Saturday, August 2, 2014

End of Summer YA Movie Rental #2: Vampire Academy (2014)

Vampire Academy (based on the first book by Richelle Mead-Aug 16, 2007) was also released on February 14th this year and was yet another YA movie I chose to ignore at the time. Spending my time in a theater filled with teenagers screaming over characters lost its flavor after the very first movie installment of Twilight.

That being said, I decided to rent it along with the disappointing Endless Love, after which didn't give me high hopes for this one. But….I actually really enjoyed VA and may want to read the books when I get time. It was quirky and sassy, and that’s all it needed to be. It was no Harry Potter, and there were several similarities (academy=Hogwarts for instance), but I didn't go into it wanting to compare it to any other franchise. I simply wanted to be entertained for an hour and forty-one minutes.

Rose (Zoey Deutch) is a Dhampir, a half-human, half-vampire protector of her best friend Lissa (Lucy Fry), a member of a peaceful group of vampires called the Moroi that can live among mortals. Rose must protect Lissa and herself from the Strigoi, the typical violent vampires that we see in horror movies. When the movie opens, Rose and Lissa have been gone from St. Vincent’s Academy for about a year; Lissa has been feeding on Rose to remain hidden. Lissa is a Dragomir and the successor to the throne which is presently occupied by Prince Tatiana (Joely Richardson, again?); therefore, she can’t stay gone any longer. Lissa’s family was killed in a car accident, and Lissa is the last Dragomir of the royal line. Both Rose and Lissa are captured and brought back to the academy.

Upon return, conspiracies about Rose and Lissa’s whereabouts abound, including whether or not Lissa fed on Rose. Both girls try to fit back in quietly, which is hard to do when you have so many different cliques. A girl named Mia (Sami Gayle), for instance, is dead set on making Lissa’s life a living hell by playing the typical mean girl.

Overall, the actors are not the worst possible choices, and they all work well enough together to make the film successful. Deutch’s Rose reads older than a teenager, but her sarcastic humor brings her back into teenage mode quickly. In fact, it’s not creepy when she’s hitting on her older instructor because her guardian-like maturity makes her more mature. One could easily say she’s trying to be a vamped up version of Juno, which isn't far-fetched considering her quick responses that keep the audience chuckling, but in the end, the movie itself is so fast paced that you don’t have time to over analyze.

This is a fun, end of summer movie that will put you in the mood for back to school shopping. While I’m still waiting on my ticket into Hogwarts, I wouldn’t mind taking a detour to St. Vincent’s.

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