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maggotlimbo

Vampire Academy (2014)

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Just saw the trailer for this & all I could think was, "Coming soon to How Did This Get Made!"

 

Based on a best seller? Rly? I though Olga Kurlyenko was like, you know... a successful actress & stuff.

 

Trailer:

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I saw this movie. I paid to get in. You better fucking believe it.

 

Let me just say that this movie is a piece of crap. It vacillates between playing to fans of the novel and including super-in-depth details and feeling the need to explain what a vampire is. I didn't even know the books existed before the movie came out, but it's not like I'm unfamiliar with vampire kitsch bullshit, so I wasn't lost. I mean, I post on the message boards for this fucking podcast. Also, there's this Russian character who bears a striking resemblance to Tommy Wiseau... ironically, like if Tommy Wiseau was a person and not an undead creature of the night. His accent also sounds amazingly like a less unsettling version of Wiseau's... but the guy is actually Russian. So I don't know if they tried to make him sound LESS Russian and that's the accent that came out or what, but combine it with the oodles of clumsy ADR and it's really fucking weird.

 

Aside from all that, there's this very strange admirable quality to the movie. It's very pointedly anti-Twilight, and not just what that series does to vampire mythology. There are very blatant statements about homophobia, slut-shaming, and female helplessness, all of which had very troubling manifestations in the Twilight series. It's a youth and female empowerment movie disguised as teen B-movie schlock. It has a "be yourself" message as clear as any Disney animated film while totally dismissing that genre's usual baggage of the "princess" needing a "prince" (or anyone else) to make her journey complete. I genuinely admire its intentions, but it's just... bad. So actually, I think it would be a great episode because June would probably be able to make a fucking meal out of it on the podcast.

 

Also, it contains a CGI creation called "psi-hounds." Holy shit.

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Based on the ads and now a description from someone that's actually SEEN it, I STILL don't know who this is supposed to be for. I've caught a scene here and there at my theater (there hasn't been a single person in the auditorium whenever I've been working), and it doesn't seem like an actual movie. Check out the IMDB comments section for some sad, sad discussion by people that don't understand how movies work.

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I'm guessing it's a too many chefs in the kitchen kind of thing; too many studio executives yelling about different audiences needed to be catered to, incompetent filmmakers, and marketing people going "Hey, teen vampires are still a big thing right?!?! Make more of that! TWILIGHT!"

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The marketing for this was so sheepish I figured the studio was just washing its hands of the whole thing.

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The unfortunate thing of movies like this is that the studios really show that they do not understand their audiences. As a Library Science major, I've had to study these trends where studios feel the need to buy up every single property after a movie is hot in the theaters. The reason that Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight were such huge hits is because people read those books in droves and were willing to pay to see them in film form. For the most part they do not want to see the various knockoff series that spurt out after a book hits it big. They may be bestsellers in their own right, but they aren't the mega sellers that the series they are following are.

 

Lemony Snicket, Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, and I Am Number Four show that it isn't the subject matter that fans are coming to see, but rather the story itself. Plus, this movie couldn't have come out at a worse time considering now that the big supernatural fad is zombies while vampires and werewolves are on the last of their last breath.

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The unfortunate thing of movies like this is that the studios really show that they do not understand their audiences. As a Library Science major, I've had to study these trends where studios feel the need to buy up every single property after a movie is hot in the theaters. The reason that Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight were such huge hits is because people read those books in droves and were willing to pay to see them in film form. For the most part they do not want to see the various knockoff series that spurt out after a book hits it big. They may be bestsellers in their own right, but they aren't the mega sellers that the series they are following are.

 

Lemony Snicket, Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, and I Am Number Four show that it isn't the subject matter that fans are coming to see, but rather the story itself. Plus, this movie couldn't have come out at a worse time considering now that the big supernatural fad is zombies while vampires and werewolves are on the last of their last breath.

Having worked at a movie theater the entire time, I've come to recognize and understand the trends as well, as I've seen them ALL come and go, from your "Harry Potter" and your "Twilight" to all the franchise non-starters in between. You try to explain that to people that are convinced that something's the next big thing, when really it's just a cash-in on something else, and you get the "Oh, you think just because you work at a movie theater it makes you an expert?" bullshit. No, it doesn't make me an expert, but it IS our business to have some idea of how something's going to perform so that we can plan and operate accordingly. It does just so happen that I have an interest in that kind of thing, as well as some experience working IN film (funny you should mention "I Am Number Four"...), so maybe I have more to add to the conversation than just "No one's gonna see this because it looks like it sucks", but it doesn't take a genius to see how transparent, schizophrenic, and desperate the "Vampire Academy" marketing was. Again, the movie's been out for a week, and we still don't know who it's for!

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And that is the thing, for the most part the general public is able to see the difference between substance and shit when it comes to adaptations. They see these movies for what they are and decide to not care about paying for a ticket. I see it so much in the library where have worked for a decade, a series hits it big and then within a year there are 3-4 new series similar to that premise. Diary of a Wimpy Kid becomes HUGE in the kid book market, then all of a sudden you have Dork DIaries, Dear Dumb Diary, and Middle School, all with their own success but nowhere near Wimpy Kid.

 

The best way to describe this is to picture a prospector finding a huge vein of gold in the mountains. People hear about this great find and head to that same location, looking for fortune as well. Unfortunately, in the time it took for them to get their, the original prospector has mined that area almost clean, leaving only a few small or okay sized nuggets. While they may get some riches, it is nowhere near what that first person received.

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