6.09.2014

Vampire Academy

GET IT?!
"They Suck at School."

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Tagline! I've gone months and months, starved for shitty YA movie adaptations, and finally found something to really sink my teeth into. I mean, don't get me wrong, The Mortal Instruments wasn't very good, and Divergent was REALLY not good, but I was looking for a real piece of shit, and it also really needed to be about vampires. Thankfully, the movie industry and YA writers didn't leave me disappointed and empty handed, they gave me Vampire Academy. Released in February of this year, Vampire Academy is just the worst kind of movie I could possibly think of, combining an embarrassment of riches in terms of young adult AND vampire cliches, seemingly in an effort to make me laugh in delighted malice so hard that my head falls off. I saw this described as being Mean Girls meets Twilight, and that's sort of true, but it leaves out all the other things that this movie is ripping off, and that just ISN'T ACCEPTABLE. Vampire Academy is based on the first book in a series of YA novels (of course) about a girl named Rose who is a Dhampir (that's a half vampire) and her BFF Lissa, who is a Moroi (if you're playing the home game a Moroi is the Romanian word for a kind of vampire that isn't immortal, though sometimes they're ghosts go figure). Moroi in this world are apparently all Harry Potter style wizards who can use elemental magic, and they drink blood but otherwise are swell folks or so we are told. They mention that people who are on the receiving end of the vampire biting get something out of it, but we're never told what, so I have to assume it's some sort of sex thing. Anyway the Moroi are protected by the Dhampir, because for some reason even though they can set people on fire with their minds they can't defend themselves. Who are they being defended from? Why the Strigoi of course, who are the scary Nosferatu kind of vampire, all living forever and being crazy and wanting to kill everyone. You know REAL VAMPIRES.

What a dreamboat, hubba hubba.
So Rose and Lissa run away from vampire school because of reasons we don't find out for a while, something about some batshit teacher telling them to, but they're brought back and then the Mean Girls part of the movie kicks in, with a dash of Hogwarts for good measure, in case you weren't already completely nauseous, which I basically was thanks anyway. Lissa is so pretty and popular that everyone hates her, and everyone spreads mean rumors about what a slutty bloodwhore Rose is, always letting everyone drink her blood or whatever the fuck, it's like True Blood High School over there. The plot lost me, and I wasn't really sure what the central conflict was. Like, Rose and Lissa are mind melded or something, and Lissa keeps having premonitions about everyone being murdered by Strigoi, but that doesn't actually happen in this movie. Instead there's some other dude plotting to use Lissa's special healing magic that she has because she's a special snowflake, so that he can live forever or something stupid like that. Basically the movie's plot is, much like all other aspects of it, an indecipherable pile of nonsense and snippets from other works, frankensteined together into something truly monstrous. I'm not 100% that this movie would fly as a TV show, and it definitely doesn't cut it as a stand alone film (though this movie went full Eragon at the end with the "HERE COMES THE SEQUEL WE'LL NEVER GET" style teaser. It didn't have John Malkovich in it though, so that was pretty disappointing).

Welcome to vampire prom.
Basically this movie was like some sort of really terrible Twilight/Harry Potter crossover fiction. Like Bella and the Cullens were all students at Hogwarts, trying to deal with all the mean people who didn't appreciate what an awesome vampire wizard she was, and were trying to steal her boyfriend. It also manages to try and act like it has empowered female leads, while they simultaneously spend most of the movie focused on boys and swooning and the trials of teenage heartache, which is even grosser than just being regular sexist. In particular there was this one part at the end where Lissa makes this like, really awkward girl power anti-slut shaming speech that was just the hokiest "let's all get along" moment I think I've experienced in recent memory. It sounded like the script was written by a 14 year old on Tumblr. The characters match the quality of their dialogue, with pretty blonde popular Lissa and brooding badass Dimitri, and troubled misunderstood good guy Christian. They're all basically non-existent, and if they DID exist I'd think they were douchebags. The effects also live up to the generally shit quality, and are equal parts cheesy and cheap looking. I appreciate this movie's devotion to ripping off other movies, it even duplicated Twilight's shitty wolf CGI, though honestly I think these were even worse. I just wish they could have had a confused wolf argument like in Twilight.

I don't know what's going on here, it's just a really funny picture.
Finally I should talk about the performances everyone turns in, which are BINGO terrible. You spend the most time with Rose, who is played by Zooey Deutch, and I couldn't put a finger on who she was trying to act like until I read some reviews, and someone accused her of doing a really terrible Ellen Page as Juno impression. That is exactly what's going on here, only I don't think she's being Ellen Page as Juno, I think she's just being Ellen Page as every quirky attitude girl she's ever played. Is she worse than actual Ellen Page? I don't know, both instances are terrible, but it is really annoying. Also there's this part where she starts making out with this guy who is clearly a douche that she hates, and I'm still not really sure what was going on or why she did that, there was no explanation or any reason why that would have happened other than to create an incident for students to taunt her about later. The bottom line is that the whole thing was terrible. It was such a palms up money run that you can practically see the notes saying "make this part more Harry Potter or something" scribbled in red sharpie. It was terrible and I found that really funny. I don't think there is a single original thing that happens in this movie, which I suppose is a sort of achievement in and of itself. Also HOLY CRAP DID NOT REALIZE UNTIL A MOMENT AGO this movie was actually directed by Mark Waters, who also directed MEAN GIRLS NO SHIT. Too bad it didn't have Tina Fey writing the screenplay.

That's all for now! Join me again on Thursday when I reach into my hat and pull out another movie released in the past three months. What will it be? WHO KNOWS.

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