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I see one review that simply bashed this movie for having vampires and magic. So that must pertain to twilight and harry potter right? No. This movie is a combination of underworld (slightly) and mean girls. I've read the novel and it was the exact same way. The thing is this movie was destined to follow twilight, and to be honest if twilight never came out this would be better anticipated. Anything nowadays has to live up to the sh*t that is twilight. Twilight was moody and had a message that having a boyfriend is most important while this one is simply have fun and be yourself. People always will compare vampire movies to twilight, and thats simply blasphemous. You go into this movie wanting to find deep meaningful messages and symbolism, you won't find it. Go into this movie with an open mind and ready to have fun you'll enjoy yourself immensely. This is simply a movie to have fun, that is ALL!!!
I had a glimmer of hope for Vampire Academy. The faintest bit of
optimism that the film might actually be something that Ender's Game
and Beautiful Creatures was not. I knew nothing of the books. Seven in
total I am told from my vampire novel-loving partner. But surely it a
major studio release couldn't be as bad as the Twilight films. Surely
just out of blind luck, a vampire film targeting the tweens might
actually be watchable.
Vampire Academy not only fails to exploit my flicker of faith but it pulverizes any rational reason as to why the screenplay was greenlit in the first place. A monstrosity of a mess, Vampire Academy is a clear front runner for worst film of 2014.
I could attempt to educate you on the script, but I am not quite sure I understood it all myself. In the first five minutes alone we see a car crash, get introduced to a vampire and her half-vampire/half-human guardian, force fed the supernatural bond between the two, learn that vampires can control the four elements and are given a description as to dhampirs, Morois and Strigoi's. Whew.
Zoey Deutch (looking very much like a young Rose Byrne) plays Rose Hathaway. She is a dhampir who is protecting Princess Vasilisa Dragomir (Lucy Fry) from Stigoi an evil vampire breed created when a vampire takes a human life. Maybe more evil still are Vasilisa's classmates at the Vampire Academy who resent her return after being in the real world for the past year. It's like Mean Girls with fangs.
There is some sort of plot. Vasilisa is tormented by someone or someones in her school who sacrifice wolves and cats in an attempt to gather her attention. Vasilisa seems less concerned about those trying to kill her than she is about the boys in her school and her desire for acceptance. That brings a few Robert Pattinson look-a-likes into play that add nothing much else to the story than doing just enough to get us to the next DVD chapter without displaying any real character. There is also a love interest for Rose, large wolf dogs, more vampire mythology and Gabriel Byrne trying his best to ensure that he is not overlooked by next year's Razzie nominations.
The screenplay by Daniel Waters is the film's largest obstacle. The dialogue is Aaron Sorkin fast but written with a Uwe Boll sense of direction. Characters talk quickly to each other and then the scene will just cut as if we came to the end of a chapter and the director didn't know how to transition to the next scene with any sense of flow.
Those holding out for strong action scenes to be the glue that holds you between naps can forget about it. Poorly choreographed and uninspiring hijinks are the norm as the film stumbles towards a final shot that suggests a sequel (it will not happen).
Vampire Academy might have worked as a television series. Why not. Dirty Little Liars Meets True Blood on CW. But this mess is easily the worst film of the year. At least until the next Adam Sandler film is released.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have read every book from the VA series many times over and I
absolutely love them - love the story, the characters and everything in
between. After seeing the trailer for Vampire Academy I already knew it
was going to be terrible, but I went and saw it anyway - I'm such a
huge fan of the books, I had to go see the movie. I went with my Best
Friend and we both have the same opinion of the film. Hands down, the
worst book to movie adaptation I have ever seen.. And I have seen a
I'll start by saying that even before I saw the film I wasn't happy with the casting choices they made. And I'll tell you why.
Rose Hathaway is meant to be this bad ass curvy, voluptuous girl with dark tanned skin (from her Turkish father, remember?) and dead straight, long, almost jet black hair. What they made her was this skinny, pale, curly haired stick with no curves, no tan and no straight hair. Not to mention you could tell they had to purposely make the actors boobs look bigger by putting her in push up bras. I also don't think Zoey Deutch did a good enough job playing Rose. Don't get me wrong, she's a good actor and as her own character she was great - but not as Rose Hathaway. She wasn't nearly as Sassy enough, not the slightest bit seductive/flirtatious enough and her whole character was built on snarky comments (and yes, I realise that Rose is that kind of character - but that is not all she is. She has substance. And Rose Hathaway in the film, did not).
And their decision for Dimitri? COME ON! He was no Dimitri Belikov. Danila Kozlovski did an alright job with the script he was given, he had Dimitri's sneaky smirk down to a T! But he is not a 'god' like Dimitri is so often described as in the books. His fight scenes were all so obviously fake and they weren't convincing.
I said it before and I'll say it again.. Worst book to movie adaptation ever. Who ever wrote the script for the film clearly loves their soap operas because this is exactly what the film felt like to me. It actually felt like they were mocking the book. They made it all about cheap jokes and cheesy one liners and the book is WAY more than that. They focused solely on the comedic side that the rest of it literally looked like a satire. Not to mention they added so much crap in that wasn't in the book and they left out so much from the book that really needed to be in the film. For instance, the development of feelings between Rose and Dimitri - BARELY touched on in the film. Rose & Dimitri don't just fall in love at first sight.. They have weeks of training sessions, of getting to know each other before they realise they love each other. In the film, however, they have a few suggestive comments, a couple of training sessions and at the end of the film they are confessing their love for one another. I was kind of like 'um.. when did that happen?'
Another crucial focus in the book is Lissa's Spirit driving her insane.. Which they kind of touched on but not really and definitely not enough. They also decided to add a random scene where Rose tells Headmistress Kirova and other faculty members about Lissa's Spirit.. As far as I remember, in the book, Rose does everything to prevent them from finding out...
They also made a HUGE mistake when they decided to add a Strigoi attack at the very beginning of the film just outside the gate at St Vlad's.. hmm, last I checked the wards surrounding the Academy stretched much farther out then the gate line. But who am I to say, I could be mistaken.. I've only read the book say at least 5 times! (not even an over exaggeration). Another scene they decided to ruin was the lust charm scene, which lasted all of 15 seconds. In the book, Dimitri sees the 'decision' in Rose's eyes and removes her necklace as it's the last item of 'clothing' she's wearing, then and only then do they realise what the necklace was.. In the film, however, Dimitri somehow knows exactly what the necklace is and rips it from her neck violently. Also, Christian doesn't get shredded to pieces by the PSI hounds.. He gets shot. By Victor Dashkov. Yep. That actually happened. Or, didn't happen.
One final point I will make, is that I know how difficult it is to make a good movie adaptation from a book.. There is way too much in a book that just can't fit in to a movie. But I feel like there could have been much better decisions made regarding Vampire Academy to make it a much better film. I even thought that as a movie on it's own, it was terrible. There was no real point to it - people watching it who haven't read the books would probably walk away going 'was that a mockery of all things Vampire?' Not to mention the film raced through the storyline as if there was no tomorrow.
I have read some other reviews by other fans of the books and I have to say, I'm extremely disappointed in the fact that they thought it was a fantastic movie.. In my opinion, it most certainly was not. I would be shocked to my core if I heard Richelle Mead say she was proud of the movie and happy with the direction the director/writers/producers etc. took. This movie was not Vampire Academy. This movie was rubbish.
I'm sitting here writing this a mere four hours after seeing the film,
and I don't really know what I expected - if I expected nearly two
hours of tired tropes and poor writing, coupled with all around poor
performances, I would be happy. If the film was well written, well
acted, and a slight bit campy, it would be fine, but it just wasn't.
The concept isn't original, the cast was all around shocking, excluding
Victor, although there seemed to be a complete lack of
evil-ferret-stroking; his character arc was rather predictable. Every
single line was just exposition after exposition, with the occasional
burst of teenage sass from Rose, which was extremely frustrating after
a while. Quipping one liners is not necessary, especially after an hour
and a half.
Every relationship felt forced, I didn't feel any connection to the characters, and I honestly couldn't care less what happened to them; they were not believable in the slightest. A good script would have helped, but the performances also assisted in bogging it down I actually enjoyed the concept, as someone who hasn't read the books. I liked the vibe I got from the film to begin with, but it felt extremely tacky. Everything felt like plastic, everyone's face was constantly caked with makeup, felt extremely superficial and tacky, and every backdrop was injected with a tonne of poor CGI. All of the special effects through the film were just poor, and were not nice to look at. The fire effects looked like the fire effects from Adobe After Effects.
I liked what they were trying, but they honestly needed to up their game all across the board; budget-wise, script-wise, casting-wise, and the dozens of other issues with this picture. I almost got a 'it's so bad it's good' feeling, but it's heavy handed and poorly made throughout.
I do not recommend.
When I saw the trailer for this movie I was less than impressed to say the least. I thought it looked cheesy and ridiculous and it turns out the movie was even worse than the preview. I have read every book in this series at least twice. I love them, they are probably some of my favorite books I've ever read. And that makes this review so hard for me to write, but honestly this movie is one of the worst I have ever seen to the point that I created this account to write about how horrible it was. Everything in this movie was cheesy. The writing was cheesy, the acting was cheesy, the special effects were cheesy, and the directing was awful. And on top of all that the movie as a whole made almost no sense. I went to see this with my best friend, she hasn't read the books, and she walked out having no idea what was going on and what the actual plot line was. Even with me reading the books I had an extremely hard time following everything that was going on because they jumped around from different things, they should have just followed the book. Which brings me to another point... they did NOT follow the book like other people have been saying. They brought things in that happened in the third book that had no place being in the first movie. You're not supposed to know what kind of magic Lissa has nor is anyone supposed to know about roses feelings for her instructor. I am so mad that Richelle Mead sold the rights for this movie. I think that if she would've held out for a better director and screenwriter this movie could have been almost as amazing as the books. It was so bad that it almost comes across as a spoof on the whole vampire genre. Overall don't waste your money this movie is far from worth it.
I have read all of the VA series and enjoyed them immensely, mainly
because of Rose. Rose Hathaway is feisty, determined, funny, and
flawed, and it was always fun to see what she would do next and how
that would land her in trouble. This story is not your "typical
vampire" story. Everyone in the story already knows about vampires and
the makeup of the society they live in. Nor is it a damsel in distress
story. Rose already possesses strength and determination, although she
does have impulse control issues. She is best friends with the vampire
princess, Lissa Dragomir who is the last of her line, and extremely
loyal and protective of her.
The movie and books have been compared to many other YA/vampire genre, but the story does not follow Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey outline. Both Star Wars and Harry Potter did excellent jobs capturing the hero's journey, and the Twilight series followed Carl Jung's development of the soul and the anima/animus well. Mead does not use either of these outlines/archetypes in her books, and her storytelling provides a freshness, as well as giving a portrayal of strong women who look out for each other.
Perhaps, the story could be compared to "Thelma and Louise" navigate a dysfunctional high school that just happens to have vampires and magic.
Now for the movie itself: the tone and pacing of the movie are very much Rose and are true to the tone and pacing of the books. I actually liked the new scenes that were added to the movie they did not distract in ways that other book-to-movies have done, but actually enhanced the story. I think the movie represented all the dynamics of the various relationships well, although I do wish the Rose/Dimitri relationship had been better developed. There wasn't the tension between them that there was in the books. And although I wish I could have forgotten the story (and the previews) during the movie so that I could have enjoyed the movie without all that knowledge, I did find myself getting lost in the movie.
Of all the first time movies of various popular YA book-to-movie adaptations that I have read and seen, I think this movie was one of the better ones that has been done.
I have read the books. I love Richelle Mead's books-and when I say
this, I mean it. I have read every one of her books (I STILL can't
believe Georgina Kincaid doesn't have her own show yet!). However,
placing my love for her as an author aside, I went to see the movie
with the notion that it would be terrible and cheesy (you saw the main
trailer right?!). It was nothing like what was in the trailer. It was
snarky, spunky and over all a good film.
HOWEVER- I'm sure you've read otherwise. I've seen the critic's reviews. I've read about how terrible (very few) people thought it was. Let me explain it a little. They have NO idea what they're talking about! (okay, that's my opinion and I don't mean to invalidate any one else's but c'mon, it's awesome!) As far as visual affects go, it's about as bad as any lower budget film. Seriously does anyone REMEMBER the first Harry Potter? Look at the last one-total difference. Budgeting can change a film completely. Which is Exactly what we will see happen when this series really takes off. If you haven't read the books, I strongly recommend talking to someone who has, they can explain things you may have missed or don't quite understand. I don't think that is a flaw in the movie either. We see films that aren't adaptations from novels and miss things, or don't have any clue what really happened until we watch it again (maybe twice?). Who hasn't watch a film again and said 'OH! I get it now'. To wrap this up I'd like to say that this movie is done really well.NO it does not EXACTLY follow every sentence in the book, but they've summarized and portrayed elements that were probably really difficult to write/act/direct. I also take comfort in the fact that the next books just get better! And I imagine that over time, the movies will get larger and larger budgets, and will get new writers and more production staff (in addition to the current ones, not replacing) in order to create the world in it's entirety for the movie audiences. It was a great film- don't knock it till you try it, at least that's what momma says ;)
I too walked into the movie thinking it was some sort of twilight based
movie. However, I enjoyed the overall film for its outlandish humor and
lead actress. Some parts where a bit shocking but nothing too far from
crossing over a certain line.
I have never read a single book of this series; although the movie does a wonderful job explain exactly what is going on and who everyone is. Vampire academy from times gave us teen angst and did over sexual most of its cast in some scenes. So if they are planning a sequel please don't shove sex right in our faces. It thought it was a movie that had potential to be a bit darker than just being only surrounded by high school problems. But the whimsically teen side didn't keep this movie from the mild gore. I would rate this movie an 7/10. Would I watch if there was a sequel? The answer is yes because this first movie attempt wasn't as big of a letdown as I had anticipated. The next movies if any have the possibility to break away from the usual "Teen Drama" and not hold back on the blood and guts.
If this franchise doesn't want to be compared to twilight I suggest you not make it the usual storyline. Girl and two guys, the two guys want her, she is mortal and they are supernatural, not blood all glitter. So overall this movie had wit, spunky humor, mild gore, provocative scenes, high school drama, and fangs. An overall good recipe so far for the freshman vampire movie, word to the wise for the sequels if any, just step it up and leave us wanting more.
I have read all the books. Entertaining young adult novels, easy to
read and difficult to put down. Loved them even though I don't really
fit the age category being over 30 and a mother of teenagers. However,
I was looking forward to seeing the books come to life. I kept my
expectations down, but still, I'm sad to say I was so disappointed. I
really, really wanted to like the movie but it fell flat.
I think it would have worked so much better as a TV-show, since the books are really about characters, and in the limited time that a movie has, there is simply no time to develop characters in the way the books do. A whole lot of time goes in to explaining who is who and what and why, and the story's twists and turns come too fast and doesn't have any time to build up any suspension at all. I found myself getting bored and wishing for the movie to end sooner than it did. It is such a pity that it was not developed for TV instead.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
... which ironically makes this film exceptionally difficult to review.
1. Needless to say, this reviewer is not of the demographic of this very ambitious (some might perhaps use the word "arrogant") film. Ordinarily this would be a handicap. However based on the reaction from the intended demographic in the chat groups, which borders on outright hatred, this may actually give me more objectivity.
2. Running almost 2 hours with the last minute or so devoted to advertising the sequel (a nasty habit that is now part of Hollywood's DNA, with antecedents back to the 1930 cliff-hangers) this was intended to be the first in a series. Whether that will ever happen is now in doubt...?
3. Some of the most astounding pacing problems I have ever seen in a film, especially given the obvious availability of talent and budget. I mean, you have names like Joely Richardson and Gabriel Byrne just sitting around .. and this is the best you can do? The film does not even start to resemble a proper film (with rhythm and pacing and audience connection) until about 1 hour in, AND THAT IS MUCH TOO LATE.
4. Another irony -- the "teen themes" about romance and BFFs and the perils of zits and high school seem overly forced, and therefore less likely to impress the intended audience. Which seems to be what actually happened.
5. The one redeeming factor is Zoey Deutch,a newcomer who appears to have been unleashed by the director and simply allowed free rein to do her thing. The only wise decision he made, it seems. This girl has major potential, the camera loves her, I believe the audience connected with her, and overall she comes across as a sassy Ellen Page -- and, recall, Page was pretty darned sassy to start with. Best of luck in her future career.
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