‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ Review: A Fantasy Film Only Tweens Could Adore

Posted in Film, Reviews by - August 22, 2013
‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ Review: A Fantasy Film Only Tweens Could Adore

We’ve seen several different young adult bestsellers come to life on the big screen. Many exploded and attracted new fans like the Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games, which both broke box office records and made millions. Other films including this year’s Beautiful Creatures and Stephenie Meyer’s The Host bombed at the box office and with critics.

The trailers looked promising for author Cassandra Clare’s first film adaptation of her six-book series titled The Mortal Instruments, but after watching the two hour and ten minute silly sci-fi love triangle mess, this might just be a film suited for tweens and fans of the book.

Clary Fray (Lily Collins) learns that she comes from a line of warriors who are known as Shadowhunters. Half human and half angel, Shadowhunters protect the world from an alternative-like New York known as the Downworld, where demons, vampires and werewolves exist.

Clary meets Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), Alec (Kevin Zegers) and Isabelle (Jemima West), a group of Shadowhunter teenagers in New York City. When Clary learns that her mother (Lean Headey), has been captured by an evil Shadowhunter named Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), she joins forces with Jace and the others to find her and learn what it means to be a Shadowhunter.

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It all sounds dramatic and throughout the movie, every scene comes across as very over-dramatic. Either some things don’t come across as well on-screen, as they may have done in the novel, or the screenwriter did a horrible job in piecing together the novel for film. Maybe a little bit of both.

The major problem of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is that author Cassandra Clare was not involved in creating the screenplay. This is the first novel of the series, so the film screenplay should have allowed for character development so the audience who has not read the novels, can become intrigued with our lead characters. There is really no background of Clary, her relationship with best friend Simon and the relationship with her mother, a Shadowhunter. We are immediately thrown into these fast-paced action sequences, without really understanding what the heck is going on here.

Lily Collins, daughter of music star Phil Collins, is an excellent Clary and certainly has what it takes to lead saga of this nature. Sony Pictures has already green-lit the sequel titled The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes and I’m hoping with a more concise and frankly, better screenplay, Collins will really be able to showcase her talents as one of Hollywood’s young starlets.

The climatic ending is so overcomplicated and silly; it really defeats the first half of the movie, which is actually not that bad. By the end, you’re sort of disgusted with the ending; you really just can’t wait to get out of the theatre.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is one of those novel-turned-films that only fans of the books will appreciate or even understand.