Haven't we seen enough unoriginal rehashings of vampire stories? It's pretty sad when something undead gets so damn old.
But let's face facts,
Twilight is a youth movie. At the screening I attended, I was probably the only adult present who wasn't a chaperone. For the majority of the audience, the vampire mythos is still as fresh and as clean as a twenty-three year-old actor playing a high-school student.
I was probably the only one in the theater who remembered another story about a high-school girl falling in love with a brooding yet gentle bloodsucker. But Buffy is an old lady now, and there's no place for her in the teeny-bopper set.
Twilight begins with our heroine moving from sunny Phoenix to the rain-drenched coast of Washington state. She's making the move mid-semester so she can live with her taciturn father while her mom and stepfather hit the road.
In a surprising divergence from cliche, her new schoolmates aren't bitchy and hierarchical. They are welcoming, close knit, goofy, and awkward. All in all, they seem pretty pleasant.
And then the vampires walk into the school cafeteria. The centenarian nosferatu look more like Vogue models than high-school students. They are coiffed, poised, and incredibly rich. They all wear yellow contact lenses and that wide-eyed goosed expression that you see on cover girls.
Being the only one in school as pale as the vampires, our heroine immediately strikes up a romance with the boy vampire with the highest-moussed hair.
From there, the rest of the two-hour movie is explaining to the audience how awesome it is to be a vampire. Apparently there's hardly any actual downside to being undead. These vampires never have to sleep. They get to go to prom and graduation over and over forever. They have a loving family, nice clothes, cool cars, super-strength, psychic powers, and they can go out on cloudy days. They can even go out on sunny days, but the sunlight makes their skin sparkle like My Little Ponies, which creeps out adults, but the chicks dig it. Corpses sparkle, don't they?
You hardly wonder why they bother using the word "vampire" at all. Why not just call them super-humans on a liquid diet? (For more discussion on the super-herofication of vampires, see the RevCast Roundtable001)
The one drawback of being a vampire is you can't make out with your underage girlfriend without risking a frenzied loss of control that could either kill her or make her pregnant.
Aside from a total lack of originality, and the weird suggestion that teenage girls secretly want to date mostly-dead senior citizens, this is a pretty movie with a talented cast.
And if you secretly harbor fantasies about dreamy vampire boys, this is the movie for you. Just pretend that you're there as a chaperone.