The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: movie review

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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: movie review

Before penning her successful young-adult fantasy saga, author Cassandra Clare was one of the Internet’s leading Harry Potter fan-fiction writers. This movie adaptation of her first tome, City of Bones, is faithful to that lineage, the filmmakers cutting and pasting from Clare’s nods to J.K. Rowling’s series with all the grace of a first-grader’s collage. Hogwarts is now “The Institute,” a demon-hunting school smack-dab in the middle of Manhattan, hidden from human eyes on another plane of existence. Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) is the Harry surrogate, a “Shadowhunter” who casts runes, slays demons and is revered by his fellow warriors for always saving the day. There’s a Dumbledore, there’s a Voldemort, there’s a magical MacGuffin that our heroes must track down, but it’s a soulless attempt to re-create the Potter magic.

Mortal Instruments’ greatest asset—and its only twist on the formula—is Lily Collins. After nameless, motiveless thugs kidnap her mother, her character, Clary, stumbles into the arms of the hunky hero and discovers her own Shadowhunter bloodline. Collins is routinely sidelined by a script loaded with Stargate-, Total Recall– and Star Wars–inspired tangents, but when the plot simmers down, the starlet displays blockbuster-worthy charm and agility. If only the fantasy surrounding her made a lick of sense. Here, the Muggle types are known as the “Mundane.” An apt label for a wanna-be franchise with plenty of sheen and nothing to say.

Follow Matt Patches on Twitter: @misterpatches

By: Matt Patches


Release details

Rated: PG-13
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

2.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Im a huge fan of the books, however the first film was kinda a disapointment because of the way it was set up. I think that they let the audicene know to soon that Clary and Jace werent brother and sister, The set up witht the scenes and order was also a little dissapointing, and i didnt feel as though there was much depth into the charectors and there should have been. But thats just my opinion.


I did not like the lead actress and I don't care how much praise she receives by certain critics, she is overrated. She did not embody the spirit of the character from the books, her costars are too old for there roles, and the screen writer (bleep, bleep) the script. The actor playing Jaycees best friend/ foster brother is close to 30 years old and hes playing a 18 year old WHY! And the same goes for all of the actors who are supposed to be playing teenagers in the movie! Hollywood listen up! take a cue from Waterloo Road and start hiring Teenagers to play teenagers in your insipid movies and you might actually find successful franchise.


Oh come now. Sarcastic blond Jace is the surrogate for fandom DRACO, the angsty, sexy, rehabilitated antihero of the famed leather trousers. SIMON is the awkward, bespectacled equivalent of Clare's take on Harry. Keep in mind, the love-triangulation and the sparkly, softly-lit characterization inherent in it is *far* more important than the magic to the intended audience. I'm all for piss-takes at the Mortal Instruments franchise, but fudging the details makes it less hilarious.

Alex Grindley

It was AMAZING But it would be very hard to follow/care about if you hadnt read the books first I guess as all the main events of the book kind of get given away easily (Clarys mum being a shadowhunter, the mortal cup etc etc) Also this review doesnt actually give much information but just labels at 1 star so if you are considering watching this movie, I would recommend it as there are a lot of people wanting to bring YA books and movies down, but so many more people who love it and enjoy the action and thrill