There was a time when I actually defended the 'Twilight' films, and thanks in no small part to the films themselves, that devolved into simply defending people's right to like the 'Twilight' films. Now, I'm not quite sure that I can even do that, at least judging by the lack of, well, justification on the new Blu-ray for 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.'

In terms of the presentation of the film, the picture looks terrific, offering dynamic, colorful and clear imagery that highlights director David Slade's superlative technical expertise behind the camera. Meanwhile, the sound design is muscular but equally lucid, providing deep rumbles of furrowed-brow intensity via the low-end notes while dialogue and sound effects are perfectly distinguishable; in short, fans will have no trouble seeing every gesture that actors Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner make, nor deciphering every last line or utterance that they deliver.
In terms of the bonus content, the centerpiece of the disc is the two commentary tracks that accompany the movie, one by stars Pattinson and Stewart, and one by 'Twilight' author Stephenie Meyer and producer Wyck Godfrey. Although an early exchange between Pattinson and Stewart suggests that the duo will reveal details about the forthcoming two-part finale of the series, 'Breaking Dawn,' their comments are ultimately as factual as the speculations of Twihards in a fan site chat room, and the majority of the rest of the track is devoted to the pair's giggling, largely-unexplained in-jokes or generally frivolous insights into the making of the film.

According to my girlfriend, the jovial nature of the track makes it of interest simply because it seems like the most relaxed that either Stewart or Pattinson have ever appeared to be, especially together. But for anyone who doesn't make googly eyes at the thought of their on-screen romance spilling out into the real world, this is about as fun as watching teenagers loitering in the parking lot of your local mall.

Meanwhile, the Meyer and Godfrey track is considerably more informative, although Meyer's insights into the filmmaking world are generously appreciative (every time she complains about some aspect of the film, she immediately offers some degree of gratitude that the filmmakers repaired or corrected it). Although Meyer's contributions no doubt make this appealing to fans looking for more specific insights about the characters, relationships and mythology of 'Twilight,' this is probably the more film-fan-friendly of the two commentaries, thanks to Godfrey's ongoing production-oriented observations. (And that's not meant as a jab; his focus on the filmmaking offers an entrée for casual viewers curious how the movie was made.)

Supplemental to the film itself is a six-part documentary about the making of 'Eclipse,' which is able to be viewed either via picture-in-picture as you watch the movie, or as a feature-length piece on its own. The volume of expository content in the documentary qualifies as an introduction to the material from which casual viewers might benefit, but the bottom line is that it's really not until Part Five that you get any information that's remotely new or interesting. Prior to that, it's all "this person feels this way and does this and that guy goes there," which is provided for you in the film itself. But in terms of that actual, valuable info, there's a lot of material about the special effects, which are genuinely impressive, at least in terms of the wolves and the fight sequences, as well as Slade's consistently insightful and measured marriage of technical and emotional considerations in the making of the film.

Other than two music videos, the only other bonus content is a selection of deleted and extended scenes. There are in fact only two deleted scenes, and the rest are extended, but interestingly, the inclusion of some of this material would have been to the movie's benefit. In particular, there is one scene where the Cullens are discussing the reasons why someone might be mobilizing a vampire army, and why the Volturi have done nothing to stop it; this clarification would have done a lot not only to streamline the narrative of this film, but set up some character and story points for 'Breaking Dawn.' At the same time, much of the other material is fleshing out conversations that were already overmodulated to begin with, but no doubt fulfill fans' demand for absolute fidelity to the source material (or as much as is possible), but other than those plot details this again is largely for fans only.

Ultimately, the same can be said of almost everything having to do with this Blu-ray. Realistically, it doesn't seem like the filmmakers were trying to reach out to nonfans or folks who hadn't seen previous installments when they made the movie – nor did they need to – and the home video release is the same way. That said, this set offers virtually everything fans could possibly want from a 'Twilight' Blu-ray, short of it being hand-delivered to fans at their door by their choice of Bella's romantic prospects.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
PG-13 2010
Based on 38 critics

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