Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Case for Instrument Mortality

I am a bit of a sucker for an intriguing movie trailer.

I suppose that is the art of spin and advertising that people can make trailers for films that make the film they come from seem fast paced and action oriented and nowhere near as terrible as the concept of the movie itself would suggest.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
is a film that I gave a shot due to a trailer that made it looked a bit above the Twilight fan fiction I thought it would be, even though I saw the running time stretched out to over two hours long.  The audience with me did not instil me with confidence, considering most seemed to be either of the cynical persuasion hoping for a good film but expecting rubbish (like me) or young ladies with harsh haircuts and an air of angst and anger about them, but who like nothing better than a story about an abusive boyfriend and mystical elements and supernatural enemies conspiring to bring two beautiful yet tormented souls together.  I sat next to one of the latter, who tittered at every lame joke and writhed at every predictable shock.  Sigh. 

And yes, the film itself was very lame, if surprisingly gross in parts.  Lily Colins, playing our heroine Clary, is completely unengaging, but she is surrounded with some pretty good thesps (mainly British: Lena Hedy (not enough of her), Jonathon Rhys Meyers (ditto), one of the Hobbit dwarves Aiden Turner, Jamie Campbell Bower and others) who try and make the most of the mess they are given. 

Actually, considering how the trailer come out, it is possible none of them realised how slow and contrived the film would turn out.  The action scenes are very action-packed, but there are whole acts (our heroes versus the Vampires!) which literally play no part in this movie (honestly, what was the point?) but quite obviously set up developments for characters in the (possible) sequels.  Some of the supporting characters are thrown bits of back stories, but they are clumsily handled and again serve no purpose in propelling the story anywhere.  And then there is the introduction of the cool Warlock of New York who could tell Clary everything about everything (but doesn’t), stops by for a healing session when he could actually help defend the castle (but doesn’t) and throughout it all, and for some unfathomable reason, seems to have all his dialogue dubbed.   

And then there is the dire-logue.  I had forgotten most of what happened in the movie due to its complete unmemorableness, but then someone reminded me of the line, “I had never seen an Angel until…” and then my stomach rebelled and I could dwell on it no further.  In fact, the entire theatre, including hard/soft woman beside me, snorted at this line when (one presumes) it is meant to be more romantic than risible.   

Mostly, though, the whole movie is inoffensive.  The actors say their lines with a complete lack of conviction and passion, but propel things along at its unhurried and drastically-in-need-of-editing pace.  Much like the Twilight series, it is when the actors actually try to act that things get painful, the flaws in the script and the characters showing the seams, or (to use another metaphor), not allowing the actors to bring a third dimension to the two they have to work with. 

That’s my way of saying that I was not uncomfortable watching this film (unlike Elysium, which made me angry) as I was probably too close to dozing to get worked up about anything.  

But then, before The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, I saw a preview for the next Percy Jackson film.  Now, this trailer made that film look so bad that perhaps the film itself will be better than the first one was, many moons ago?  I have serious doubts though, considering.  But I will find out soon enough.


Verdict: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a long title for a film, and a really long film too. Unnecessarily.  Perhaps the writer decided to stick slavishly close to the book for the fans, but the result is a movie that seems to be floundering, with the actors apparently waiting for pages to turn before springing into action.  The effects are pretty good, and I got the impression most of the cast were actually decent actors too, but the film just doesn’t support their promise, though perhaps the Twihard fans will be satisfied.  6 Runes out of 10.

1 comment:

Morgan Davie said...

"dire-logue" is genius.