I know what you are all thinking; The Raccoon the trendiest, most informative site in town, with the most attractive of contributors are doing a review on a teenage franchise? Well yes, yes we are, well I am and do you know what ‘I ain’t even scared’… (Perhaps a little bit).
First of all, since Twilight (Oh no, not the T word!) most fantasy novels, programmes or films have been slated and compared to Stephanie Myers quadrilogy and I understand why there is hostility amongst the masses even if it can be considered a guilty pleasure. Thanks to this woman, we were subjected to years of watching Kristen Stewarts attempt at acting which included: hair flicking, gurning, panting stuttering and sometimes, when we were very lucky, bouts of cross eyedness. However we cannot let this wild beast thwart our love of the supernatural nor can we let it stain the good name of the fantasy genre! Let us reclaim vampires and expel their glittering/sweating ways, let us shun Kristen Stewarts spluttering and find a new and actual likeable lead and let us find wolves that don’t telepathically talk to each other through what appears to be a child’s toy microphone! With this in mind I am not ashamed to say that I went to see and paid good Stirling pounds to watch ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’.
The film is based on the first book of The Mortal Instruments saga by Cassandra Clare. What City of Bones offers to the weary viewers of the genre is a fresh take on the teen-fantasy drama, this film is filled with all the usual suspects in the shape of vampires and werewolves, however it also gives us a flaming buffet of mythical creatures with warlocks, fairies and demons all on the menu. Demons of all shapes and sizes and on differing sides of the scale of grossness (one kind of looks like a vagina with tentacles) and who will defeat such creatures I hear you cry, well Shadowhunters of course! Half-angel-half-humans that are charged with the care of protecting mundanes (regular humans – I know how rude) from Demons and other such troublesome characters.
Set in New York (New York!!) making for a more interesting background for the viewer instead of the usual misty town in the middle of nowhere , it follows the story is of a young girl Clary whose overprotective mother is suddenly and violently kidnapped after a string of strange happenings such as an extreme use of Crayola crayons and a large waster of paper. Clary realises she can see things normal people can’t, including a brooding, blonde, muscular man in the shape of Shadowhunter Jace.
They set off on a mission to find her Mother and along the way Clary -played by Lily Collins (who thankfully doesn’t gurn or splutter or just generally have a face like a chickens bottom) discovers that she is actually part of the shadowhunting world and sprints around the place to solve the mystery of her life and her mother’s disappearance. She is followed by her hapless best friend Simon who’s played by Robert Scheehan, that most of us will recognise as the loveable Irish rogue from misfits. In fact the majority of the cast is a nice who’s who of the TV and film world, with Clary’s mother being none other than Cersai Lannister (Lena Headley), Luke (Aiden Turner) the wolfy friend of the family is the vampire off of Being Human as well as Kili the dwarf in The Hobbit and finally the miserably good looking, Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) is Arthur from Channel 4’s Camelot!
The film is action packed with magical happenings, vampire attacks, demons and people being turned into mice at every turn which keeps it an interesting watch instead of waiting for something to happen *insert dig at breaking dawn* however as with all stories that have taken the leap from page to screen, explanations are somewhat rushed which at points leaves, the viewer having to just simply go with it.
This wouldn’t be the next big franchise without a love story and this one ticks all of the Hollywood boxes. The awkward love triangle? Check! Kissing scene whilst water pours over the cheeky pair? Check! (the sprinklers suddenly turn on which left myself and many fellow cinema goers laughing whilst cringing at such a cliché). Although ,what I described may seem horrific it wasn’t actually that bad! The focus of this film unlike the T word is not the love story as such, it is the trials the characters are facing and yes the kissing scene was awkward but at first it seemed it wasn’t going to happen, which my fellow cinema-goer was most outraged about (he is 24 and likes to think of himself as a ‘Rugby Lad’). The fact is this film has not been made to win Oscars or change the world with a deep and meaningful message but is there to entertain and appease that part of us that wonders about the supernatural and otherworldly. The fantasy genre is a great escapism from normal struggles, instead of worrying about the overdraft this film urges you to worry that the police officers of the world are in fact demons from the Abyss that want to cover you in weird poisonous gunge, then eat you.
City of Bones has a good cast and although at times it is laced with some cringeworthy material it is an easy and enjoyable watch. It appeals to more than just teenage audience, it is undeniably entertaining and without realising you find yourself sucked into the film and honestly intrigued by what is going to happen next. Some scenes even lead myself and fellow cinema goers to jump out of our seats!
What’s not to like? Jonathan Rhys Meyers (aka Big Henry VIII) is the marvellous villain and he sports a sweet hair braid, you’ve got all the supernatural creatures you could shake a stick at and a good leading pair however there is talk of incest….which is a bit awkward.
To truly enjoy this film you need to embrace the genre and enjoy the nonsense, far too much media attention has been given to the apparent “lameness” of stories with vampires and werewolves in them. Well to that I say BE GONE YOU FILM SNOBS the mythical and supernatural has been a fascinating topic for hundreds and hundreds of years we cannot let glittering vampires tarnish it’s otherwise terrifying and captivating reputation.
So unleash your inner nerd, put a cape on and practice your brooding stare. it’s fantasy time!