Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, half-vampire and half-human, who is training to be a guardian at St Vladimir's Academy along with many others like her. There are good and bad vampires in their world: Moroi, who co-exist peacefully among the humans and only take blood from donors, and also possess the ability to control one of the four elements - water, earth, fire or air; and Strigoi, blood-sucking, evil vampires who drink to kill. Rose and other dhampir guardians are trained to protect Moroi and kill Strigoi throughout their education. Along with her best friend, Princess Vasilisa Dragomir, a Moroi and the last of her line, with whom she has a nigh unbreakable bond, Rose must run away from St Vladimir's, in order to protect Lissa from those who wish to harm the princess and use her for their own means.
I have to admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book by Richelle Mead, the series got better afterwards but I’m not one to rave about it. That’s why I decided that for once I would not go into a book to movie adaptation judging it by the book. A fresh start. And boy did it need it!
To put it simply it wasn’t a great film and definitely not one of my favourites. Everything felt a bit flat from the acting to the pace of the story. There was a lot of information dumping at the start which was necessary (especially for people who haven’t read the book) but to make sure it wasn’t boring they chucked it at you really fast so then it didn’t then serve the purpose because you didn't properly understand.
The action scenes were also pretty pathetic to be honest. You had the fights with the strigoi where it was one person after the other chucking themselves at the vampire, but it made it seem like they were all lined up shuffling along saying “yep, he’s dead off you go George”. Then the training fighting was just as bad because they were trying to showcase vampire strength/speed without making it so fast you couldn’t see anything. Add that to the fact that it was unbelievably staged (it is obviously, but they could try to make it less forced) and it felt unrealistic.
Zoey Dutch, who plays Rose was the only good part. I know I tried to go into this movie without comparing to the book but in this case it worked out well because she was the embodiment of the Rose I pictured. She was kick-ass and funny and protective and portrayed so well compared to some of the others. For example Lisa who just didn’t do much for me and then of course Dimirti. Dimirti was played by Danila Kozlovsky, and I have to be completely honest. I didn’t like him. He looked for too old for Rose and there wasn’t any chemistry between them anyways. Maybe it was because you didn’t see many scenes with them together so it didn’t feel like they knew each other as well as they were portrayed to at the end.
Oh and I couldn’t forget Christian! Played by Dominic Sherwood he was very mysterious (again just like he is in the book; you can see I failed with my resolution to forget the book in the end) and I loved that about him. The scene near the end when he said he couldn’t use his fire outside the classroom, only to kill the wolves was among my favourites.
By the end I felt like a lot of the individual scenes weren’t that necessary and maybe if they cut some out the movie in general would be better paced, and so the remaining scenes could have more of an impact. They also could have chucked in a couple montages, and that may have contributed better than a whole load of quick-edited scenes like they did.
“My name is Rose Hathaway and I’m not your normal teenage girl, but I guess is there really such a thing?”