Would anybody be the right director for debut scriptwriter Jessica Postigo Paquette’s adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s teen fantasy novel, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones? Lilly Collins (Phil Collins’ daughter) and Jamie Campbell Bower make a good looking pair of forbidden lovers, but struggle to match the intensity of Bella and Edward in the superior Twilight series.
The visuals are atmospheric and enough to convince us we’re in New York City and not Washington/Oregon, but Director Harold Zwart’s (Karate Kid, My Night at McCools) problem is down to the nature of the source material. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the first of a complex and daft fantasy series that must introduce dozens of characters and set everything up.
Paquette’s script is primarily expository, explaining the action while it is unfolding. The knock on effect is that characters fail to come to life and there is minimal suspense and tension as there is nothing to anticipate
The production notes include a glossary of terms and even the four-sided publicity glossy explains the basic vocabulary. Shadowhunters are a secretive race of humans born with angelic blood who have survived over 1000 years by battling with Demons. Demons are inter-dimensional beings who travel between worlds destroying everything they see. A Mundane is an ordinary person who cannot see Shadowhunters. Downworlders are hybrid creatures like werewolves, vampires, warlocks, and, it appears, zombies! ‘Runes’ are symbolic markings used by Shadowhunters.
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) lives the normal life of a New York City Mundane, hanging out with her best friend, Simon Lew (Robert Sheehan), who is secretly in love with Clary. One night, when they go to a club, Clary starts seeing the Enkeli Rune, the Rune of Angelic Power, and people with weird eyes who turn out to be Shadowhunters. When her mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey), is attacked and taken away by Demons that then threaten Clary, the angelic looking Shadowhunter Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower), comes to the rescue. It turns out that Jocelyn was a famous Shadow hunter who wanted her daughter to lead a normal life. Jocelyn provided Clary with a father figure in the kindly Luke (Aidan Turner), who is, in fact, a Downworlder werewolf (well, you can’t have everything).
While Jace shows neophyte Shawdowhunter Clary the ropes, they fall in love. Simon thinks Clary is ill or seeing things, until he, too, becomes involved with the dangerous and confusing City of Bones and a neat Twilight-style love triangle is formed. In a nut shell, if Clary is to save her mother, she must go on a quest to find the Mortal Cup (not to be confused with the Holy Grail).
One of the few interesting elements of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the sexual relationships between the characters. Jace’s close friend is Alec Lightwood (Kevin Zegers), a handsome Shadowhunter who is unhappy about Clary coming between them. Clary loves Simon, perhaps just as a friend, but is physically attracted to Jace who might be her brother.
Their father appears to be the powerful, radical Shadowhunter Valentine Morgenstern (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). He demonstrates little in the way of fatherly love, however, and uses force to stop his alleged offspring from interfering with his controversial agenda. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones suffers not only from being first in a series but from being a derivative fantasy following, and obviously influenced by, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter and Twilight.
Paquette and Zwart struggle to set up all the complicated fantasy world and the set up never seems to end. We are continually bombarded with facts about onedimensional characters, objects, hidden meanings and rules. The explanation for the important ‘portal,’ is incomprehensible but somehow Clary always figures out what do, as does Percy in the Percy Jackson teen franchise.
There appears to be room in the market for the Mortal Instrument series, as evidenced by the number of novels sold. Whether teenagers can summon up interest in the film series remains to be seen. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones isn’t as good as Buffy, Twilight or Harry Potter, but there’s a big gap now that these earlier franchises have finished.
Campaigns & Issues
How you can help combat loneliness in your neighbourhood
A set of resources to help individuals, groups, communities and neighbourhoods take a closer look at – and to reduce – loneliness.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation and JRHT’s Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness has been a three-year action research programme exploring and identifying what makes us feel lonely, where we live and work and what we can all do about it – personally and professionally.
A smart move!
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Competitions & Fun
Win tickets to Eat Pray Laugh - Barry Humphries' Farewell Tour!
Global star and legendary entertainer Barry Humphries, whose creations include iconic Australian housewife Dame Edna Everage and the exuberant cultural attaché, Sir Les Patterson, takes his final bow across the UK with his acclaimed farewell tour, EAT, PRAY, LAUGH!
Barry Humphries has already bid farewell to audiences in Australia and New Zealand, receiving rapturous standing ovations and reviews, with further performances added across the tour, such was the demand.
EAT, PRAY, LAUGH! Will give audiences around the country a final chance to see Humphries – one of the world’s sharpest wits and finest comic talents, and a gigastar of stage and TV over the last 60 years – as well as allow the maestro to thank his many fans.
Win one of 31 fabulous travel treats from Silver Travel Advisor this December
Enter now and you could win one of the 31 travel treats from our Christmas Stocking.
Silver Travel Advisor is a friendly website packed with advice, tips, information and honest reviews written by and for silver travellers (aged over 50). A team of advisors are on hand to answer queries (for free), and you can share your own experiences too.
Health & Wellbeing
Preventing dementia through exercise
The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) welcomes today’s government announcement of the doubling of funding research into dementia.
The government committed to spend £52 million in 2012 to 2013, and up to £66 million by 2015; the ambition is now to double public, commercial and charitable R&D in dementia in the UK by 2025, supporting leading scientists, universities and other institutions in seeking the next breakthrough.
Property & Finance
MGM Advantage responds to FSCP annuity market findings
Andrew Tully, pensions technical director, MGM Advantage commented: "The annuity market is not working as well as it could for many people who retire each year.
"Too often we see people take the pension with the company they have saved with, without realising the benefits of shopping around, not only for the best rate but also the right shape of annuity, particularly taking into account health and lifestyle.
Leisure and Lifestyle
A third of drivers don’t enjoy it anymore
A third of drivers simply don’t enjoy driving anymore, according to a poll by road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).
The main reason given for not enjoying driving on the roads was the cost of fuel (51%) closely followed by congestion (41%), no longer excited by driving (28%) and less leisure time (25.9%).
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