Vampire Academy (2014) *
D: Mark Waters
C: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne, Dominic Sherwood, Joely Richardson, Olga Kurylenko, Sarah Hyland, Cameron Monaghan, Ashley Charles, Claire Foy, Sami Gayle, Edward Holcroft
Plot Synopsis: Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, half human-half vampire, a guardian of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discreetly within our world. Her calling is to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi.
REVIEW: Within the first half of Vampire Academy, we're introduced to the two main characters. Rose is a Dhampir who protects Lissa, a Moroi (a peaceful group of mortal vampires) from the outside dangers of the world. More specifically, Rose protects Lissa from the Strigoi, a group of vampires who have given into their thirst for blood. Both Rose and Lissa attend a school nicknamed Vampire Academy. The film follows them on their day to day (or night to night) activities at this school. Rose trains in combat while Lissa dabbles in Harry Potter esque magic. Oh, and one of their favorite teachers happens to have gone missing! So of course, it's up to our heroines to figure out what has happened.
On top of that, both Rose and Lissa are dealing with their own budding romances. 17 year old Rose happens to have a serious thing for one of her combat instructors (Kozlovsky). Thankfully, Rose's instructor doesn't act upon his feelings for her, otherwise we might be looking at statutory rape. Lissa, on the other hand, has a thing for one of the students, the school outcast (Sherwood). Rose knows of Lissa's feelings for the school outcast, because she shares a physic bond with Lissa. As if treacherous vampires, budding romances and their studies weren't enough to deal with, both Lissa and Rose have to deal with bullying and gossip from their peers at school. Lissa hatches a plan to turn the tables on her peers in order to become popular while Rose stands in a corner feeling alienated. And that's just the tip of the iceberg!
What I am getting at, is that the film presents so much info, all at once, that it's hard to digest everything that is happening. There's too many characters and too many stories to keep up with. I honestly felt like a I needed a score card to keep track of it all!
Even though Vampire Academy is an adaptation of a best selling series of books aimed at teen audiences, the movie, itself, feels as though it doesn't know what it's about. Some characters appear only to disappear only to randomly appear again. Other characters get completely lost, so much so, that (at times) I forgot who various characters were to begin with. None of the film's various scenarios feel as though they were fully thought out. One storyline is introduced and then discarded within a matter of minutes only to have another storyline emerge. To try and involve myself with the film felt like a waste of both time and effort, because I never knew if the film would follow through with any of the characters or situations that it presents.
Vampire Academy feels like a patchwork of various ideas that have been cobbled together. What the film needed was some kind of organizing vision, a director that knew what is was that he was trying to achieve with the material. There's a lot of different characters, a lot of different storylines and so much happening all at once, that I found it rather odd, that in the end, Vampire Academy arrives at nowhere in particular. [PG-13] 104 mins.
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