Twilight book vs. movie: Which is better?

Spark Chronicles

Fact Box

  • The Twilight film series (2008-2012) is a five-part romantic fantasy saga based on author Stephanie Meyer's 2005 original novel and four-book collection. It features the love story of main characters Bella Swan and Edward Cullen as they interact with vampires and werewolves. 
  • According to Rotten Tomatoes, the first Twilight movie received a 49% 'tomatometer' rating while the audience score was 72%. In contrast, the first book's rating on Goodreads was 3.63 out of 5 stars, with over 5 million reviewers. 
  • The popular franchise Fifty Shades of Grey started as Twilight fan fiction. 
  • As of 2020, over 160 million books in the Twilight series have been sold worldwide. 
  • Twilight won several MTV Movie Awards in 2009, among which were Best Movie and Best Kiss.

Grace (Movie)

While the book might have started the cultural obsession with Twilight, the film solidified the series' status as an exemplar of YA media and aesthetics with its visuals, soundtrack, and style bringing a vampire world to life.

Over a decade since the film's release, teenagers are still promoting the 'Twilight aesthetic,' a phenomenon directly linked to the movie's somber tones and sartorial styling. The story is made more immersive thanks to the unique grey-blue hue of the film's setting--a town called Forks--as well as the alternative-music-based soundtrack mixed with the film's original composition, 'Bella's Lullaby.' Because of these visual and musical choices, the film effortlessly transports the viewer, enticing them not just to observe the narrative but to become wholly involved in it.

Further, the movie stays faithful to the source material while making beneficial changes. It adds witty details like the Cullens' wall of high school graduation caps--a cheeky nod to their perpetual youth--and the scene where the Cullens spend all day making an Italian meal for Bella, a cuisine known for garlic. The film also builds on other characters, including Edward, who is harder to grasp in the books due to the limited POV. Bella's friends have a more prominent role in her life, and the villains, Victoria, James, and Laurent, are foreshadowed throughout. There are scenes during Act I where the trio murders members of the Forks community--raising the stakes when they finally confront the Cullens. 

The movie also has more diversity than the books, casting Black, Asian and Hispanic actors. Pale skin comes up often in 'Twilight,' so this change is refreshing. Yes, both could have done more, but the film took strides that the book did not.

Maha (Book)

Over a decade ago, the world was introduced to the love story of teenager Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen. However, only those who read the books may have experienced Twilight to the fullest. And here’s why. 

Like the rest of the saga, Twilight was told from Bella’s point of view, which allowed readers to see her true personality rather than limit her to the lip-quivering, stuttering, awkward girl featured in the film. 

Moreover, this helps readers better understand why she made many decisions—especially those which led to her character development in the fourth and final book.

The movie also rushed through events to focus on Bella and Edward’s budding romance. However, it missed out on introducing the backstories of key characters such as Alice and Carlisle. It’s these characters who later inspire Bella’s decision to join the Cullens as a vampire. 

Characters aside, the plot itself underwent many changes for cinematic effect. Unfortunately, the omissions or changes didn’t always serve the story.

Take, for instance, Bella’s Dream. In the novel, it is a prophetic dream that foreshadows the conflict between werewolves and vampires. That dream also helps her realize she loves Edward. On the other hand, the dream in the movie was creepy, dark, and more of an artistic take on gothic vampires. 

Finally, nothing testifies to the novel’s supremacy over the movie as much as ratings do. According to reviews.org, the film received a rating of 5.10, whereas the book received 7.30. 

So, maybe it’s time to revisit the novel to explore aspects of Twilight the movie downplayed or missed altogether.

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