The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan



The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is thus far the best entry in the film series adapted from Stephenie Meyer's super-popular novels. I reviewed the movie upon its theatrical release last summer. You can read that review here. As is befitting a blockbuster motion picture, Eclipse is getting a major home video release, on a 2-disc DVD packed with extras. (You can get it on Blu-Ray too.) As with the DVD releases of Twilight and New Moon, this set has a ton of supplementary material that is guaranteed to delight fans.

Disc 1 has the feature film. You can watch it by itself, or with your choice of two audio commentaries. The first is a rather giggly commentary from stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, who often seem unsure of what to say. The second, and more informative, comes from Meyer and producer Wyck Godfrey.

Disc 2 opens with a six-part documentary that runs nearly 90 minutes and details all aspects of the production:

"Introducing David Slade" find the new director (who also helmed 30 Days of Night and the excellent Hard Candy) talking about his decision to enter the Twilight universe and what he hoped to bring to it.

"Pre-Production: Setting the Stage" shows the vampire and werewolf casts getting into shape and going through fight training for the extensive physicality required in Eclipse. We also see how the crew built a house set and a mountaintop set inside a giant soundstage, and how Bella's engagement ring was carefully chosen, based on Meyer's specific input.

"Heart of Eclipse" has cast and crew discussing the story's central love triangle, in addition to the backstories of Jasper and Rosalie. It's clear that character development was perhaps more important in this sequel than in the previous two films.

"Dark Side of Eclipse" focuses on the character of Victoria, now played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Interestingly, there is no mention whatsoever of the fact that Howard replaced actress Rachelle LaFevre, an event that was rather controversial at the time.

"Lights, Camera, Action" is the lengthiest section, detailing the shoot's challenges. For example, in one sequence, a rig proved ineffective, meaning that actor Taylor Lautner had to spend an entire day carrying Stewart for real. Some practical special effects are shown, like a device used to make it appear that the vampire characters were running at top speeds.

"Leaps in Technology" focuses on the CGI used to make the werewolves come to life, and it is the most fascinating section. We see how special effects brought the wolves to life, as well as how wooden wolves and other tricks were used on set to give the actors an approximation of where to look.

If the whole "Team Edward vs. Team Jacob" battle is your thing, there's a feature where you can jump directly to either character's most memorable scenes. (Or, if you're a tween girl, you can jump directly to the scenes where Lautner is shirtless…which, now that I think about it, is pretty much every scene he's in.)

There are two inconsequential deleted scenes, one with Bella talking about Edward to a friend, and another in which she talks to her father after graduation. After that are six extended scenes, including a longer take of a moment in which the Cullens realize that Victoria is forming a vampire army. The other notable one is a longer Edward/Jacob/Bella confrontation.

The Eclipse DVD also features a photo gallery and two music videos, one for the Muse song "Neutron Star Collision" and the other for Metric's title tune. As Muse and Metric are two of my favorite bands, this was a particularly enjoyable section of the disc.

If you are a fan of the Twilight Saga movies, the 2-disc set will give you plenty of enjoyment. The bonus materials are well-produced, taking advantage of the fact that Twilight fans tend to want to know as much about these movies as possible.