Sunday, April 27, 2014

FILM REVIEW: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy is a 2014 film based on the Number One Best Selling YA series by Richelle Mead. It stars Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry and Danila Kozlovsky, Vampire Academy was released in the US on 7th February 2014.


Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, half-vampire and half-human, who is training to be a guardian at St Vladimir's Academy along with many others like her. There are good and bad vampires in their world: Moroi, who co-exist peacefully among the humans and only take blood from donors, and also possess the ability to control one of the four elements - water, earth, fire or air; and Strigoi, blood-sucking, evil vampires who drink to kill.
Rose and other dhampir guardians are trained to protect Moroi and kill Strigoi throughout their education. Along with her best friend, Princess Vasilissa Dragomir, a Moroi and the last of her line, with whom she has a nigh unbreakable bond, Rose must run away from St Vladimir's, in order to protect Lissa from those who wish to harm the princess and use her for their own means.
[taken from]

I had heard about Vampire Academy for quite some time before I decided to take the plunge mostly because of the tone of the reviews, memes and what have you heavily hinted at a story that was all about the romance and not a lot else. Still further research revealed that the series was more than just a love triangle and I eventually decided to try it and was impressed though I thoroughly dislike Rose as a character but that is another story.

Reviewer’s Note: I am a fan of the Vampire Academy series and its follow up Bloodlines so that will colour my review of the film. I would recommend reading the books before checking out the film if they are on your TBR list. For any non YA fans or anyone else who won’t be reading the books, this film can stand on its own as it is a reasonably faithful adaption of the first book in a series.

I was happy at first when I heard about the film adaption for Vampire Academy it has a great, loyal and certainly passionate fan base and it has that classic love triangle which is a toss-up for whether or not it will work in a film franchise. Then I started hearing that “Mean Girls with fangs” tag and I shuddered. VA the books are not particularly comedic so I did wonder what was happening in terms of direction.

Thankfully after watching I can say that the comedy aspect of VA is not overdone or forced it just stays there in the background bringing a smile or a chuckle and definitely did not distract me from the joy of seeing characters who I have followed for years suddenly coming to life onscreen.

VA is a film about vampires with supernatural powers so I have to look at how that was handled. It is not a spoiler to say that Lissa and Rose are psychically linked and the way they handle it in the movie is interesting and very well thought out.

A look at the books' original artwork before they replace it

The only low point in this surprise hit was the fight choreography, in a film about bodyguard who has to fight in hand to hand combat against deadly vampires you would think that they would have spent more time on the choreography. It looks loose and badly edited, it doesn’t compare to say what you might see in a show like Person of Interest which does violence realistically without wirework or slow motion.

How close is the film to the book? The answer to that is “VERY” things are compressed but all the important scenes that stuck in my memory seemingly make it through to the film from the book. I’m sitting here trying to think if any characters are left out and I think the answer to that is no as the second book introducing a lot of the characters that fans of the series might have forgotten didn’t appear in the first book.

The real test for me of any book to film adaption is “Would you recommend it to a fan of the book?” for Vampire Academy the answer to this question is a resounding yes. For those of you not familiar with the book I would urge you to consider a read before viewing but the film stands alone and is absolutely understandable in the way that other popular film adaptions are not if you are unfamiliar with the source material.

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