Vampire Academy – 2014

Director Mark Waters
Starring Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne, Dominic Sherwood, Joely Richardson, Olga Kurylenko, Sarah Hyland
Screenplay by Daniel Waters based on the book by Richelle Mead

There is a moment in the hyper-kinetic story Vampire Academy when, in the midst of some crucial exposition between the two protagonists, a crow flies right between them into a stone statue and, having broken its neck, is approaching death.  The bird is looking like it’s in a type of bliss, when one of the vampires has to bring it back to life.  The whole scene does not even interrupt the conversation.  Poor bird.  Now it has to suffer like the rest of us.

Vampire Academy is the Harry Potter and Twilight forced into one story.  The book series has a decent reputation, but in the form of a movie, it says too much.  From the moment the camera starts rolling, we have one character or another telling us who is who, what they mean to each other and how it’s all connected.  Rose (Deutch) does most of the talking, explaining why she and her friend Lissa (Fry) are on the run, eventually caught and then in mystery solving mode.

The process is utterly fascinating, especially when action scenes occur, but fail to prevent analysis from occurring simultaneously.  It’s as difficult to follow as any dramatic rending of the day by your typical pre-teen.  It occurs to one that given this series is made for that same age group, and that likely any one of that age watching this has likely read the books and is running through the list of facts given to them and taking inventory.

It’s so hard to hate a film that wants to give you so much information, but it’s also hard to warm up to it, either.  If you’ve ever had a likeable teenager in the family who is often trying to explain something / anything to you, this is about the same thing.  There are plenty of mysteries presented, but absolutely nothing is mysterious.  You can tell the person’s involved in the ending faster than one could say “We would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those darned kids.”

No one is going to win any awards here, and that should include Razzies.  It’s got some clever lines and some lame ones, as one would expect of the writer of Heathers, Ford Fairlaine and Hudson Hawk.  It may not be anyone’s favorite film, but my guess is that if you have read the series and were of the age to enjoy it, you’d find something to like here.

For the rest of us, there might be some dizziness.

(*1/2 out of *****)

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