Vampire Academy: Sucking On Every Level

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So, Vampire Academy

As a huge fan of the book series written by Richelle Mead, all I can say about the film is – whaaaaa–???

rose-lissa-vampire-academy-st-vladimirs(^^my exact reaction to the film)

You know how sometimes people say that an unsuccessful film adaptation can ruin the good book? Well, that’s ridiculous! If you love the book, nothing can ever ruin it or make it any less precious to you. And if by any chance a sucky adaptation actually did change your opinion about the book, you probably never really liked it to begin with.

Which brings me right to this particular adaption that I want to erase from my memory ASAP.

Vampire Academy is a story of Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir (half human, half vampire) who has a supernatural mental bond with Vasilisa Dragomir, a vampire princess and Rose’s best friend – the bond that tied the two of them when Lissa brought Rose back to life after a car crash. As it comes from the title, the events primarily take place at the St. Vladimir’s Academy where vampires called Moroi and Dhampirs send their kids to study and get prepared for the real life, whatever that means for these species. Which is basically like any other school, except this one runs on nocturnal schedule for obvious reasons – vamps and sun, you know.

Of course, the story would not be half as good if we only got to read about classes and blood feeding (gross!). To make it real cool, Richelle Mead, added Strigoi to the mix – a race of soulless vampires whose one and only instinct is to feed on the “good” vampires’ blood, which is exactly why the vamps need Dhampirs – who are kind of superhuman in terms of strength and healing – to protect them from complete extermination.

I did not only enjoy the books – I swallowed them in no time, fascinated and consumed by the plot, Mead’s writing style and multiple layers of the story.

The film, however, was an almost absolute letdown.

For one thing, the casting felt off. In the books, Lissa is some ethereal, almost elfish creature that could break from a strong gust of wind. There is a certain air of vulnerability to her, both emotional and physical, that worked wonderfully for the whole vampire-guardian thing, which is what the books are essentially about. The film Lissa didn’t have that feel to her, which made it hard for me to really care about her and her relationship with Rose. As an actress, Lucy Fry was great, no doubt about that. She just wasn’t the book Lissa.

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Then there was the evil Natalie, a social outcast who could only blend in because of her friendship with Lissa, and almost the key figure of the film. Again, she had a much stronger image and personality in the book. In the film, she was too ridiculously laughable.

The biggest problem I had was with Dimitri. Funny how the only thing about him that did work best was the absence of annoying Russian accent that makes my ears bleed whenever people who don’t actually speak Russian try to fake it. Which is exactly why fake accents are so awful! Now, I don’t have anything against Danila Kozlovsky as an actor, and he was picked up for the role for a reason, I suppose. But once again, he just didn’t go with the book Dimitri, at all. Did they even read the books? Whenever he was on the screen, it usually took me a moment or two to remember who he was and what he was doing there.

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Rose was cast wonderfully though. Zoey Deutch did an awesome job, conveying Rose’s Juno-ish quirky and speak-first-think-later personality perfectly. Chatty and babbly, she was a pleasure to watch, which, ironically, also was a bit of a problem – the scenes that she wasn’t actually in felt flat and lifeless and terribly boring.

Sadly, this is where the good things end.

All in all, the books had certain darkness and urgency to them, they felt serious for YA, dealing with some serious moral and ethical issues. The film felt very light and almost silly in comparison – like a big joke or even a parody, it lacked the edge that I particularly enjoyed about the novels. Compared to the complexity and mood of the printed material, the film was nothing but a tricycle trying to compete with a space ship. It looked and felt very cheap as opposed to what it could and should have been. Much to my disappointment, 95% of time was downright ridiculous. Huge chunks of information that the book offered through general narration were conveyed through painfully expositional dialogue, particularly in the beginning of the film, which literary made my brain hurt.

And while we’re on it – who the hell came up with the slogan for the film?! “They Suck At School”? Really? It makes the film sound like some vampire Mean Girls adaptation, which it isn’t. As much as the film sucked (haha, no pun intended, sort of) on its own, it stills pains me that it probably lost some audience just because of awful marketing. It still deserved a chance, you know?

So, while no adaptation can ever ruin a good book, it can make people not want to check it out after watching the film if they haven’t read it before. Sadly, Vampire Academy (the film) is a good example of bad in the industry.

Skip the movie, read the books!

A coffee junkie and a passionate traveler, Nadin is in love with all things writing – because who wants to live in the real world, anyway? TV or films – everything needs to be fast paced and dramatic. Scary? Even better! A vampire at heart, she can always be found in her cave, glued to her laptop. As a dedicated yogi and someone who can easily hike all the way to Alaska, Nadin thinks she’s the unhealthiest healthy person ever – because pizza, duh? She strongly believes that live needs to be lived, so… walk away from whatever makes you sad and make things happen!

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