Books in Motion: Vampire Academy

vampire academy movie poster

Last month I started this new feature where I review book-to-movie adaptations. I started with Divergent because it was such a great movie, but this month I’ve decided to visit the other end of the spectrum and talk about the Vampire Academy movie. Yeah, the one that nobody is happy with, and should probably have never been made.

Initial Thoughts

I was speechless after finishing the movie, mostly because I didn’t understand what I had just watched. Then I went in search of some cleansing oils and the brain bleach that I keep under the sink for emergencies.

—————————————-

Rose

In case you weren’t aware, Rose is one of my all time favourite characters. I just love her so much, and I was excited to see her on the big screen being her badass self. In the Vampire Academy movie, she was probably the best character of the bunch, but that’s not necessarily praise-worthy. She is nowhere near as snarky as she is in the books, and that meant that she’s not all that charming or appealing in the movie. Her classic Rose lines often weren’t included, and if they were then they were very out of place. We missed out on a lot of Rose’s Guardian training, which meant we miss out on a lot of important character growth. She went from an okay fighter (for dhampir standards) to an awesome one after just a few training scenes, and it was pretty unrealistic.

Dimitri

Dimitri was one of the most disappointing things about the movie, in my opinion. I swooned over him in the book, but in the movie he’s broody and boring and he lacks any of the uptight Dimitri-charm that I (and Rose) have come to love. He didn’t have enough scenes with Rose to make their growing relationship believable, nor did he show off his badass “God-like” abilities on the battlefield. The guy is meant to be superhuman (or superdhampir, I guess?) but instead he was pretty much the same as the rest. Plus, he hardly wore his hair in a ponytail which was simply unacceptable.

what the hell

Casting

I’ll try to not rant here, I really will, but the casting is one of the worst things about this movie. It was appalling! Very few of the actors were capable of selling their characters, and I don’t want to be disrespectful towards the cast but oh my god, it was bad. Who was the casting director and have they been blacklisted?

Zoey Deutch as Rose was one of the better actresses, and Olga Kurylenko was definitely the best of the bunch. Lucy Fry as Lissa was okay most of the time, but the rest of the cast was pretty poor. The lady who plays Mia was particularly atrocious, and I was embarrassed on her behalf. I think that the casting wouldn’t have been too bad if the script (“Does your baby have herpes?”? Really?) and the direction had been better, but the shitty combination of all three made Vampire Academy almost unwatchable.

As for Danila Kozlovsky as Dimitri, well. WELL. I am so disappointed in this casting choice. When I first heard about it I was thrilled because Kozlovsky is dark haired and Russian, and rather handsome. But then I saw the previews and the movie and my dreams were shattered. English isn’t a language that Danila is fluent in, and you could tell. When he was saying his lines it was as though he was reading from a page of the script. His delivery was all wrong, and a lot of the time I struggled to understand what he was saying. Obviously this is not his fault, and I think the casting director should have found someone who knew English better and who could deliver the lines with fluidity. I’m sure Kozlovsky is a very good actor in Russia when speaking his native tongue, but he clearly struggled with the dialogue here.

None of the main cast are a particularly great fit of their characters, which left me very disappointed.

Pacing

The pacing of this movie was all over the place. I don’t know what the director was thinking (or what the editors who dealt with the movie afterwards were thinking) when they decided to rush through the scenes and have the characters speak at one hundred miles an hour. The camera angles were all weird which added to the problematic pacing, and I came to the conclusion that everyone involved with this movie was on crack. The introduction of Rose and Lissa was good, but after that everything spiralled out of control.

are you on crack

Adaptation-wise

It was appalling. Don’t watch it. The characters are nothing like their bookish counterparts, and they’ve even gone as far as to change Kirova’s personality to turn her into a bitchy vampire, and the Rose/Christian relationship is all wrong. They hug at one point in the movie as they’re parting ways after a research session. WHAT THE HELL?! Rose/Christian is one of my favourite dynamics in the books, and I even ship them because they never get along and their bickering is so much fun. The movie completely ruined that, though. Lissa was just as much of a cow as she was in the book, but to an extreme. She calls Rose a blood whore at one point and it made me so angry that I almost punched the laptop.

Favourite bits

  • ???
  • “Don’t hesitate.” THEY SAID THE THING.
  • The bloke who jumped out of the window towards the end because I could feel his pain.
  • Sexy Extra #1, who said “I’m an atheist.” Legit the best thing about the movie.

Sucky bits

  • The casting
  • The changes the writer(s) made
  • The camera angles and stuff
  • Can I just say “the entire thing” and not offer any constructive criticism?

In a gif

wtf is this

16 comments on “Books in Motion: Vampire Academy

  1. Ula @ Blog of Erised 16/05/2014 1:31 pm

    OMG so much yes to everything. I went to the cinema and could not hold my mouth shut at all. My mate and I kept moaning and laughing (out of despair ofc) and actually yelling at the screen. Luckily the room wasn’t packed or we’d get thrown out. What an absolute piece of shit of a movie.

    I liked Rose to a point, she was okay I guess, better than the rest, still not even close to the real deal. Dimitri was a huge let down, and his hair is a big no no. His speaking, same. Lissa was terrible, didn’t like her at all. Mia… that gurl’s on steroids or something, what a moron. Her acting is so so so bad my dog would pull it off better. MY DOG. If it died.
    I liked Christian somewhat, he’s pretty close to the book one. Kirova was made into some weird perverse pissed off vamp for some reason. Natalie was made into the biggest dork which I found really appalling, making fun of smart girls above all… Not okay!

    The dynamics between people were wrong. The love stories were rushed and lame. Guardian part wasn’t done well, like you said. It was ‘funny’ and hip and that’s so not the point of the book. But what else can you expect from people that did Mean Girls. Just not the right genre for such a topic, lord. It’s like watching Harry Potter being made into comedy. -.-

    I was so so let down the only positive thing of that experience was a ticket discount at the cinema.

    • Amber 16/05/2014 6:33 pm

      I’m so glad I didn’t pay to go to the cinema to watch this. It wasn’t shown near me anyway, but it would have been a waste of £9. Yep, Rose was all right, but still disappointing considering the AWESOMENESS that is Book!Rose. Dimitri though. And oh my god, Mia was embarrassing. I don’t know if it’s the actress or the script, or a combination, since I’ve never seen her in anything else. *snorts* Yeah, “funny”. I don’t know who would have found this movie amusing XD

  2. Natalie Crown 16/05/2014 2:22 pm

    I might just watch for the sake of Sexy Extra #1. Hubba.

    • Amber 16/05/2014 6:34 pm

      Do it. He was very nice to look at when I didn’t want to focus on the main characters.

  3. Zaira F 16/05/2014 2:33 pm

    OMG I agree so much with the casting. I was so stoked while waiting for the movie to begin in the cinema, but movie Rose was just annoying to me. I didn’t get to see the humor and the witty Rose I loved from the books.

    • Amber 16/05/2014 6:35 pm

      There was no wit at all, it was so disappointing!

  4. Nara 16/05/2014 3:05 pm

    You know what I thought was the weirdest part of the movie? When Rose stabbed Kirova with the sedative and she started blabbing on about being recruited as a model when she was 16 or some shit like that. Also when Natalie tasted the blood on the wall. I was like, WHAT EVEN IS THIS?!
    And yeah, Danila- no offence, but I had NO idea what he was saying half the time. His voice was low and he mumbled a lot so it was really difficult to properly hear what he was saying :/

    • Amber 16/05/2014 6:37 pm

      Oh god, yes. I think the mumbling about the model bit was meant to be funny? I don’t even know. AND THE WALL LICKING OH MY GOD that’s when I almost turned it off. Like I said, I’m sure Danila would have been good if he was fluent in English 🙁 but instead it was so hard to understand him.

  5. Fahima @ I Read, Ergo I Write 18/05/2014 4:12 pm

    I’m SO glad I did not pollute my memory of VA by watching this! I remember being super excited when the talks of the movie started but I was also kind of iffy about it b/c of what happened with The Host, and then when I saw the trailer and the posters started coming in, I realised my fears were almost definitely confirmed. It just sucks how they’ve completely butchered such an amazing story. Grrr :/

    Which is why I get so apprehensive every time I see that another book is being converted into a movie. Which is to say, a lot of the time, nowadays 😉

    But seriously, if they cant do justice to the book, then they shouldn’t bother taking it up at all.

  6. Fahima @ I Read, Ergo I Write 18/05/2014 4:12 pm

    I’m SO glad I did not pollute my memory of VA by watching this! I remember being super excited when the talks of the movie started but I was also kind of iffy about it b/c of what happened with The Host, and then when I saw the trailer and the posters started coming in, I realised my fears were almost definitely confirmed. It just sucks how they’ve completely butchered such an amazing story. Grrr :/

    Which is why I get so apprehensive every time I see that another book is being converted into a movie. Which is to say, a lot of the time, nowadays 😉

    But seriously, if they cant do justice to the book, then they shouldn’t bother taking it up at all.

    Love the new feature, btw, and especially how you break it down 😀

  7. Caroline Taylor 18/05/2014 4:47 pm

    I went into this expecting it to be pretty lame in the first place, I saw it was being pitched differently to adaptations like Hunger Games, Twilight and Mortal Instruments so I actually enjoyed it for what it was, I thought it was fun.

  8. Mel@thedailyprophecy 22/05/2014 8:17 pm

    HAHA. This movie.. I went with two girls and two boys to the cinema and it was hilarious :’) It’s a good thing it was for free. Zoey Deutch wasn’t too bad, but what the hell was going on with Dimitri? I was waiting for a hot guy and then.. he came into the screen. NOPE. I was also not a fan of their chemistry.

  9. Judith 02/08/2014 6:38 pm

    I AM BANNING THIS FROM MY MIND WHAT A TRAIN WRECK WHY DID WE DO THIS WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

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