Author Richelle Mead has crafted a world with her Vampire Academy books that have become a phenomenon. It is no wonder that it is now a major motion picture and it is from the filmmakers who gave us Heathers and Mean Girls. Daniel Waters penned the screenplay and director Mark Walkers brought it to life.
Is it more Twilight Saga-The Hunger Games or does it fall along the lines of previous YA films Beautiful Creatures and Mortal Instruments?
Vampire Academy is its own animal and it’s time, first of all, for Hollywood to stop trying to find the “next” YA page-to-screen blockbuster. The only thing these projects share in common is a successful run in print and a passionate readership. But, that doesn’t always translate and each deserves to be judged on its own merit.
The young and talented cast grabs you and truly explores the nature of the story at the heart of Mead’s books. Shown in the Vampire Academy trailer, Zoey Deutch’s Rose is charged with protecting a vampire princess Lissa (Lucy Fry), and we meet them on the streets of everyday America… far from their Vampire Academy.
The school is, after all, meant as a safe haven for those who prefer human blood to other forms of nutrition.
Immediately trouble hits, but it’s not the type of challenge Rose expects. They are promptly brought back to the school by their security force. And Lissa and Rose are immediately given a lecture on the dangers of the outside world and Rose is reprimanded for risking the life of a royal.
See, Lissa is the last in a line of royal vampires and… well, let’s not spoil too much.
For fans of the series, you know all too well that the casting of this film would be key to any successful adaptation. And Deutch is fantastic as Rose, and Fry could not be more impeccably chosen for Lissa. Even Dominic Sherwood’s Christian is as brooding as imagined from the books and Modern Family star Sarah Hyland shows her teeth, so to speak, as Natalie.
The problem we have with Vampire Academy is that the tone of the film is all over the place. These are blood suckers living in a dangerous world and we never get the sense of impending doom, despite what we are being told.
Our Vampire Academy review states that it feels like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie). To be most effective, the visuals and the tone should more mirror Alfonso Cuaron’s dark Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with its supernatural school tenor… complete with that deep feeling that all is not well. All is not well in the world of Vampire Academy, but that is never fully realized or embodied in what is explored onscreen.
Sure, fans of the book will be pleased with seeing their favorite characters come to life. Everyone else, unfortunately, will likely believe the film never really had any teeth.
Got the taste for a vampire flick? Why not watch Twilight online!