Critics and fans aren't impressed by the latest teen novels to be given the Hollywood touch. Should Tinsel Town hold off on the fantasy franchises for now?
Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has been released in movie form and is the latest in a line of teen fiction adaptations to take flight on screen.
The floodgates have been opened now with Hollywood seemingly rushing to turn as many fiction series into movies as possible. With nerd culture suddenly trendy, it's now seen as cool to be openly enraptured by a character or plotline and Comic-Con type events where new releases are trumpeted are bigger than ever.
Lily Collins Plays 'Clary.'
There have been a couple of flops - books that glittered on the page were rendered too dull, dreary and frequently unwatchable to warrant the transformation of any more instalments. The most notable of such adaptations being The Golden Compass, Stormbreaker, The Spiderwick Chronicles and A Series Of Unfortunate Events: all examples of movies that stopped short of more adaptations.
With regards to current or upcoming releases, don't forget the recent Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters sequel, the upcoming Hobbit film, and the recently announced Artemis Fowl movie. The news leaves fans of Eoin Colfer's work praying the story of the Irish genius who encounters a world of mystical creatures doesn't receive the (shudder) Stormbreaker treatment.
The Cast At The Mortal Instruments Premiere.
Each new movie offers a blend of entitled youngsters, some U-rated romance and an age-appropriate sprinkling of peril. Where a book can leave ends untied for the reader to ponder themselves, a film enjoys wrapping the whole thing up neatly - just in case it flops and won't be made into a sequel.
There has been a strong trend for female-fronted fiction with strong-willed protagonists..with a token dashing male character to throw them off course. Twilight is the obvious choice, but The Hunger Games, the upcoming Divergent trilogy, and now Mortal Instruments are refusing to buck the trend.
Author Cassandra Clare Has Enjoyed Unbridled Success With Her 6-Part Series.
Adapted from Cassandra Clare's six-part series, Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has been released today and centres on Clary Fray (Lily Collins): a young girl whose mother strangely disappears. She realises that she isn't like other humans in that she's descended from a line of warriors whose job is it to protect the world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and begins a quest to save her mother, entering into a dangerous alternate New York named Downworld.
Clary's love interest throughout the book series is Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower): tall, muscular, blonde, blue eyes. He is depicted as flirtatious but one of the best fighters. So dreamy I'm yawning. The Guardian's Stuart heritage agrees that certain aspects of the Harald Zwart-directed movie are rather generic, saying "It's vaguely scary. It has a moody male lead. And a female protagonist with one facial expression. In its bid to become the next Twilight, this yarn for young adults ticks all the right boxes" and remarking upon the many similar aspects between Mortal Instruments and, well just about any other supernatural franchise ever. The Hollywood Reporter and HitFix reach the same verdict: too close to Twilight, too soon.
Jamie Campbell Bower: Your Token "Hottie."
As far as fantasy franchises are concerned, we see downsides. Though Harry Potter, etc, have been credited with getting children into reading, there will always be many who don't bother to read the book when it's easier to watch the big, blaring Hollywood blockbuster. The nuances of the characters personalities, the detail of the events and the projection of emotion will always be better rendered on the page than in a film where filmmakers are more interested in how realistic a dragon's scales look, how photogenic the token couple are, and how off-the-scale any fight scenes can be.
What's more, plenty of writers have been inspired by the current trend for fantasy/adventure to pick up a pen and begin creating worlds of their own, but if Hollywood and fantasy fiction continue to bind together as we're currently seeing, potential authors might only think within the confines of a movie screen and stick to more mainstream stories they think might get picked up by a film company. Writers who have any supernatural beings in their stories - "keep it secret, keep it safe" and wait until everyone forgets about Twilight if you want your work to be judged on its own merits.