The number of youth-oriented book adaptations that have been turned into films over the last several years is pretty long, as is the list of adaptations that haven’t resonated with the larger population. For every Twilight, viewers have gotten a Beautiful Creatures, but that hasn't stopped the studios from trying to take popular Young Adult titles and make them the next big thing on the big screen. Which leads us to Vampire Academy, the latest YA title up to bat. Richelle Mead’s books are fast-paced and full of information about the vampire society that populates its pages. Yet, how does the book stack up to the movie?
This isn’t a review. If you are wanting to determine whether this movie is a mess, a masterpiece or something in between, we have plenty to say about that, but this isn’t the forum. Instead, it’s an article looking at many of the differences between the Vampire Academy book and film. In Vampire Academy’s case, director Mark Waters attempts to get across a lot of the mythology and characterization that are Mead’s signatures throughout the series of novels. However, with a runtime of an hour and forty-four minutes and plenty of action to pack in, it can be quite tough. Still, the movie pays attention to the book it stems from, and most of the big moments fans of the series are on the lookout for should be present.
Following are some of the changes I noticed in my screening of Vampire Academy Feel free to remark on any changes you feel may have been more noticeable. As usual, this article is a hive of spoilers, so if you want the flick to be a surprise, come back after you’ve seen the film.
The explanations of the dhampir, moroi and strigoi are less in-depth. Mead’s writing relies on an intense explanation of her specific vampire mythology, told from Rose’s perspective. In the film, we get a few sentences on the different types of beings, as well as an obligatory Twilight reference.
Compulsion is introduced through a fuzzy shot where Lissa speaks compellingly. It’s tough to take ideas that get several paragraphs in the book and squeeze them into an already-long film. Compulsion is eventually explained more fully, but the odd shot messes with the pace and flow of the narrative.
Natalie is a little more involved with the hijinks. She becomes Rose’s partner in crime, stealing laptops and licking blood off the walls. This actually gives her more opportunities to talk and be involved than in the book, and actress Sarah Hyland makes great use of the opportunity.
Rose isn’t hiding secrets about Ms. Karp. In the book, Rose spends a lot of time reliving memories, including Ms. Karp’s freakout and subsequent removal from the academy. In the movie, Rose is in the dark, allowing the mystery of Lissa’s power and Rose’s shadow-kissed capabilities to unfold naturally.
Dmitri leades "Roza" to St. Vladimir. It makes sense that Dmitri would know a lot about the Dhampir and Moroi lore, but it does sort of stink that Rose isn’t able to use her wits to come to a conclusion about her relationship with Lissa and St. Vladimir’s relationship with his shadow-kissed partner. Most people probably won't complain about extra scenes featuring Rose and Dmitri, however.
Lissa’s problems are downplayed. The Vampire Academy movie relies on wit and a light tone. Likely because of this, Lissa’s cutting and emotional problems are downplayed quite a bit. We also never see the instance where she freaks out at an academy party when two guys decide to abuse one of the blood doners.
The psi-hounds are barely mentioned. When Lissa and Ros are on the run in the novel, we know they were chased by guardian-trained psi-hounds. This clue might help readers to determine there is a bad guy within the Guardians. In the flick, there’s just a passing reference before they pop up at the end.
Lissa gives a big speech denouncing drama. At the end of the film, Queen Tatiana returns, presumably to chastise Lissa. Instead, she holds her ground and gives an inspiring little high school speech meant to show unity and hope for the future.