I missed this in theatres and never rented it, but a Showtime preview started this weekend and I finally got to see it. I’ve been trying to read the book (it’s incredibly dull) and thought I’d like movie better. It is pretty good, but it has some bizarre flaws. The vampire special effects are totally hokey — it’s like there’s no physics involved. People fly through the air or climb trees like magic. Incredibly lame. (Worse, these supernatural events are set up dramatically by the director so that the audience can sense them coming, and when they do, they are invariably weak. I much prefer more subtle effects, like seeing a vampire across the room and when you turn away, he’s somehow right beside you. That’s far more creepy than seeing him run in blurry high-speed.) There’s other weird stuff done direction-wise (odd camerawork, jarring music choices, confusingly shot fight scenes), but the Washingon landscape is gorgeously photographed. There are also occasional moments of movie magic, either excellent chemistry between the leads or a scene or two that worked really well. I’m still uncomfortable with the casting of Pattinson as the lead vampire: his accent is all over the place, he looks weird to me (I’m surprised he’s considered good-looking), and I totally fail to see his charm. (Admittedly, I did like him more by the end than at the beginning, but that’s not saying much.) But Kristen Stewart is really good as Bella, and the supporting cast is excellent (though they aren’t given much to do). Scriptwise, I can’t compare to the book since I haven’t finished it, but there were several choppy scenes that felt shortened or out of context. The relationship between the two main characters at the beginning, for instance, was weakly handled, and some of the action stuff toward the end seemed to all blur together without a lot of explanation (like they leave Washington state and end up in Phoenix like thirty seconds later). Most bizarre to me was that the core love story happened out of nothing. It starts off with the two as antagonists, then suddenly they are in love. And not just ordinary teen love, but give-up-life love. There was no point when Bella “fell in love” with Edward, or vice versa. They were just magically destined for each other, apparently. Very odd. I wanted to understand why they were attracted to each other but it wasn’t explained. Another problem was the shallow relationship of Bella with her parents. I believe it must be deeper in the book, but on film it’s so sketchy that when it becomes important later, it feels weird, as though we skipped a chapter. But I’m probably overanalyzing this film. It’s not meant to be this deep in the first place. It’s a silly teen romance with vampires, and as such, it’s not terrible. It didn’t live up to the hype for me. I’d give it a six out of ten.