The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, A Review

Imagine drawing that over
and over and over and...
It’s pretty sad when you forget that you see a movie just three weeks after seeing it. That’s kind of what happened with me and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I went with my wife to see it the Sunday of its release and would have had trouble explaining it even after walking out of the theater. (Those of you concerned about spoilers, beware. I do give away a few plot points below.)

My wife loves stuff like this; she’s the reason I saw all five Twilight movies. Fun fact: I bought my wife this book years ago for Christmas, knowing it would be up her alley and after reading the first few chapters, she put it down because she ”couldn’t get into it”. When she found out that the book was being turned into a movie, she got excited about it anyway. Seeing the trailer really cemented in her head that the book appealed to her.

Anyway, I offered to take her to see it since she always has to put up with my movie choices (see The Wolverine). By the end of the film, I had to admit that it wasn’t that bad. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t good, either.

The movie focuses on Clary (Lily Collins), a high school aged girl that has some sort of magic powers, can see things other people can’t and has an unexplainable compulsion to draw the same symbol over and over again. She meets Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), a dreamy, mysterious boy who carries swords and kills things. Naturally, she’s drawn to him and when her mother (played by Game Of Thrones Lena Headey) goes missing, she learns that she is a Shadowhunter, a secret cabal of fighters imbued with special powers by the blood of an angel to fight demons. Once we learn about Clary’s heritage, all logic gets thrown out the window.

Like that, but with less coherence.
So, so many things in the movie just made me roll my eyes, practically audibly in the theater. For a race of ancient demon hunters, they do so many stupid things that I had to wonder how they didn’t die out in a few minutes of demon hunting. In one scene, Clary’s possessed fortune-teller neighbor has her and Jace pinned down in her apartment. Jace’s demon-hunting buddies, the brother sister team of Alec and Isabelle (Kevin Zeggers and Jemima West, respectively), rush in to help them. Isabelle gets tossed to the side and Alec gets stabbed to hell. Meanwhile, Clary’s fully human, geeky best friend, Simon (Robert Sheehan), overpowers the demon powered woman for a good 15 seconds, allowing Jace to kill her.

This isn’t the only thing that really got to me. Between the big bad guy getting easily distracted by a bright, shiny thing in the middle of the fight to a glasses-wearing geek suddenly not needing his glasses anymore and just shrugging it off like he just got over a cold. All of that is on top of the trite plot twist involving the main characters and you have a shoddy story meant to entertain teenage girls.

Image courtesy
And let’s be honest; this movie is Sony’s Twilight. Lion’s Gate Entertainment, the company that produced Twilight made a buttload of money, not just on the movies themselves, but on the merchandising as well. You can’t go anywhere without seeing something with Kristen Stewart’s stupid face on it, even after the last movie has come and gone. So with The Mortal Instruments, what is supposed to be a 6-book series, Sony is doing whatever they can to cash in on some of that merchandising. Weeks before the movie even hit theaters, Hot Topic had a full display of items based on the movie, such as shirts with the faces of actors no one has ever seen and jewelry with no significance. Sony also announced, before the movie even came out, mind you, that they would begin filming the sequel later this month to be released next year. This was before they knew the movie would barely make its initial budget back. Granted, I understand that movies have been given sequels based on less box office gross that $73 million, but to announce that sequel even before knowing that… Sony is throwing a lot behind The Mortal Instruments and their desperation is starting to show.

At the end of it, though, The Mortal Instruments is just another success story for a lesser known author. Though Cassandra Clare has had nominal success in the publishing industry, she was never a household name. And the movie did spark interest in her books, which have begun to sell even better now. So good for her for writing a series that a major movie studio found interesting and for expanding her career, even though her books don’t appeal to me. Lucky for Clare, though, 50% of my household will ensure that 100% of my household will see these movies.

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