That was actually quite fun! I'm coming to it from a decade of mockery and am not actually friends with anyone who unabashedly loves it (unless someone I picked up post-2011 is?), so this is not the love of a Twilight-stan, but as a person who came in expecting it to be pretty ridiculous yet enjoyable, I was fully satisfied.
First of all, there is so much Intense Staring in this movie. So much. I half thought it was a comedy, because I cracked up each and every time a vampire's eyes attempted to bore into Bella's soul (and vice versa). If you don't confirm that entire theaters were laughing out loud, I will be very disappointed.
Second of all, I have never been a person who got Angry Feminist about the tropes in this book, and have actually always been inclined to read it the romantic way it was intended, but based on the way RPattz played Edward I immediately and completely understood all the controlling stalker complaints. So many of his lines were delivered in such a disturbing BUDDING SERIAL KILLER way. "I feel very...protective of you." Ahhhhh!
Also, how in the world did he strike her as a catch? Fom the moment they meet he looks like he wants to kill her, and even when he finally starts talking it's like thinking is so difficult for him that he hasn't gotten around to learning how to speak yet.
(which, incidentally, makes for distinct whiplash when they start dating and all of a sudden he's cheerful and cracking jokes all over the place. How did this happen? Is bipolar disorder on the table now?)
Further on the humor front, how dead is this town that the arrival of a new girl = every eligible male is instantly tripping over themselves to date her? At this point I'm not even sure if they agreed to date the girls Bella hooked them up with because they liked said girls, or because they knew/sensed it would make Bella happy.
Meet The Cullens
First, I laughed forever and ever at the terrible makeup on Carlisle, which didn't even look vaguely natural. It looked like the makeup in that "White Chicks" movie. I assumed he was going to be super creepy based on that, and I'm surprised that he's apparently really warm and sincere? Anyway, as for the rest, since I have no pre-existing opinions about them or knowledge of most of their names...
Esme: AW, IT'S AVA FROM GREY'S ANATOMY. I will never learn that actress's name. Elizabeth Reaser! She is charming and pleasant, and I like her.
Rosalie: She's a blonde-haired bitch, and I love her. Just like I always love the nasty blondes. I only know Nikki Reed from people's outrage about her playing Sexpot Betsy Ross on Sleepy Hollow this year, but I enjoyed everything about her nasty bad attitude. That's probably who I would be in this vampire family, extremely concerned about my own neck and pissed off that some teen idiot I live with is willing to risk my safety for some addled hormones. I AIN'T GOT NO LOYALTY TO THIS STRANGER, PROTECT HER YOURSELF.
Emmet: who is this wooden lughead and why is he here
Jasper: I am delighted by just...everything in his appearance. He looks completely unbalanced and/or super worried all the time, and I don't know if he actually said more than one sentence, but I want to know him.
Alice: ALICE IS THE BEST. I feel like I have heard people make a lot of positive noise about her, and I'm going to chase that wave, because she instantly reminded me of Tonks.
In other words, I guess I kind of understand Bella wanting to be absorbed into this family now, after the relatively lonely/minimalist household(s) she's grown up in.
I am very disappointed in the "vampire sparkling." I've always pictured it as kind of like a fairy dust shimmer. That's just some oddly shiny sweat.
I've never been Team Jacob because by the time I was aware that was a thing, 12-Year-Old-Taylor Lautner had been cast and there was just no part of me that could find him attractive. Turns out all he needs is a wig and some grayish-blue filters and something about him screams, "Yeah, okay." He's in this movie for 5 minutes and I am already down with that because a) he seems really sweet and adorable and b) whoa whoa whoa nobody told me they were childhood friends.
[edit: OH NO. The wig is apparently gone in the next movie, so I hope the filters are enough to do the trick.]
I was not under the impression that Bella actually had human friends. I thought she just skulked around hugging the walls, after rejecting all overtures on day 1, until her fellow outcast started stalking her. That was a nice surprise.
I really enjoyed the dress-shopping/bookstore trip (up to a point)...or rather, what it could have been if they'd all just stuck together and/or Bella had been less "ugh I can't believe you guys haven't figured out I was just using you for a ride".
The cinematography was beautiful. I mean, that might just be skating by on the fact that Washington/whatever place was standing in for Washington is naturally gorgeous, but...it was pretty. And it had a fitting soundtrack, though I'm not sure if I'll listen to it on its own.
I will never get to find out if I genuinely like Charlie or if my infatuation haze has automatically earned his favor, but oh gosh, look at how hard he's trying to be a good dad despite being so awkward and out of practice. All I want out of life now is an entire realistic-contemporary AU in which there are zero vampires so she bonds with the girls in her friend group, maybe dates Jacob, and it's just a rollickin' Swann/Black party, at least until the story ends with Bella heading off to college and making her dad super proud of how she turned out.
(p.s. I'm sorry are you telling me that after she broke his heart in that horribly painful way to protect him, I don't get closure on the "I need to apologize to Charlie" comment? Excuse you that is NOT how a conflict narrative works. GET OUT OF HERE, EDWART, AND LET THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN. Please note that I'm so unenthused by his existence that I am rejecting a romantic bedside hospital-recovery scene.)
Other Best Parts and/or Surprises
OK, I do not remember anything about the Killer Vampire Trio, which is amazing. I was starting to zone out on the boring love story, but then they swirled onto the baseball field and I sat bolt upright and was hooked again. Possibly because it was so funny, and/or because my tolerance for cracktastic nonsense is now limitless after my summer with Zoo, but still.
Vampire Volchok (well, "James," but to me is always the sleazy guy from The O.C.) plays evil perfectly. The black vampire seems a real polite/courteous chap whom I hope we can pull over to the good side one day, or who will at the very least serve as enjoyable a villain as the psychopaths on Revolution. And then there's Victoria. VICTORIA.
By which I mean RACHELLE LEFEVRE. First of all, there's no actress I girlcrush on like her, and I am now heartbroken in a non-theoretical way that they fired and recast her after the second movie. Bryce Dallas Howard is a delight but there is just no way she's as magnificent as Rachelle is. Second of all, Victoria is just so deliciously evil. She barely has anything to do in this movie and I still think she's the best.
(side note: aww, pending future Under the Dome reunion between Rachelle and...whatshisface whom she killed!)
I honestly have no memory of anything happening after Edward meets her dad. I knew about the weird flying forest date from the movie previews, but I didn't know she met Edward's family (btw, their spontaneous attempt to create an Italian dinner for was adorable...and the moment that Rosalie shattered a bowl in her rage is the moment I fell in love with her).
I might vaguely remember Bella getting hurt, but I had no idea how, or how severely, or that it was the result of a trio of Murder Vamps specifically becoming hell-bent on killing her.
In saying that, I realize I've never given any thought to what the actual plot that requires three additional books is. I've always assumed I knew, but I really don't think I do! I know there is a love triangle in the next book, although since they ended the first installment together I don't know how that comes about, but after that it's a big blank until the end of Breaking Dawn. I'm assuming there are more vampire wars in my future, possibly led by Victoria, but I don't know why. Or why exactly there is a vampire (or just Cullen?)/werewolf rift in the first place.
I still kind of want to read the book before I move on to the next movie, if only because it's probably the one that's the highest percentage of normal contemporary YA vs. vampiric nonsense, but then I looked it up in the library and oh god why is it so many pages. 500 pages. I barely have that kind of staying power for realistic novels that I go into thinking they'll be amazing, never mind something I just want to be over quickly.
P.S. It's been a long time since I read a Twilight parody, and it appears that my two favorites AREN'T WHERE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE INTERNET anymore; nooo! Were they preserved on Tumblr somewhere, maybe? Does anyone know where I might see them again??
On the bright side, Movies in Fifteen Minutes totally has one! It has one for ALL THE FILMS, plus bonus posts about the book content (I think), and I probably read it at the time but I don't remember anything about it, so finding that was a shot of joy in my day. Still as funny as I remember her parodies being.