke of Drive Angry and Removal) in a small Washington town, she is, obviously, the new kid in town. Before she starts school, Charlie gives her an old truck that a local Native American boy named Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) helped restore for him. Jacob and Bella hit it off, but soon she starts at the public school while he attends class on a nearby reservation.

    On her first day of class, Bella is intrigued by the enigmatic Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson of Cosmopolis). Her friends tell her not to bother, he’s too good for them, but once she’s seated beside him in science class, she can’t help herself – he’s just too goddamn dreamy (even if his eyes are too far apart). Edward, however, doesn’t allow her to get too close to him… at least not at first. When she almost gets flattened in the school parking lot by an idiot who doesn’t know how to drive, Edward bursts into action – arriving in front of her with lightning quick speed and deflecting the car using only his fist. KAPOW! Take that! There’s something strange about Edward and all of the Cullens – his ‘dad’ Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) the doctor, his ‘mom’ Esme (Elizabeth Reaser), his brooding hunky ‘brother’ Emmett (Kellan Lutz of the 2010 A Nightmare On Elm Street remake) and his foxy/bitchy girlfriend Rosalie (Nikki Read) and his clairvoyant sister Alice (Ashley Greene) but Bella can’t quite figure out what it is. They’re vegetarians, we’re told.

    Later, Bella and Edward head into the woods. At this point, Bella has more or less come to terms with the fact that Edward is a vampire. She trusts him, even if he believes she shouldn’t, and he explains how he and his clan eat animals instead of people. They’re good guy vampires. Then, to show her his true self, he turns into the Flash and gives her a super-fast piggyback ride up to the top of a mountain, above the cloud bank. It’s here that he… sparkles. It’s fucking stupid, but she tells him he’s beautiful. He’s not beautiful though, he’s fucking stupid looking. They lay together and hang out for a while making doe eyes at one another. From there, they court, no longer hiding their love from their families or from their classmates. This all changes when Edward insists that Bella accompany him to a family baseball game. Here all of the Cullens turn into the Flash as they run really fast and hit homers into the woods while the thunder storm hides the sound of their sport from the town nearby. Their game is interrupted by the arrival of a trio of nomadic vampires that may be responsible for some of the murders in town: Laurent Da Revin (Edi Gathegi), James Witherdale (Cam Gigandet) and Victoria Sutherland (Rachelle Lefèvre). Shortly after this occurs, Edward realizes he’s placed Bella in grave danger!

    Oh, and Jacob is descended from wolves and is probably a werewolf but I think that happens in the next movie. I’m not sure, I’ve never read the books and went into this first film pretty much completely blind.

    Twilight is pap, but at least it’s entertaining pap. There are a whole lot of problems here, we don’t even need to go into the whole ‘vampires do not sparkle’ issue, that more or less speaks for itself, but as far as teen-centric romantic fantasy films go, this was…. passably entertaining? Yeah, that’s fair. The whole thing is one big soap opera but it isn’t too hard to get wrapped up in enough of the nonsensical melodrama to at least want to know how it ends. The fact that this caught on with the age group that it was marketed to isn’t really surprising – it’s glossy, polished and easily digestible cinematic junk food through and through, the kind that you don’t need to think about and the kind that never challenges you. And that’s okay. Catherine Hardwicke paces the film well, the cinematography captures the Pacific Northwest locations rather nicely and the score helps to make the melodrama even more melodramatic. This had a good budget behind it, production values are strong.

    Performances are fine. Not amazing, mind you, but fine. Pattinson and Stewart became household names after this movie struck box office gold and while neither deliver Oscar worthy performances, the handle the material without any issues. They manage to deliver some pretty cringey dialogue without completely embarrassing themselves and in this first film at least, they have an okay chemistry. Billy Burke is quite likeable as Bella’s father, he seems like a ‘real’ person here and his presence at least partially grounds the nonsensical events that revolve around his daughter. Other characters are left as more mysterious and the supporting performances reflect this. Pretty much everyone in the Cullen crew, the trio of vampire nomads and, more than anyone else, Jacob – they aren’t properly developed, but that’s obviously done on purpose because, well, sequels. There’s four more movies to come.

    I really hope Jacob is a werewolf. I like werewolves better than vampires. I hope he’s a sparkly werewolf too, but I hope he doesn’t play baseball because I think baseball is boring.

    Twilight – Blu-ray Review:

    The first film in the Twilight franchise makes its 4k debut on this UHD release from Lionsgate that comes complete with HDR and Dolby Vision. Framed at 2.40.1, the 2160p HEVC / H.265. The movie was shot on film but completed on a 2k digital intermediate, and as such, this would be upscaled to 4k. That said, the transfer is nice. Black levels look really good – reference quality, even - and color reproduction is at times very impressive even if the movie has an intentionally desaturated look to most of it. There’s nice depth and detail here and while a quick comparison shows that the UHD is a nice step up from the included Blu-ray in this department. It does definitely have more than the 1080p disc, particularly in close up shots, and it definitely does improve the blacks and the colors quite a bit. The whole thing still has a blue tint all over it, clearly part of the intended look of the film, but all in all this is a very nice picture.

    The English language Dolby Atmos 7.1 track on this disc is also very strong. The stupid baseball game scene is actually the perfect example of how good this track can sound when it really kicks. When the bat hits the ball and the thunder cracks, you really feel it. There’s a lot of great surround activity here, actually. In another stupid scene where Edward has Bella on his back and is doing some Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon shit by jumping around from tree to tree we get some really enveloping sound effects. On top of that, the score is spread out very nicely, really coming at you from all angles at times. Dialogue is crystal clear, balance is fine and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion, as you’d expect.

    The one new extra on this release is the ten-minute Twilight Tour…10 Years Later featurette wherein director Catharine Hardwicke and actor Jackson Rathbone tour some of the locations in Oregon where the movie was originally shot.

    The rest of the extra features fans may have seen before. In the twenty-three-minute A Conversation with Stephenie Meyer featurette, the author responsible for creating all of this nonsense in the first place talks about where much of her inspiration came from, the basic idea that she had and was able to turn into the book series, challenges involved in writing the book while dealing with her kids and how amazed she is at the overwhelming success that hear work has achieved.

    The six-minute Music: The Heartbreak Of Twilight Featurette gets Hardwicke, Meyer, Stewart, Pattinson and music editor Adam Smalley in front of the camera to talk about the music used in the scene where Edward plays piano for Bella. The seven-minute Becoming Edward and five-minute Becoming Bella featurettes interview Pattison and Stewart respectively, with input from Hardwicke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, talking up their characters and their performances for a few minutes each.

    The three-minute Catherine Hardwick's Vampire Kiss Montage piece is really just a reply of the three bite scenes from the movie but presented here without all of the effects layered overtop. It’s interesting to see once but probably not something you’re going to go back to. Catherine Hardwick's 'Bella's Lullaby Remix' Music Video is a four-minute piece that uses some of the music in the film overtop of some intentionally grainy looking footage from the film and some sound bites. You can safely skip this one. Following suit, the Edward's Piano Concert featurette is a three-minute piece wherein we’re treated to more footage of Pattison tinkling the ivories, again with less obnoxious color timing overtop.

    From there we get a trio of Twilight Cast Interviews featuring Stewart and Robert Pattinson together, Cam Gigandet solo and Edi Gathegi and Rachelle Lefevre together. These were originally made for the long-gone Borders book store website and then run six to seven minutes each. They’re reasonably fluffy but will likely appeal to those more enamored with the cast than sensible people. The Cast Interviews On The Red Carpet piece is a five-minute collection of cast interviews that were, shockingly, shot on the red carpet at the film’s premiere. It’s a fluff piece but it’s also an interesting time capsule. The eight-minute Twilight Premiere On The Red Carpet piece shows off yet more footage from the event. Last but not least is a thirty-six-minute segment wherein Stephenie Meyer Talks About The Twilight Saga, again done for Borders.

    The Blu-ray that’s included with the UHD disc also features a commentary track with Hardwicke, Pattinson and Stewart and quite a few other archival extra features. The commentary is a busy one with Hardwicke leading the charge but the cast members chiming in quite often throughout. If you want to do a deep dive into the making of the movie, this’ll get you off.

    The Adventure Begins: The Journey From Page To Screen is the meatiest of the bunch, it’s a making of featurette that covers the franchise’s literary origins and traces them to the finished feature film. It’s almost an hour long and it contains a lot of interview clips and behind the scenes footage (including eight whole minutes dedicated to that fucking baseball scene). There’s actually some legitimately interesting material in here, particularly when they cover the technical side of things and dive into the effects work that was used in the film. An eight-minute piece called The Comic-Con Phenomenon takes a look back at just how ridiculous the level of hype and promotion was around the first film’s debut at San Diego Comic Con in 2008. Again, it’s interesting as a time capsule more than anything else. A lot can change in ten years.

    Closing out the extras on the Blu-ray disc are five deleted scenes, five extended scenes, two EPK style featurettes running between three and four minutes each, a theatrical trailer, a pair of teaser trailers, three music videos, animated menus and chapter selection. Trailers for a few unrelated Lionsgate properties play before the main menu screen loads.

    Both discs fit inside a black standard sized Blu-ray case that in turn fits inside a slipcover. Also included inside the case is an insert card with a download code that will allow you to grab a copy of the extended version of the film in HD.

    Twilight – The Final Word:

    Twilight is junk, but it’s entertaining junk. Lionsgate has done a really nice job bringing the film to 4k UHD with a very strong transfer, fantastic audio and a pretty heavy array of extras. This won’t convince those who don’t enjoy the series to upgrade, of course, but for the series’ massive fan base, this is a really nice release.

    Click on the images below for full sized Twilight Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      "entertaining junk"

      I love entertaining junk but I'm sorry Twilight isn't even that.