- BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc
- Region A Locked
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- English SDH
- Audio Commentary
Exclusive HD Content
- PiP version of Documentary
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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (Blu-ray)
Summit Entertainment / 2011 / 117 Minutes / Rated PG-13
Street Date: February 11, 2012
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Reviewed by M. Enois Duarte
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Try as I might, I can't conjure up some clever quip or remark reflecting just how bad 'Breaking Dawn' truly is, you simply have to see it to believe it.
The production hints at a movie that wants to be taken seriously and seen as dealing with mature problems, in spite of it being a fantasy romance with defanged bloodsuckers and overgrown dogs. Instead, the whole affair comes across as unintentionally hilarious, like a hormonally off-balance tween demanding other grown-ups treat him or her as an adult and not like some child. Unfortunately, we can't help but laugh at how cute the kid looks thinking they know anything about love and life in general. The movie is really that comically bad.
The story opens with Jacob (Taylor Lautner) ripping off his shirt one final time as he storms out into the rain after reading about the much-anticipated wedding of the two star-crossed lovers. Honestly, it's not a great start, because it only reminds audiences of the side-splitting hilarity of 'New Moon.' However, I think this one just might be worse. No, wait . . . Yeah, this is definitely the worst of the entire series.
It's soon followed by some wedding jitters, although what exactly bothers Edward (Robert Pattinson) is never made entirely clear since he seems to possess a very limited range of emotions. That goes for both the character and the actor. But while the wooden immortal celebrates his last night as a bachelor hunting for farm animals, we're privy to what bothers the overly-temperamental Bella (Kristen Stewart). A very dark and morbid nightmare reveals a white wedding drenched in blood while the bride and groom stand atop a hill of corpses like a wedding cake decoration.
Surprisingly, 'Breaking Dawn' grows progressively more gruesome and perverse, especially for a PG-13 flick geared towards younger viewers. Once the newlyweds arrive on a private island owned by the Cullens off the shores of Rio de Janeiro, their first night together is suggestive of horrible violence which completely destroys their bed and leaves the young bride with bruises all over her body. Even worse, and to the shock of everyone, Bella is pregnant with a rapidly-growing monster that eats away at her from the inside.
This little twist in the terribly histrionic plot not only complicates the story, but also overcomplicates the rest of the movie. If Stephenie Meyer's religious and political ideals only served as subtle subtext to the previous films, they come into full fruition here, practically preaching from the pulpit about the one true moral path. Going against the wishes of others, including her new husband, Bella takes a strong pro-life stance, in spite of the obvious risk to her life. As if that weren't clear enough, vamp sisters, Alice (Ashley Greene) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed), bicker about calling the creature an "it," "thing" or "fetus."
Somehow, while in the middle of all this, Jacob waggles his way into the picture for reasons unknown other than he likes to butt his nose into the relationships of others. After three long movies, shouldn't he realize it's never going to happen? And how does he keep getting invited to beach parties when everyone knows he's the biggest buzz-kill of all? Meanwhile, this totally bizarre subplot involving a power play within the wolf pack bleeds into the story proper and makes the movie even more tedious to watch. Bizarrely, as well as uncomfortably, the filmmakers work the Jacob angle into the Bella/Edward universe towards the end by wordlessly suggesting some nonsense about predestination. It explains why the little puppy is very protective of her and follows her around everywhere.
I really couldn't make any logical sense of it, because by that time, I was putting more effort into keeping my eyelids open.
The one unexpected aspect of this penultimate entry to the 'Twilight' franchise is the direction of Bill Condon, whose previous works include 'Kinsey,' 'Dreamgirls' and 'Gods & Monsters.' With Guillermo Navarro ('Hellboy II,' 'Zathura,' 'Pan's Labyrinth') doing the photography, Condon brings an attractive elegance and a visionary posh that tries to transcend the frustratingly sappy material. Yet, there's little escaping the fact that no matter the talent behind the camera, the excessively maudlin saga will always be about three ridiculously lovelorn kids with interchangeable personalities — sulky, pouty and lachrymose one minute, and then schmaltzy, languishing and pining the next.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Summit Entertainment brings 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1' to Blu-ray as a Region A locked, BD50 disc and housed inside a blue eco-cutout case with a glossy slipcover. The disc starts with a couple of skippable trailers before moving on to the main menu with music and full-motion clips.
'Breaking Dawn' crashes the Blu-ray party, making a rather remarkable entrance. From the opening moments, the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (2.40:1) shines and glistens with spot-on contrast and showing some of the most brilliant whites we've seen of the format. The entire picture comes with a beautifully vibrant cinematic appeal, offering a glossy, crisp presentation that has the smallest objects in the distance be just as clear and visible as anything in the foreground. The freshly-minted transfer is razor-sharp with distinct, fine lines on household furniture and around the endless foliage surrounding the Cullen home. Facial complexions appear natural with excellent, lifelike textures that reveal pores in the faces of nearly every actor. The color palette is richly-saturated and vivid with special emphasis on greens and reds though they never look artificial.
The only minor grumble keeping it from a perfect score are the black levels, which don't always seem consistent from one scene to the next. They're accurate and true for the most part, providing the image with a great deal of depth. But there are times when brightness falters a tad, sometimes noticeably so, and shadows look murky, which flatten the video and ruins much of its luster.
All in all, the tween melodrama makes an excellent debut on Blu-ray.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is about equal with the video, only a bit more subtle. Atmospherics are often employed in the rears, but in an understated manner that only aims to generate ambience rather than overwhelm. The music of Carter Burwell is what truly impresses by extending the soundfield into the back satisfyingly and enveloping the listener with endless mawkish romance.
A few noises from the dogfights also bleed lightly into the surrounds and sound pretty incredible, but it's mostly thanks to an exceptional and expansive soundstage. Imaging feels very broad and vast with crystal-clear clarity in the mid-range, terrifically differentiating several of the movie's high points and giving the few action sequences a great deal of presence. Discrete effects pan between channels effortlessly, and dialogue remains precise and distinct in the center of the screen. The low-end is amazingly weighty and highly-responsive, reaching some unexpected and appreciable depths during fights.
Overall, the lossless mix is a really nice surprise for a star-crossed romance.
Bonus material is shared between both formats, but squeezed into a single-disc package for Blu-ray as oppose to the two-disc DVD.
- Audio Commentary — Director Bill Condon knows the audiences likely to watch the movie and possibly listen to the commentary track. He shares his enthusiasm for the finished project, describing various elements about the production, like shooting locations, the cast and translating the book onto the big screen. Filled with a variety of other technical details, there aren't many moments of silence, and the filmmaker, at times, also seems to excuse the movie's terrible sappiness by relating it to the overall theme, which includes a few words on part two. In the end, this is only worth a listen for fans.
- Love, Death, Birth: Filming The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (HD, 87 min) — A whole new movie unto itself, the six-part documentary tries to cover every aspect of the production and includes nostalgic comments of the entire franchise. It starts with a general idea of the production and the camaraderie of the cast & crew with several words on the movie's director. The next two parts take a closer, detailed look at the wedding and honeymoon sequences. It's followed by a discussion of the werewolves, the characters and digital effects. It all comes to a close with two segments on the special effects and the preparations made for Bella's deteriorating pregnancy and birth scene. They can be watched sequentially or individually.
- Jacob's Destiny (HD, 7 min) — A small collection of interviews discussing the character's role and maturity in the whole franchise.
- Bella and Edward's Personal Wedding Video (HD, 9 min) — As if the movie weren't bad enough, you can also enjoy this faux wedding video.
- Jump To — Allowing users to directly jump to their favorite scenes, owners can relive the moments over and over and over and over . . . It's an interesting feature because it's near identical to the interactive bookmarking feature, only without the freedom to choose your favorites.
The only high-def exclusive is being able to watch the six-part documentary in Picture-in-Picture mode.
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Without a doubt, one of the worst movies of 2011, as well as the worst entry in the entire franchise, 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1' is a terribly hammy display of unchecked teenage hormones, trying its darnedest to be taken as a serious romantic drama. If you enjoy screeching, yelling, and other public displays of shameless histrionics, then this is the movie for you! This Blu-ray, on the other hand, arrives with a highly-impressive audio and video presentation that will likely surprise everyone. Supplements are geared towards fans, which will make them happy, but only scores an average considering the movie's immense box-office success. In the end, this is surely for fans only, but without that fanatical extremism blinding one's judgment, this is really a good disc for a very bad flick.
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