The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Film, Action and adventure
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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Mix ‘Twilight’ and Buffy, add a dash of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter and a generous sprinkling of goth and you have this would-be tween sensation. Based on the novel by Cassandra Clare, it stars Lily Collins as Clary Fray, a Brooklyn teen who discovers she is a Shadowhunter by birth. Shadowhunters are a society of half-angel warriors who protect humanity against demons, apparently. When Clary’s mother disappears, sexy fellow Shadowhunter Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) guides her into their secret underworld. Along for the ride is besotted best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan). Let the love triangle commence!

It’s a potent mix for young fans that gets off to an entertaining, action-packed start with bursts of knowing humour. But it’s soon bogged down by an increasingly convoluted plot, an overindulgent running time and absurd dialogue (‘So Bach was a Shadowhunter?’). The film is at its best when camping it up in leather rather than taking itself so seriously. Here’s hoping the sequel is purposefully sillier – and considerably shorter.

By: Anna Smith


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Wednesday August 21 2013
Duration: 130 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Harald Zwart
Cast: Lily Collins
Jamie Campbell Bower
Kevin Durand

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
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Upon watching this film it became very clear why the sequels were cancelled from production. The plot is very generic teen fantasy, using elements twilight, Harry Potter, and Underworld, to create a rather unbelievable story. Typecasting Aidan Turner as the head werewolf (having also been a werewolf in Being Human) and featuring Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Game of Thrones), the acting leaves a lot to be desired. 

The usual teen angst, love triangles, and hissy fits feature regularly, whilst the group of teenage Shadowhunters tackle evil demons as well as a fellow Shadowhunters who has gone rouge due to a lust for power.

One to avoid, even on a Sunday afternoon!