Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Honourable mentions: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

I was not really aware of the Mortal Instruments series of young adult books, they had simply passed me by with barely a flicker on the radar. The same went with this 2013 film directed by Harald Zwart. Then a friend told me it had vampires in it and it was straight onto the radar.

The story follows Clary (Lily Collins, Priest) a young girl who starts subconsciously drawing a rune and seeing things that others cannot see, including what looks like the murder of a man in a club by a young man she later discovers is called Jayce (Jamie Campbell Bower, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part 1 & part 2).

the rune
Her drawing of the rune is a sign that a magical block her mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey, The Cave & the Brothers Grimm), has had warlock Magnus Bane (Godfrey Gao) put on her memories and powers is weakening. You see Jocelyn was a Shadowhunter, a band of warriors who have drunk the blood of the Angel Raziel and are known as Nephilim (half angel) or are born of a shadowhunter (like Clary). Jocelyn had stolen the Mortal Cup (the grail that the blood of the angel is consumed from) from her lover and rogue shadowhunter Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and hid both it and their daughter (Clary) from him – this latest blossoming of Clary's powers has revealed them and Valentine’s men manage to get hold of Jocelyn, who induces a magical coma on herself.

fangs on show
The Shadowhunters fight demons, using runes etched into their bodies to give them powers, and have an accord with other creatures such as werewolves (Being Human’s Aidan Turner makes a transition from playing vampire to playing werewolf) and vampires. However, when visiting Magnus, Clary’s mundane (ie human) friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) is kidnaped by vampires (who put something that remains unexplained in a drink, this chokes him and they run off with him). Thereafter Jayce, Clary and the brother and sister shadowhunters Alec (Kevin Zegers, Vampire (2011)) and Isabelle (Jemima West) go to rescue him from an abandoned hotel that is the vampire’s hideout. They get to him ok, battered and hanging above a lift shaft but he reveals it is a trap to capture Clary and a major fight ensues with lots of vampires.

vampire gun
Eventually interference from the werewolves, storming the hotel and attacking the vampires, allows them to escape the building and the rising sun, which burns vampires, enables their getaway. Simon finds out, when he eventually comes around, that he no longer needs glasses and Clary notices he has been bitten. This is not followed up in the film but – if the films follow the books – he will be turned in the next film. That might mean there is enough vampiric activity in the next film to warrant a review, but for this film the single section was a side-line rather than a main plot point. The only other vampire related thing to mention is the vampire gun that pneumatically pushes a stake from the barrel and has rotating barbs at the end – designed to pierce and destroy the heart.

The film itself wasn’t too bad, essentially a young adult adventure story with a supernatural focus, if you like that sort of thing. The imdb page is here.

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