First of all, I haven't read the books for this series. There're four books total, written by Stephanie Meyer, Twilight being the first.
Coming from an outside standpoint then, I was totally uninterested in seeing this movie. I only saw it because I was dragged there by my girlfriend, who, like many teenage girls now are swooning over this vampire romance story. What I was expecting was a cheesy, terrible story filled with cliches and bad visual effects (if the trailers for the film were any indication).
It WAS cliched as I expected... the story itself is a Frankenstein mix-match of Romeo and Juliet meet any generic vampire romance, BUT where this story shined was within the characters themselves. Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) really are a great match for each other, and as a movie viewer, you can almost sympathize with their deep love (if you have any sort of heart that is). Over the course of the 2 hour film, you actually grow to care about the characters and what happens to them, which is rare in similar over-hyped blockbusters (See: Harry Potter). The movie almost is worth the hype for any 12-30 yr old fantasy/romance/comedy fan out there.
If you haven't heard a thing about the movie yet (how could you not?), here's a quick run down of the story:
Bella Swan (Stewart) is a high school teenager whose parents are divorced. She moves in with her dad in the small town of Forks, Washington after her mom goes cross country with a new "daddy figure". In her new setting, Bella's a bit of a misfit, but her peers in school are very nice to her... save for one Edward Cullen, who is completely rude at first. After a bit, he opens up to her and they fall in love... soon there after she learns that he's a vampire (hence his initial put-off). Although he has to control his natural urge to kill Bella, Edward loves her enough to manage. He even introduces her to the rest of his vampire clan, who are equally friendly. Edwards family tries to resist their urges to feed on humans by feeding on animals instead (dubbing themselves "vegetarians"). The problem is that another group of vampires in town aren't so friendly, and will stop at nothing to kill Bella.
Overall, the film is pretty powerful emotionally. Scenes between Edward and Bella are really moving. The overall tone of the movie doesn't quite feel like a hyped-up blockbuster... but more indie, which I like.
The effects and actions sequences were one of the few downfalls, but seeing as it was a small part of the film, its easily overlooked.
Rob Pattinson as Edward is probably the highlight of the film. His role is a step-up from his former role as Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter films. He pulls off a great teen-vampire heartthrob (though much to my dismay after being deafened by screaming girls in the theater at his mere appearance).
If you've been on the fence about seeing this movie, I'd say go ahead and give it a try. I liked it, despite my prejudices. I don't know if I'd venture to read the books now, but I'll certainly keep on any future movie adaptions.