First I have to say that I LOVE the series. The books, all 6 Vampire Academy books, are amazing. I am eagerly awaiting the 5th book in the Bloodlines spin-off sequel series to be released. With that said I have been following the progress of the movie since the start and have been very excited to see it all come together. A perfect reason to put on fake tattoos no one in my area had any clue meant and rock out like the total and unashamed book nerd that I am. I adore my friends who encouraged and even indulged with me, not 100% sure what the meaning was but willing to go with it. To say I had high hopes is to put it mildly. And it did not disappoint me one bit!
I know this movie has gotten a bit of a bad rep before it came out, people comparing it to every other vampire movie and that is not fair. Sure the title doesn't help that but it's a different take. Honestly its more about the life of the characters and the fact that they happen to be vampires is just a small part of it. And if you want to categorize it as a vampire flick then do it but please note that, there are both sides of vampires. They have the Moroi, the good mortal vampires, more modern take on vampires, and the Strigoi, the undead evil blood suckers that seek to kill, more old school Dracula. The trailers also make it seem more spoof, funny, cheesy, than anything, which I did devoured them like a germaphobe does hand sanitizer in a public restroom. But I highly recommend checking out the final trailer (below), it is by far my favorite and made me realize I have been pronouncing all the names of the 'races' or 'breeds' wrong as I read. Now when I tell people about them they don't look at me funny.
Now I will say that comparing movies to their book counterparts is never easy and they almost never win. Books have the advantage of getting into the head of the character, of being able to describe everything for you and give you more in-depth scenes that work really well on paper but might not translate well to the screen. With that in mind I still think this is one of the better adaptations. Things like hair colors/styles, character appearances, set dressings and the like are all simple things. There were a few scenes that were changed or dropped of course to keep pace on film and explain things in a way that is more visually appealing. Sure fan girl me, was sad to see a few lines/conversations omitted, but it overall stayed true to the book and I am so happy to say that.
The acting by the whole team is above par in my humble opinion, and let's be honest it's my review so it's the only one that matters. Our main character, Rose Hathaway, played by Zoey Deutch came across as strong, confident, funny, and on point with her witty retorts or snipes. A big part of the story, okay the majority of the story is about the bond she has with her best friend Lissa, and when they are together on the screen you can see a connection is there, not some faked for film friendship which adds to it for me. And let us please not forget her chemistry with a certain Russian love interest. They sizzle and you can't have any type of lust charm scene without sizzle. Speaking of sizzle, they got pretty famous Russian actor to play the Russian Dimitri Belikov, one Danila Kozlovsky. So his accent was totally real, and I maybe swooned a bit. But that aside he was able to pull off the look, not exactly what I pictured, but I could believe he was Dimitri. Strong silent warrior Zen master who stays composed at all times, but when he is around Rose, finds his composure slipping ever so slightly.
|See what I mean...|
Only a couple more or I will describe every actor/character in the movie. Lucy Fry, who played the royal Lissa Dragomir. She had a bit of a different look than I expected but I was able to see it. She was able to pull off the radical and varying emotions and moods that her character is forced to endure. When a character is going to have to play with the matter or mental and emotional instability I have to give them credit. And then there is her love interest Christian Ozera played by Dominic Sherwood. He is what I expected actually. He is attractive and brooding, an outcast given things out of his control seeking someone who understands. He also has that smirk, that mischievous smirk I couldn’t have pictured better myself.
The story again stuck to the book pretty well and I think can be enjoyed by everyone, not just those who read the books. I went with three of my girlfriends to see this, one had read the books and the other two hadn't, one of them also isn't a huge vampire fan, but when we walked out we all had enjoyed it and the two non-readers had plans to read soon. It had a unique story, with the different type of vampires and a story all in of itself. It has action, hello, the Dhampirs have half a day dedicated to learning ways to maim and kill, to be protectors. It is also strongly filled with friendship and loyalty, honor and duty all in a high school, of sorts, setting and with the backdrop of good vs. evil and mental instability.
The movie wasn't perfect, of course, there were a few things I think could have been explained a bit more in depth for the non-readers in the audience. But I hold out hope that it was done to be explained in more depth in the sequel (no word yet but I'm crossing my fingers and toes). Those things for me were the wards, Strigoi and a certain conversation about them in the car, that Dimitri was slated to be one of Lissa's guardians when she leaves the school, being a royal and a last of her line and all, explaining the conflict a bit further. Also from the trailers I saw scenes that apparently didn't make it to the movie, so I can't wait for the DVD extras.
Again that was just me wishing for more as a greedy book nerd. Overall if it isn't completely clear, I LOVED this movie and can't wait to see it again. Have plans to go again this week at least once and admit to being guilty checking the DVD release date update so I know when I can own it in my house. Check it out and rate it on all the sites! Have you already seen it? Did you read the books? What do you think? Share your thoughts, ideas, ramblings below.
Rating: 5 Molnija