This is a story thoroughly reminiscent of the self-indulgent scribblings vampire fans do in the backs of their notebooks during high school classes, tales of beautiful and mysterious beings who whisk ordinary girls away from their ordinary high school lives to whirlwinds of adventure and romance. It covers the same ground, and is about as well-crafted.

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart, “Into the Wild”) moves to the rainy, green, forested town of Forks, Wash. to live with her father after her mother remarries. She hates it there, until she meets the beautiful and mysterious Edward Cullen (Robert Pattison, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) who is, she eventually discovers, a vampire.

Bella and Edward are little more than cyphers for the audience to project themselves onto. Bella is the sort of girl every high school age girl fears she is: clumsy, awkward, out of place. She’s also the sort of girl every high school girl wants to be: all the boys in her social circle ask her to the dance, and she is mysteriously bonded to an inhumanly beautiful, elegant, and rich young man who turns out to be a powerful vampire.

Edward has no personality to speak of; his only motivations revolve around Bella, so he’s easy for the audience members to reshape however they like. Pattison has mentioned in interviews that he had difficulty preparing for the role because even after reading all 500 or so pages of the novel the film is based on, he had no feel for Edward as a person. This is because Edward is not a person, he’s a collection of traits: gorgeous, passionately in love with Bella, afraid that he will lose control and drain all her blood. It’s very romantic, but doesn’t give him much of a personality.

The vampires in this tale are a bit unusual. Some of them have extra powers Edward can read humans’ minds (but not Bella’s, which intrigues him), and his sister Alice can see the future. Also, they sparkle. Literally. They cannot go out in direct sunlight because their skin sparkles like an overenthusiastic ‘tween with a Bedazzler got a hold of them. There’s even a sound effect for it so we can hear the shininess. Edward thinks (woe!) that his pale, sparkly skin is the mark of a killer. Bella thinks it’s beautiful. But then, Bella thinks everything about Edward is beautiful. That is, apparently, what makes her love him. Most of the rest of the time he irritates her: first, by refusing to explain his obvious superpowers, then by refusing to make her a vampire too.

That’s the biggest problem I had with this film: Bella and Edward are meant to be “unconditionally, irrevocably in love” as Bella puts it. But we don’t really see it.