REVIEW: “Vampire Academy” MOVIE

6 Feb

I am a huge Vampire Academy fan (written by the beautiful Richelle Mead.)

When I learned they were making a movie I began following the production company’s Facebook page for the movie. Being able to follow the progress of the film was amazing. Watching the casting announcements come, the promo pics finally released and then the trailers. Not to mention contests mixed in.

Let’s talk about the trailers for a moment. A lot of fans were disappointed by the teaser trailer. They played up a lot of the vampire stereotypes and set it to some kick ass music. I didn’t mind the trailer but it left me wanting more.

Fast forward to the first real trailers. Now we’re talking. I thought they were fabulous. Rose is known for being very sarcastic and in your face and the trailers really played that up. But a lot of fans thought they had turned the film into a comedy. Trust me. It’s a supernatural high school movie packed with ACTION, DRAMA, ROMANCE and COMEDY. A good balance of all four.

Even when the darker more action packed trailers came forth they were still complaining. I guess you just can’t please everyone.

Well, thanks to my diligent following of the aforementioned Facebook page, I won preview passes to see the film tonight at the Mall of America. It was a longish drive for my BFF and me (about 40 minutes, maybe longer, thanks to lots of city traffic and multiple car accidents – not us!) But it was worth it.

The film opens up with Lissa (Lucy Fry) and Rose (Zoey Deutch) out in our world, just like the books. We’re introduced to what the Moroi are and what Dhampir’s are. Soon after we get to see a lot of action, it’s been a while since I last read the book, but I think more action than we saw in the book. We’re then introduced to the Strigoi. The introductions are similar to Cady’s introductions in Mean Girls, but not exactly the same.

At school we see all the drama that was in the book. There’s the mean girl – Mia (Sami Gayle) – who is dating Lissa’s ex-boyfriend and is out to make her life hell. There’s the mysterious dead animals that are turning up everywhere Lissa goes. Lissa begins hanging out with the boy Rose does not approve of. And, oh yeah, Rose begins lusting after her instructor.

I swear, the names Rose calls Mia here make sense! 

The movie is hilarious. Zoey did a brilliant job of channeling Rose’s essence and bringing her to life.

Sami, as Mia, made me both hate her and feel sorry for her.

Christian (Dominic Sherwood) is dark and brooding and totally hot. The chemistry between Dominic and Lucy was great.

Lucy, as Lissa, was classy and regal, just as she should be. I think they glossed over some of her darker issues that were in the book, explaining it away in under a minute and casually mentioning it again (those who read the books should know what I’m talking about! Those who have not, I’m trying not to spoil it!)

Dimitri (Danilia Kozlovsky) was not quite as stoic as I’d hoped he’d be. He and Rose had good chemistry as well, though I think Lissa and Christian win in the chemistry department. Dimitri and Rose have some steamy scenes. And also very comical scenes together.

Natalie (Sarah Hyland) was hilarious as well. So dorky. So adorable. I don’t recall in the books her having much personality, she just kinda hung around. In the film she absolutely has personality. She even has a crush on another Moroi that I don’t remember being in the book, but that I absolutely loved in the film.

The action in this movie is awesome. The scenes were very cool. Dimitri really showed everyone what a “god” he really is when it comes to destroying Strigoi.

The one element of the books that could have turned out terrible in a movie translation is the fact that Lissa and Rose are spirit bound. This means that Rose will pop into Lissa’s head randomly. This worked great in the book to tell Rose’s POV, but also glimpse into what Lissa was up to. In the film they did this by giving Rose really cool gold eyes and a vacant stare. While in Lissa’s head she would talk to/at Lissa as though Lissa could hear her, though the bond only works one way. Those were some of my favorite scenes. Very nicely done.

Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy

Basically, I think if you love the books you’re going to really like the movie. The changes made were minimal, that I can remember. None of the changes affect the plot/outcome. I was actually surprised that, with as many subplots as there were, they pretty much all made it into the book.

If you haven’t read the books, I think they did a good job of explaining what’s going on without dragging it on. It was fast paced.

And best of all? The end sequence sets this up PERFECTLY for the sequel, “Frostbite” to be made!

So, do us all a favor and go see the film opening day! (Friday February 7, 2014)


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