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Pre-Screening Thoughts On Movies: Vampire Academy

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This is one of those times where I actually haven't read or even heard about the book before the movie promos came out, so I'm a little hesitant about giving a fair review. But as we've discussed in prior articles, film adaptations are often different from the books in subtle but important details, so I think we'll be okay.

Before the release, I intend on picking up a copy to compare and contrast the plot elements on screen to the ones that Richelle Mead brought to life in her six novels, and so should you.

For now, here's my thoughts on the film before it even comes to the screen.

When you take the first steps towards writing a story about vampires and the proverbial underworld, you're heading into dangerous territory. Bram Stoker brought to life a classic story using these elements, but after the dawn of The Twilight Saga, it's become increasingly hard to make a mark in the trend without seeming like a bandwagoner.

I have to say, however, Vampire Academy actually doesn't look that bad. With the basic plot derived from the story, consistent of the story of seventeen-year-old Rose Hathaway who is a "Dhampir" (half-human-half-vampire) training to be a bodyguard for her Moroi (mortal vampires who live among us) from the Strigoi (immortal, evil, undead vampires).

The first thing that came to mind when I read this brief summary was "originality." Not only did Mead take a huge leap into a world tainted by Twilight she did it without incorporating sappy, unhealthy, and fantasy romances from her head. Instead, Richelle Mead gave the story of a lifetime full of classic themes, original story-telling, and a lot of action.

The only comments I have are on the atrocious choice of movie poster. First impressions often come from the visual art before the actual film airs. As a 21-year-old college student, this was a major turn off for me. I took a dive into it anyway just to make fun of it on this article, and wound up being really intrigued. Note that after I've read the first novel and seen the movie, I may have some negative things to say, but it just goes to show that the poster can make an unintended impression and drive away audiences almost immediately.

Had it not been for my curiosity, I may have nothing to say about this film, and would've written it off as just another sad attempt to make money. By the looks of the visual, it's artistic, mature, and includes a great cast that's likely to stick with audiences the way that Warm Bodies did. (Yes, I saw Warm Bodies and loved it. Another example of how poor advertising can obscure a great film.)

Besides the caption "They suck at school" acting as a deterrent, implying that the film centers around high school drama and romance, the director of Mean Girls is also prominently displayed, making it seem as though the film will be somewhat like it, in that, again, it will center around high school drama, and upperclassman hierarchy. It likely will not.

Needless to say, the film adaptation looks amazing from the trailer alone. There's a lot of tense moments and drama, while at the same time, relatability, and a plot you can actual sink your teeth into.

Whether your a fan of the underworld stories from the crypt or not, Vampire Academy challenges the idea that modern vampire conflict tales have to backpack on Twilight in order to be successful, and on Feb. 7, you can most certainly catch this movie reviewer at the AMC in Clifton buying a ticket.

Those are my thoughts just based on the trailer and brief summary alone. What do you think about Vampire Academy as a novel? Excited to see the story on the big screen? Let us know in the comments section and join the discussion!

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