The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – 1 out of 5
Hey, look! It’s another moody tween movie about some chosen one who has to do some bullshit and falls in love with the person who discovered she was the chosen--*SNORE*…Oops, sorry. I kinda fell asleep there for a second.
|Damn, even the characters are falling asleep.|
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is about Clary (Lily Collins), a girl who is, I think, suppose to be a teenager but looks a little too mature for that—anyway, she keeps seeing this symbol around her that looks like a really cheap decal for a Goth metal band. One night, while her and a buddy are out and about, she sees the symbol on the sign for a club and, due to her being able to see this, is allowed entry (ignore the fact she is a teenager). Inside, she is the only person who can see the demon hunter Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) kill a monster. If this wasn’t enough, her mother is kidnapped and she soon learns that she has some underlying abilities and she must team with Jace, his disgustingly perfect bone structure and the rest of his Shadowhunters team to try and recover a mystical item called the Mortal Cup. A cup that can grant some sort of controlling powers to the guy who is playing Dracula in the NBC show of the same name…also, as if this story wasn’t obvious enough, Clary falls in love with Jace.
|Well...she is slightly more interesting than Kristen Stewart as the love interest in|
this next mad dash to get Twilight cash.
Being a 32 year old guy who regularly attends comic conventions, plays violent video games and thinks Star Wars and Doctor Who are the greatest things in all of existence, my chances of enjoying this film adaptation of a book meant for tween girls were going to be extremely slim. However, intended audience aside, I’m not exactly sure how even the target audience could enjoy this mess because the film is so convoluted and painfully hard to take seriously.
|At least her face doesn't look nauseous like Stewart.|
This movie really, REALLY loves all the clichés that fantasy novels, stories, dirty limericks written on bathroom walls usually contain and they want to cram as many of them as they can into one story and it ultimately comes to the point where the narrative and plot are a convoluted mess of overused tropes. It’s got the pretty, socially awkward girl, a person with underlying greatness, a super handsome hero, a pointless love story between the veteran and the chosen one, the needless animosity between the team and the newcomer and the bad guy who was once a good guy but became obsessed with power and it took him on the road to evil. All these elements are fine and most of our stories we read, watch and interact with have these in common but The Mortal Instruments seemed so hell bent on making sure that you saw every single one of these that it simultaneously made the film a sloppy mess of fantasy elements that often felt forced into place and a painfully predictable tale that’s been told far better a million times before this.
|Another overdone cliche this movie does: The dude in the short shorts.|
I am so tired of seeing that.
Things aren’t helped by the underwhelming acting of the cast. Lily Collins brings literally nothing but a pretty face to the role of Clary and, when she is not looking out of her element in the realm of acting, she looks like an emotionally devoid robot that is being controlled by a little alien inside (except those robot-suited aliens in Men In Black had better acting skills). Jamie Campbell Bower, like Collins, is here just because he’ll make the tweens who antagonized their parents enough to give them money to see this movie swoon a little. The man isn’t convincing as a badass demon slayer (he’s just too pretty and looks a little soft for the work) and his acting is about as decent as you would expect a man whose agent answered the ad that, most likely, read, “Pale, feminine looking man needed for latest mad grab for Twilight cash. Acting not required.”
|"My perfect jawline was all the acting I needed for this role."|
Even decent actors like Jared Harris comes off uninteresting in this film but that has more to do with the completely uninteresting characters that already assault this walking/talking tween cliché. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Dracula) is…okay…as the bad guy in the film but considering his character is no different than a thousand other characters that have his EXACT character traits, being okay just means you are that more forgettable in an already forgettable film that is more interested in selling a franchise than telling a decent, entertaining story.
|That's a look you don't like to see on a guy covered in liquid when you enter a room.|
However, all this is moot because I am not the target audience for this film. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was NOT made for me. It was made for kids who think Bella and Edward had the greatest romance to ever exist. For me, it was just a movie that barely warranted its single viewing and left me with a feeling of…well…nothing. After it was done, I merely accepted that I was not the person this film was made for and I moved on. Yes, the movie has a lot of elements not working for it; for example, the acting is terrible, the story is a cliché’s cliché, the characters are overwhelmingly underdeveloped and the forced love story between Clary and Jace is just laughable and ridiculous (seriously, they fall in love in the span of a single day in the film’s timeline) but, when I consider who this film was made for (remember, Twilight), I can kinda forgive that all these elements were not taken seriously because, fuck it, right? They swallowed Twilight, why can’t they swallow this?
|"We've known each other for less than 24 hours so I know I love you."|