Attempting to adapt Stephenie Meyer’s “insanely popular novel about a tormented teenage vampire and the plucky heroine who loves him” is a hefty task, said Genevieve Koski in The Onion’s A.V. Club online. Although Twilight (view the trailer here, via YouTube) tries to find a “compelling middle ground between gothic supernaturalism and teenage romance,” the movie “winds up stumbling into the inane territory implied by both descriptions.”

But “this film succeeds, likely unreservedly for teens and in a classic guilty pleasure kind of way for adults,” said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times online, “because it treats high school emotions with unwavering, uncompromising seriousness.” You have to give director Catherine Hardwicke “credit” for that—and for making it seem possible for anyone to feel “13 and female for a few hours.”

It’s just too bad that Twilight lingers “in its romance,” said Katey Rich in Cinema Blend, “spending whole scenes with its leads in a picturesque field, gazing at each other”—that may have worked for the book, but it doesn’t really work for the movie. “At least there's gorgeous scenery to go with it—tall pines and snowy mountains, with the cheesy special effects of ‘fast vampire flying’ only ruining things a little.”