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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones | Lily Collins, Lena Heady, Robert Sheehan, Jamie Campbell Bower | Review

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2sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is BAD Judy Thorburn

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2lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is BAD

 

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES

Based on Cassandra Clare's first book in her series of best-selling young adult novels, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, is yet another attempt for Hollywood to attract the same audience demographics of teens and twenty somethings that made the Twilight film franchise a worldwide success and a goldmine at the box office.

I am not a big fan of the Twilight series, but at least the storyline was cohesive.  Something has gone wrong, very wrong, in screenwriter Jessica Postigo Paquette's adaptation of Clare's immensely popular book, because the end result, under the direction Harold Zwart (“The Karate Kid,” “The Pink Panther 2”)  is a convoluted mess. And, clocking in at 130 minutes, runs way too long.

The fantasy adventure follows the life of Clary Fray (Mirror Mirror's Lily Collins, daughter of Phil), a beautiful young woman whose life is turned upside down when she suddenly discovers she descends from a line of half human half angel warriors called Shadowhunters that  have protected humans, called “mundanes” (Mortal Intruments' version of Harry Potter's “muggles”) from demons for centuries.

It all starts when she becomes obsessed with a strange “rune” symbol and then realizes that she has the ability to see things others can't.  Before too long she is attacked in her Brooklyn home by a vicious rotweiler that morphs into a slimy demon. Coming to Clary's rescue is a tattooed, lanky, blonde Shadowhunter named Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower,The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows).   Meanwhile Clary's artist mom, Joselyn (Lena Headey) whose been keeping a secret from her daughter, vanishes after drinking a strange potion while fighting off malicious intruders.   It soon becomes apparent that evil entities are in search of a hidden, magical goblet called the Mortal Cup, which holds the key to the future of the Shadowhunters' existence. Without it they are dying breed.

Needless to say, it is Clary's duty to face her destiny, use her newly discovered powers to battle evil inhabitants of the Shadow World in her mission to locate and protect the ancient cup and become the heroine, all with the help of Jace and his team of Shadowhunters, Isabelle (Jemima West) and Alec (Kevin Zegers). Joining Clary on this dangerous adventure is her platonic best bud, Simon, (Robert Sheehan, a James Franco lookalike) who won't leave her side. The thing is, you see, he is secretly in love with Clary, although she doesn't (duh!) have a clue.

Included in the scenario is a cathedral like building in Manhattan called The Institute, a refuge for Shadowhunters, which houses the “City of Bones”, a catacomb of deceased Shadowhunters, and a watery portal into another realm that is located in the basement. Other characters that figure into this hodgepodge are a witch named Dorothea (CC Pounder) that lives downstairs from Clary's apartment and is in the possession of some magical tarot cards; Lucas (Aidan Turner) Jocelyn's closest friend;   the heavy black eye-lined Magnus Bane (Taiwanese model/actor Godfrey Gao) described as “the high warlock of Brooklyn”; Hodge (Jared Harris) Jace's tutor/head of the Institute;  Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a power hungry Shadowhunter turned villain, and, of course, and an additional assortment of demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures.

Unfortunately, this film is overwrought with plot holes, ridiculous, implausible scenes, cheesy, lame dialogue, attempted comedic one liners that fall flat, and way too many characters.  It is as if the filmmakers wanted to cram as much as possible into the story featuring a love triangle, suggested incest, a homosexual attraction as well as apparent elements reminiscent of the aforementioned Twilight and Harry Potter franchises.

To sum it up, while the film is pretty to look a for its superb special affects and stylish art direction and design, they can't make up for what is essentially, a “mundane” movie.

Hopefully, the next installment in the series, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes,” will be a lot better, to say the least.  It begins production this fall with Harold Zwart back in the director's chair.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content.

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