Some background on Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare, and Dracoy FanFics

Let’s put aside all the cool boner jokes you can make with the title of a film called Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and instead focus on an issue that has less to do with the film and more to do with the book series and author Cassandra Clare. Be warned that I will be referencing some stuff that happened in the Harry Potter FanFic community, something that if you are not familiar with will sound very craZy with a random capital letter in the middle of the word.

Before we start, let me say I love this fanfic drama stuff. The fanfic itself..not so much. I simply don’t have time to read thousands of stories online in addition to all the other reading I do and the watching movies and writing about movies and having a wife and a job. But when things go controversial or weird, that’s when I pay attention, as I’m attracted to drama. It’s my honeypot!

Cassandra Clare got her online fame start as Cassandra Claire (neither are her real name, btw), writer of famed FanFic The Very Secret Diaries (a spoof of The Lord of the Rings) and The Draco Trilogy, an influential Harry Potter FanFic. The Draco Trilogy is where we are going to focus.

The Draco Trilogy features Draco Malfoy being redeemed and joining with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny on a series of adventures. It begins with Draco Dormiens, where polyjuice potion causes Harry and Draco to be permanently switched, and hijinks ensue. Needless to say, Draco becomes good, Sirius Black declares he will marry Draco’s mom (thus making Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy brothers!), and Harry confesses his love to Hermione (who rejects him!) In Draco Sinister, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, and Ginny battle Salazar Slytherin, who has returned to be evil and kidnap Hermione, because that’s what evil people do. The final chapter is Draco Veritas, which clocks in at over 500,000 words!! Needless to say, a bajillion things happen, including love dodecahedrons, people getting drunk all the time, fake coming out of the closet, and wizard strip clubs.

The Draco Trilogy was influential, producing numerous pieces of fan art and becoming the definitive story for the Draco/Ginny shippers. But it wasn’t without controversy, as it was discovered that portions of the stories were taken wholesale from sources without attribution. Buffy the Vampire Slayer quotes were the most easily spotted, as well as Babylon 5 lines. But there were a lot of passages from fantasy authors that were reworded slightly and inserted. If these sources had been identified in the beginning, no one would have cared, but it was the fact they were used freely and without disclosure that caused everyone to freak out. Her stories were removed from FanFiction.Net, though the ensuing controversy led to the creation of FictionAlley, where The Draco Trilogy reappeared (until it was deleted again right when Cassandra Clare got a book contract!)

Readers of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series got their own eerie sense of deja vu when they realized that some of the characters were basically Claire’s versions of the Harry Potter characters from The Draco Trilogy. Most specifically, series bad boy Jace is her version of Draco Malfoy, right down to directly quoting some of the same lines her Malfoy said in The Draco Trilogy. Heroine Clary is her Ginny. Alec=Harry, Isabelle=Blaise, Valentine=Lucius. This is problematic because even though they are her interpretations of characters, the characters are essentially the JK Rowling characters. It’s the same deal with the whole 50 Shades of Grey thing, where the characters are Edward and Bella because it was a fanfic first.

I love remixes, I love when cultural properties are used by others outside of their original scope. I love that it happens even when I don’t love the end results. But it’s nice to have acknowledgement that it is what is happening. Instead, we get silence and denials and outright drama. And Cassandra Clare is no stranger to random online drama. I get annoyed when people don’t acknowledge the obvious inspirations and sources of their materials. Cassandra Clare has a history of borrowing from others without consent, and while other fanfic writers who have gone off to be published (called profic) can come up with original ideas and settings and characters, the excessive reuse is troubling.

Also the film looks ridonkulous. Seriously ridonkulous. It will be a glorious train wreck. And maybe Godfrey Gao will become the new Asian heartthrob!
Godfrey Gao Cat

(Image from so many tumblrs I don’t even know any more!)

It's time to play some Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

More YA fantasy is headed to the silver screen as the universe rushes to find the next Twilight before Twilight reboots itself. This attempt to gain the box office prize is Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the first film in what is a six book urban fantasy series (which means at least seven films when we separate the last book into two parts again…) that features half-angels battling demons, and one girl who is the key to defeating the forces of evil. And from the plot synopsis, no love triangle, unless that nerdy guy from the trailer is also a love interest. Clary Fray has the power to see all these invisible angels and demons because of stuff given away in the trailer, so watch the trailer. The last Mortal Instruments book isn’t even out yet, which means it could all end horribly as well, and that’s not counting the prequel and sequel series. The Mortal Instruments series is written by Cassandra Clare, the script is written by Jessica Postigo, and Harald Zwart is the director. Lily Collins is the not ridiculously named Clary Fray, Jamie Campbell Bower is Jace Wayland, and Robert Sheehan is Simon Lewis, Kevin Zegers is Alec Lightwood, and Jemima West is Isabelle Lightwood.

Guess I should spend 20 minutes and read the books one day. Just so I can be smug during the film with what is missing.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Anyone else think this film series writes it’s own porn parody titles?

via MTV

Mortal Instruments City of Bones

The entire city is filled with Dr. Leonard McCoys!

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror

Written by Melissa Wallack & Jason Keller
Directed by Tarsem Singh

I killed and skinned a Bjork to wear her hide to this gala!

Mirror Mirror is the first theatrical Snow White movie of 2012 to hit theaters. Featuring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, and Tarsem Singh’s distinctive visual style of making every frame look like something you’d use as a desktop background, Mirror Mirror is a beautiful film. But beyond the exterior beauty, your enjoyment of Mirror Mirror will depend on how close you are to the target audience, primarily young girls and their mothers. Mirror Mirror is not bad, there is plenty of action and humor for everyone, but I can see that if I was a 7 year old girl, this film would be the awesomeness. Instead, it’s just good, not great. There are problems such as a few slow spots and a lack of suspense due to the Snow White story being so old and used that we all know the day will be saved, the Evil Queen defeated, and Snow will get her Prince Charming. It’s more of the journey, not the destination, that is important in these cases. While parts of the classic Snow White tale are used, some parts are glossed over, while other pieces are added after being weaved from thin air.

The next guy who calls one of us “Dopey” gets his knees cut off!

Differences abound immediately from the other Snow White, for instead of a Lord of the Rings inspired fantasy, Mirror Mirror is a live action cartoon. The only thing missing was talking animals! Between Tarsem Singh’s imagery and Eiko Ishioka’s costumes, the fantasy world of the fairy tale is alive and well on your movie screens.

Steve Jobs, you bastard!

The scenery is beautiful, from the CGI spectacle that is the castle sitting over the frozen lake to the snow-covered forest where danger may lurk behind every tree. The costumes are amazing, and I could spend thousands of words describing them all. But you really must see them to appreciate them. The opening sequence done in a puppet-style is marvelous, much appreciated compared to all the flat Flash opening sequences I’ve seen in films lately.

And once again, TarsTarkas.NET has sold out and went to an advanced screening for free!

Snow White and the Full Monty

Snow White (Lily Collins) – Snow White is the daughter of the King, who rules over a happy Kingdom. But he is lost when fighting a frightful Beast, and the Kingdom falls into the hands of his new wife, the Evil Queen. Snow is trapped in her room, never to leave the castle. Until one day she decides to… Daughter of Phil Collins, Lily Collins originally auditioned for the role of Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman, which ended up casting Kristen Stewart.
The Queen (Julia Roberts) – The vainest woman in the world, The Queen runs through the Kingdom’s treasury like a hot knife through butter, driving the Kingdom to ruin and keeping it locked in a permanent winter. Her latest scheme is to marry yet another handsome prince to refill her bank account. And wouldn’t you know it, a handsome prince just happens to wander into the Kingdom…
Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) – The handsome Prince who is in search of adventure, and he finds one in a Kingdom ruled by an evil Queen and the King’s rightful heir leading a rebellion consisting of dwarves. Also the Queen wants to marry him, even victimizing him with love potions. Armie Hammer plays the Prince so straight-laced and heroic that’s it’s amazing. You can almost see Cinderella and Belle fighting over him just off screen… Also Armie Hammer sounds like Arm & Hammer, so let’s put Armie Hammer in our fridge to see if he stops odors…
Brighton (Nathan Lane) – The Queen’s loyal servant, who was the loyal servant to the King before her. He doesn’t really like what he does, but doesn’t dislike it enough to do much of anything about it. His character is both literally and figuratively a cockroach, though he isn’t entirely evil.
Let’s kick that other Snow White movie’s butt!

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Attack of the Public Domain Source Movies!

Since Harry Potter is winding down, Twilight has hit the last book as well, and recent franchise attempts have produced a string of failures (I’m looking at you, Percy Jackson & the Olympians!), Hollywood is instead looking to the public domain to find the next big thing! Just think about it: no one to pay author royalties to. A familiar brand. Other, classic films that you can leech off of. Little creative risk. More money from Satan. It’s a wonder we haven been flooded with 50 Snow White movies a year for the past two decades!

Let’s start with the biggest offender, the Wizard of Oz, who will be giving us an impressive 9 films (so far) in the next 2 years.

Oz, the Great and Powerful
This is a prequel of sorts from Disney, with James Franco signed on to play the Wizard in his pre-Oz days in a traveling circus and subsequent entrance to Oz. Sam Raimi is directing and Joe Roth (whose name will show up here a lot) is producing. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and Zach Braff also star.

The Witches of Oz
Leigh Scott (of Transmorphers fame!) directs this modern day version where famous children’s author Dorothy Gale finds out her books were based on repressed childhood memories. Sean Astin, Christopher Lloyd, Billy Boyd, and Lance Henriksen star, hopefully none of them play Dorothy! We’re in luck, because it’s this chick, Paulie Rojas
Preview here
The Witches of Oz

Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz
An animated Direct-to-Blu-Ray film featuring the cat and mouse team getting their Oz on.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
This is John Boorman’s CGI version that was supposed to come out a year ago.

Dark Oz
Based on the Calibre Comics series, where Dorothy returns to Oz to find Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion have all gone evil. Pearry Teo directs, the budget is $40 million, Marjorie Jean plays someone named Scraps, and they’ve promised to yank concepts from the 1939 film (like black and white vs color) and Return to Oz.

Surrender Dorothy
Drew Barrymore is fresh off the success of Whip It (ha!) to direct this sequel where Dorothy’s great-great-granddaughter uses the ruby slippers (not in the original book, btw) to fight the Wicked Witch, who is somehow not dead. Zach Helm writes.

Dorothy of Oz
Another animated film supposed to drop in 2012.

L. Frank Baum’s the Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Another damn adaptation of the original novel (there’s 40 Oz books to choose from, people!) directed by Clayton Spinney and written by Sean Gates. The CGI and live action mix reminds me of a low-budget fan film. I can’t get the preview video to play, so here are two creepy promo images:

Wicked is a book that is a reinterpretation of the Oz series that became a hit musical that has been in talks to become a film forever. But before that happens, we’ll get a tv miniseries based solely on the novel from Salma Hayek’s production company!

There are currently 3 Snow White films worming their way through production:

The Brothers Grimm: Snow White
Directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell, the upcoming Immortals), this entry is a “dark twist on the classic fairy tale, in which Snow White and the seven dwarfs look to reclaim their destroyed kingdom. ” Featuring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen and Lily Collins as Snow White. Nathan Lane is also in it, and dwarf names include: Half-Pint, Teach, Renbock, Grub, and Stench.

Snow White and the Huntsman
Universal has their own Snow White, and it has Kristen Stewart fresh off of birthing a vampire baby! Besides Stewart as Snow White, Chris Hemsworth is the Huntsman, and Charlize Theron is the Evil Queen. As for the dwarfs, it’s like a whole pack of awesome with Ian McShane, Eddie Izzard, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Stephen Graham, and Ray Winstone. Joe Roth produces this as well. The dwarf names are: Caesar, Claudius, Tiberius, Constantine, Nero, Trajan, and Hadrian. Rupert Sanders will direct (his debut)

Snow and the Seven
You’ll have to wait until 2013 for the long-awaited Disney’s Snow and the Seven, the Kung Fu version of Snow White where she goes to 1800s China for some reason and 7 warriors take the place of the dwarfs. Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) is writing the newest draft, and the director attached is Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend)

Wash down your three Snow Whites with four Peter Pan films and one miniseries:

The.Never.Land has the dumbest name of the four films, and predictably they’re trying to make it a Twilight version of Peter Pan as Peter acts all creepy and Wendy sleepwalks her way through her role… John Swetnam wrote the script.

Untitled Peter Pan Project
This yet to be titled version is a “family adventure” from the producers of Wedding Crashers and some guy named Jeff Rake.

For some reason, Pan is the hottest commodity of them all, where Peter Pan and Captain Hook are brothers. Channing Tatum will play the most believable boy who never grew up you ever did see! Joe Roth makes his third appearance on this page as producer, and the writer Billy Ray.

This time Peter Pan is evil and kidnapping boys, and Captain Hook must stop him. Aaron Henry and Kirk Kjeldsen were the writers who realized there was little else to do but flip the script.

Yes, another Neverland, this one a SyFy prequel miniseries with Keira Knightley as Tinker Bell

And here are some one-shots:

Great Expectations
Mike Newell will be directing this straight adaptation, with Jeremy Irvine and Helena Bonham Carter in negotiations. Producers are Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen.

Mr. Pip
Sort of related is the adaptation of the novel Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones. The novel’s plot involves reading Great Expectations and mirrors part of the story. Hugh Laurie stars and Andrew Adamson (director of Shrek 1&2 and Chronicles of Narnia 1&2) directs.

Dark Little Mermaid
This “dark” Little Mermaid version is also based on Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon, where there is a love triangle or something. Expect this to get Twilighted the frak up like that Red Riding Hood movie did. Shana Feste will write and direct, and Tobey Maguire and Jenno Topping produce.