'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn' Countdown: A Twilight-on-DVD Retrospective

'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn' Countdown: A Twilight-on-DVD Retrospective

Feb 09, 2012

This Friday night you can expect hoards of Twilight fans down at their local retailer to pick up their DVD or Blu-ray of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 at the stroke of midnight. Two of the country’s largest chain stores are offering special incentives, too, from sneak peeks of Breaking Dawn 2 footage to messages from cast members to get fans to attend their midnight release parties. It’s certainly a change from 2009 when the original Twilight hit DVD, and it was next to impossible to find a midnight release event.

This year, Summit Entertainment broke from their tradition of a March DVD release, and upped their timeslot to coincide with Valentine’s Day. All in all it seems to be a shrewd marketing move given the wedding and honeymoon aspects of the film. It also certainly didn’t hurt them any at the box office with the film surpassing Eclipse’s world-wide total.

Given all the anticipation that is building up for the latest DVD, based on past experience, what is it that the fans are hoping for? Aside from seeing the film itself, what are the extras that fans most want on their DVD? What have been the successes and missteps of these products in the past?

The one item that fans seem to universally want is actor commentary by the three leads: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner. The original Twilight DVD featured commentary by director Catherine Hardwicke, Pattinson, and Stewart. All of them were relative rookies in the commentary process at that time. There was a refreshing honesty in the playful banter and downright quirkiness that went on. It wasn’t canned, and it embraced the cheesier moments of the film. Pattinson’s self-deprecating comments such as, “Looking scary with a baseball outfit on and a little bouffant, you know, it just does not work. Especially with sculpted eyebrows ... I'm really scary in reality…” endeared fans to him all the more. People felt as if they were watching the film with their friends commenting.

Things were different when it came to New Moon. Pattinson was busy with Water For Elephants and Remember Me, while Stewart was doing The Runaways. The result was that their tight shooting schedules made them unavailable for the commentary track. For whatever reason a Lautner and Weitz track wasn’t explored, and director Chris Weitz did it solo with some additional commentary from his editor Peter Lambert. For most fans this was the low point of the series' DVD extras. The conversation was way too technical. The element of fun and camp was missing. On top of that, vastly different extras appeared on three different DVD’s: Target, Walmart, and Borders. Now that Borders is no more, their DVD version is something of a collector’s item. Fans expressed their outrage at not having all the vital extras on one DVD.

Fortunately for fans, the Eclipse DVD marked the return of Pattinson and Stewart to the commentary. As one fan, Andrea, commented on The Twilight Lexicon, “The Eclipse commentary with just Rob and Kristen is the best. They are more relaxed and open with their banter.” She also brings up another point echoed by many fans, “It would also have been fun to have Taylor’s input – they mentioned that he was supposed to be there the day they recorded the commentary.” Even with the latest Breaking Dawn DVD, Lautner has yet to make the commentary track. On the other hand, the Eclipse DVD marked the first time that author Stephenie Meyer participated. Her track was done along with producer Wyck Godfrey. Since Meyer had done few interviews since the novel Breaking Dawn had come out in August 2008, it was an excellent opportunity for newer fans to actually hear what she thought in her own words.

Aside from the commentary, the high points of the previous DVD’s seem to be the behind-the-scenes features. Chela Madison expressed the view of many fans stating, “ I love the commentary and the “making of” documentary piece. Those features show another side of the people involved with the project! Everyone’s personality gets to shine a bit, and I just love seeing the “behind the scenes/how things work” aspect of movies.” The Breaking Dawn Part 1 DVD seems to shine in this area with recent promo clips featuring the actors trying not to giggle during the birthing scene, the stunt coordination of the battle scenes, dance practice at the wedding, and more.

The one item that has yet to be seen on any Twilight Saga DVD is a gag reel. Actors have spoken about unpredictable things that happened while the cameras were rolling, and who doesn’t love a good joke? On Breaking Dawn alone, just two things that come to mind are Pattinson’s cell phone ringing during the wedding scene, and Stewart running into the woods screaming “Jacob wait for me." One fan named Hilda brought up a possible proposition, “When all is said and done we know that Summit will release them all together on a special packaging. I hope for that they release that with stuff they left out! Deleted scenes, extended scenes, gag reels, etc , etc! Make it really awesome!” Fans can only hope.

What has been your favorite DVD so far and why? What has been missing that you feel the studio has to put on the final DVD this time next year?

Just 281 days left until the Twilight Saga concludes.

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