It was only a matter of time before the Twilight saga turned into a movie. And considering the unprecedented success of the books, which have now sold over 160 million copies worldwide, it’s not hard to understand why Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance was made into a feature film. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse premiered in theaters last week and has so far grossed over $50 million USD at the box office.

The film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s phenomenal Twilight Saga couldn’t possibly live up to the expectations of diehard fans of the books, could it?

Turns out, it barely even tries. Director Chris Weitz’s latest film adaptation of the Twilight Saga is a completely different animal from the novels, and not in a good way. Gone are Bella’s quirky humor and sparkly vampires; in their place are moody atmospheres and a complete lack of humor. Gone, too, are the comedy scenes between members of Jacob’s (Pattinson) pack, including a famous “dad joke” that was arguably one of the highlights of the original Twilight.

While a talented actor like Pattinson could make the switch from novels to film easy enough, it’s clear that Weitz is only interested in capturing the essence of the Twilight books — the darker the better.

Here, we’ll talk about how to make the most of your favorite books and what to look out for when watching the hotly anticipated Eclipse.

Make The Most Of The Story

At its core, Twilight is a coming-of-age story set in the idyllic town of Forks, Washington. Bella (Mayer) is a high school student who has just moved there with her mother (Robbie Findlay) and stepfather (Charlie Kelly). She’s an only child and a bit of a nerd, which doesn’t exactly endear her to the other students, especially the male ones. In addition to her best friend, Victoria (Rachel McAdams), Bella is visited by a mysterious blonde woman who turns out to be a vampire, now living in hiding.

The longer the series goes on, the more obvious it becomes that Stephenie Meyer wrote the books in order to showcase her unique view of teenage angst and identity crisis. Bella’s experiences in Forks are meant to mirror those faced by teenagers today, which is part of the reason why the books resonate so strongly with readers. The darker the better, however, and Eclipse, the last in the Twilight Saga, is as gloomy as they come.

Eclipse opens with a brutal game of chicken where two cars, one driven by Bella and the other by her nemesis, Alice (Katherine Heigl), almost come to blows. It’s a short scene, but it hits you with the shock of the dramatic moments to come and sets the mood of the entire film. Alice is the jealous type and spends the rest of the movie trying to tear Bella down, to the point where she actually succeeds in poisoning her against humanity.

In between these occasional bursts of violence, Eclipse spends the majority of its runtime in contemplative moods and lingering silences, which could perhaps be described as moody atmospheres.

The Characters Have Changed

One of the biggest changes between the books and the film is the addition of a strong female lead. While Bella remains the protagonist of the story, she is frequently undermined by the other female characters and in some ways serves as an object of desire for the males. Victoria and Alice, for example, are both in love with Jacob (Pattinson), and it’s never made clear how much either of them actually wants him for himself rather than the chance to bring him closer to Bella. Alice even admits that she’d like to possess Bella’s soul and make her into a vampire, but she’s too jealous to do it herself, so she cooks up a plan to make it happen.

A Complete Lack Of Humor

Perhaps the greatest shift from the books to the film is in the overall tone of the story. The Twilight books are a riot of dry humor, a running joke laced throughout the entire series. The dialogue is snarky and often filled with pop culture references and one-liners. Eclipse, on the other hand, is a grimmer affair, filled with jump scares and body horror.

The Writing Is Terrible

The first Twilight film, directed by Bill Condon and written by Akiva Goldsman, tried to walk the line between faithful adaptation and artistic license, but in the end it felt more like the latter, especially when compared to the original novel. The writing in Condon’s film is flat and overly didactic and drags on at times.

Less Of An Anticlimax

After the overabundance of humor in the first film, the absence of humor in Eclipse is akin to an anticlimax. Even the violence is toned down and almost non-existent. The longest and most grueling sequence in the movie involves Bella’s transformation into a vampire. Instead of being a grand event, as in the novel, the scene drags on and on, filled with dialogue that’s supposed to be intense and nail-biting but often comes across as cheesy.

Less Of A Love Story

As grandiose as it might sound, Twilight is essentially a coming-of-age story and as such, it explores the themes of responsibility, independence, and love. It is also, by nature, a highly romantic story, which isn’t exactly unexpected considering that the books were billed as “a love story.” Forks is a small town, but not so small that it doesn’t have its own gossip column. The presence of the press is one of the first things you see as Bella and Jacob’s relationship comes under scrutiny from Alice and the rest of the pack. Still, for as much as critics have railed against the books for being a shameless cash cow, they’ve never actually managed to put into words what exactly is wrong with the story. Even the supposedly adult themes of alcoholism and drug abuse are pretty much ignored in favor of more overt displays of teenage angst.

What Works And What Doesn’t

While the book versions of Twilight have their shortcomings (like the unbelievably cheesy dialogue and constant cheesiness), they also have a lot of value. The settings are unique, the atmosphere is something you probably won’t find in another book, and Bella is an iconic character who has struck a chord with audiences around the world. Even the parts that seem out of place in a movie like Alice’s descent into madness are still some of the most horrifying scenes in a children’s literature adaptation, especially considering that they’re presented in such a graphic and realistic fashion.

The biggest question is whether or not Chris Weitz and his team can recapture the magic of the original Twilight, which is impossible to do. One thing is for sure: if the moody atmospheres and complete lack of humor don’t bother you, then you’ll get your money’s worth.