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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
- “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.
- 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?