The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie Review

The Mortal Instruments City of Bones Film Poster

I recently sent my 18 year old niece to see the pre-screening of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and got her take on the film. Kendall is into Dr. Who, Tom Hiddleston, and Les Miserables. She will be heading off to college in just a few weeks, and wanted to share her movie review. Here is what she had to say:

“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is your typical young adult novel transformed to fit the big screen. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book, but from what I can remember it fit nicely with other teenage supernatural genre, including books like Twilight. The movie had some great moments of discovery at the beginning, but then seemed to take a downward turn for me. If you are a fan of the series, then you may be disappointed by the screenplay, as the plot strays severely from the book at times. As a result, the movie develops quite a few holes.

For those of you who are not familiar with the book, it’s about a girl named Clary (Lily Collins) who discovers she is a supernatural being called a Shadowhunter. They are half-human, half- angels who  made it their creed to protect the people of earth, of whom they call “mundanes,” from demons and other terrifying creatures . Clary’s mother, also a shadow hunter, kept it hidden from her by blocking her memories.  One day Clary starts to see things others can’t and runs into another group of Shadowhunters: Jace, Alec, and Isabelle.  Unwittingly, she attracts the attention of a group of Shadowhunters who wish to do evil with the ancient chalice’s powers. Her mother is kidnapped, and with the help of her friend, Simon, and the mysterious group of Shadowhunters, Clary begins to unlock her hidden memories and abilities. But the story wouldn’t be complete without an angsty and awkward romantic triangle between friend-zoned Simon and dark and mysterious Jace (Jamie Cambell Bower), who may or may not be related to her *cough.

All of that aside, there were things that were good about the movie such as its set decoration, cinematography, wonderfully choreographed fight scenes, and properly scary  CGI demons  (Don’t bring your children, if you hope to ever have a full night of sleep again).  The main character is likeable, and even though the story is reminiscent of Twilight, she is no Bella; she is a much stronger female lead.  There are also some very comical moments, (Clary in a car with a Werewolf – “it’s okay, you can hang your head out the window”), but sadly there are also some painfully dull moments. The actors’ performances sometimes lacked convincing.  I struggled with liking the actor who played Simon, as he was very wooden, and some of his cheesy dialogue didn’t help much. As a movie, there were some issues with the plot that are better explained in book format.  I worried that those unfamiliar with the book would be lost. This being a story taking place in another world, in order to capture an audience, the rules and functions of that world must be explained thoroughly.  The lore of the shadow hunters is only briefly mentioned, and they failed to explain how their abilities work. So throughout the movie questions arise that are never answered. Also, the antagonist Valentine’s role as a villain is unclear. We’re to understand he was once a good man, but when he appears on screen he is full of malice and hatred. This transition is mentioned but never fully explained. Understandably, backstory can overburden a movie, so screenwriting must be impeccable so clarity isn’t sacrificed.

Overall, I wouldn’t classify the movie as a train wreck, but it lacked what I look for in a great movie. Most likely, I would watch it again on a slow Saturday night, but can’t give it a two thumbs up. I would give this movie a C.”


U.S. Release Date: 2013 Running Length: 130 minutes MPAA Classification: PG-13 Cast: Lilly Collins, Jamie Cambell bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Robert Sheehan Producers: Michael Lynne, Martin Moszkowicz,  Dylan Sellers, Robert Shaye Director: Harald Zwart Screenplay: Cassandra Clare (Book), Jessica Postigo (screenplay) Cinematography:  Geir Hartly Andreassen Music: Atli Örvarsson Distribution Company: Sony Pictures


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Emily Buys

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