I want to start with an admission: I did not go to this movie with an entirely open mind. I was not expecting to enjoy this movie. However, prohibited from snarking as I was, I figured I ought to give it a chance.
I'll start with the good points. This movie has an excellent soundtrack, featuring the diverse talents of Radiohead, Linkin Park, and Iron & Wine, among others. Carter Burwell's score is also great: dark yet emotive, very appropriate for a vampire romance, and highly listenable.
The pace of the movie is a vast improvement on the book; it's amazing what difference a little foreshadowing can make. The movie also has the decency not to skip over the action sequences. On screen, and accompanied by Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole", the baseball scene is actually pretty enjoyable.
The characters are a mixed bag. Bella is rather bland and uninteresting, but at least we aren't subjected to her constant wangsting
about greenery as in the book. Edward is dark and brooding, but some of his lines are unintentionally silly, and his stalking of Bella is still creepy (more on that in a bit). Carlisle seems fairly cool, Rosalie is annoying, Alice is unexpectedly badass, and everyone else is rather forgettable.
Improved pacing notwithstanding, the plot suffers from many of same problems as that of the novel - namely, that it centres around a highly unrealistic and rather unhealthy seeming relationship between a doormat of a heroine and the vampire stalker who craves her blood. This is supposedly justified, because he's only bossing her about and following her around because he worries about her. Even if one overlooks the fact that this claim is frequently used in real life to justify the behaviour of abusive partners, the implications still seem to be that women are incapable of fending for themselves and need looking after, a rather dated viewpoint.
That said, it's probably best not to overanalyse what is, essentially, a light, fluffy romance intended for teenage viewers. Ultimately, this movie feels like a gothic, sparkly version of the Harry Potter
movies, only with less interesting source material. It's certainly not groundbreaking, but on balance, it's not terrible, either. If you're curious about Twilight
, but not masochistic enough to stomach Stephenie Meyer's prose, this is worth a look.