Movie Review: Vampire Academy (2014)

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Vampire Academy (2014)

So. Where do I begin. Does this have a book? I hope this has a book, it would be great, I want to read it. There is so much content in this movie that I would love to see expounded upon, from the way Moroi society is structured to the training course the dhampir go through during school and the nuances that permit them to exist at all, and how, exactly, the Strigoi came into being.

So, this movie is about Rose, a young dhampir charged with protecting the last of one of the twelve royal houses, and as we start out, they’re kind of on the run. A few years ago the majority of the family was killed in a car accident, and feeling entrapped at school, Princess Lissa and Rose escape from the vampire/dhampir boarding school known as  Saint Vladimir’s. But now the rest of the dhampir guard has caught up with them and taken them back to the relative safety of the school.

I use relative because this is a movie about vampire politics, and Saint Vladimir’s is a high school for vampires, and everyone knows that the most vicious people in the world are teenagers.

So there are three brackets here.. well, four. There’s the mortals, there’s the secret undead and semi-dead society of the Moroi and their dhampir guardians, half-vampires sworn to protect the Moroi with their lives, and then there’s the Strigoi, more vampires.

The apparent differences between the Moroi and Strigoi start with the diet: Strigoi will feed and kill, because there’s power and freedom in it, while the Moroi take enough not to gorge themselves but more importantly do not kill while they do it. Any Moroi who takes a life during feeding becomes Strigoi. Moreover, the Moroi have elemental magics, while I’ve seen no evidence of that in the Strigoi.

The dhampir do not have magic, and it takes “five of us to kill one of them” – that is to say, about five dhampir to kill one Strigoi, who’s meal-plan gives them +50 strength and -15 charisma, plus about three hundred percent of “you no longer have a soul.” But back to the core of the movie.

Aside from the politics and high school shenanigans, Rose and Lissa’s life still manages to not be normal even for their variety of life. Their taste in men, for instance. Lissa is attached to the school pariah, who’s parents turned themselves into Strigoi and who everyone is sure will follow in their footsteps. Meanwhile Rose is crushing on the new school head dhampir while they’re both attempting to keep Lissa safe. The romance is a low-key plot point in the movie, it doesn’t get played up a lot and it isn’t thrown in your face too obviously for most of it– you know, aside from that moment when it becomes important, because Plot Point? Come on, it’s a movie about high school.

I would have loved to see some more fleshing out of the characters, but considering the plot of the movie, the required pacing for aforementioned movie, and the way it circles primarily around Rose and her attachment to Lissa, fleshing out the rest of the cast would be a little tricky, so I understand that they gave us as much as they could in the time constraints. Not many people are willing to sit down for four hours and just watch TV, nor do they have the time to, and even fewer people are willing to sit down and watch it over a period of time when they could do it all at once. Ergo the reason we have so few mini-series, I suppose.

I do like the interplay, what little we could find. I hope I can find some more of this universe to sink my teeth into.

–Natasha

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