Film Review “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”

mortalinstrumentsStarring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower and Robert Sheehan
Directed By: Harald Zwart
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Screen Gems

Our Score: 1/2 out of 5 stars

I can understand that some movies will always have clichés or that some movies will have to rely on other writer’s imaginations. That being said while watching “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”, one could easily make two lists. One list would be all the tropes and the other could be all of the stolen movie ideas. If you’re somehow stuck in a movie theater with this movie rolling on the screen, you may consider turning those two lists into a drinking game, but I must warn you. You could die of alcohol poisoning before the halfway point of this flick.

Clary Fray (Collins) is a hip teenager. At least this movie would like you to believe that because she frequents coffee shops with her best friend, Simon Lewis (Sheehan). Recently she’s been seeing a weird symbol everywhere, even scribbling it out on paper and hanging it up all over her room. As she begins to question her sanity, she sees it at the entrance to a nightclub and heads inside to investigate. Next thing you know, she’s witnessed a tall dark stranger by the name of Jace Wayland (Bower) seemingly murder someone in plain view of others. Next thing you know, her mother (Lena Headey) is kidnapped, she’s attacked by a grotesque dog creature from “Resident Evil” and she’s told she’s a shadow hunter (even though they refer to them as demons). Next thing you know, I don’t care anymore.

In the first 20 minutes, I’m already beginning to wonder what I did in a past life to be punished in this manner. The story is muddled, the characters are incredibly stale and the plot laughs at creativity and embraces predictability like an old friend. Every serious moment meant to punctuate a revelation was incredibly comical. That means every attempt at humor in the movie was met with a groan (although I give them credit for a “Ghostbusters” reference). The writers for this movie must have gotten dialogue lessons from one too many ABC Family movies during Halloween. The studio must have hoped those eagerly waiting for the next “Twilight” franchise would eat up every shirtless scene with Bower. They probably also hoped that the romance between characters would once again melt tween hearts across the country, but instead it caused a tremendous pain in my groin. At times tears welled up in my eyes from stifling a laugh at how much this movie took itself seriously.

The dull characters are dressed like they’re about to hit up a gothic S&M bar. Apparently they’ve dressed this way so that they can fight demons who have made an effort to apply eyeliner before heading out. As the plot develops, characters make bone-headed decisions and let pre-pubescent emotions control their actions. The most enjoyable performance in this flick was by Lena Headey. She had very few headache causing lines, but that’s only because her character was in some form of a coma for the majority of the film. In fact once Jared Harris is revealed as the tutor for all these young warriors, you feel embarrassed for him. As for the other actors, they may want to leave this movie off their resume. Tell people this absence from movies was a time of self-discovery and reflection about where you were in life.

This movie, as well as the book series it is based on, is aimed at the “young adults” audience, but I don’t see “young adults” enjoying this movie. The imagination usually accompanied by this genre is missing and the only thing anyone might take away from this movie is a temporary crush on one of the actors. I love fantasy, but this movie abuses that title. This movie is so painful to watch, they should force prisoners to watch it. I know I’ve been incredibly harsh in everything I’ve said above, but I did take away one positive thing. This movie will make a great future Rifftrax.

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