Home Reviews Review: City of Bones The Mortal Instrument.
Review: City of Bones The Mortal Instrument.

Review: City of Bones The Mortal Instrument.


Clary Fray (Lily Collins) thought she was an ordinary teenager living in Brooklyn until one night in a downtown nightclub she encounters the mysterious, charismatic Jace. Upon witnessing Jace hunt down and kill a demon in the crowded club, Clary begins to wonder if she is that ordinary after all. Especially as she appears to be the only one who can see him…

Based on the first in a best-selling series of fantasy adventure novels by Cassandra Clare this Canada-Germany co-production serves as another attempt by Sony to re-create the “Twilight” fan-dom. What we get is a fun and fluffy addition to the fantasy franchise with all the usual ghouls and demons, vampires and werewolves.

The film begins enthusiastically as Clarissa “Clary” realises that she is more than your average mortal. When her mother (Game of Throne’s Lena Headey) goes missing, Clary embarks on the adventure with her love-struck best friend Simon (Love/Hate’s Robert Sheehan) and the charismatic but mysterious Shadowhunter Jace (Sweeny Todd’s Jamie Campbell Bower) to help track her down.

Inevitably the usual suspects appear in the form of vampires, werewolves, warlocks and demons to test the resolve of the conflicted heroine and the rivals for her affection and this missing person quest turns into a fight for your life kind of quest as dark forces attempt to take Clary and her knowledge on where The Mortal Cup lies.

While this film does have its moments and serves as a welcome distraction or break from work or whatever you have going on, I found The Mortal Instruments lacked the dimension needed to really knock it into second gear. Of course there is a sequel scheduled already so let’s see how that goes!

Director Harald Zwart (the Jaden Smith Karate Kid remake) briefly sets scenes that are imaginative and immense, thanks to the production team,  yet what happens is a loss of a tangible storyline as it gets weighed down by “showy” scenes and childish (yet humorous nonetheless) dialogue. The second half is particularly cringeworthy as the dialogue  and plots twists reveal a new level of nonsensical and useless information points in the movie. A prime example of this is the attempt to relate Bach to this fictional world of things that go bump in the night.  

To add to this there were too many subplots to weave in and while this may have worked in the book (I confess I haven’t read it), it seems that there isn’t enough investment either the characters or plot and we are left with characters that we don’t really care for. At times we could almost sympathise with Clary as she too was brought up to speed sporadically.

A lot of stories went into the two hours but that’s all they were, stories with no real bite to them. Who knows maybe  things can be elaborated on in the sequel?

 But I don’t want to sound too harsh about the film. In fact I was pleasantly surprised by Collins and Sheehan as they really worked well together and remained rooted to their characters. Similarly the chemistry between Collins and Campbell Bower is also excellent and I was particularly interested in the characters of Madame Dorothea and Luke (CCH Power and Aidan Turner). The jury is still out on Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ performance as main antagonist and Shadowhunter Valentine who indicated real potential as a character but occasionally slipped into screen-chewing. Overall in terms of the characters the general consensus is that the characters’ angst and emotions are not compressed enough and what we get is a somewhat flat rendition of what teen angst and love might look like in 2D.

So at the end of this mixed review I guess the best summary is to say that while this film is a fun addition to the franchise, it lacks a certain depth that could take it to the next level and to shake away from its predecessors.  If you’re looking for a fantasy movie with fluff and fun then this is one you should definitely see.

[easyreview title=”The Arcade Verdict” cat1title=”Story” cat1detail=”Too much happening but with another movie to come maybe it will be resolved!” cat1rating=”5″ cat2title=”Performances” cat2detail=”What the story lacks, the performers make up for, props to Robert Sheehan! ” cat2rating=”7″ overall=”true”]