I recently watched the Vampire Academy movie, something I’ve been putting off ever since I first saw the trailer. Now, when I heard they were taking a much loved book to the big screen, I was super excited. I loved Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series and couldn’t wait to see the story come to life, so to speak.
Then I saw the trailer… and all my fears came out front and centre. You see, I have generally tried to avoid books to movies in the past. Few stories do well both on the page and on the screen. Sure, some are badly executed, however that’s not the main reason. I think that no matter the quality of the second incarnation, one will always compare it to the first. This is also true for reboots/reinventions of older movies and series, but that is a different story.
I will say that there are exceptions to my belief. One of these would be Pride and Prejudice. While I have not watched the infamous Colin Firth version, I have seen—before reading the Jane Austen novel, in fact—the 2005 Joe Wright adaptation. It was beautiful and I even loved the director commentary. There are also the odd occasions where the movie transcends the book, but I suspect these are rare, at least in my experience.
Right, back to Vampire Academy. My very first and biggest complaint is that they didn’t take the story seriously. It was like one of those scary movie rip-offs instead of an actual adaptation. Yes, the story is fantasy, but you don’t see Lord of the Rings mocking the genre. That being said, I have not read Tolkien’s novel due to the fact that I watched the movies when they came onto big screen years ago—over several December holidays I recall with much fondness. Perhaps if I’d read the book, I might feel differently about the movies.
This brings me to my current predicament. My number one rule when it comes to adaptations is to pick one—either read the book or watch the film/TV series. Sometimes I break my own rule, like in the Vampire Academy case, and I am inevitably disappointed and wish that I had stuck with my own rule.
Like a large portion of the world, I am a Game of Thrones fan and I see people coming up with a LOT of theories, most of which come from reading the books. But I’m already watching the HBO series, so to read the books would violate my rule. I find myself so tempted to read the books and learn all the complicated intricacies, however, I fear doing so will distort my view of the series.
I suspect I will end up breaking my rule in this instance, but with the likes of adaptations like the Vampire Academy film, my opinion (in general) stands. My parting thoughts after watching the Vampire Academy movie? “I’ve never been so glad that Adrian Ivashkov was not in the first book!”