I adored it. It quite literally gets better each time I see it
I admit, the first time I watched it, things seemed rushed, disjointed, inappropriately comical and quite frankly a bit of a hot mess. Then I went to see it a second time and was able to really enjoy it. I think seeing it the first time was a bit like missing the forest for the trees; I was obsessing so hard over the similarities and differences in every tiny little detail to the book (it even bothered me that the kitchen cabinets weren't yellow haha), that I didn't give myself a chance to enjoy it.
The second viewing allowed me to put aside all expectations (now that I knew the extent of the changes they'd made) and look at it with a fresher, more open mind.
- I loved how it hit the ground running and never slowed down.
The actors were perfect.
- Kristen Stewart really managed to pull off a perfect Bella in my eyes. She was able to illustrate not just the depth of her feelings for Edward, but also her frustrations with his behavior at the beginning of the story perfectly. True, she seemed a bit out of it at parts, but if you watch closely, you'll notice that it was really her being Dazzled, not bad acting as some have suggested.
- Billy Burke was hysterical, and he did a fantabulous job as Charlie.
- And Robert as Edward. *happy sigh* I admit, when I first saw that he'd gotten the part, I was a bit cautious as to whether or not he could pull it off, but he did an amazing
job IMO. His depiction of Edward's inner conflict of being drawn to Bella while at the same time wanting to stay away from her to protect her was breathtaking.
- And Tyler as Jacob. Oh my. I can't say anything further. I'm tongue-tied on that subject (in a good way)
I really enjoyed the other Cullens as well. Jasper and Emmett were hysterical, Alice was EXACTLY as I'd always pictured, and Rosalie was amazing. Carlisle and Esme were fantastic, and I loved the cooking scene! As much as I like when they stayed true to the book, that was a fantastic way to introduce the group dynamic as well as set up Rosalie's inexplicably strong hostility towards Bella.
Of course, I can't forget to mention The Kiss. *whew* That was probably the hottest scene I've ever seen in a PG-13 movie in my life. The pacing was perfect, the closeups rather than the wide shots (thanks to SM for that!), him pushing her to the bed and then throwing himself across the room and then struggling for control.. Flawless. I know a lot of people didn't like how he pushed her to the bed, and I understand that, since he never really kissed her like that until much later in the series. However, I think it was necessary because in the book, there's much more time to develop the whole "I can never lose control with you" and to illustrate that he really DOES want to be with her in that way, but that he's so afraid of hurting her that he can never let go. Had the movie's kissing scene mirrored their first kiss in the book, without any of the extra "temptation" scenes, it very likely would have looked as though he were repulsed by her enthusiasm rather than by his fears of hurting her.
As for the effects, I was actually pretty satisfied with them. The sparkles looked pretty much as I'd imagined them in my head. Let's face it, the man sparkles. There's no way to make a man sparkle that doesn't look either cheesy or completely over the top. I loved the subtlety of the effect, and I couldn't help but agree when Bella whispered that he was beautiful.
Was it perfect? Of course not. They took a beloved book, of which I have devoured every word and every sentence many times over, and condensed it down into two hours. They cut some things that broke my heart, and some of the tiny details that were "wrong" just SCREAMED at me. The cabinets in the kitchen were the wrong color, I didn't see a rocking chair in Bella's room, the volvo was wrong, Bella wore a jacket to dinner in Port Angeles, Esme SO did not look like she'd fallen/jumped from a cliff when Carlisle changed her, Bella was portrayed as a vegetarian (so his description of their lifestyle would appeal to her maybe? IDK), Edward's eyes were gold in the hospital scene, and c'mon, a SNEAKER with the prom dress??
But even with all of those things that bugged me, I loved it. I still love it. And I'm sure I'll continue to love it each time I see it in the future (which I hope will be often!).