Movie Review: Vampire Academy (2014)

VA poster

Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) and Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry) are best friends that escaped from St. Vladimir’s Academy, or Vampire Academy, when Lissa felt unsafe. They are eventually caught and taken back to school by one of the Guardians, Dimitri Belikov (Danila Kozlovsky), who becomes one of Rose’s teachers and the guy she falls for.

I went in fangirl mode to watch Vampire Academy on Saturday night and I have never been more disappointed. VA is officially the standard now for horrible book to movie adaptions.

Rating: 5.5/10

What I liked:

For most parts, the movie stuck to the book relatively close.

The class rooms and training arenas were well done.

Rose’s eyes (although it is not in the book) – when she sees into Lissa’s mind. Looked pretty cool.

The fight scenes were amazingly well done – surprisingly so in comparison to the quality of the rest of the movie.

Casting of: Rose (Zoey Deutch), Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky), Victor Dashkov (Gabriel Byrne), Natalie Dashkov (Sarah Hyland), Christian Ozera (Dominic Sherwood), Mason (Cameron Monaghan), Sonya Karp (Claire Foy)

Zoey Deutch really did the Rose Hathaway attitude well. She looks the part, she played the part and I loved her outfits all around.

Danila Kozlovsky as Dimitri Belikov: Wow. Just wow. I would give him an 8/10 for correct character casting and portrayal. At least they got a real Russian to play him and didn’t attempt some horrible accent changing thing.

Girl Power: The girls in the movie kicks ass and can take care of themselves. It is what I loved about the books too, and I am glad they didn’t want to change either of the leading females to whining brats.

What I didn’t like:

It was like the Twilight-meets-Harry Potter-meets-Mean Girls movie. The OPENING scenes are similar to all those trees in Twilight, the castle shots look like they were taken at Hogwarts and the constant bitching and sarky remarks were right out of Mean Girls. Does Mark Waters only know how to direct one type of movie?

It felt like the movie was rushed. Don’t give me nonsense about a shoe string budgets – plenty franchises’ first instalments were made on tiny budgets and did wonderful – like Twilight, which for all its faults had decent directing.

The soundtrack: The opening song bombs the movie from the get go, and it never fully recovers.

Nothing was properly explained. The series has a lot of new lore to explain and it was rushed over. People who haven’t read the books won’t even begin to understand what is happening in the movie.

Underused characters: Christian and Mason were really well cast but Christian became a vapid pretty boy – this is the guy whose parents turned into evil monsters and has lived under the scandal that it caused his entire life. He is not the pretty little man who easily became a devoted pet to either Rose or Lissa. Mason did really well. He is one of the few who acted decently and showed some depth, but he wasn’t used all that much.

Rose and Dimitri’s love story. So much was left out – all the signs that he is secretly in love with her just wasn’t there. They had so much more to offer. It is also never fully explained why he is training her individually.

Rose and Dimitri 2

*At least one of the scenes were done right.

Lissa knowing about Dimitri and Rose – WTF she only finds out when Rose leaves St. Vladimir’s to hunt Dimitri down later on.

Kirova being portrayed as underhanded. She has always struck me as a fair disciplinarian who is irritated with Rose’s constant rule breaking.

Mia Renaldi (Sami Gayle): I see the curly ringlets were thrown out, but the actress at least did a decent job.

Lissa and Rose just TELLING Natalie what is going on in their lives. The Spirit, the Bond – those are SECRETS dammit.

The compulsion looks fake.

The fire scene where Christian sets Ralf Sarkozy on fire. IT.WAS.SO.FAKE.

Sonya Karp being some of the Strigoi that wants to attack the school. Just no. She enters much later on with another purpose.

Lucy Fry as Vasalisa Dragomir: What accent was she playing at? It seemed like a very bad mix of British and Australian. Those two shouldn’t be mixed. She seemed very immature and selfish one moment and very adult and wise at other times. The character didn’t match up and neither did she come close to what Lissa is in the books.

Conclusion:

Fire the director and screen writer. I’ve always thought the books would make an excellent TV series, not movies, because let’s face it: Taking six books and hoping they will all make it to cinema is ridiculous unless it’s Harry Potter. Stop trying to make the franchise what it isn’t. Make it more dark and sexy and not so damn PG rated.

And once again, Fire the director.

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7 thoughts on “Movie Review: Vampire Academy (2014)

  1. Wow, loved the layout of the review. This was certainly not something I was looking forward to or even going to see, but I am sad to see it let you down so terribly!

    • Thanks! I was very excited but it fell so flat. Just didn’t come together even though it had some decent qualities. Let’s hope the other adaptions this year are better done!

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  6. I’m crying in joy from reading this. Such eloquent and accurate criticisms. The way these books were written would lend themselves easily to being adapted, I don’t understand how it went so wrong. Here’s hoping they get a second chance to show the depth and sincerity of the story.

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