For a movie that was filmed on a shoestring budget (approximately 37 million) and was never even supposed to be made (the original screenplay involved a high school track jock named Bella) - Twilight has certainly exceeded all expectations.
We, the fans, have known all along this was going to be big. The books have made author Stephenie Meyer a comfortable housewife several times over. She has hundreds of websites and blogs dedicated to her vision of vampire lore. And a week before the film's release, the Twilight soundtrack shot to #1 (the first soundtrack to ever reach the #1 slot before the movie has even opened). So now the question remains: did the film live up to the hype? It's hard not to be slightly biased, as I have been such a big fan. I certainly felt that director Catherine Hardwicke remained true to the vampire yarns Ms. Meyer has been weaving. Hardwicke has a steady pacing, and draws out the characters in subtle, but beautiful ways. Kristen Stewart especially, makes us believe Bella - the girl who doesn't seem to fit in with the other teens at her school, but isn't such a snob that we hate her. She is real. She is deep. She is insecure. In short, Kristen Stewart is Bella Swan (but better, because we aren't constantly in her head). Between her looks of longing to co-star Pattinson, and Edward's brooding glances, their chemistry is absolutely undeniable.
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are now officially bona fide international movie stars.
Hardwicke has also trumped up the action sequences...filling in the gaps that Meyer glossed over from the book (perhaps for the sake of her innocent tween audience?). We see a very lethal group of villains (especially newcomer Cam Gigandet), and some wonderful protagonists (the quirky Cullen family) who are completely worth fighting for.
But the best scenes in the movie are still Bella and her immortal love Edward - chewing the fat. Trying to stay away from each other, but failing miserably. Expressing as best they can the incredible and undeniable attraction they feel for one another. In short, Twilight delivers - for those who have read the book, and even for those who haven't. (However, the material may not be as suitable for husbands/boyfriends, as it is for all the women who have loved it so passionately).
Time will tell if the ticket returns prove what most of us have known all along - Stephenie Meyer fans wield a mighty sword in Hollywood. Happy viewing!