Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vampire Academy...the movie, the book, and YA vampires in general

I went to see the movie (opening weekend). I’ve been a fan of the series for years. I wanted to show support right away in hopes that the movie makers will want to continue with the rest of the series. But, also I was just super excited to see my all time favorite YA character come to life on the screen.
I super enjoyed the movie. Was it as good as it could have been? No. Did they make a lot of it rather cheesy? Yes. Was Rose Hathaway as remarkable as I remembered her? Definitely. Thank goodness they got an actress to adequately perform Rose’s sarcasm! Really, her acting is what the made the movie. If Rose wasn’t just right, I would have hated it. The storyline of the movie wasn’t as good as the book’s, mostly for me because of the cheese-factor.
The writers of the movie had this habit of continually mentioning/sort of poking fun at Twilight. Clearly, the makers of the movie wanted to distinguish themselves from the successful franchise that happens to also put the spotlight on teen vampires. And I guess at first, I thought it was funny. But after a while, this seriously bothered me. There were too many Twilight hating jokes, which of course were not in the book –the two books were actually first published not too far apart.
I am not a huge Twilight fan for various reasons (mostly because I’m a feminist), but I don’t hate the series. I have in fact read them all (except the last one) more than once. And I might own all the movies…I get why people make fun of it. I really do. But, making fun of it at this point just seems kind of old. It’s like this stale joke that older relatives bring up at every Thanksgiving dinner because they don’t remember telling it to you before. They just aren’t that funny any more; they’re boring and cliché. And not to mention, I feel like fans of the Twilight series would like the Vampire Academy series as well. Frankly, I find the Vampire Academy books to be 50 times better, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t cross-appeal. And I just don’t feel like pissing off Twilight fans is the best strategy, marketing-wise.
On top of the stale humor, and the clear distinctions the writers of the movie felt they needed to make, there was a much stronger emphasis on the mean girl/school drama than I remembered reading in the first book. I was curious to see if I remembered things correctly though (it has been years), so I spent my day re-reading book 1, and I guess there was a lot of popular girl drama/bullying. It just didn’t fill as much of the book as it did the movie. I’m not sure the school speech by Lissa in the movie was needed; it made me think way too much of an episode of Disney Channel tv show…but all in all I guess I was impressed.
The one thing the book has that the movie doesn’t is a lot of deep-rooted sexual stereotypes. A lot more negative emphasis is put on Dhampir women. And Rose deals a lot more with sexism and sexual harassment than the movie even began to describe. I guess the book felt a lot darker than the movie. Though, there were lines taken directly from the book –and I felt a lot better about it all after my re-read today.

But back to the whole teen vampire thing…I’m sick of the world comparing all vampires to Edward Cullen. Movie writers shouldn’t have to feel the need to differentiate one vampire from another; this can be shown with a well-written and put together movie –no commentary necessary. Mead has different categories of vampires. There’s some who live in a “civilized” way only drinking blood from voluntary feeders and learning to use their magic. And there’s also the Strigoi, which make me think of very smart zombies. They want to eat and eat, and attack. And I could go on and on about the politics and the world Mead created with these interesting vampires, but I don’t want to spoil it all.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that not all vampires are the same. If they were, I’d find them boring (like an outdated Twilight joke). They have remained interesting to people over centuries. They are a part of classic literature and a part of paranormal romance. So, let’s not group them all together into one category. I sincerely hope that people go see the movie because it would amazing to see all of the books put to film.
Side note: the movie theater I went to was giving away free YA novels with each ticket…I came home with a finished copy of Burn for Burn by Jenny Han. How cool and random is that? Can I receive free YA novels every time I go out? Also, it sadly was not a packed theater. But, I did hear some teens comparing the book to the film at the end, and this made me smile. (The book series is a 10/10. And the movie was more like 8/10).


  1. I am glad to hear a review of the movie, I am going to wait until it comes out on DVD!
    New follower :)
    ­Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. Hmmm, yeah, I was definitely worrying about all the girl hate in the trailers I'd seen. I think I remember book one doing more of that than the rest, but it's just been so long. I can totally see why they'd take out the sexual slavery stuff. Of course, book four will be hard to explain, but it would be the most depressing, non-teen friendly movie ever. So they probably won't get there. I haven't really heard much buzz about VA actually, so I assume it's not doing well?