The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer is one of the most successful book series of all time. The first four books in the series sold more than 160 million copies worldwide and were translated into nearly fifty languages. The saga also spawned a film franchise of five blockbuster movies that broke box office records upon release.
The Twilight books are better than the movies. The Twilight books offer more detail, world-building, and relationship development. However, the Twilight movies have better action scenes than the books.
This fascinating tale of vampires, werewolves, and romance entertains various audiences, but you may wonder if you should pick up the books or just watch the movies. In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the best and worst things about the Twilight books and movies, so by the end, you’ll have a better idea of which medium you’ll prefer.
It is worth it to read the Twilight books. The Twilight books offer more detail, context, and exploration of relationships than the movies. Therefore, by reading the books, you get a more detailed story and deeper understanding of the characters.
Although they tell the same general story, there are many differences between the Twilight books and the Twilight movies. However, it’s difficult to determine if one medium is better than the other because they both have their strengths and weaknesses.
Ultimately, which medium is better depends on your personal preference and what about the story you find most entertaining.
I’ll go over the pros and cons of the books and the movies in the following sections.
Let’s discuss some of the best and worst things about the Twilight books to help you decide if you’d like to read them.
The books offer several upsides, such as:
- There are more books that provide more detail and context about the Twilight world than there are movies. There are only movie adaptations for the four original books in the series. However, the novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and the novel Midnight Sun provide more context and detail about the vampirish world of Twilight that you’d miss out on if you only watched the movies.
- The books give Bella and Edward’s relationship more time to develop. Twilight is first and foremost a romance, and in the books, Bella and Edward have more of a slow-burn relationship than they do in the movies, which makes their love more believable.
- The supporting characters get more thorough characterization. The focus of the movies is definitely Bella, Edward, and Jacob, so the supporting characters don’t get as much screen time and therefore aren’t as fully developed as they are in the books. For example, Alice Cullen’s backstory is completely left out of the movies, even though it’s a compelling story and explains why Alice is the way she is.
- The supernatural elements are more believable. The movies had the challenge of using human actors to portray immortal, impossibly beautiful vampires, which resulted in a lot of pale foundation and colored contacts. Fans of the story may find the visuals they create themselves as they read the series better than the special effects and makeup used in the movies, especially for certain characters like Renesmee.
They do have their downsides, though, including:
- Reading the books is a time commitment. There are four books in the original Twilight series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. All of these books are five hundred pages or more, with the entire saga totaling nearly 2,500 pages. It’ll likely take you longer to read these books than it will for you to watch all five movies.
- You miss out on the action. The first three books and most of the fourth are from Bella’s perspective, and because she doesn’t participate in many of the battles in the first three books, readers miss out on exciting action sequences.
Like the books, there are good and bad things about the Twilight movies. Here’s a summary:
The movies offer positives that we the books don’t:
- The action scenes are much more exciting in the movies. There aren’t that many action scenes in the books, and those that are there are often brushed over because the books are from Bella’s perspective, and she often doesn’t participate in the fights. However, in the movies, viewers can see all the action, and the bigger budget of the later movies allows them to be impressive sequences.
- The movies have incredible soundtracks. The music is one of the best parts of the Twilight movies. The soundtracks are alternative and angsty and feature incredible original songs, including “Decode” by Paramore, “Chop and Change” by The Black Keys, “A White Demon Love Song” by The Killers, “Bella’s Lullaby” by Carter Burwell, and “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri.
- Let’s face it: the movies have some pretty great eye candy. Part of the fun of Twilight is the love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob, and this is made even more fun in the movies with the inclusion of good-looking actors Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Let’s not forget Billy Burke as Bella’s dad, Charlie, either!
Naturally, there are some things that the movies don’t do well:
- The lovable side characters don’t get as much screen time. Bella’s human friends are funny and well-developed in the books, but they barely appear in the movies. Additionally, Edward’s family members have fascinating backstories and unique character traits, but these are watered down in the movies.
- Bella doesn’t have as much depth in the movies as in the books. No hate for Kristen Stewart here, but because the books are told from Bella’s perspective, readers get to know her motivations, beliefs, and priorities more in-depth in the books than they do in the movies.
- Some of the cinematic and acting choices distract from the story. Why does the first Twilight movie have a weird, blue filter? Why does Edward call Bella his “spider monkey?” The movies in the Twilight saga tend to get better as they go, but some of the camera angles and other choices in the first movie come off as cheesy and distract from the story.
Whether the Twilight books or movies are better depends on your personal preferences. If you prioritize detail and thoroughly exploring relationships and context, you’ll most likely prefer the books. However, if you’re more interested in action scenes, you’ll probably find the movies more satisfying. Either way, you’re in for an entertaining treat!