There Will Be Spoilers
My wife and I saw a double feature of Vampire Academy and The Lego Movie since my parents were kind enough to watched baby girl. Yes, this is how we spend our few and far between date nights watching movies and I love that my wife puts up with, and often enjoys, these ridiculous desires of mine. Fancy dinner, no. Another movie about vampires based on a YA novel, yes!.
I wanted to put up a quick post about Vampire Academy because, initially, I was very excited to see it since I thought it was going to have a certain level of camp or so-bad-its-good to it however I left the movie feeling like I enjoyed the movie but that ultimately it was forgettable. My wife agreed.
Over the past couple of days the movie has stayed in the back of my mind and I have to say that I am very much looking forward to the sequel should it ever come. I say this because A) they clearly set up a sequel at the end of the movie and B) I really enjoyed spending time with the two main characters Rose Hathaway, played by Zoey Deutch, and Lissa Dragomir, a royal vampire, played by Lucy Fry. They had a great relationship/chemistry that I would like to see develop and grow.
I also really liked the world that this story takes place in. There are good vampires; there are bad vampires. The good vampires are not super bad-ass and some (or all, I cannot remember) have human guardians that protect them. (There are special names for the good vampires, the bad vampires and the humans who protect the good vampires that I am not going to get into right now because it’s not important right now.) Rose is Lissa’s sworn protector.
Since this is a movie with good vampire, bad vampires, bodyguards sworn to protect the good vampires AND a royal vampire hierarchy then of course there are fight sequences. And boy do they suck. There are a lot of close ups shots of the fighting, fights that are over way to quickly and fights that are just plain boring. I’m not expecting The Raid: Redemption but I would at least like Jason Bourne.
Vampire Academy suffers from a lot of things that movies of this type usually do: clunky exposition, scenes shoe horned in, inconsistencies in characters, over the top bullying and poor character development since it’s assumed that the audience already read the book.
In relation to the latter this really became problematic with the relationship that is developed between Rose and Dimitri, played by Danila Kozlovsky, who is her teacher/mentor/love interest. The movie clearly states that Rose is seventeen is very unclear on how old Dimitri is. I think he’s is supposed to be twenty-five but he looks like he’s in his late thirties and at one point Rose comments that he’s like a creepy sexy uncle. Not to mention that he is one of the more highly regarded bodyguards there is, having killed a number of the evil vampires which is no small feet and hints to years of training.
The movie has a very tantalizing/exploitative make-out/dry-humping session between the two and while it is the result of a love charm it’s still creepy due to the age differences and power dynamic between the two. The movie ends with Rose coercing Dimitri into giving her a kiss since in order for the love charm to work there must be a level of attraction on both parts. The kiss doesn’t happen because Rose uses the moment to her advantage to take Dimitri down; a running joke through out the movie. Despite the fact that it doesn’t happen it still puts the message out there that it’s ok for an adolescent to pursue a romantic relationship with their teacher and for the teacher to reciprocate those feelings. It’s not ok.
Seriously people, if a teacher is willing to get romantic with you while you are their student run; they are a creep.
Ending on a positive note I will say, to the movies credit, it kept me guessing as to who the villain was and why. Ok, so that is not one hundred percent true. At one point toward the end it becomes painfully clear who the villain was. So for the most part the movie kept me guessing with enough plot points and intrigue so that the movie never feels one note.
I have interest in a sequel should it ever come. My hope is they jump right into the story instead of leading the audience by the hand, ditch the Dimitri/Rose romantic relationship (or if it’s meant to “pay off” make it a lot less creepy) and that they get a decent action budget. Dear lord Jason Statham, please let them get an action budget.