Anchor Bay Films and The Weinstein Company’s PG-13 rated VAMPIRE ACADEMY is hitting stores on May 20, 2014. The movie, available on BLU-RAY, DVD and digital download, is based on the Vampire Academy book series by New York Time best-selling author Richelle Mead, directed by MEAN GIRLS helmer Mark Waters and stars the relatively unknown Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry, along with “Modern Family’s” Sarah Hyland and Cameron Monaghan from “Shameless.”
Vampire Academy follows the story of two teenage girls who happen to be vampires and attend a private vampire boarding school somewhere in Montana. Not to bore you with the details too much, but there are three breeds of vampires: the peaceful Moroi, the half-breed Dhampir, and the evil Strigoi. Our hero, Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch), is a Dhampir protector-in-training of her best friend, Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), who is the last of a royal clan of Moroi and who possesses a special form of magic. This special magic makes her a target of certain do-badders, which leads to all sorts of action, romance, vampire fights, and all that kind of stuff. The love interest is provided by Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky, who looks like a young Jack Black — had Jack black graduated several P90X routines.
So, is this Harry Potter-meets-Twilight movie any good? Well, the consensus around the office was mixed at our screening, with the teenage boys dissing it while the females were a bit more enthusiastic. Personally, as an adult male, I think I would have enjoyed it had I drank 25 cups of espresso beforehand, which would have helped me follow along with the dizzying pace of the edits.
First, the beginning of the movie has a crazy fight scene that left most of us like “where the heck did that come from…who are these people and what is this all about?” Very little build-up. And the rest of Vampire Academy feels like watching an entire season of a CW series condensed down to an hour-and-a-half movie. Everything just moves so fast. When a character mentions they are going somewhere, BOOM the very next shot they are there, leaving you wondering whether they walked, took a cab, or somehow flew, because they rarely show the journey.
For the ADD Generation or fans of the book series, this probably works just fine. For those who have no familiarity with the Vampire Academy universe, it can be a bit much, as it seems the filmmakers just tried to desperately cram as much as possible into this film as possible without much exposition. The bonus scenes feature an explanation of the three vampire races which would have been a great addition to the beginning of the film.
All that being said, the movie does have a great element, which is Zoey Deutch. She is completely likable in this movie, and has all the best lines. I had never heard of her before this film, and it turns out she is the daughter of Lea Thompson, one of my favorite actresses from the 1980s, and who we interviewed in our WeSpark Episode. I want to see MORE of her! Sarah Hyland however…..no, this is not her best work by a long shot. And Lucy Fry doesn’t stand out much either, despite her prominent role.
So, overall it is an innocent bit of fun, and especially enjoyable if you are a teen girl based on the reactions we observed.
You can buy it here: Vampire Academy on Amazon
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