Now, let me just say that my first degree is in Engish Literature. That being said, I think it's OK for me to say (and not sacriligious!) that the series is OK. Yeah, just OK. I've read better. A LOT better. Anne Rice kicks her butt.
Stephanie Meyer's books are like popcorn- airy, easy, not a whole lot of substance. The first book took me the plane ride and a few hours at Tammy's to read. Had I not heard raves about it, I honestly wouldn't have bothered to read the rest. But, I felt like I had to keep plowing through to see what happened!
I read New Moon on the way home. Not a strong book, by any means. I read the other two shortly after.
Now, I'm sure there are fans out there who will argue that this was series was written for teens, which should for some reason make the lack of depth acceptable. Was it really written for that audience? Or is that just an assumption? Anyway, the fourth book was, by far, the best. There were a few plot twists that I didn't anticipate. That's a good thing.
The movie? ICK. The first part was awful. Poorly acted and more importantly, poorly directed and edited. If I hadn't have read the book, I wouldn't have been able to figure out the whole madly in love thing. Bella's motives weren't all that clear, and I think it could have been significantly improved with better editing. The second half of the movie was much better. Edward's passion is much more evident.
Whew. I'm sure I'm going to get hate mail for that opinion... But I can see the draw of the novels. Easy to read, not racy, not scary. The love between Edward and Bella, the strong family ties with the Cullens, the strong ties with Jacob and his tribe- they are attractive in this day and age of high divorce rates and computer dating. It wasn't all fluff. I did enjoy parts of the series. I just like tons of details and depth, and a certain thickness that comes with some authors (like Stephen King).
After all that, I can say that I enjoyed looking a the cast- some seriously beautiful people! I will see the next movie, on DVD. And I will cross my fingers that it's a little better than the first movie.