Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
There is a battle being waged between demons and shadow hunters, hidden from human eyes. Clary Fray (LilyCollins) is starting to notice that she can see things that no one else can see, and she is obsessed with symbols and patterns that she notices everywhere. When her mother (Lena Headey) is kidnapped, Clary finds out that everything she has ever known about her family and her life has been a lie. With the help of her best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) and a mysterious and dangerous stranger named Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) she must navigate a world she never knew existed if she ever wants to see her mother again.
This is another movie based on a series of young adult novels in the vein of Twilight, Beautiful Creatures, The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones did not make a very smooth transition from the page to the screen. I felt like I was at a severe deficit having not read these books, because I got the distinct sense that the filmmakers proceeded under the assumption that the audience would already be familiar with the material. You get surprisingly little exposition during the 2+ hours you are watching this movie and there are gaping holes in the plot everywhere you look. So much of the film didn’t make any sense, and what I could understand was so schmaltzy and melodramatic that I spent most of the film laughing out loud at the ludicrous set-ups and story points.
The cast is the requisite collection of pretty young actors and actresses who are long on cheekbones and short on charisma. I like Lily Collins and Robert Sheehan, but everyone else in this movie left very little impression on me. My favorite thing about the film is the overall look, from the buildings to the weapons to the clothing to the CGI. That aside, there wasn’t much else for me to applaud. The paperback of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bonesprobably costs as much as a movie ticket and it has to be more satisfying to read than this was to watch. Invest wisely. C-
A couple of week's ago, I complained that Percy Jackson didn't have enough emotion, the opposite can be said of the Mortal Instruments. It never lacked for emotion. Sometimes this was a good thing, and made the action sequences feel more gripping, but most of the time it was a huge distraction. I felt like the filmmakers were trying too hard to expand the romance angle of the story, and quite honestly it doesn't fit everything else that is going on. I know as a young woman, if I was desperately searching for my missing mother I wouldn't take out time to flirt and play with a cute boy. Every waking minute would be spent trying to find her. I can't fault the actors for the movie, when most of the flaws come through the writing. The gaping plot holes, the lack of explanation, and a prerequisite reading of the novel killed this movie. Skip the theater and just wait for the DVD. C-