As expected, Twilight is polling on Rotten Tomatoes about 55-45 negative-positive. Obviously a serious difference of opinion, but it’s interesting to see how this and that high-cred critic thinks it’s silly or worse and others are touched by it, or at least respect its strategy and understand what it’s going for. Like The Philadephia Inquirer‘s Stephen Rea, for example, saying “it’s about as intense a series of onscreen clinches as the movies have seen in ages…but amazingly, it feels real — the actors pull it off.”

But the two best paragraphs written about the film have come from Time‘s Richard Corliss, to wit:

Twilight…observes movie laws as aged as Edward, who was initiated into the realm of the undead in 1918. Defiantly old-fashioned, the film wants viewers to believe not so much in vampires as in the existence of an anachronistic movie notion: a love that is convulsive and ennobling. Bella could be any Hollywood heroine in love with a good boy whom society callously misunderstands. She’s Natalie Wood to Edward’s James Dean (in Rebel Without a Cause) or Richard Beymer (in West Side Story). Cathy, meet Heathcliff. Juliet, Romeo.

“This brand of fervid romance packed ’em in for the first 60 years of feature films, then went nearly extinct, replaced by the young-male fetishes of space toys and body-function humor. Twilight says to heck with that. It jettisons facetiousness for a liturgical solemnity, and hardware for soft lips. It revives the precept that there’s nothing more cinematic than a close-up of two beautiful people about to kiss.

“The movie’s core demographic is so young, its members may not know how uncool this tendency has become. But for them, uncool is hot. And seeing Twilight is less a trip to the multiplex than a pilgrimage to the Lourdes of puberty. It’s the girls’ first blast of movie estrogen.”