It’s feels like a movie and a novel that sprung from the minds of greedy marketing executives and CEOs. As you watch The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, you practically can hear the moneymakers conspiring, “Let’s get together a bunch of young beautiful people, put them in cool clothes and make sure we have some sort of tortured love triangle and it can’t miss! Oh, if you toss in some demons, vampires and werewolves, too, I smell blockbuster!”
Lily “daughter of Phil” Collins stars as Clary – a young girl celebrating her birthday and seeing a strange symbol wherever she goes. Her mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey), has something very important to tell her, but the kid is obsessed with these new visions, and frightened when they start to include other people and a murder no one else sees!
Of course, in true Harry Potter fashion, Clary finds out she isn’t like all the other girls in Brooklyn. She’s some sort of Shadowhunter who can see the demons that surround us, and her mother has hidden a magical cup that evildoers want to seize to take over the world (that’s the short version, you can thank me later).
And, some cute boy Shadowhunter, Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), pledges to protect her with his own life when her mother disappears and the evildoers come hunting our fair maiden with the furry, yet, sexy eyebrows (I love that line about protecting her with his own life. I have to try that one out on a date some time, but maybe it works better if you are a tall, blonde movie star dude).
Can Clary find her mother?
Can she find the magic cup?
Can she find true love?
Will you find the door to the theater showing The Butler first and go in there?
Unfortunately, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is more of the same for anyone who has been going to the movies in the past 40 years or so.
Of course, the nerdy best buddy dude, Simon (Robert Sheehan), has the legendary unrequited crush on Clary, and he will never escape the friend zone, even when he takes off his glasses (seriously, I was waiting for the big moment when he takes off his glasses and looks like a stud, but that didn’t even help).
Of course, Clary and Jace are fighting off their passion for each other out of fear they will get hurt.
Of course, we will have betrayals, secret alliances, fight scenes and some kissing in the rain.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is nothing spectacular and nothing abhorrent. It’s bland and tired and overly familiar and nothing more than late summer trifle for teens and tweens who need an escape before the beginning of the school year.
Director Harald Zwart and screenwriter Jessica Postigo (based on the novel by Cassandra Clare, really? She named the lead character after herself? Oh, and Cassandra Clare is just a nom de plume, so that makes it creepier) go through the motions with no eye toward amazing us. It’s just the same old same old as a teen is told she can’t trust anyone and nothing is as it appears and no one really understands her, which leads to the big moment where the butterfly emerges from her cocoon to kick some ass and become powerful. Overcoming inner doubt, yadda yadda yadda.
Maybe the most entertaining way to watch The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is to count all of the other movies this one rips off. You’ll see Twilight, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Harry Potter and more. You’d be better off renting one of those (not named Twilight).
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones even fails when it attempts to toss in a little bit of humor at times, but it is so out of place given how “serious” the rest of this is supposed to be. At least, Lily has the Collins family fortune to fall back on if this movie thing doesn’t work out. Sussudio sold ALOT of records.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content