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'Moon' mania
DVD release tonight means bonus features for 'Twilight' fans

No doubt there are countless Twi-hards counting down the hours to tonight's DVD release of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" at 12:01 a.m. Prerelease parties are hosted by some area retailers starting as early as 10 tonight.

Just being able to watch the heart-tugging second film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's wildly popular best sellers over and over again is sure to make fans quite happy. But Twi-hards, like any strong fan base, want more -- more inside info, more of the big three (Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart) and anything they can get on the upcoming sequel "Eclipse."

With huge commercial expectations for the DVD, many retailers are releasing their own editions with unique bonus features. Here's a look.

When it comes to extras, the two-disc "The Twilight Saga: New Moon Special Edition" ($32.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray; Summit Entertainment) isn't very special. It has a second disc of bonus features with a 65-minute documentary that's not much more than a cursory overview of "New Moon." In fact, outside of seeing the actors swat away mosquitoes during the big breakup scene or the nifty 70-foot stunt free-fall that was Bella's cliff dive, the documentary isn't very entertaining or informative. Three music videos and rehearsal footage with the band Muse are included.

The "Twilight" DVD had a great commentary with director Catherine Hardwicke and stars Pattinson and Stewart. It was funny, often touching (Pattinson was adorably self-deprecating) and gave fans the insight they crave.

The "New Moon" commentary is with director Chris Weitz and editor Peter Lambert. Weitz jokes the stars didn't show for the commentary because he stole a burger from Stewart. Even though I enjoyed listening to Weitz, who is riot, it's a huge disappointment that the studio didn't include a commentary with just one of the actors from the large cast.

Weitz starts off explaining he opened the movie with a lengthy shot of the moon because he knew "there would be nothing but screaming" from the audience so it didn't make sense to have dialogue.

He pokes good-natured fun at Pattinson quipping "poor Edward" and "here comes dreamboat"; then makes fun of himself as a director ("here's me being obvious again"); makes note of all of poor Jacob's missed opportunities to kiss Bella and admits Jacob's wig looks like "Chewbacca" (amen to that). It's fun, but the guys often get technical talking about shots and camera angles. The most puzzling moment is Weitz's reluctance to translate what Jacob whispers in the Quileute language to Bella. This is exactly the information you give on a commentary, especially since the moment was so huge in fandom. (The loose translation is "stay with me forever.")

Target has a three-disc "deluxe edition" priced at $36.99 DVD and $39.99 Blu-ray, although the store, like most of them, has drastically cut prices by as much as $20 to boost first-weekend sales. Target had a similar release for "Twilight" last year, and the extra material was invaluable. The "New Moon" release promises 60 minutes of never-before-seen content including the coveted deleted scenes. A limited number have a collectible film cell.

Walmart, which has an 11 p.m. release party at its Williamsville store (5035 Transit Road), has an "ultimate fan edition" with bonus footage ($33.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray) that has a seven-minute sneak preview of "Eclipse."

The party at Borders starts at 10 tonight with "New Moon" awards and other activities. The Borders release has an exclusive two-sided medallion (Cullen crest on one side; wolf pack tattoo on the other); 25 minutes of extended scenes and more. The party is at the Borders' stores at 3480 Amelia Drive, Orchard Park, and 2015 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga.

Can't get enough of Forks? "Twilight in Forks: The Saga of the Real Town" ($19.99, Summit) is an 84-minute documentary on Forks, Wash., the real town that is the setting for the books and movies. A visit to Forks High School is among the stops.


DVD extra

FREE WILLY: ESCAPE FROM PIRATE'S COVE. Young Bindi Irwin makes her film debut alongside Beau Bridges in the newest installment in the "Free Willy" series. Featurettes and deleted scenes are on both the DVD ($27.95) and the Blu-ray combo pack ($35.99), which also has a standard DVD and digital copy. (Warner Home Video. Available Tuesday).


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