This review contains little to no spoilers.
What’s your favorite book that’s been adapted into a movie? Is it one of the Harry Potter films? Part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy? How well do you think that they adapted? Did they stick to the plot or was the only thing similar to the book was the title of the movie? (I’m looking at you, World War Z.)
It’s importance the realize the difference between books that have been adapted into movies with the exact same plot and books that have been adapted into good movies. In that conundrum, we have the beginning of a new film series, Vampire Academy.
Well, it would have begin a new film series that might have made a lot of money if it wasn’t thoroughly and horrible crushed by The Lego Movie last weekend (and deservedly so).
Vampire Academy focuses on two young vampires, Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) and Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), after they’re captured from their escape from their boarding school, St. Vladimir’s Academy, two years prior. After being dragged back by a new guardian of the school, Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky), the two girls learn about devious plots that could lead to their destruction, as well as having to deal with the issues of high school all over again.
The movie also makes sure to explain the three different types of vampires – Rose is a Dhampir, half human/half vampires, which are mainly guardians to the royal Moroi, who are peaceful, living vampires, such as Lissa. They need protection from the Strigoi, which are bloodthirsty, undead vampires characterized by their strength and the red rings around their eyes.
Add in the aspect that the main character, Rose, is able to see what Lissa sees at times because Rose almost died in a car crash prior to the story starting, and even I who had read the entire series was beginning to become confused with how much information the film was throwing at me.
While the movie tries to be kind to people who are new to the story, it spends so much time setting up the backgrounds of the characters, the worlds, and their motivations, that by the time the actual plot rolls around, we’re not as invested in the what’s going to happen to the characters.
It’s not to say that the actors are terrible. If one goes into this movie knowing it is a popcorn flick, it’s easier to laugh when Rose (Zoey Deutch) makes a snarky remark at her friends about the situation they’re in. However, it seems that the characters are all fairly one-dimensional. They’re snarky or they’re hot and strong, and they don’t really grow from that.
But as a fan of the books, did I actually like this movie? Yeah. To be honest, I had very low expectations for this movie considering that all the commercials for the film only focused on the high school part, usually the most cliched aspect of teen supernatural genre. Considering that the script attempted to mirror the book as closely as possibly made the movie seem better because as a fan, I could see scenes I was expecting from the book.
Does this make this movie terrible ? …No. Considering the basic plot lines are pretty much spoon fed to the audience, it’s not too hard to follow. If you’re looking for a fun popcorn flick that involves another version of the teen vampire story that has characters that kick ass, then you might enjoy it.
But if you’re looking for a good movie to spend your money on, I’d honestly give Vampire Academy a pass. There’s a reason that The Lego Movie is dominating the box office, and it’s not just because everything is awesome.