Vampire Academy doesn’t give you
much to sink your teeth into
When is this teen vampire romance genre going to go out of fashion? Was it ever really fashionable to begin with? Vampire Academy does have a slightly more interesting concept than the usual fare (and isn’t afraid to take a couple of very obvious stabs at the Twilight franchise, for which it deserves one star on its own) but it still falls victim to murky plot, cringe-worthy dialogue, and poorly drawn-out characters.
Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) is a Dhampir – half vampire/half human. She is a guardian in training. Dhampirs protect the Moroi – peaceful vampires who don’t burn in the sun and don’t drink blood without permission. The Moroi need protecting from the Strigoi – the evil, red-eyed vampires that kill without mercy. Rose’s best friend is Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), a Moroi Princess, and the two of them share a unique bond. After being on the run for a year, hiding from unseen foes out to get Lissa, the two are found by the Guardian Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky) and taken back to the place they escaped from – St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for Moroi and Dhampir alike. Now they must navigate the complex social chain of the Academy, while still trying to figure out who wants to harm Lissa.
The plot of this film is so bone-scrapingly thin and jumbled that I became more and more frustrated as the film went on. Petty high school politics formed the majority of it. Plot points and story lines were picked up, only to be forgotten soon after. There was simply too much going on, and not enough time devoted to any one in particular. I couldn’t find myself interested in anything.
The disappointing aspect is that not only are Rose and Lissa not even unlikable characters, but they aren’t drawn out at all. Rose is loud and brash, Lissa prim and proper, and the two together are supposed to balance and compliment each other. We sadly only scratch the surface of what of lies underneath and they are far too one dimensional to properly care about them. I imagine fans of the series will come in with pre-conceived notions and well-developed images of their inner thoughts and feelings, which is all well and good, but new comers need a little more to work with. To top it all off, Rose’s constant voice over and out loud commentary – addressing herself, not the audience or any other character in particular – was extremely irritating. Deutch, Fry, and all the cast do the best they can with the material provided, but poor scripting lets them down.
There are some entertaining fight sequences that allow the audience to have a bit of fun, but the romance feels forced and awkward (both for Rose and for Lissa, who have their own separate woes in the matter of love), and overall, this is yet another book to film adaptation that we could have all done without.