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My Review of the Vampire Academy Movie

Well, if you didn’t hear the news that came out recently, here it is again: the Vampire Academy movie’s US release date was moved up to February 7! That means, incredibly, that we Americans are only a few short days from it. I’m super excited about this and really hope you guys are too. I recently had a baby, so I wasn't able to go to the Hollywood premiere last night, but those who went are already loving it. They're not the only ones--I love it too! Yup, that's right, I got to see it in the comfort of my own home, and it is awesome. I could go on and on about what I love about it, but instead, I’m going to tackle some of the common questions I get, now that I can answer with certainty.

Is the movie a comedy?

No! I know some of the advertising really plays up the humorous side, but you have to trust me that the movie exactly matches the tone of the book: a dark, action-packed story with elements of humor and romance spliced throughout. That humor angle was played up in the ads and posters to pull in new viewers who think supernatural books/movies are dull, and it worked! We’ve seen an increase in new readers, which is awesome news. People who are worried about comedy are also worried this is “too high school.” But remember: all the angst and Russian adventure happens later in the series. This first book IS set in high school, but all the dark and serious issues are still totally there. If you watch TV, the odds are good you’ve probably seen a commercial that plays up the movie’s serious side. If not, check out these two trailers to see what I mean: Last Stand and Learn to Kill.

Is the movie true to the book?

This is the big question on everyone’s mind, and I say yes! As I watched it, I was really amazed at how many scenes they kept from the book. I expected more cutting. Some scenes go by fast (understandable with a 1:45 running time), but the moviemakers worked really hard to give at least a nod to every fan favorite scene. Here’s one of my favorites that I could watch over and over: Christian using fire magic in class.

But were changes made?

Of course. Anyone expecting a page by page translation of the book should just listen to the audio version because that’s the only way such a thing is possible. Books and movies are different mediums. You have less time in a movie, and some things that are awesome on the page aren’t so great on the screen. You also have to make sure the movie makes sense to people who’ve read the book AND to those who haven’t. That’s where a lot of adaptations go bad: they cater too much to readers only or too much to newcomers. I’m happy to say this movie hits the right balance, and all the changes made were really smart ones. There’s nothing that radically alters the main plot or characters. They make things look bigger and better and also clarify confusing issues. For me, tweaks like that are part of the adaptation process, and I actually enjoy seeing them.

How was the cast?

Um, awesome! Seriously. I’ve said from the beginning that I’ve loved the casting, and seeing them act just proved it. Every casting decision was spot on, and they were cast not just on their ability to play the character but also on how they interacted with the others. Chemistry is key in this series! Zoey IS Rose, and you’re going to have a hard time deciding which guy you love most because Danila, Dominic, and Cameron all knock it out of the park as Dimitri, Christian, and Mason. I especially love that everyone in the movie--whether they were the star or a small side role--really “got” their character. Lucy Fry, for example, read the book five times to understand Lissa. Seeing the cast bring the characters I created made me feel so emotional and reminded me why readers love those characters so much. It even made ME remember why I love those characters so much and that...gasp...maybe I want to keep writing stories about them!

Is the movie just the first book or all the books?

I’m so surprised this keeps getting asked. I can’t even fathom putting all six books into one movie. It’s just the first.

What about scenes in the trailer that appear to be radically different from the book?

I stand by my earlier statement that this is very true to the book. There are some flashbacks, dream sequences, and background scenes that were added, and seeing snippets of those is what’s confusing some people. Watch the movie. It’ll all make sense.

Are there werewolves in this?
THEY'RE PSI-HOUNDS, modeled exactly off a drawing I made for director Mark Waters.

Is there going to be a movie of Frostbite?

That depends on the success of this one! If it does well, there’ll be a sequel (and hopefully more). Part of the reason such a young cast was chosen was because everyone hopes there’ll be six more years of movies! But this one needs to do well. VA has a big following, but it’s no Harry Potter or Hunger Games. Half of those series’ fan bases could stay home, and they’d still succeed at the theater. We need our full fan base and new people at the theater to be successful, which is why the marketing team has worked so hard to pull in new viewers who don’t normally go to paranormal films.

What’s the final word?

The final word is that I’m super thrilled with the way the movie turned out, and I think you will be too. I’ve seen jaded people comment that I HAVE to say I like it, but here’s the truth: you can believe what you want, but I have a very hard time lying to you guys about things. For example, when my publishers give me covers I don’t like (yeah, it happens), I can’t bring myself to tell you I think they’re good. So, I’ll find a different positive way to spin it, like, “My publisher worked really hard on this and is so excited about it!” That’s what I’d be doing if I thought this movie was bad. Instead, I can say to you straight on that I really love it and hope you guys will as well. From cast to dialogue to breathtaking visuals, they really outdid themselves. The future of the franchise is in your hands now, so go see it! See it on opening day, and bring a bunch of friends because those opening numbers are critical. And remember, a successful first movie means we could very likely see Adrian and Eddie soon...


( 26 comments — Tell me about it, baby! )
Feb. 5th, 2014 10:02 pm (UTC)
Oh My Gosh.
Wait, it comes out THIS WEEKEND!?
Okay, i already knew that but i feel like ive been waiting FOREVER.
I'm so excited, regardless of any changes. The cast seems so nice, and I'm forcing all my friends to go!
They're seriously all amazing, i read them thirteen times. Except the new one, i only read that one twice. ;)
Feb. 5th, 2014 10:20 pm (UTC)
Go team go!
Well I am doing my part Richelle. I have gotten my realtor to get the bk series for his daughter. I'm PRing my butt off on twitter for the VA movie to make it. Cause hello I just want mah Adrian and Eddie like really really bad peoples! GO SEE THE MOVIE so we can get our Adrian and Eddie everyone!

@presidentmystique twitter
Stefanie May
Feb. 5th, 2014 10:42 pm (UTC)
Love your books
I just want to say that I think that if you approve of the movie then that should really mean something to your fans. At first I was very unsure if this movie was going to be any good but I have done quite a bit of research and it sounds like it really does stay true to the book. I think a lot of us know that this will be nothing like we imagined because like you said movies and books are two different mediums. Anyway, I think this will be a great movie I get to go see this weekend with my boyfriend and the next weekend with my family (just the girls:))
Feb. 6th, 2014 12:10 am (UTC)
Awesome! So great that this is happening, and that you're so happy about the results!!!
Feb. 6th, 2014 12:33 am (UTC)
Great news for you, Richelle! I'm keeping my fingers crossed this one succeeds and they make them all!

I'm still waiting for a NC-17 movie version of the Succubus series!
Feb. 6th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC)
I'm so excited for the movie! Sadly I live in Sweden and it seems that it gonna take time before the movie gets here :-(

And of course it gonna be changes from the book but it seems that they have done a great job following the book! not like the Mortal Instruments, in that movie they have done a own version of the book.
Feb. 6th, 2014 03:05 am (UTC)
Been Waiting
I finished all the books in this series and then quit reading anything because those books were so amazing! And now (maybe this weekend!) I will get to watch the first movie.. so thrilled! Thank you for sharing this wonderful adventure with the world.
Sydney Glenn
Feb. 6th, 2014 03:10 am (UTC)
OMG I cant wait to watch it!! I read the books and I sooo hope there will be more movies because I would love to see Adrian!! Hope he will be just as sexy as Dimitri. SOO EXCITED!!
Claire Ranwell
Feb. 6th, 2014 06:57 am (UTC)
Yeah I'd love to see Adrian :) but I prefer him in the Bloodlines series xx
Feb. 6th, 2014 04:05 am (UTC)
seen those two trailers you had on your website actually makes me want to watch even more than those trailer showing that has way too much comedy and I didn't like it at all I was beginning to be disappointed. have all your books in the series and I didn't want to be disappointed. just hoping and praying that everything you said is true I can't wait until Friday. :)
Feb. 6th, 2014 05:18 pm (UTC)
Doing my bit this weekend and bringing a bunch of girlfriends to the movie! We will be the *cough* older contingent *cough* of your fans with our teen daughters:)
Feb. 8th, 2014 02:44 pm (UTC)
When I went it was ALL adults (about 8 others in total at the theater) short of the two teens I had brought whom hadn't even read the books. I don't think you'll be alone!
Feb. 6th, 2014 07:39 pm (UTC)
Release date in other countrys.
Well, I want to support the movie, but the release date in sweden is 13th of JUNE! That's like an eternity!

Feb. 8th, 2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
I was a little unsure about the movie due to the trailers, but I read your post here and went to watch it last night.

I was really really disappointed and bored.

I won't go into details unless you genuinely want to know.

In the end though I am glad I went because it helped show my support (and I brought two guests). I have hopes that this movie will make enough money so they can do a better shot at the second movie.

I am very anxious to see Adrian and have bloodlines become a movie series on it's own.

I am sorry my first post on your blog wasn't a more positive one. I assure you I am a fan and love reading your books :)

Edited at 2014-02-08 02:43 pm (UTC)
Feb. 8th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC)
I loved it!
I saw the movie and was delighted and thrilled by the way it turned out. I've always loved this series, and I hope to see more movies produced because I just can't get enough. But more than anything, I want to read more about Rose. You said it yourself, Richelle! You maybe want to keep writing stories about these characters. :-) And I really, really hope you do. I've always looked up to your writing and world-building and can't wait to see what you do next.

Edited at 2014-02-08 06:14 pm (UTC)
Jae Kay Walton
Feb. 10th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
Really disapointed
**Since my name is on this i want to be clear to anyone looking to flame me... This is thoroughly my own opinion and it shouldn't stop you from liking what you want... please don't attempt to send me any rude messages through facebook**

I absolutely love your books, from VA series, Bloodlines, to Dark Swan... but I was personally disappointed by this movie.. and cant help but feel like you are selling out by saying you liked it... It was THAT bad for me.

The acting was horrible.. even from the more experienced actors, fight scenes were super cheesy, while it didn't lack emotion (like twilight did) the emotions were all off in the wrong places. The directors put to much mean girls humor into it, Demetri was all wrong... ROSE was all wrong... the personality may have slightly been there but... what happened to being exotic, what happened to still be slightly kick ass while missing a year of training? The narration was so distracting as well.

It ruined the visual and the fantasy that I had already created in my head. I was so disappointed and it left me fuming for hours after seeing it.

Richelle, I think i will just stick to reading your amazing books instead of ruining my visuals with a poorly put together movie. =/

Edited at 2014-02-10 08:18 pm (UTC)
Casey Palmer
Feb. 11th, 2014 04:17 pm (UTC)
Loved it!
I have to say that I am a loyal fan and nothing in the world would have stopped me from seeing it opening day. The marketing was definitely a bit off. I understand they needed to change things up because of the way that Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, etc. have lacked luster at the box office, but I can see how the trailers would turn off people not familiar with the source material. However, the new music video is amazing and should be shown on every channel and website. You can't go wrong getting Gabriel Byrne to narrate something.

Moving on to the movie itself: I saw it 3 times back to back to back opening day and a 4th time yesterday. The first viewing I compared it to the book constantly and tore apart every aspect of it, except the actors I really did love all of the actors and thought they captured the characters. After getting every discrepancy out of my system I watched it the second and third time not as an adaptation but as a stand alone movie and I really liked it. I liked the quips, the action, and the mystery. I truly fell in love with the movie more each time I saw it.

Sunday night I re-read the graphic novel and was amazed at how closely the movie followed it. It's easy to complain because every bit of detail or dialogue didn't make it from the book to the movie, but to see how closely it matched the graphic novel which was already edited to condense content and to make the story into a medium closer to film, blew me away. I immediately retracted my critiques of the plot line.

Monday I saw it for the 4th time and this time I watched it as a film about friendship and empowerment and I saw what the reviewers were referring to. It does work as a movie about two friends dealing with every day teenage stuff. I also began to notice the tiny details, like with the uniforms - the St. Vlad's crest is different on every jacket! Christian has the fire logo in red, Mia has the water in red, Rose and Mason have the promise mark in red, and Lissa doesn't have anything highlighted. So cool!

Anyways, I have to agree that it's the closest book to movie adaptation I've seen. And every reservation that I had about the cast and crew has dissipated. The movie made me fall in love with the characters all over again.
Feb. 13th, 2014 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Loved it!
I was reading the reviews and most were terrible (which made me worried about a second film). In the comments though there were a few people who did not like it at all the first time, but after going back again saw more potential.

After seeing those remarks and yours here - I am going to give it another go. :)
Feb. 11th, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
OMG!! I just got home from finally seeing the movie and I am sooooo happy!! I don't even care about anything else right now, I am just basking in the afterglow of how much I loved it!

For me personally, Zoey nailed Rose! She was bad ass, snarky yet funny, and totally hot. I felt like the movie had everything. There was plenty of action, it had funny moments, it had awww moments, it was true to the books.

I took both my younger sisters with me, and they had never read or heard of the books. When I asked them afterwards what they thought of it they both replied "I want to see the next one!" And that was the feeling it gave me too! I was like I want to know what happens next! (Even though I do know cause I've read the books!) And that was how the book made me feel the first time I read it, so that to me is an expression of how true it is to the books. My youngest sister was already talking about going back tonight with her boyfriend to see it again and I am honestly thinking about trying to persuade my husband to go see it with me again tonight as well!
Danelle O'Donnell
Feb. 12th, 2014 04:30 pm (UTC)
With weather and sick children I still haven't seen the movie! I'm a big fan of all Richelle's books and got quoted on Audible's Groundhog day article "A Good Book is Worth Repeating":

A series worth revisiting: Vampire Academy is my all time favorite series. The characters, story line, and the romantic tension are incredible. The main character, Rose, is fierce, flawed, and very relatable. I listened to the whole existing series each time a new book came out and have revisited the entire series twice. ——Danelle

I'm so anxious to see the movie!
Feb. 17th, 2014 02:47 pm (UTC)
The Fight's Not Done
I saw the movie, and while I had mixed thoughts, I know that movie series often grow into themselves with time, and I appreciated this freshman effort with hopes of future offerings continuing to grow into the groove of the series.

I also want to say that often these types of movies do their best business on dvd, and get "saved" so to speak. So I intend to spread the love when it gets released and gift bundles of movie+book to friends and colleagues I think will appreciate it.

I would recommend to everyone, even if you didn't love the movie, to do the same with the understanding that the more popular the movie is, and thus the more marketing appeal VA demonstrates, the more power Richelle has to steer future offerings in directions fans would enjoy. I view it as showing support for Richelle, and increasing her future creative leverage by making this movie a dvd success. Consider this even if you hated the movie.
Mar. 7th, 2014 02:15 pm (UTC)
i liked the movie
i dragged my roommate along on the premiere date, she's never read the books, and we both adored it. but to me, it wasn't like the books at all. It was quite hilarious, almost parody like, but i LOVED IT, super entertaining and the way Dimitri said "Rosa" Was spot on! I really hope the rest of the series gets turned into a film!
Sanja T
Mar. 31st, 2014 03:57 am (UTC)
Oh I just loved the movie and books. I must say I was up until 3am most nights reading the series. I can't wait for the other movies to come out. I cannot get enough of Dimitri.
May. 20th, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC)
Late comer to this post, but after finding this LJ I couldn't resist commenting, even if late.
I'm one of those "new" readers that after seeing the movie and loving it, read the books. And man, was that a happy decision.
I read all the VA books in one week and now I'm tackling Bloodlines (and believe me, getting my hands on all of them in Japan was quite the wait, but SO worth it) and I'm excited about going on with the saga following Sidney.
But then, in this post I saw this
"[...] and that...gasp...maybe I want to keep writing stories about them!"
I literally jumped on my chair. Yes! Please! Just the fact that you would consider it makes me happy. Rose is one of the few main characters, one of the very few female main characters, that I love unconditionally. Being able to read more about her and Lissa and Dimitri and Court life would send me over the stars. And I think that anybody that has read the saga agrees with me.

As a side note, I think it's brilliant that you have a platform like LJ where your readers can interact directly!
Now back to my readings...
Hannah Kennedy
May. 28th, 2014 02:28 am (UTC)
And my favorite book falls victim
Ugh. Need I say it? I wasn't this mad with Beautiful Creatures or the first Hunger Games.
But to screw up Vampire Acacdemy??
That's crossing the line. Don't get your hopes up, people. There isn't going to be a Frost Bite for us. I still went out and bought the movie because I'm a loyal VA fan. I love those books like I would love a close friend. But I'm not going to sit around and pine for a second movie because it's just useless. Once again a terrible director/movie set has obliterated a book I love.
Dec. 9th, 2014 06:56 am (UTC)
I was curious about this movie but when I did my research, I didn't find any amazing reviews about this movie.
( 26 comments — Tell me about it, baby! )
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