Right, so...you knew this was coming, right?
I'm sorry that this couldn't be the *official* review, but apparently the small production budget left no room for captioning. Therefore I can comment on just about everything but the script itself. ;)
I will say, however, that from what I could see, the film did seem to tighten up some of the plot problems of the book and therefore as far as plot goes, is stronger than the original. It did a better job of setting things up, adding suspense, and trimming unecessary fat.
Stylistically...well, I'm not a huge fan of director Catherine Hardwicke's choices. I'd been worried since the first trailers about her use of a hand-held camera and my fears were not unfounded. The shakiness isn't so much to create nausea, but it does detract some from the moments that should have been slow and beautiful, rather than constantly moving. I think Hardwicke could probably watch the 2005 Pride and Prejudice- or even Harry Potter (to which Twilight is so often compared) a few more times. However I will say that it wasn't quite as shaky/bad as I expected, so that was a relief.
The characters were much better handled. I felt they cast the perfect Bella- any place where she didn't fit the "book Bella" seemed clearly to be script or direction- not the actress. She is great at the subtlety, but still retaining Bella's clumsiness.
Edward? Not quite as sold on him. No offense to Robert Pattinson, but he simply looks too old to pass as a 17-year-old. I mean, even the oldest-looking 17-year-old that I know doesn't look quite as mature as Pattinson does.
That was sort of a recurring theme among the rest of Edward's brothers and sisters- only Jasper seemed to pass as a high school student.
However, that said, I loved the rest of the Cullen family. Carlisle was the perfect patriarch, Rosalie distainful and resentful, Emmett playful and teasing, and Alice charming and sharp. A loved how each of them really took on their characters, even with limited screen time, and even more limited dialogue. Jasper is perhaps my favorite example of this, with his stiff, military posture, and the way he followed Alice around like a devoted puppy.
Esme is perhaps the shakiest, but the book never gave her a huge role so there was very little for her to go off on.
I felt the three evil vampires were extremely well done. I know some people have been upset by the fact that Laurent is black, but...honestly...if a black person gets bitten by a vampire, I don't think they're going to turn white!
Jacob seemed perfect to me- I can't wait to see more of him in the next three films (which I think we can be pretty sure are coming.)
I think the only character that felt miscast/misdirected was Angela. She's an okay character in the film, but really did not seem to fit the book Angela at all. I don't know what effect this could have on the future films- whether they'll adapt her a bit to be more of a friend to Bella.
While I felt that overall the Cullens visually fit my mental images of the characters, I missed the dark circles under their eyes that were so often described in the books. And I was not at all happy with the Cullen's house...could they have changed it any more from Meyer's original description? It felt far, far too modern for vampires with such roots in the past.
Hmmm. I think I'm going to skip the clothing all-together. I can't be too depressing in one post, can I?
Although I do have to say that the music was a mixed back. There were some really nice pieces- but there were also some modern vocal tracks that just...are really going to date the piece in about ten or fifteen years. That's one reason why I think Harry Potter is, once again, going to outlive and outrank Twilight. The HP crew have been careful to stay away from vocals that could date or detract from the film. Even LOTR, though using some vocals, worked extremely hard to keep them stylistically in tune with the feel of the film. I wouldn't say that Twilight's choices are...jarring...necessarily...I just don't think they were...necessary.
As far as age apprioprieteness? If you want details, head on over to Pluggedinonline and they'll give you the rundown. I felt that it was tastefully done- a wee bit more graphic on violence than the book, but they kept the sensuality in check. Thankfully.
And the final verdict? Well, I can't give that until I see the movie with close-captioning and can actually understand the dialogue. But I can pretty much guarentee that I'll be buying it the week it comes out and enjoying it for years to come. Because, when it's all said and done. I just can't get enough of those Cullens!!!
Oh...and one final detail...did anyone else notice the wolf picture hanging on Bella's wall when her father first shows her to her room? I did a silent squeal...