In March earlier this year, I reviewed the 6-book fantasy series Vampire Academy. I also wrote an “about the author” blog post about its author Richelle Mead. But did you know that the first book of this series has been turned into a movie? Vampire Academy the movie was released in 2014 to generally negative reviews. The movie only grossed about $15 million while it was produced on a $30 million budget, so calling it a flop is being kind.
It’s hard to describe this movie adaptation because it was just so bad. The books were okay, very well put together and also quite original. The movie feels like a more violent Twilight rip-off with some Harry Potter elements thrown in. Let’s start with the Twilight similarities. A lot of movies and books have been trying to copy the success of Twilight (which was a success because it was the first in its kind, so that is very hard to do again). Stories about a girl in love with a vampire are a dime in a dozen these days and don’t even get me started on love triangles in YA fantasy. Of course, these elements are already present in the book, but there they felt less like Twilight rip-off and more like an author using the recurring themes and elements of YA fantasy and putting a new spin on them. I felt like the movie leaned so much more towards Twilight and really devaluated the story into a cheap Twilight knock-off.
And then there are the Harry Potter elements, again already present in the book but magnified to such an extent that it becomes ridiculous in the movie. The vampire high school where children are trained in everything vampiric, the looming darkness that threatens the school, the characters trying to do everything themselves and ignoring their teachers, … It was less obvious for me in the books, and was again magnified in the movie. Even the school itself felt like a Hogwarts-esque take on an American private school.
Sprinkle some Mean Girls on top and that is the movie adaptation of this otherwise interesting and worthy YA fantasy series. I don’t think I need to tell you that I didn’t like the movie. They took a decent book and tried to give it a Hollywood jacket that just doesn’t work with the story. They kept most of the plot and didn’t change that much about the story, but it just didn’t fit. However, I also didn’t hate the movie. It was just a movie that didn’t affect me whatsoever and left me feeling like I had just wasted my time. I think it will be fun to see for the real Vampire Academy fans, but I’m sure they will also not like it. This is a classic case of a movie adaptation gone horribly wrong. And luckily, after the box office failure, they aren’t going to try again anytime soon.
Sidenote: fans are making an unofficial fanmade webseries based on the first book. Find out all about it on their Tumblr and check out the first three episodes which are currently online.
What did you think of the movie? Love it or hate it? I’d love to hear in the comments.
As ever, happy reading,