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5 Reasons to Check Out “Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters”

Vampire Academy

We’re living in a golden age for young adult fiction – everywhere you look, all manner of YA books, whether they’re well-known bestsellers or cult-classics, are finding their way to the big screen.

Currently it seems the market is brimming with candidates attempting to fill in the gaps that have been left former franchise behemoths. Studios everywhere are in search of the next Harry Potter, the next Twilight, even the next Hunger Games, despite the fact that that series of films is still ongoing.

The unfortunate side-effect of this, however, is a case of over-saturation. This year alone we’ve had Warm Bodies, Beautiful Creatures, The Host, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Ender’s Game with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire still to come. Some of these films have tried to be original enough to stand out (zombies and witches instead of vampires) and some of them have been plain old “X meets Y so trust us, you’ll like it.”

The results have been varied – some of them managed to break out and make a decent profit. Others set sail to audience apathy, sneers from the critics and sunk without a trace at the box office. Despite this, Hollywood is continuing to gamble with YA adaptations in the hope of striking gold once again.
Next February (Valentine’s Day, no less), studios are hoping to see the vampire craze set alight once again with Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters – if ever a title sounded more hopeful for future installments. Based on the six-book series by Richelle Mead, it explores the world of Rose Hathaway, a half-human, half-vampire (or dhampir) as she trains to be a bodyguard for her best friend, Lissa, a mortal vampire (or Moroi) who is the last of her royal bloodline. The two attend St. Vladimir’s Academy (sounds corny, but bear with me) and feel the effects of social hierarchy, forbidden love and spooky goings-on, all while facing danger from the most dangerous vampires of all, the immortal ones who kill for blood (or Strigoi).

At first glance, the series seems to follow the X-meets-Y formula mentioned above – a mashing together of the illicit romance of Twilight and the boarding school of adventure á la Harry Potter. However, Vampire Academy manages to rise above these preconceptions and creates a universe and characters that feel original and identifiable. But as we all know, a good book doesn’t always necessarily make for a good movie. Sometimes it just doesn’t translate well to begin with; sometimes it ends up in the hands of people who haven’t got a clue what they’re doing; and sometimes good material is wasted in the hopes of a quick buck.

I have no clue which fate awaits Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters. As a fan of the books, I’m hopeful that it’ll somehow connect with audiences beyond the books’ followers and perform well with critics. In the meantime, I can help to drum up support for the movie by offering up reasons why it might be worth your time come February.

Vampire Academy

5. The vampires are the sort we’ve never seen before

The strange species of vampire mentioned above are based off of real mythology from Romania, the Balkans and Russia, though Richelle Mead tweaked them a bit in order to create something more distinct, which will hopefully let the film stand out amongst the glut of Twilight wannabes.

In the Vampire Academy universe, dhampirs are half-breeds and have the best of both attributes from humans and vampires, making them the ideal bodyguards for physically weaker Moroi. Moroi, being vampires, still have to drink blood but, crucially, don’t kill to do it. They also possess the powers to control one of the four elements or, in very rare cases, a mysterious fifth element. Strigoi are the ones that ring truest to what a traditional vampire is; turned via a bite, red-eyed, pale-skinned, ruthless, soulless, can’t enter holy ground and leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. But they aren’t always victims. Sometimes they were good people who deliberately chose to go to the dark side.

This leads to the interesting dynamic of our heroes being not totally different from our villains, placing focus on how much our birthright determines what we do in life and how much of it is down to our own choices. Giving audiences this little bit extra to chew on might result in a better overall movie experience, if all goes according to plan.

Mean Girls wide

4. The director and writer understand the set-up

Sibling-duo Mark and Daniel Waters have plenty of experience when it comes to targeting the young female demographic. Perhaps the best example of this is 2004’s cult favourite Mean Girls. While having Tina Fey on script-writing duty didn’t hurt in the slightest, Mark Waters also crafted entertaining and insightful imagery into the world of the high school female food chain – the backstabbing, the sneakiness, the over-the-top worship bestowed upon the queen bees by the no-hopers, the secret plots for revenge and the eventual sense that, yes, maybe there’s more to them than just being total bitches.

Daniel Waters, meanwhile, wrote the screenplay for 1988’s Heathers, a black comedy that mixes the sad tales of the pecking order with murder, intrigue and cover-ups – all things that play a vital role in Vampire Academy. As the books progress, things can get pretty (forgive me) bloody and with this prior experience, I’m hoping that Dan has successfully woven together the Gothic, seductive side of the story with its more down-to-earth elements.

Blood Sisters 3

3. Beyond the romance, there’s actually a decent plot and characters

Yes, you can see straight from the off that Rose is going to fall for her dashing young teacher, the “god” Dimitri Belikov, but for the most part, the romance in Book 1 is played pretty low-key. You know it’s there, but it doesn’t completely overwhelm the plot.

Instead, Mead takes a more in-depth approach in giving Rose lots of other problems to focus on because, let’s face it, she’s part of a supernatural world with dark creatures prowling the night, she’s behind on her classes, she has teachers breathing down her untrustworthy neck and that’s just scraping the surface. One of the main plot threads is Rose’s fears for the sanity of her best friend Lissa. The two share an unexplainable psychic bond and are pretty much the closest to family each other have left, since Rose’s mother abandoned her at the Academy to pursue her own bodyguard duties and she never met her father, while Lissa’s whole family perished in a car crash.

As the plot progresses, we feel, through Rose’s point-of-view, Lissa’s mind start to unravel as she copes with having unusual, unique powers that seem to come with a hefty dose of mental instability. It doesn’t help either, that there seem to be hate campaigns and rumours coming towards both girls, along with a creepy stalker element that doesn’t come to fruition till the end of the book. It’s both unsettling and intriguing while combining a relationship that feels tangibly loving and protective.

I would love for the film to put this as the main focus – the high school stuff and the vampire world is good and all, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t locate the beating heart behind it all. So, movie, don’t squander this.

blood-sisters-3

2. The cast seems pretty good

Sometimes plumping for unknowns works well – it allows these young actors and actresses to carve out their own identity within the public conscience and provides them with a role that they can make entirely their own.

The most recognisable names in the cast are Gabriel Byrne, Joely Richardson and Quantum of Solace’s Olga Kurylenko – maybe not household names like Angelina Jolie or George Clooney, but they’re talented enough, and that’s all any film needs to get off the ground. I’d never heard of either Zoey Deutch or Lucy Fry (Rose and Lissa respectively) before their casting announcements, but having seen the trailer, I could see Deutch having a fair stab at Rose’s snarky train of thought and Fry giving off a sense of Lissa’s vulnerability that cloaks her inner strengths.

Until a further trailer comes out, however, this is the most we’ve seen acting-wise, so we’ll have to wait a little longer to see how Russian import Danila Kozlovsky fares as troubled, hunky Dimitri (I don’t want to say “as long as he’s cute, he’ll nail it” because there’s definitely more to Dimitri than that, especially as the series progresses) or to catch glimpses of fan favourites Christian, Mason and Mia. But for the moment, it’s a good place to start.

Blood Sisters 5

1. It could appeal to other demographics too

I will be the first to admit that the teaser trailer itself doesn’t really do the book justice, which is a shame because Vampire Academy honestly has a lot of potential for cross-appeal. The series shouldn’t be marketed as another Twilight clone since that’ll just turn a lot of viewers right off (sorry, Twilight fans) but rather, it should be marketed as what it actually is – an ass-kicking good time that is also clever, honest and can be taken seriously despite its premise.

I don’t want to compare it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it’s hard not to see the similarities. Provided there’s no interference from executives who might demand a bit of dumbing down, we’ll get to see Rose Hathaway show everyone, immortal or not, why she shouldn’t be messed with. There are plenty of male fans of Buffy, so Vampire Academy could possibly pique their interest. We just have to keep our fingers crossed that the creators are going to take the faithful route – which means we’re in for epic stakings through the heart and Strigoi heads rolling in their droves.

Thinking back to Mean Girls: on the surface it seems very much a girls-only movie but that managed to attract viewers from all walks of life thanks to its sharp-as-a-tack one-liners and its’ encapsulation of base human instincts – revenge, desire for approval, guilt and isolation – all rolled up in a package of pure entertainment.

I truly hope that the brothers Waters can infuse this winning formula into Blood Sisters – because what’s the best way for a movie to earn its wings. Simply by entertaining us, the willing public.

And there you have it – five reasons as to why Vampire Academy has the potential to break the mould. As with any film adaptation, I’d urge any interested parties to read the books first and see if they want to immerse themselves in this world.

In my own optimistic manner, I’m hoping that the movie is successful and accomplished enough to be able to break through to anyone who hasn’t read the book, like the best adaptations have done in the past. Of course, this all could be for naught and we might arrive in February to the same old fanfare from the critics and the usual Valentine’s Day movie slop. I know that in four months time, I might come out of the cinema feeling embarrassed for ever trying to hype this thing up.

But I’m living in the moment and at the moment, I’m cautiously idealistic that it won’t stink up cinemas like a corpse. I’m hoping that I and other Vampire Academy fans won’t be disappointed and will have something we can spearhead into cult status, maybe even teen movie glory. Till then, we can keep our stakes our standby.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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41 Comments

  1. Sarah Goodwin
    0

    People have asked if this movie is going to be as awesome as the book, I really can’t tell if it will be, but think about this.

    -We are getting flashbacks of Sonya karp.
    -Everything is so detailed.
    -We are getting scenes that most directors would cut out, for example ankle scene!
    -We are even probably going to get scenes that include Lisa and rose as children or the car scene were Lisa’s family die, whichever since there is an actress playing Lisa’s mom.

    So if a movie goes out of their way to truly try and keep the movie true to the book and add even the smallest scenes, we should give it a chance! And I have come to the conclusion this movie is going to be GREAT!

    • Jennifer Carr

      Thanks for commenting. I hope so too. I heard that Richelle Mead was really pleased with the outcome, so if it’s good enough for her, it’ll definately be good enough for us.

  2. Mercedes
    0

    Agree about everything. I like how they seem to have stayed very close to the book. I think the movie has a potential to be awesome.

  3. I found the bridge scene in the fourth book very sad, I think I teared up a little bit when I read it the first time.

    My favorite character is probably Rose, but Dimitri is definitely one of my favorites too.

    • Jennifer Carr

      Thanks for commenting. I agree, Rose is probably my favourite, but I have a soft spot for Adrian too. I’m hoping the movie manages to become a franchise just so we can see him brought to life on the big screen.

  4. Winston
    0

    There is an interesting and promising plot. It depends on the writer to develop the ideas. The writing style isn’t from the best ones but, again, all depends on the writer. Richelle Mead, the author of Vampire Academy, has done a great job with her series. My opinion is that VA isn’t a masterpiece but the story is original enough and written well enough to be, with no doubt, considered one of the best in the genre. Especially because of the brilliant relationships. Her characters are very well built on their own but when two are together she can do miracles.

    • Jennifer Carr

      Thanks for commenting. Yeah, I agree, the best part of the series is the relationships, characters and dialogue. They just feel so real. Thinking I should go back and re-read the series in preparation for the movie.

  5. Felipe M
    0

    As a horror fan, I feel the pain. In searching for another Salem’s Lot, it’s painful through how many Vampire Diaries, True Bloods and Twilights I have to go through. When I look for vampire books, I want vampire ripping people’s throats. Not vampires going to freaking high school.

    • Jennifer Carr

      Thanks. I think fans of film, books and TV in general have a hard time finding a follow-up to something amazing, especially with an influx of imitators (I’m just waiting for the Breaking Bad copycats). VA isn’t exactly grisly, but it does have some great writing and characters and, without spoiling anything, a pretty awesome double decapitation scene in Book 2.

  6. Think this post will make a lots of people who havent read the books learn more about the movie. Good!

  7. CT Claire
    0

    I have high hopes. VA was written not for purpose to be done into a movie and earn money, but for the people to get a real vampire thing… And the filmmakers, as much as they wanted to get money, as much as they changed the movie in order to make it like those movies, they can’t make this amazing story into crap. If they did, it wouldn’t be VA, and I’m pretty sure Richelle wouldn’t approve that, and since she’s assured us many time that it stays true to the books, I’m pretty convinced that this movie is going to be good.

    • Jennifer Carr

      Exactly! That’s why I started reading the books in the first place. Sparkles were not for me. I hope that they’ve actually put a lot of effort into this and don’t just see it as a money grub (“Kids love vampires!”). But I think Richelle liked it, so hopefully we’ll like it too.

  8. Shelley
    0

    The bond is a VERY important part of the movie and am worried if it isn’t done right, it would be ruined. It would be incredibly challenging to do it.

    • Jennifer Carr

      I agree, it’s a bit of a tricky balancing act. It could look silly really easily. I think if they’re going to make it work, they should focus on the fact that neither girl is entirely comfortable with it – it’s embarrassing and intrusive, not just magical.

  9. Thank you! I’m really excited about VAmovie and I think they’re gonna be loyal to the books.

  10. Waiting patiently for this adaptation.

  11. I agree that if it was good enough for Richelle, then we will probably like it too. I think I will like it as long as it’s not too funny. I know the book has a lot of one-liners and I love that about it, but they try to make it appeal to a bigger audience by turning it into comedy. I really didnt love how in the trailer Rose’s character was talking about a female who lives on blood and magic has moodswings, but I am still hopeful. I still think I will love it. I also think if it makes it past the first movie it will be awesome! I would love for them to get into Frostbite and where they go into the West Virginia mountains with the Keepers cause Angeline is one of my favorite characters!! Im just so excited I cant contain myself lol! Good little article by the way!

    • Jennifer Carr

      Thank you! I don’t think they’ll play it for laughs too much. Hopefully they’ve got the right balance between light and dark.

  12. I agreed with everything you wrote! I’m a huge VA fan and I really hope the movie doesn’t suck. Even if it does it doesn’t mean people should just write off the series because the movie was bad, read the books. I have a feeling that people who just come into the film without any prior knowledge wont a part of the story, I think there is a lot of information that creates the VA world and sitting through a 2 hour or so movie isn’t going to give you all the info immediately. That’s just my opinion, maybe the brothers fit all the info in the movie well that everyone, readers and newbies can relate and understand.
    The trailer made me feel bad about the movie but by all hopes that was just a fluke and the movie is so much better. I mean Richelle herself said that the parts she saw were amazing. Not to mention the fact that most of the cast were already fans of the books and probable wont let the directors ruin it.
    BUT COME ON! Lets get excited now and hopefully even more excited after we watch the movie!!!

    • Jennifer Carr

      Thanks for commenting. Glad you’re excited for the movie. I agree the teaser was kind of “meh” but I’m hoping momentum will build over time

  13. Lauren B
    0

    I think that the books were amazing, but my one thought about the movie transition is that there is a lot of ‘in her head’ chatter between Rose and Lissa, I’m a bit sceptical about how they are going to properly present that to the audience.
    There is also the fact that it is difficult to translate a first person narrated book into a movie successfully because you lose a lot of the emotions and thoughts that are going on in the main characters head.
    This could turn out to be a very messy, cringe worthy book adaptation, however that being said, I am interested to find out exactly how they do certain scenes, and whether or not they are going to stick with Rose as the main character or divide it up between Rose/Lissa or Rose/Lissa/Dimitri.

  14. I think the first trailer was brilliant to be honest, it doesn’t look anything like Twilight- it looks fun and sharp and sexy with a bit of action mixed in too. As a teenage girl (obviously the main demographic but still) it really appealed to me.

    • Jennifer Carr

      I agree. It sounds like a winning formula. Plus, the box office will be wide open in February so hopefully people of all ages will see it.

  15. I disagree, and I know people will lash out at me for saying this but I’m going to speak my peace anyway. Vampires are out. The opportune moment to really hit the tween demographic was in Twilight’s “hey day”. I don’t believe for a split second that the directors waited 3 or 4 years to find a studio. I think they were waiting for Twilight to finish to start this, which is where they failed. By the time Twilight was finished, everyone was bored. I’ll agree that VA has a modest fan base, but nothing like what Twilight or HG. The movie will probably fair like “City of Bones.” A lot of people are delusional at this point and that’s sad honestly. The only actor they got semi-right, was Christian. (And I say Semi because I’m still not fully convinced.)
    Box office prediction(Domestic total): 30 Million.
    Box office opening weekend prediction: 5-6 million. The Maze Runner and Robo Cop come out the same week, so I think it will be lucky to peak at 6 million.

    • Correction: The Maze Runner was pushed to Sept 14′. But Robo cop will still be a heavy competitor for the 18-35 demographic.

      • Jennifer Carr

        Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with some of your concerns and you might end up being right about the movie’s box-office/critical chances. But I guess we won’t know for sure until the film comes out. If it fails, it fails, I won’t be devastated. But as a fan of the books, I’m wishing it well.

    • I disagree with you on cast choices, because I love them, but I do understand the concerns. But I think the marketing has been handled better than City of Bones. For starters, they’re not spending as much and aiming for a wider audience. CoB trailer felt very much like a tween/teen film, whereas the VA trailers felt more like a teen/adult comedy. I also haven’t seen many negative posts from media and movie sites, but I do remember a lot of them saying that CoB looked too much like Twilight before the movie came out.
      According to HSX at the moment, it’ll make 33 million in the first four weeks of American release. That prediction will most likely rise as there will be more marketing at it gets closer to the release date. It may suck (no pun intended) but I’m hoping it does well.

  16. Jordan

    I’ll admit, I was initially not too keen on reading the article because I took the imediate vampire flick = twilight rip off route. I love how much detail you have put into this list. Point number 5 especially sounds like it could be make the film more “down to earth” – as down to earth as it can be, instead of making vampires out to be ‘godly’ creatures.
    Hope that makes sense. Anyway, I am actually looking forward to this now. Any idea on a release date?

    • Jennifer Carr

      Thanks for reading. I actually got into Vampire Academy because all my friends were reading Twilight and I didn’t like it and felt a little left out, so I went in search of my own vampire-themed YA novels and found these. They’re really worth the read and definately a different beast from Twilight. As for the film, it’s out on February 14th. Hope you like it!

  17. Cassandra Palmer

    I really enjoyed how this article was written. I’ve been very skeptical to read these books (namely because I have such a long reading list already) and wasn’t too sure what the premise was even suppose to be about. But now having read this article I’m intrigued. I think I may have to pick up the first book and read it before the movie is out. It will probably be the next book I buy now, haha, so thanks for finally making up my mind about it!

    • Jennifer Carr

      Thank you for reading and you’re welcome :). Yes, I highly recommend the books, they’re great – a very unique vampire world and really funny while also being very grounded. I’d definitely check out the first one before the movie comes out, if you can.

  18. I will remark upon the last reason rather than going through each one because it is the last reason that I feel I have to completely disagree with here. This movie will not appeal to other demographics and it MAY grab the other vampire movie lovers (essentially…just the twilight people) solely because it is a movie exhibiting women being cool, mix in some vampires and romance. That’s it. It is a stock copy of Twilight, just as every single Nicholas Sparks movie is always about some tragic romance attempting to triumph. Now, that is speaking solely about it being a movie which we cannot justify because it isn’t out yet. However, look to ANY franchise that deals with young pre-teens being “cool” and see how they do. Twilight and Hunger Games top charts because they were, essentially, the beginning of the pre-teen movie genre that was first of their kind. What was before Twilight or Hunger Games? I seriously cannot think of one except for Buffy and Charmed (and both were, interestingly enough, very good)

    However, without any doubt, the books were faaaar better than the movies. Twilight was laughable all the way through. The books, however, were very good. Hunger Games first movie was a bore and irritating. They did not catch the essence at all behind the book of a dystopian society. The second one they definitely caught the fear, but not enough of the pull to rise up. To make me HATE the capital. Following suit, the books of Vampire Academy are probably very good. But the credentials, the actresses involved, and most certainly the copying of twilight, will not garner any other demographic than what it is intended. I am trying to be reserved at how well it will be because I truly don’t know, but I do not have much hope for it. Good argument though, and good structuring of it. At least you didn’t launch into some tirade about liking it because you simply like it. Look forward to reading more.

  19. Bradley Speck
    0

    Hi Everyone,This was how me and my BF become VAMPIRES i got a guy from the internet called Mr Marc who was a VAMPIRE so i told him that me and my boyfriend would love to become VAMPIRES so he asked me of my Name ,Country, Age ,State , address and asked me to pay the sum of $250 to send me his blood which i did immediately and in the next 3 days i got the blood sample through the DHL which me and my boyfriend took in the blood into your body and in the next 30 minutes i turned into a VAMPIRE so if you interested in becoming a VAMPIRE kindly contact his email address today (JANEASHLEY333@GMAIL.COM)he also has a friend who is a warewolf just incase you want to be one okay…

  20. Emily Deibler

    The Vampire Academy book series is one of my favorite supernatural YA series. Rose Hathaway is a wonderful protagonist. I never saw the movie, but great article nonetheless!

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