Before getting into my take on "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" DVD, let's review what we already know about the film. 1) Bella and Edward totally do it. 2) I thought I saw a nip slip. 3) It is the lowest reviewed "Twilight" film on Rotten Tomatoes. 4) Peter Facinelli awkwardly autographed my copy of the DVD.
Great, now that we're all on the same page, let's get into what I thought about and learned from the bonus features and repeated viewings of movie.
Audio Commentary with Bill Condon
Despite the mixed-to-disappointing reactions to this film, I still think Bill Condon was a great choice to direct the final "Saga" installments. Catherine Hardwicke was excellent with the first because she's an expert at nailing teen angst. With "30 Days of Night" and "Hard Candy" on his résumé, David Slade was perfect for "Eclipse" because you wanted that horror-movie feel. And while Chris Weitz has been the best of the "Saga" directors to interact with Twi-hards on social media, I think he was an odd choice make "New Moon," which may be why it feels muddled and is my least favorite. Condon, director of "Gods and Monsters," "Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh" and "Dreamgirls," has been successful in a variety of genre films, and "Breaking Dawn" packs a number of genres into two films.
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That's a long way of saying I was looking forward to Condon's commentary, because he got short-changed during his panel discussion at the Twilight Convention, when he was onstage with KStew, RPattz and Lautner. And the native New Yorker doesn't disappoint.
Right out of the gate, he talks about how the film didn't originally begin with Jacob receiving the invite to Bella and Edward's wedding and running angrily off into the pouring rain. The first scene was Aro receiving the invitation, right after the Volturi have massacred 50 people. It was supposed to remind the audience of the looming threat of the vampire elite, but was cut because Condon felt "Part 1" is more about Bella's struggle inside than the outside threats. Luckily, Condon also says that scene will show up on an extended cut at some point.
Condon is intelligent and gives a number of great insights -- way too many to note here -- but I will tell you that he says the original sex scene between Bella and Edward was more graphic. Unfortunately, the MPAA threatened an R rating unless it was scaled back, so we got what we got. And, there is no Bella nipple. I was wrong before. Trust me, I checked a few times.
The Making-of Documentary
Touted as being "Six Parts," you'd think Ken Burns produced this behind-the-scenes documentary. In reality, the six sections are around 15 minutes each: "A New Beginning," "The Wedding," "The Honeymoon," "The Wolf Pack," "The Pregnancy" and "The Birth."
For me, it really gets interesting from the latter half of "The Wolf Pack" on. They go into detail on why the CGI wolves in "New Moon" looked so crappy and how they've made these mutts look progressively more realistic. It goes on to describe in detail how the special effects crew was able to make Kristen Stewart look so horribly gaunt and deathlike, without her having to lose treacherous amounts of weight like Christian Bale in "The Machinist." They even fashioned an eerily lifelike, lifesize pregnant Bella doll that could be Kristen Stewart's twin. Not to be perverse (but c'mon, this is my column), I couldn't help but think about what the Japanese must be doing with celebrity-lookalike sex dolls if "The Saga" crew is able to make something look so real.
Side note: "The Wedding" part did remind me that Alice is from the Roaring '20s, hence her flapper haircut and dress design for the wedding. Is it too much to ask for Martin Scorsese to give Ashley Greene a role as pre-vampire Alice in the next season of "Boardwalk Empire"?
Bella and Edward's Personal Wedding Video
You know those awkward videographers who go around every wedding, stick a camera in your face, and force you to say something "meaningful" or "personal" or "words of advice" for the bride and groom? Well, they also shot one for the Cullen wedding, despite the fact you never see any photographers or videographers in the wedding scenes. The various actors, in character, wish the bride and groom well, and it's just as uncomfortable as watching your friends' videos. All except for Billy Burke, who delivers exactly what a father should say to his 18-year-old daughter marrying a mysteriously pale and eerie suitor. I've written this before, or at least I've meant to, but Billy Burke is one of the most underrated actors in "The Twilight Saga."
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Yeah, this is lame. It's just the studio's attempt to convince viewers that Jacob's imprint on the newborn Renesmee isn't super creepy. Listen, it's f***ing weird. We know, but let's just move past it. We Twi-hards have.
Team Edward/Team Jacob in Fast Forward
This feature feels like something a crazed celebrity stalker would do. For example, if I told you that some guy is absolutely obsessed with actress Lizzy Caplan, so he edited copies of "Mean Girls," "Hot Tub Time Machine" and "127 Hours" that fast-forward through any scene which doesn't include her and only plays her scenes, you'd say, "That dude is nuts and Lizzy needs to get a restraining order against him." Well, that is exactly what this feature does for Robert Pattinson if you're Team Edward, and for Taylor Lautner if you're Team Jacob. But hey, if you're fine with feeling creepy about your passion for either of them, you're going to love it.