Fantasy, the Not-so-mortal Instrument

Two things, before I begin:
1. I have not read any of the books of The Mortal Instruments, I’m only basing this on the movie
2. I am not a Twi-hard. In fact I have not seen/read any of the Twilight series productions

Number two is there because the recently released The Mortal Instruments (TMI) movie was supposedly targeting the Twilight fans as an audience, although they apparently failed to please this target. Maybe the fans thought it was a poor repetition of their favorite vampire love story, I dunno. To be honest, I kinda liked it, which is why I’m writing this right now.

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This is not a review, as I am not a movie critic. I know nothing about film technicalities or the art of acting. This is merely a presentation of a different perspective when it comes to movies/books like this. Truth be told, I only watched the movie because I saw a promising cast, including the lovely Lena Headey, whom I have a major cougar crush on (don’t judge me, I fell in love with her way back in Imagine Me and You when she was younger.) I didn’t know anything about the movie except it was a Fantasy movie. I was even quite a bit disappointed when I heard the American accent of the main protagonist, as I thought the cast would be purely European (I’m not racist, I just really love European accents.)

Since I didn’t know it was a Twilight-ish movie, I had high expectations, coupled with the wonder of why it wasn’t getting any hype at all here in the Philippines. Well, I wasn’t all that disappointed, nor was I impressed. I’d say it was a 6.5 on a scale of one to ten. The graphics was great, and I say this with all confidence because damn, I was so freaked out by the creepy looking demons! The setting, as mentioned by other critics, was very Harry Potter-like, which means it was pretty awesome too. The plot was decent enough, with its fair share of twists and turns. The actors did well in general. So what is it about this film that exuded a huge sigh from the masses? I for one think that the answer falls in the genre itself.

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The Iliad

The Fantasy genre dates back to the BC days, a prime example being The Iliad and Odyssey by Homer. This just shows that there have been countless pieces of literature written in this genre, and while there have been variations and personalizations, the mythical creatures involved have been the same through the years. TMI was no different, presenting the audience with the same vampire-werewolf rivalry, the applications of runes, and the use of a pentagram in relation to black magic and demons. Suffice to say, there was nothing new in that aspect, except maybe the application of nephilims as shadowhunters or demon hunters. Nephilims, or part-angels, have not been present in most of modern fantasy stories, which for me, was a huge plus for TMI.

Question for Fantasy fans, what new or innovated creatures were present in Harry Potter and Twilight? As far as I know, there are none. So does this not put TMI at an advantage? Okay, creatures aside, what about plot? True, TMI’s plot was not far from other plots in the genre, but with the age of film, it would be hard to think of a plot that hasn’t already been used. I found the story quite refreshing, and I honestly can’t wait to read the book. I don’t want to put up spoilers, but I just have to say this, I’m very happy with the outright presence of homosexuality in TMI! (Although Magnus’s first appearance was shocking on the verge of disturbing.)

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Note the lack of pants in his own party. With people. Lots of people.

Let me pick up from that point to go into the aspect of target audience. Since both Harry Potter and Twilight were for teenagers, it would be assumed that TMI is also for teens, which is probably what the producers may have thought as well. After all, most fantasy films are for teenagers. Personally, I think the story itself would’ve been better off interpreted as an adult film, what with the issues of sexuality, and even the freaky demons (if I watched this as a teenager, I might have had nightmares. Yes, they were that ugly.) But the movie was presented for teenagers, hence the light and “romantic” energy it gave off. That silly little romance scene at the garden-thingy with fireflies and flowers almost made me hurl, if not for the awesome soundtrack of Ms. Demi Lovato playing in the background.

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Ah, I almost forgot to mention Magnus’s party, CLEARLY not meant for teenagers (that is if you want your teens to grow up decently.) The setting was obviously erotic, enough to make me awkwardly shift in my seat because I was watching it with my parents… Anyway! Speaking of setting, as I mentioned, the Institute where most of the events were, was most incredibly like Hogwarts. Even the infirmary looked like an exact replica of the Hogwarts infirmary. This would’ve been a good thing if TMI came before Harry Potter, but unfortunately it did not. But again, I blame the genre. I mean, can you think of a grander scene than the castle of Hogwarts for a fantasy film? I think not!

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This is the hot homosexual (even in a lesbian’s perspective) played by Kevin Zegers

Now let’s look at character development, a very important aspect for series-followers. Honestly, there wasn’t much to speak of, but hey, how much did little Harry change when he was in his first year at Hogwarts? We’ll have to wait and see if these characters grow in the coming sequels. However, I would again like to compliment the complexity, if not the development, of some of the characters; the serious homosexual hot guy with issues, the other homosexual guy whose only issue is his lack of pants, the father figure who seemingly betrayed the protagonist’s trust, and even the wise old man who has agoraphobia. True, the other characters like the protagonists seem like tiresome one-dimensional stereotypes, but they do have their own quirks.

Well, now that we’ve covered the aspects, I hope you readers see why I blame the genre. The story alone is pretty good, but because it was in this genre we’re all too familiar with, and because it came right after the enormously-successful Harry Potter and Twilight series, it made us all raise a skeptical eyebrow and think, “what’s new? I’ve seen this all already.” But do consider the facts I said before, Harry Potter did not really give us anything new too. Don’t get me wrong, I love the series, and I love Ms. Rowling, but I’m merely stating a fact.

So there you have it, folks! My two cents worth on the movie, The Mortal Instruments. If I were you, I’d go watch it and judge for myself. Thanks for reading!

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3 thoughts on “Fantasy, the Not-so-mortal Instrument

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