Cameron Monaghan

Film Review: Vampire Academy is “Sweet, Sassy, Molassy”

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Vampire Academy finally released in India yesterday, and after five years of waiting, I spent my V(A)-Day with Dimitri and Christian on the big screen. The film adaptation, based on the first book of Richelle Mead’s series, released last week in North America to some harsh critical reviews and a poor box office. This in turn made me anxious to see the film and I was starting to feel sure it would disappoint me. Guess what fangirls and boys? It did not. We’ve covered the release of the film these past few months and now we are going to discuss the film, without (any major) spoilers so that all of you can go watch and enjoy it.

For the uninitiated, the story is about Rose Hathaway, a half-human, half-vampire Dhampir girl who is best friends with Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi vampire princess and must save her not only from the threats of the undead Strigoi that lurk in the shadows but also the threats that lurk within the halls of their school, St. Vladimir’s Academy.

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The Cast

The most wonderful thing about this film has to be the performances from the cast. When the casting was announced last year, there was a huge uproar in the “Vampire Academy” fandom with many fans turning their backs on the film (some still don’t accept the casting). This is rather unfortunate, because the cast captures the characters so well and as the author, Richelle Mead, has stated on numerous occasions, the actors GET their characters.

Zoey Deutch owns Rose Hathaway and no one can be Rose anymore in my head. When she’s onscreen, you forget all about Zoey from her interviews because she’s gone and in her place, stands Rose – fun loving, fast talking, flawed Rose Hathaway.

Lucy Fry as Lissa really surprised me. I was still unsure about her from the clips but she brought Lissa to life as a soul that is at first kind and gentle and later all buzzed up and peppy.

Danila Kozlovsky … what can I say about this Russian man except that he lit up the screen as Dimitri Belikov with his scenes, whether it was the badass training sequences or the badass fighting sequences or the scenes with his smile that basically could melt all of Frozen’s Arrendale. I could basically listen to a tape with him saying the words “Roza, Roza” continuously.

Now Dominic Sherwood basically IS Christian Ozera. There is no denying it and there is no fighting it. He IS Christian Ozera with all his creepy talk at first and then that sadness in his eyes when he talks about his Strigoi parents and then his longing for Lissa and then BAM the next thing you know is that you are all head over heels in love with Christian who would do anything to protect Lissa.

The supporting characters did a great job with their scenes. Sarah Hyland was absolutely brilliant as the rambling Natalie and Cameron Monaghan, in his limited scenes, brought to life the love struck Mason who you can’t help but feel for as Rose ignores his feelings towards her. Sami Gayle as Mia was just short of delivering the mean girl, perhaps because of her limited scenes and the fact that they revealed her story to the audience a little earlier than in the book. Claire Foy played “Crazy Karp” just like I’d imagined and though Olga Kurylenko‘s Kirova was a little spiced up, it didn’t affect the story.

The Changes

Book to movie adaptations all suffer changes and purist fans of books often renounce the film version. It is true that most book adaptations now days do not do the story any justice, especially as seen in the recent The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones film where some changes took away from the spirit of the book, even if necessary.

In the case of Vampire Academy, fans that are staying away are completely missing out on how true this film is to the book. Yes there are changes; some of these changes are required to explain things to the audience while some other changes make things grander (seriously guys, explosions and fights make things better on screen). Then there are a few changes like the following that simply roll three different scenes from the book into one, case in point – the classroom fire scene.

This scene combined three classroom scenes from the book, firstly, when Mia and Ralf accuse Lissa of killing the fox and Christian sets Ralf on fire, secondly, where Rose and Lissa are passing notes to each other and are caught by the teacher, Mr. Nagy who reads it out aloud, and finally, another when the rumours start spreading about Rose in class and the someone shouts out “Rose, I bleed for you,” which is also included in the film! While we would have liked more classroom scenes than we got, it is understandable that the included all three scenes in one because of time constraints.

There are also some minor changes, such as the use of British accents amongst the royal Moroi and of course the fact that Sami Gayle’s Mia is devoid of her curls, but these are little things and don’t change character personalities or the story. It can be hard for purists, but if you can let go of these small details and appreciate the true personalities of the character and the spirit of the story that is capture in the film, you will really enjoy the experience.

However, there are some scenes amiss that I would have really liked to see and these would have helped develop some characters more as well as explained things without the use of too much exposition in dialogue and voice-over (and while I can listen to Rose talk all the time, others aren’t too impressed by such things). A classroom scene with Guardian Stan could have helped explain the three classes of vampires (with the animation included from the music video) and the need for the Dhampirs to protect the Moroi. Some more scenes with Mason (which could have showcased his humour and interactions with Rose) and with Dimitri (to develop his relationship with Rose further, such as actually reprimanding her for being with Jesse) could have helped the script as well.

So, are those harsh reviews valid?

No. Fans of the book series know that the first book, on which the film is based, is not as good as the rest of the series and is full of high school drama and cheesy lines that are now quoted with cult like fervour (but which were missing in the film). They all know that the best parts with all the serious stuff and the darkness start from the second book onwards. Even if you haven’t read the books and watch this film, there is a huge possibility that you will enjoy it, especially if you don’t go in expecting too much out of it. It’s a fun film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and if you can give in for those 104 minutes, you are guaranteed to be entertained.

The film isn’t without its flaws and does fall short in its pacing, scene transitioning and editing. It has been speculated that the Studio (The Weinstein Company) cut out scenes to shorten the length of the film and one wonders that those scenes could have helped the film flow smoothly and in turn the film would have avoided such harsh critical scrutiny. For instance, the film had some great action scenes but there was not enough build up of tension leading to those scenes. Further, the arrival of the Queen was done very randomly and some scenes jumped in and out, almost out of sequence and such things can make non-book readers very confused.

Daniel Waters has adapted the book cleverly with his dark humour and Mark Waters brought out some great performances from the young cast of the film. However, the books (and any future films based on them) get progressively darker and while Mark Waters’ adaptation of the first one just about works with his mainstream vision, it might not be the case when it comes to the more serious films and perhaps a change in the creative team can help give the future films a bit more seriousness that comes with the future books. For this film, however, the team works, and while some scenes could have been added to help make the film flow smoothly, it is in no way a poor film.

From most of the reviews, it seems that critics didn’t even TRY to understand what was happening and most certainly walked in “knowing” they will dislike it – although from some reviews it’s hard to make out whether they wrote the piece after watching the trailer or the movie because they have no idea what the film is about. Further, it doesn’t do any good that they try and compare it to previous works just because it is a fantasy film catering to younger women.

Why the film failed to get the numbers?

As is widely known, the film didn’t generate enough in ticket sales this past weekend in North America. If anything – or anyone – is to be blamed, it is the marketing of this film. For months, the trailers have passed it off as a Mean Girls-esque comedy and they couldn’t have been more misleading. The film is not Mean Girls 2.0 and while it retains its sarcastic humour from the book, it isn’t slapstick funny either.

Further, the neon green poster with the pink tagline that said “They Suck At School” was the worst idea ever. The film and the story is SO MUCH MORE than that stupid tagline which not only keep non-readers away but also alienated a huge percentage of the fanbase, most of whom will still not give it a chance. If only they could have marketed it with this absolutely EPIC music video featuring CHVRCHES’ cover of Bela Lugosi’s Dead – again, something that most people have unnecessarily criticised. Covers are not meant to be copies of the original work and the CHVRCHES’ version retains the haunting spirit of the song while making it accessible to an entirely new generation.

Why you still need to see it

Vampires may not be your thing and their recent invasion may have made you weary, but if you want a night out to watch a fun film, then Vampire Academy is right up your alley. Many film-goers, both from within the target demographic and outside it have enjoyed the film, such as this person below –

If you are a fan of Young Adult books and films, then supporting them by watching the movies is very important because there are some excellent book series (Shatter Me? The Fifth Wave? Hush Hush? anyone?) out there that depend on the success of films like The Mortal Instruments and Vampire Academy to be made into films themselves. So do give it a chance. If the reviews and fan reactions make you weary, check out the review from Page to Premiere who specialise in book-to-film adaptations and despite the film’s flaws, enjoyed it.

Final Verdict

You may think that we may be biased (being a fansite and all that) but the fact is that the film is very enjoyable. Yes, it is not perfect and there are some flaws, but there are also some great performances and some fascinating sequences. Further, there is just something surreal and eerie about seeing these characters from our imaginations, brought to life with such precision.

A book and its film adaptation called “Vampire Academy” isn’t trying to be life-changing or a critical darling – you can’t go in expecting Shakespearian prose. What it is, is pure entertainment with some great messages of friendship, love and loyalty. So all you need to do is give this film a chance because the story gets so much better from the second one onwards and with all that character development yet to come, you don’t want to miss out on some excellent performances by this cast in future films. Oh and of course, Adrian Ivashkov only enters the scene in the second book (incentive for the book readers).

If you’ve seen the film, check out some BTS videos and interviews with the cast below (spoilers).

For more coverage on the film, click here!

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Vampire Academy Promo Goodies: Part 6

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Vampire Academy has now premiered and been shown to an audience and they have loved it, but promos and publicity still continue as we gear up for the Friday release.

1. First up, three videos from ScreenSlam as they interview Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry and Sarah Hyland.

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2. Next up, check out this interview of Danila Kozlovsky by The Hollywood Reporter. Aside from the fact that Danila is 28 and not 32 as reported in the article, the interview is one of Danila’s firsts in Hollywood media where he shares his thoughts on his character Dimitri, on Russian cinema and working in the west. Some excerpts are given below –

THR: How would you describe your first English-language role?
Danila:
I would like to take a moment to thank Richelle Mead for writing such a great, interesting character as Dimitri. It is very important for me to represent my country in this movie, as a man who loves, who has a good sense of humor, is passionate, and is a very interesting person — a really good guy. Dimitri has been living in America for a long time and speaks with a slight Russian accent. He is a very reliable and, at the same time, a quite mysterious person. He listens to old music and reads cowboy books. He is a man who people say who has old-fashioned values. I really enjoyed playing him. This is not the typical Russian stereotype role where guys are doing stupid or bad things.

THR: Where you would like to be in five or ten years?
Danila
: I hope to be continuing to work in my current profession. I am a very lucky person because I have a job that I love doing everyday.

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3. Olga Kurylenko appeared on Conan O’Brien and talked a little about the changes made to the character of Headmistress Kirova, who she added, hates kids and would like to torture them. A clip from the film was shown featuring the scene when Dimitri brings back Lissa and Rose to the Academy and puts them in front of Kirova. OMGAD … Danila speaking …. it’s HOT!

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4. Sarah Hyland‘s interview with OK! Magazine has been published and she talks about how she spent £ 3000 in room service in London while filming the movie. Read some of the excerpts below and check out the interview.

OK!: How did you adjust to the nighttime shooting schedule?
SH: I’m a night owl so it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. The worst thing in the world was that by the time we got off work everything restaurant was closed and the only thing I had, because I didn’t have a kitchen or anything like that in my hotel room, was room service. By the time I left London I had a ₤3,000 bill for room service. And the sun came up at 4 AM. I can’t wrap my brain around it. That’s what messed me up. Not the filming at night, the sun coming up so early. And it sets at like 10 PM.

OK!: Were you able to explore London at all?
SH: I did the touristy things. I saw the London Eye and we lived near Buckingham Palace and Big Ben so that I was able to see really easily. A food place I really loved was Byron Burger. I miss it. I want it to come to the States.

OK!: Having the experience of training physically for this role, do you feel almost addicted to it now? Do you want to do it again?
SH: I really want to do it again but nothing that I’m up for right now is like that. I want to get in shape again and have a reason instead of being at home and working out because clearly I’m going to watch TV and eat pizza than go work out.

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5. Lucy Fry had this really cute interview with The Insider where she talked about enjoying biting people and using compulsion as a vampire trick. Watch the video below.

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6. In an interview with Movies.com, Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry revealed everything that you need to know about Vampire Academy before you watch the film. It’s a quite a lengthy interview, filled with great, fun stuff, make sure you read it on the website. Some excerpts are given below.

Nailing the tone was vital for Vampire Academy. “The most important part of this movie is that the tone stayed consistent because that’s what I was most worried about. When you read the script, the humor and the dialogue is so broad and so wordy that if it were to step back in certain scenes, if it were to get a little nervous, like if [director] Mark [Waters] had trepidations about some of the interactions because it felt too ridiculous, the movie would not have worked. You would feel like you’re seeing six different movies. It needed to be specifically that way, so all those crazy lines that you’re like, ‘Where did [writer] Dan [Waters] come up with that?’ That’s in that world and for me as a teenager, a lot of those things I totally would say. I took out some things here and there, but for the most part, we stayed pretty true to Dan’s words.” – Zoey Deutch

Oscar the cat gets a meatier role in the movie and Fry was thrilled about the additional cuddle time. “It was the sweetest, sweetest thing, Sydney. It was just the cuddliest cat. There were two cats actually that were playing Oscar. One of them was the one that was really well trained and knew how to stay and walk and everything, and then there was the one that just loved being cuddled and most of the scenes we were doing cuddling scenes so I got to just snuggle this cat the whole time and it was so good for me because I’d been missing my dog a lot and it’s like animal therapy. It just feels so much better. Every day that Oscar was needed I was just so happy.” – Lucy Fry [omg you guys, Sydney is in VAMovie =P]

Is Lucy ready for Frostbite’s unprecedented threesome? “Well, I like that it’s from Rose’s perspective and that she gets out of there before anything too intense happens. I guess I haven’t ever done that before so it would take a lot of courage, but, you know, if we get to do a second film, then I would just be so excited for the film and you do what you’ve gotta do.” – Lucy Fry

Can Zoey ski? “[Laughs] No! Oh, I have an awful skiing story that I’m not gonna tell now, but no, I can’t ski! I’m the worst skier pretty much.” – Zoey Deutch

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7. A hilarious video on Entertainment Tonight finds the VA cast members quizzing each other on which vampire they would like to be bitten by to mean girl high school stories. Dominic revealed he would prefer Bella over Elena because she would be more gentle, while Lucy and Sarah went for Ian Somerhalder’s Damon over Edward Cullen. Zoey was given a choice between Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp and chose both. Watch the video below –

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8. Check out all these fashion articles about all the pretty dresses worn at the Premiere – Sugarscape and The Fashion Court. Zoey wore Monique Lhullier, Sarah wore Zac Posen, Olga was dressed in Dior and Sami wore a Miu Miu dress.

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9. All the video interviews from the premiere are now starting to appear. Check out the videos on YouTube at Silver Screen PR, KatTales TV and CelebrityChaos. You can also check out a collection of photos and videos on Fans of Vampire Academy.

Here’s a video of Danila on the red carpet –

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10. More videos from ScreenSlam at the premiere have been added to the playlist below. Interviews by Zoey, Lucy, Danila, Dominic, Sarah, Cameron, Sami, Ashley, Olga, Joely and screenwriter Dan Waters as well as BTS look at the red carpet.

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Only a couple more days left folks, hang in and we’ll be there soon!

Vampire Academy World Premiere

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The Cast of #VAMovie (via @RegalLALive)

The worldwide premiere for Vampire Academy took place earlier today (February 4) and unfortunately there was no live telecast. But the Internet is not without it’s perks folks … and with all the live tweeting and photos popping up, we were all but caught up. Here is our coverage with tweets and photos.

The day started off with the cast tweeting about the premiere







Check out this video of the cast and guests arriving at the premiere.

The red carpet (via @RegalLALive and @WeinsteinFilms)

Arrivals of the cast and crew (via Zimbio)

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Some guests at the premiere (via Just Jared Jr/Zimbio)

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Check out some group pictures from the night (via Zimbio)

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Many lucky fans also had the opportunity to meet the cast and one of them took this really awesome video of Zoey and Danila meeting at the premiere.

Later on, the cast and crew went to the After Party. Check out some photos below (via Zimbio)

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Tonight was the first time that many had the opportunity to see the film for the first time and reactions poured in from all over (mostly positive though I’ve caught a few negative ones [three], but hey, can’t deny the existence of the Strigoi, can we). Some tweets are shown below –















So there we have it folks, the premiere is done and the film releases this Friday in the US/Canada and slowly takes over the world in the next few weeks and months. The movie certainly sounds enjoyable and as a fan who desperately wants the sequels … all I can ask is that you guys watch it on opening weekend – this weekend, preferably Friday night!

Vampire Academy release date nears

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A very exciting New Year’s for the #VAfamily as they got their first official clip from the upcoming movie.

Our thoughts

Sami has nailed it. She’s got all sides of Mia we were hoping she would achieve. That vulnerability bubbling under the bitchy surface. I hope that settles people’s angst over her hair – we love this Mia!

Okay… DRAGOZERA FEELS. Lucy as Lissa gave us chills.  And the way Christian protects her?

Dominic is just perfect. Defensive and sexy. Swoon…

Rose! The way she just swoops in there… Zoey is absolutely flawless. #HathawaySwag

And of course, the Rose-Mia punch to the nose. This clip was edited, so we can’t wait to see the full scene! A fan-favorite on the big screen. 🙂

One-liners

“I’ll fire-magic you into ASH!”

“Allow me, Mr Ozera.”

“Why are you Dragomirs SUCH drags?!”

With just over a month left to wait until this highly anticipated movie hits the cinemas, we are very happy with this first look at footage!

Thank you to Lucy Fry Source for uploading the clip for international viewers.

15 “Vampire Academy” GIFs

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So if you watched the five “Vampire Academy” cast videos that were released this week, you would notice that the cast is quite animated! What better way to celebrate their awesomeness than to immortalize their actions in the form of GIFs! Here are some exclusive “Vampire Academy” GIFs brought to you by us! Enjoy ….

Lucy seems to be in awe of her ‘vampire-y’ world!

Sarah has just had an awesome time filming “Vampire Academy”.

So, we’ve all heard the term “boys will be boys” … and here is your proof!

But then they go and do those things which make us stop midway in our eye-roll and completely fall for their charms!

And Zoey … Zoey, Zoey, Zoey!! She is so animated and so full of energy, that we couldn’t help but create four gifs, only for her!

Zoey described a few embarrassing moments on the set of Vampire Academy.

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And here are some that can be used to describe plenty other, random moments!

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We’ve noticed a serious lack of Danila! So lets wake him up …. (gif taken from tumblr and from Danila’s Russian movie – Soulless)

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and watch him walk towards us …

Dimitri

Oh … and while we wait for him to get here (with all his Vampire Academy related interviews and trailer footage), lets enjoy this serious Dragozera makeout session ….

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We hope you enjoyed these GIFs … stay tuned as we bring you more fanart, memes and gifs from across all fandoms, now lets fangirl together!

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(source for #fangirling HIMYM gif above – tumblr)

And … as a bonus … check out this page on tumblr with gifs of the cast introducing themselves in the videos!

“Vampire Academy” Cast Answers Questions!

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This past week, Penguin Teen Australia released five videos of the Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters cast answering a fan question, chosen through a competition run by StudioCanal Australia, the Australian distributors.

First up on Monday was Lucy Fry, who spoke about the preparations she underwent to transform from an “Aussie Beach Babe” to “Moroi Vampire Princess”. She prepared for her role by covering up at the beach and underwent dialect training for her English accent as well as took some acting classes to help portray the troubled character of Lissa. She also wore jade green eye contacts which made her vision green. Watch Lucy Fry be graceful like a princess below.

Tuesday’s video reveal was Dominic Sherwood who spoke about what attracted him to play the role of Christian and what was his favourite part about the character. Dom stated that the little boy (boys will be boys!!) in him was excited to play a vampire, who could also control fire and who falls in love with a princess (aaaawwww!!!) and that his favourite thing about Christian was that he was incredibly sardonic and sarcastic, he is funny, but the humour comes from a dark place (you guys, Dom really GETS Christian!!!). Watch Dom speak below and swoon along with us.

Next up on Wednesday, was Sarah Hyland’s video reveal. Sarah plays Natalie in the film, and spoke about her filming experience stating that it was really fun to play a vampire, to shoot in London and to have made great friends on the set! Watch Sarah be bubbly and cute in the video below.

On Thursday, it was Cameron Monaghan’s video reveal. Cameron plays dhampir novice Mason in the film and spoke about fight training preparation he did before filming began! He also added “its always nice to have an excuse to play with knives and stuff” (boys will definitely always be boys!!!).  Cameron also admitted that even though he prepared with hand to hand combat and with stakes, Zoey and Danila could probably still kick his butt (aaawww!!). Watch Cameron be a cutie in the video below!!

The final video reveal on Friday was Zoey Deutch’s, who recalled two awkward and embarrassing moments during the making of the film! She first recalled a moment while filming an action scene, when she was running backwards and fell on her tailbone (aaaawww, Zoey!!!). Watch her video and listen to her recount her stories below! (Spoiler Alert in case you haven’t finished the first book)

 

Unfortunately Danila Kozlovsky (who plays Dimitri) was busy filming scenes and could not film a similar video! Don’t worry fangirls and boys, they are saving his moments for later, as they say, the leaving the best for last!! In the meantime … enjoy this GIF of Dimitri Belikov walking away from an explosion!

Dimitri

For more GIFs (from the above interview videos), check out our GIFs section!

Vampire Academy Wrap-Up Party!

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Filming on Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters came to an end on Saturday, July 20, 2013, so it was inevitable, that there would be celebrations … and there were!

Tweets from the wrap-up party guests started appearing as soon as 11 PM UK time –

https://twitter.com/EdHolcroft/status/359337506698842112

 

This morning, last night’s guests started tweeting about the night that was!

 

But the cherry on the cake was an instagram photo posted by Dominique Tipper, that broke the VA Fandom! For the first time, we had a picture of most of the main cast together, and it was absolutely amazing!

Cast

Certainly, the most EPIC picture ever!

 

Missing in action was of course Sami Gayle, who is already back on the set of her TV show Blue Bloods, to film the forthcoming season!

 

Soon after the party, there was a photoshoot, after which Sarah Hyland left for the airport.

And you know what that means … stills, posters and soon after, teasers, trailers and the movie itself!