Hello, Spongey here.
It’s time to cover a 2014 film again, and this one….is one no one cares about. But it gives me a good chance to discuss YA. …Sort of. I already went into it my Morganville Vampires tribute.
There, I say YA books tend to be for Pre-Teens, while Morganville Vampires has real teens and that’s part of why it’s so great. It ain’t tweeny.
But Tween stuff sells, and thus we have a lot of YA movies. Some rip off Twilight, while others rip off Hunger Games. I prefer the latter, as they at least can be kind of cool, unlike the Twilight rip offs.
Today’s movie doesn’t fall into either, as it’s more it’s own thing, despite having vampires. The original books were written by Richelle Mead (No relation to that guy who reviewed Oogivleloves on here once) and I guess they dealt with a Vampire Acadmey. I’ve never read them but they sound like they are at least trying.
Also, Richelle Mead has the praise quote on the cover of one of the Morganville Vampires books…At least she has taste.
Anyway, the books were popular, I guess, so they made a movie about it. The reviews were negative, some overly so, but overall, people forgot about the film. It may be on worst lists, but no one really cared.
Before we start, let’s look at our creators. The writers credits include Batman Returns (You know how I feel about that one) while the director has done the Freaky Friday remake (which is alright), Mean Girls (which I haven’t seen) and…Mr Poppers Penguins.
But hey, it could still be good. The only way I’m gonna find is if I shut up and start it, and I’m gonna that right now. Let’s see if this movie….sucks.
This, is Vampire Academy
After 55 seconds of logos, the movie opens with some people in a car. They crash and it was all a dream. That was fast. This our lead teenager, Rose, played by Maya from Suite Life on Deck. Hey, that’s why she left in the finale, to join a Vampire school!
As it turns out, that dream was an accident she got in that killed her parents. I don’t have rules fro a YA drinking game, but go ahead and take a swig for dead parents.
“Can’t you be like a normal teenage girl and dream of hot named guys on Unicrorns?”
Rose talks to her sister, Alyssa, about stuff.
“You know it’s been a year since we dropped out of the Academy”
Alyssa gets hungry, so Rose lets her eat. Then she bites her neck…
“That escalated quickly”
Finally, I got to use that joke.
So yeah…she’s a vampire. Don’t these kind of films ease into this stuff, instead of dropping us in? I’d love an explanation. They hear some guys outside, and they must be bad guys, cuz they kick their asses. Awesome.
Then this dude appears, saying he must take them back to St Vladimar’s Academy. What the hell is going on? This thing is going way too fast .I don’t know the characters, or the situation! …I hope this is a ‘In Media Res” thing.
I’m not sure, but we get narration.
“My best friend Alyssa-”
Oh, not her sister. Sorry.
“-is part of a magical ancient race. The Moroi. The Moroi don’t wear black capes, turn into bats, or sleep in coffins. They don’t sparkle either”
…BEST MOVIE EVER MADE.
The exposition tells us that they live off blood, but they don’t live forever. Rose is a Dhampir, protectors of the Moroi. The narration ends, and we see that Rose and Alyssa are being driven back to the Academy. With all that exposition, we still don’t know why they left.
A bunch of bad guys show up, once they stop the car, and attack. We get a fight scene with laughable effects, and the bad guys are stopped. Also, more narration.
“Then there’s Group 3. The bad vampires.”
They have a fancy name but they don’t need one so I won’t say It.
“It take 5 of our best to kill one of their worst’
Okay,it’s been long enough. SHOW. DON’T TELL.
After that pointless bit, they arrive at the school.
“There it was. Goodbye Facebook, goodbye iPhone 5”
She tells us that this a school where all kinds of vampires, Mori and Dhampir alike, go to learn stuff, like magic.
“For the Moroi, it’s magic time. Water, Earth, Fire, Air.”
The Four Nations lived together in-wait…
“Our secret society has it’s own government that alternates leaders-”
SHUT UP. My god, stop with the freaking narration!
…Sorry. The narration stops as they arrive at Vampire Academy.
“You know I hate the V word.
That’s our word!
…Would you have preferred a Vagina joke?
They are taken to the Head Mistresses, as they finally explain why they left. Alyssa felt less secure in the school than outside,…and that’s all we get. She stops so we can get MORE EXPOSITION!
See, Alsyssa is the last of her name, as this other dude is gonna die, so she is the successor to the throne. But they drop that to move the plot forward. They let the two back in the school, and Rose gets a telegram. But they drop THAT so Rose can go outside for some flashbacks that tell us nothing.
It’s weird. That plot got started right away yet it STILL hasn’t started. The two try to blend back into the school and we have various awkward conversations. There’s a weird pointless scene, and Rose visits her trainer, who is kind of a dick.
“How do you say what a dick in Russian?”
Oh cute, you’re trying to be grown up.. It only worked when Morganville did it.
“Now for the obligatory Cafeteria scene”
…I didn’t say that. …She did.
Okay, give them a point. It turns out to be not so normal as it’s actually a white room next to place where humans are used to get blood. They take humans every year to suck out their blood so they have enough for the year. They are known as feeds, and each Vampire gets a certain feeder.
Alsyssa’s feeder writes Twilight Fanfiction. ..This movie is getting on my good side now. They leave and spot a hot guy.
“He has a terrible personality”
“Jesse has a personality? I didn’t know”
…Stop being good.
Later, during…Church (that shouldn’t be weird, but it is), a message appears on the wall saying “Leave or die”. This one bitch thinks it was worse.
“One wrong move and you’re on the street doing blood whore porn”
…Why do I want to see that?
After that (what is up with the pointless scenes?), Rose gets with Jesse who tries to bite her when they kiss. She says no and a teacher kicks him out. We get more pointless (for now) scenes and we cut to class, as this one dude calls Rose a Blood whore. Then he is lit on fire. Yes.
See, people found out that Alyssa used Rose as a human feed bag while they were on the run. They are shocked by this..because? I don’t know. How did they expect her to feed?
After another scene, we cut to the …Queen of Vampire Academy, as she gathered everyone. She calls Alyssa the princess, so I guess she’s a princess now. She calls her up as she is being blamed for a recent Fox murder. There’s also the whole…escape thing.
She forgives Alyssa for that though so that scene was.. another scene that just happens. Rose and some nerdy chick go to their room and find a message saying “If you stay beware”.
The message is written in blood, so the nerdy chick licks it to see what type of blood it is. Okay.
“Oh a mystery, how exciting”
Alyssa shows up and she decides she has had enough.
“Its my turn to kick a little ass”
Then that scene ends as Rose talks this to some guy. Before I vent, this line.
“She used to go to Hot topic. Then she turned 12”
Okay, what is with this film’s writing so far? The plot makes sense… I guess, but it feels so disjointed. Each scene feels isolated instead of flowing naturally. Is it just me? Not to mention the exposition and the fact that , despite the characters talking a lot, they don’t get much room to breathe because of all the plot!
I know this is supposed to be a series but you should establish plot points in a way that isn’t clunky. You should also give the film room to breathe instead of making every scene “important”. Okay. Let’s move on.
That scene ends (seriously, is each scene feeling pointless to you) and we cut to the next day, with Rose and her Mentor, who can’t act for shit. He’s gonna teach her how to fight. But seriously, he can’t act. It almost sounds like bad dubbing, I am not even joking.
After some training, we get, more exposition from the Mentor guy Oh joy, we’re back to that. He talks about pointless stuff from his backstory, but then he tells us that Rose’s Mom was kind of respected. I don’t know, it feels like these scenes establish character development, but they feel pointless. I still don’t get it!
After more pointless scenes, we see that Alyssa is hanging out with the popular people, and she’s turning into someone she’s not. Okay, not only is that cliché but Rose TELLS us this, and we don’t see it. What did I say earlier?!
“The stakes are too high…get it?”
Rose sneaks into this office to find any info on her past, and she finds a recording of this teacher that vanished. It’s very…found foutage-y. Come on, I’m doing enough Found Footage next month!
Rose suddenly has a vision (Oh yeah, she has visions. Forgot to mention that) of Alyssa fighting off bad guys because this one bad guy was her Ex or something. She goes out to help her-and it was all a dream.
As if we needed more pointless scenes. Or at least, scenes that FEEL pointless. After more of those type of scenes, Rose and Alyssa go to a party, where Alyssa ignores Rose in favor of being “fun” and stuff. She calls her out on this, but Alyssa isn’t having any of this cuz she’s doing this to take down this chick named Mia. They argue some more until they are interrupted by the sound of some creature.
They run and they find Alyssa’s backpack…with a dead cat in it. Her Cat. Oh yeah, she had a cat. It wasn’t important until now. Then we get another vision, only this one is a lost memory. As it turns out, that teacher who vanished erased Rose’s memory so that she only knew she had to get away from the school. Why did she do this? I’m not 100 percent, I think they said something about Alyssa using her powers a lot being dangerous. Idk.
Rose confronts the head people about this and they finally tell her what happened to Mrs Carp, the teacher. After Rose left, she had a complete breakdown because of some complicated crap I don’t understand. The important part is that she left and they don’t know where she is.
Rose visits some dude to try to find out what the deal is with Alyssa and the cat murder. They figure that she has some weird power that is causing stuff to happen. Rose tells her about this but she’s…mad.
ROSE: Bite me.
“You’d like that, Blood whore”
While they argue, Rose trips and she wakes up in the hospital. Despite hurting her leg, she’s perfectly fine when she wakes up. She visits Alyssa (cuz this place has shit security) and..she’s fine now.
“When I saw your leg, I got everything out of my system”
The head mistresses shows and forbids them from going to this upcoming dance because of the trouble they have caused. Wait, we’re just gonna move on? The whole thing with Alyssa just…stops for now?
See what I mean? This movie can’t pick one scene and stick with it! Then they drop THAT and they all go shopping. Alyssa brings up her powers, saying she confused power with popularity…and they drop that to talk stuff that is only semi-related.
I’m not skipping any of this. Alyssa literately stops being a bitch and the movie really skips around like this. Even the worst films I’ve ever seen didn’t have this problem!
Anyway, they will be allowed to to the dance now because…potatoes. So yeah, it’s time for the dance, but first, a one liner.
“Let’s make tonight our bitch”
They go the dance and Alyssa hooks up with this dude named Christian that I haven’t mentioned cuz he didn’t seem important until now. But now it’s time to find who has been making those messages that stopped being important half an hour ago.
It was these 3 dudes who haven’t been mentioned/seen until now. …What a twist? Well, actually they were doing this under the order of Alpha-Bitch Mia who has only been important like once before now. I haven’t said her name.
What is with this movie and making previously unimportant things important? Yes, some movies do that but here, it feels so…sudden! Mia did this because…she doesn’t like them. What a complex, deep, motivation.
While she did make the messages, she didn’t kill the cat cuz even bitches have standards.
“You’re not the villain, you’re just an insecure girl, desperate for attention”
Which makes everything with her entirely pointless. Also, creepy stuff actually turns out to be from someone who isn’t the villain cliché!
Rose has a vision of Alyssa getting kidnapped, and now she must save her. She visits the bad acting mentor…and they have a romantic moment. Yeah, she had a crush on him and it was important but I choose not to mention it.
But the important part is that it’s not the time or place, woman! Then they…have sex? What the actual hell? You’re sister has been kidnapped, bitch! There’s more important things to do than…that!
And then before they start, he takes her necklace and they stop because the necklace someone made them want to do it.
“Alyssa’s been kidnapped, we have to hurry”
Then they…move on…like nothing happened.
…Let’s forget that happened.
Rose has another vision and we find out who our villain is: Victor Dashkov. A guy who has been semi important, but I have failed to mention him. It’s my fault this time, sorry.
He was a previous candidate for the throne, who has contracted a disease that leaves him too feeble for the job. He wants to use her to cure himself, but at the cost of her own life as continued healing would eventually take its toll on her.
Okay, that’s pretty interesting. It took them 75 minutes, but this is getting cool! Why did he kill the cat? …I don’t know. But he gave Rose the love potion coated necklace to cause…that. …Okay, it was…important but If you cut it out, it wouldn’t change that much.
Some dude starts sucking the life out of Alyssa to hear Victor. It works. Rose and the mentor storm the bad guy base, while Alyssa attempts to escape by herself. The Mentor, Demetri, bumps into one goon who has the best one liner ever.
“Dimentri is a god. I’m an atheist. An Atheist with a big gun”
That was the best line in any movie ever.
He kills the Atheist with a big gun, and Victor heads outside to take care of Alyssa, since his CGI dogs didn’t take care of her. Before he can kill Rose, who pops up, Demetri pops up and cuffs him. But the CGI dogs still attack and Christian sets them on fire and they run away …Okay.
Doing this hurt him so Alyssa heals him. Suspense! And with that, Victor is taken to a holding cell, and all is good. We’re 83 minutes into a 95 minute movie. We’re not done.
Rose and Dmetri talk about what happened earlier, and it’s not a BLAM. Dang it. Demtri isn’t into her in that way.
“It was just a spell. Let it go”
And, of course, we move on to the next plot point. Rose visits Victor in his cell. Why? I don’t know. This scene exists so Victor can mock her about the Demetri thing. He says there must some affection in there for the charm to work.
Wait, is this about romance now? Cuz…it was only a minor part so far. It mostly focused on our heroines being cool, and an actual story.. Not some dumb romance!
Victor explains to Rose that the reason why she bonded to Lissa (and thus sometimes able to see into her mind) is because she was “shadow-kissed”, having been brought back to life by her magic. So yeah, she’s supposed to be dead, but she isn’t. Cool.
Oh, and the nerdy chick, whose name is Natalie, is a bad guy now. Well, she was important so…yeah, I’ll give them that. She’s Victor’s daughter, infact. She had been giving him info this whole time, and she came up with the cat idea.
Natile goes on about how sad she was until she turned super evil, and we get a shakey-cam fight scene. Then Dimetri shows up and kills her. Then Victor is caputed. Now that was an Anti-Climax.
Also, False climax followed by real climax, cliché.
Rose reunites with Alyssa, or Lissa, or whatever her name is, and we cut to to the Head person giving a speech. Alyssa pops up and says that Spirit is her type of magic, and that it’s thanks to Rose that she can master it.
She says some crap about blood being pain, family, and dead and yada yada. It’s a “inspirational” speech to make us think we learned something. That’s all you need to know.
Rose talks to Dimetri who admits he likes her. He lied earlier because the plot said do. That and everyone would not be okay with it.
“You’re reasons for not loving me, make me love you more”
She asks for a kiss, and he goes in…and she flips him. Nice. ..She had been trying to flip him all movie for the training. Yeah. She walks away and we get narration. Oh hey, haven’t seen that in awhile.
“My name is Rose Hathaway. I’m not you’re normal teenage girl. Every life has real, traditions, friends, enemies, sheer terror, and incredible joy. But I’ve learned-‘
A bird flies by her. Wow, even the bird hate the narration. The bird flies away and we pan out to see a dude in a nearby cave. Inside the cave is a bunch of bad guys.
And by soon,they mean never, because the movie ends and it bombed. Thank god. Oddly enough, the ending is okay with me. I didn’t care about the film to want it to end well, anyway. It’s over either way.
That was…not horrible, but it was very problematic. The odd thing is, it’s not painful in any way. It flows fine and the characters/story are not the worst. But somehow, it feels like a mess for all 95 of it’s minutes.
I mean, I can someone who likes the movie going ‘WHAT NO IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL” and trust me, I know that feeling. But it just felt..messy. For one, there’s too much exposition at some points. Pretty much half the movie is people explaining things. We are told various things we can see for ourselves.
And sadly, this means any character development feels…calculated instead of natural. It’s clearly trying to make something interesting, but it’s too busy trying to fit in so much plot, when there isn’t that much plot in most scenes.
A lot of the scenes feel pointless, even if they are not. The pacing is all over the place, mostly going too fast which makes no sense given how much they stretch things out. We have pointless plot points that are rushed, like Alyssa being a bitch, among other things.
It just feels…messy. However, it’s not really…bad per say. The story gives us interesting ideas though it does feel a bit generic at times. The characters, for the most part, aren’t as interesting as they could have been. Rose is the typical hero for this type of story, and everyone fills the typical roles.
None of them are unlikable, but for the most part but they don’t pop. The villains are evil for the sake of being evil and the interesting parts feel…wasted. And to add insult to injury, we have a pointless, weak romance. For a movie that mocks Twilight, it sure loves putting in crappy romance.
But on the bright side, the acting (with one except…) is pretty good. Zoey Deuth is the standout as Rose, being fairly charming with her snark and stuff. Everyone else is fine, with the materiel they are given. Except Dimetri. God, he was bad, and he made the romance worse.
By the way, this was his first American Film role. I couldn’t tell!
The humor is decent, and it at least tries to break away from the YA Mold. Because of that, it’s far more watchable than most of the crap I review, but it’s not really that memorable in the end.
I haven’t read the book, but it looks like the kind of movie that tries to put in as much from the book as possible, only making the script stuffed. I’m sure the books are far better, but this was not a good first impression.
It’s perfectly harmless, and I’ve seen far worse, but it’s just not as good as it could have been. It doesn’t suck but it’s not any good either.
Next time, we look a film I’ve been interested in for awhile….well, it’s from the director of a film I’ve been wanting to do for awhile anyway.