Hi, My name is Felix and I’m a Twilight survivor. I’ve lived through sparkly vampires (Twilight), tragically lame teenage demon hunters (Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), super stupid alien invaders playing Romeo and Juliet (The Host), mind-numbingly, pants-shittingly awful horror reboots (Texas Chainsaw 3D) and (because Nostradamus ain’t got nothin’ on this bitch) the sure-to-be-gag-inducing ode to eternal love and herpes coming out this Valentine’s Day (Endless Love). I’ve got a motherfucking PhD in Teen Angst/Paranormal Romance at this point and my liquor store on speed dial; now I told you that to tell you this. Vampire Academy… Wasn’t terrible. Take that to the goddamn bank and cash it.
Vampire Academy follows teenage BFFs Vasilisa Dragomir (royal vampire princess) and her sassy hetero-lifemate Rose Hathaway (half-vampire/half-human dhampir guardian-in-training) as they run away from Fang High to roll around in Pinkberry and Pop-Tarts before they get caught and dragged back into the politics and intrigue of hell on earth… High School. Add magic, fangs, stupid hot authority figures (like waving a red flag embossed with “daddy issues” in front of this bitch), supernatural grudge matches and you’ve got yourself an hour and forty-five minutes of teen girl nirvana. Will Rose and Lissa road trip to Cabo for Spring Break? Will they survive high school? Will we ever find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
Maybe it’s the Stockholm Syndrome talking after the PTSD resulting from my last box office review of I, Frankenstein, but I watched Vampire Academy through the rose-colored glasses of boxed wine and leftover Vicodin (and was mostly amused). Though largely entertaining, the humor was spotty and waffled between on-point, witty, tongue-in-cheek zingers and ridiculously juvenile grenades launched with careless abandon at hapless moviegoers (and by that I mean myself and the one middle-aged dude who was not at all creepy showing up to a flick featuring teenage girls). When it was good, it was good, and when it was bad, it sucked harder than Nicki Minaj.
Also, a big part of what made Vampire Academy relatively painless was the believable and authentic chemistry between Rose and Dimitri (balancing out the pathos-laden, and at times shallow, connections between ancillary characters) due, mostly, to the pectoral perfection and ass-tastic acting of relative newcomer Danila Kozlovsky. Kozlovsky’s smile will no doubt launch thousands of panties at silverscreens worldwide (and his effortless badassery mixed with flashes of schoolboy charm were a deadly combination). The accent did half the work for him and the gruff, broody exterior practically screamed “I’m emotionally unavailable” (which is like white-girl crack). I’d snort this beautiful son-of-a-bitch so hard he’d walk funny for a week if he got within a hot mile of me, no safewords allowed.
Tonally confused angst-fest says what? Put your hands down, pre-teens, I’m talking about Vampire Academy. This fuckfest of fangs struggled to free itself from genre stereotypes and was more hit-and-miss than virginity at a John Mayer concert. While Academy had sparks of urbane Mean Girls (not surprising since they shared director Mark Waters) irreverence, overall this pointy picture suffered from a sloppy mashup of the juvenile and mature. Know your audience, assholes. For example, I don’t get blasted and crash funerals for snacks… Anymore.
Vampire Academy couldn’t make a call on its target audience (bouncing back and forth from girl-power and giggles to pseudo “f” bombs and lingerie) leaving audiences confused and moderately entertained (though ultimately unsatisfied). So, basically, it’s the movie version of anyone who’s ever banged Paris Hilton. Allegedly. Writing for a friend.
Vampire Academy tried to graft slick wit and sharp dialogue onto feel-good girl-power and failed harder than Amy Winehouse did at rehab.
Here are a few of the gems I remember in-between snorting bleach and braiding my vagina:
“I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight. At this point, I can’t remember who loves us and who hates us. Let’s make tonight our bitch.”-Rose Hathaway
“Blood is family. Blood is pain. Blood is death.”- Lissa Dragomir
“I should probably point out that my best friend, Lissa Dragomir, is a royal member of an ancient race. And yeah, like most creatures with fangs, they live off blood. My name is Rose Hathaway and I’ve been sworn to protect the royal bloodline with my life.”-Rose Hathaway
Imagine drop-dead-serious Power Puff Girls on steroids delivering those lines and you’ve saved ten dollars you can put toward that studded leather onesie you’ve been dreaming of. The script, much like Academy’s character development, was inconsistent and lacked depth in some areas. Vampire Academy had potential and wasted it on obvious one-liners and superficial gratification. I haven’t been this frustrated since PIZZA HUT STOPPED DELIVERING TO MY HOUSE I SAID I’D START WEARING PANTS AGAIN AND STOP DRY-HUMPING THE DRIVERS, ASSHOLES. Whatever, Pizza Hut, what the fuck ever.
Like an eternally optimistic four hitting on a ten at the bar, like a cinematic Charlie Brown getting Punk’d by Ashton Kutcher, like a silverscreen Superman getting railed by Kryptonite, I think every time I pull a teen/supernatural/romance assignment that THIS time will be different; that THIS time it won’t suck harder than Kristen Stewart did on the set of Snow White and The Hunstman and every time, without fail, I don’t even get half a lady-chub.
Based on the book series of the same name, which I’ve admittedly read (and are way better than any of the Twilight books ever were- which is like saying The Clap is your favorite STD), the screen adaptation of Vampire Academy was “adequate” with a side of “okay” and an order of “passable”. In a survival-induced boredom coma yet? Don’t worry, you will be soon. With a few exceptions, Academy managed to pull off a semi-bland, mildy entertaining puff piece of cinema. Speaking of exceptions, characters, notably Headmistress Kirova, Mia Rinaldi and the Moroi Queen, were laughably adapted (more so Kirova and the Queen) and twisted into stereotypical expectations of what their roles should be. So, you know, basically the same thing Kim Kardashian looks at in the mirror every day.
Even without the novel series in comparison, the characters were more caricatures of stereotypes than actual people. If you get talked into seeing this, Boozers, lower your expectations, then lower them some more, get them drunk, then high, lower them some more, then take them to see Wolf of Wall Street or American Hustle instead (you’re welcome in advance).
Vampire Academy is what happens nine months after Mean Girls bangs Twilight. This film is a one-night-stand you won’t entirely regret, but you’re definitely leaving a fake name and six-digit phone number.
Take a Drink: for every flashback and/or flash of the Hathaway/Dragomir bond.
Take a Drink: Whenever your hear “Vladimir”, “Anna”, “Shadow-Kissed” and/or “Weird doesn’t begin to cover it”.
Take a Shot: for every voiceover or narration.
Take a Drink: anytime Moroi and/or Strigoi grab a snack and/or dirt nap.
Shotgun a Beer: to suck it up and get through the Finale speech… On second thought, make it a double.