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A New Moon for "Twilight" on DVD

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"You're my own personal brand of heroin," Robert Pattinson's hunky vegan vampire Edward Cullen tells seventeen-year-old Bella (Kristen Stewart), the loner from Phoenix who goes to live with her police-chief dad in rarely sunny (hint! hint!) Washington state. My guess is that the two-disc special edition on DVD and Blu-ray of last year's movie sensation will be heroin to Pattinson swooners. They made the movie a box-office bellringer, $191 million in the U.S. and $350 million worldwide. To tease the hell out of fans waiting for the usual Tuesday release of new DVDs, the sadists at Summit Home Entertainment won't put out Twilight until this Friday night when retailers will stay open late and host release parties for the DVD. (Go to the Twilight website to find a store near you). I've got my copy, and despite my decidedly mixed review I have to say that the movie, from the Stephenie Meyer bestseller, works better on DVD than it did at the multiplex. Here's why:

The cheeseball makeup and special effects don't seem so glaring on a smaller screen. Come on, even a bargain-basement $37 million budget should have bought more than blurry camera moves and a lame game of vampire baseball. It's the intimate closeups of Stewart and heartthrob Pattinson that draw you in. The deleted and extended scenes don't add much, but a seven-part documentary on the making of the movie is a Twilight orgy for fans. Props to Pattinson for mocking the hell out of himself on the DVD audio commentary, dissing his lipstick and bouffant hairdo. The British actor is a riot, and he doesn't bring down the movie because he and Stewart play their characters for real, like they mean it. That's why there's reason to think slightly positive about what Hollywood will do with the next three books in the Meyer series (New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn). New Moon is about to start shooting in Vancouver and Italy for a planned release on November 20th, which is faster than Bernie Madoff hid his money. Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) won't be doing the first sequel (it could be creative differences or her reluctance to take a crash course in speed directing). That job falls to Chris Weitz, who did well co-directing About a Boy with his brother Paul and then screwed up royally all by himself with The Golden Compass (Nicole Kidman was scary for all the wrong reasons). So I've got questions:

What do you think worked well in the movie version of Twilight? What didn't?

Do you think that Meyer's Mormon faith and her belief in the erotics of abstinence" intensifies the film's sexual impact since Edward withholds himself from Bella?

Who really gives the killer performance in the movie?

Are you at all excited about the movie of New Moon?

Will Pattinson generate as much heat in a story where Native American teen (and werewolf) Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner, vies with Edward for Bella's love?

Do you think Dakota Fanning is smart casting as Jane, the innocent-looking vampire who can crush you by just thinking bad thoughts? (I do)

What do you think is the best book in the series? How about the worst?

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Peter Travers

Rolling Stone senior writer Peter Travers has reviewed movies for the magazine for more than 20 years. Send your comments and questions to him here.

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