Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Mortal Instruments: The Big Room With Skulls Jutting Out Of The Walls That's On Screen For Less Than 5 Minutes

Such a misleading image depicting the size of the City of Bones I have seldom seen

Seeing as the Zuzminastrator has already given her verdict on this adaptation, this review will have very little information regarding the story, instead I'm going to focus on what is wrong and what (if anything) is right with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

So without further ado, let's talk Twilight.

'Look sleepy Stewart' 'Fantastic! Now why couldn't you emote that well in the film we just paid you for?'

This may come as a surprise but I'm not the biggest fan of Twilight. It could have something to do with me being a grumpy 31 year old who finds teen romance a bore and Kirsten Stewart as appealing as brick wearing some skinny jeans but I prefer to think it has more to do with the stupidly shallow characters, the stale story and the horrible thought of Stephanie Myer frigging herself raw whenever she wrote a sentence that had anything to do with Jacob going topless.

This shameless 'Fwankfiction' which only existed at first to serve the lewd desires of the sexually frustrated authors has it's place but I'm not sure the world of Hollywood films is the right one. The same with music; any form of media which was made for sole reason of projecting a self absorbed fantasy may appeal to a mass who have the same misguided desires as yourself, but the rest of us you are just going to piss off. If you write, read and like watching these shameless lack of a good seeing to creations then fair enough, may I suggest though in the comfort of your own bedroom, your own house, your own town, preferably your own little world.

But hey, it turns out it absurdly makes money! right? And as long as that keeps happening we're stuck with it, until the trend thankfully departs. Possibly like Westerns or those natural disaster films that were all the rage in the nineties. Maybe I'm just bitter that my steamy fan stories of a love affair between an over weight tax collector, the Creature From The Black Lagoon and The Elephant Man weren't received as well as I hoped.

when in a love triangle, never bring glasses to a sword fight
The reason I'm bringing this into the light is because The Mortal Instruments series has been compared, quite predictably to Twilight; mainly because it involves supernatural beings, a love triangle between the female lead and two chunks of eye candy, and in my opinion the lead character of both is nothing more than a conduit to live out the writer's fantasies ie. being so pretty that men and monster alike want to get into her knickers, having unique powers which make them even more irresistible to said stereotypes and of course being the 'lucky girl' to be in love triangle in the first place.

There is a difference between the two however, a big one. Several in fact.

First the ideology and physical properties of the mythic creatures used is more in tune to common folklore and our general knowledge rather that the liberties Myer took. Second the lead female character Clary is being played by someone (Lily Collins) who while isn't the greatest actress of all time, at least doesn't sound like she needs to reach for her inhaler between every take. Also the vampires that are briefly involved stay with the common theme that sunlight is bad in the burning flesh kind of way, rather than being able to be spotted because they've suddenly turned into a disco ball

The Mortal Instruments is written by Cassandra Clare (lead character's full name Clarissa 'Clary' Fray... Cassandra Clare... yeah, subtle) and there is talk about her being a plagiarist in that she has stolen most of her ideas from Harry Potter fanfiction from other authors which she copied from in order to create her own. On this film alone I don't see it, but I do see her copying ideas from the likes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Blade, The Shadow, Underworld, a smattering of Twilight and even flipping Star Wars, I kid you not.

I understood what was going on the film, the plot albeit elaborate is easy to follow and the characters are all distinguishable from each other at least. But one of the reasons for this is due to the film not doing anything other than explaining.

There are no characters in this film, not one. Oh sure there are actors playing parts that have names. but all they do is drill the audience with exposition for fear that the concept is too much for our little minds to handle. In fact I'll just come out and say it, this film comes across as patronizing a as nursery school teacher patting your head and giving you a dog biscuit

Strike the pose. Vogue
I was told on good authority (ie. a friend who read the book) that the character of Jace is a cocky, arrogant, sarcastic son of a gun who you can't help but like because not only does he make you laugh but deep down you know he actually gives a crap about what's going on. In this film Jamie Campbell-Bower plays the role as straight as a ruler but without the charisma. He may look the part and he's clearly prepared for the role by using his abdomen to hand wash his clothes, it's just a shame he didn't take the time to put down the weights and pick up the book every now and then and read it rather than trying to tear it in half in one go with his butt cheeks. Having a different interpretation of the character is fine but for god sakes adjust their dialogue accordingly otherwise it comes across as
out of place as a cow in the middle of an aircraft carrier.

Strangely I didn't hate this film though because there was nothing to get angry about. There was nothing to laugh at, there was nothing to get invested in but more worryingly I don't think this was intentional. Many times was an exchange written between characters was meant to evoke laughter or a mild chuckle from the audience. It didn't though, it fell flatter than a stingray being thrown out of a 747. And this wasn't just me that wasn't rolling in the aisles, the entire theatre didn't emit as much as a chortle to these lines. The lines were pretty bad granted but this failure was shared between the director and the actors and nothing else. If we take the metaphor of using a stopwatch as an example of good comic timing, this cast were using a sundial

My final verdict for this film is 2 out of 5

It certainly wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and the story is compelling enough for me to actively seek out the next part whenever it surfaces. But as a stand alone film this fails the most simplistic of tasks; it's too dark, too serious and has little to no humour at all (unintentional or not)

I remember watching Twilight and being in stitches at the wooden acting, shoddy CGI and the lead character being more hate worthy than Percy Wetmore from The Green Mile (at least he was meant to be a dick)

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