Mortal Instruments

First off, what in the hell is a mortal instrument? It sounds just terrible – like some sort of ancient torture device, perhaps something used to extract teeth or fingernails or even entire eyeballs. Are these instruments good things? Can they be immortal? Who wields them? Will we ever know? Well, probably.

With the final film of the unfathomably popular The Twilight Saga franchise, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, hitting screens this week, studios everywhere are scrambling for the next big YA cinematic adaptation that will set the cinematic world on fire. While The Hunger Games is still poised to slip into Twilight‘s vacated throne, a fresh crop of new potential franchises are springing up left and right, including Beautiful Creatures, Divergent, and The Mortal Instruments. It’s a topic we’ve long been interested in (remember this piece from Comic-Con?), but it’s still unclear just who will prove to be the winner.

A possible contender – the first film in a potential Mortal Instruments franchise, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which is coming to us from The Karate Kid (remake, duh) director Harald Zwart from author Cassandra Clare‘s wildly popular series. With the release of the film’s first official still, we’ve just got nothing but questions.

Mortal Instruments

1. Lily Collins is looking pretty rough here – is she okay? Is her character, Clary Fray, sick? Has she never been exposed to the sun (actual, legitimate concern)? Does she need more vitamin D? Is she getting enough to eat? No, she is just thin and supposedly “delicate.” Still looks like she needs to get outside more.

2. Is that stigmata? No, no – it’s one of Clary’s “self-created runes — the magical symbols Shadowhunters use to protect themselves.” Wait, does that mean it’s a tattoo? Nope, she drew that thing on. So her most magical power is doodling?

3. No, seriously, is Clary okay? Does she have scurvy? Nope, still just delicate.

4. “Clary Fray” sounds like a brand of boxed wine, doesn’t it? It does.

5. What is a Shadowhunter? Apparently, some sort of demon hunter.

6. Why “City of Bones”? Apparently, it’s a place. We keep saying “apparently,” because we can’t make heads or tails of the book’s very detailed Wikipedia page (the first line of research defense).

7. What is a “mortal instrument”? There are actually three Mortal Instruments, all given to the very first Shadowhunter by the angel Raziel. Apparently, you can use them to create a super-army of Shadowhunters. Which might not be a good thing, weirdly.

8. How does author Cassandra Clare (oh, I see what you did there, Ms. Clare) feel about the adaptation? “It was very reassuring to come on set and see everything covered in runes and replicated down to the last detail. The movie was definitely made by people who love the books and wanted to do right by them.” Well, that’s certainly nice.

Verdict? We should probably start reading this series.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opens on August 23, 2013. [Entertainment Weekly]

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